Need proof of love at first sight? Lacy and her boys, Michaelangelo and Leonardo, will help you believe like never before.
Earlier this year, Lacy decided it was time for her and her five-year-old son to adopt a cat, so she looked at the kittens in need on APA!’s website. After seeing Mikey and Leo’s photos and reading their descriptions, she knew in her heart that she needed to meet these “bald and strange-looking” hunks of love.
From the moment the boys met Lacy, a connection was formed. Lacy hadn’t intended on adopting two kittens that day, but she couldn’t even consider breaking up this brotherly bond. The moment Michaelangelo (Mikey), at the time known as Sir Baldrick, crawled onto Lacy’s shoulder to snuggle under her neck, she knew she was bringing him home. Leonardo (Leo), at the time known as Sir Crustalot, was coming right along with him.
Yes, like many of our infamous cat names, Mikey and Leo were originally given seemingly off-putting names – but their names told a story. You see, Mikey and Leo were in the Ringworm Adoption Center. Not only were they afflicted with the fungus, but the fungus covered the entirety of their tiny bodies – so much so that Sir Baldrick received coverage on Buzzfeed; but they were about to prove that being “too contagious” wasn’t enough to keep them from finding a forever home.
The Ringworm Program began at APA! in order to save the lives that are at risk of ethunasia because they have ringworm. Despite what the name infers, ringworm is a simple fungus that can easily be treated. Opened in 2010, the Ringworm Program’s mission is to “educate on, and advocate for, these underserved cats, reduce the stigma of ringworm, and save as many lives as possible while putting the Fun in Fungus.”
The Ringworm Adoption Center treats, on average, 250-300+ cats a year in addition to hundreds more through our foster system. The center takes in ringworm-positive cats and kittens from all across Central Texas! Despite it being the athlete’s foot equivalent in people, ringworm is still a death sentence for many cats in shelters across the country simply because these cats are seen as “too contagious” to care for.
It typically takes a few months of treatment to cure the cats of the fungus, but then they go on to live full and beautiful lives. We believe that these cats are highly adoptable, and with a little education and resources, potential adopters can care for these cats in the comfort of their own homes. It follows our philosophy that animals heal best in a home setting – exactly what Lacy and her son were about to provide for Leo and Mikey.
After a couple weeks of treatment, their hair grew back, and the crusties all fell away. With the ringworm gone, their personalities blossomed. According to Lacy, they truly are the sweetest, most affectionate, and playful kitties she’s ever known. When asked how they show their love, Lacy says she could go on and on: “They are happiest when they are curled up on our laps, wrapped around our shoulders, or lounging on our bellies while we are lying down on the sofa or bed. They literally give hugs! When I'm sitting at my desk, one (or both!) will jump up to my lap or desk, get up on his hind legs and wrap his front legs/paws around my neck, then burrow his head up under my chin and just purrrrrrrr! It's like they are still saying thank you for giving them a forever home.”
Lacy will never forget when she introduced the kittens to her son. It lives on as being one of her absolute favorite memories of the new family: “They were a surprise, and he was so excited! He loves animals, and these two were so affectionate from the start. The hard part was minimizing contact for the first few weeks while continuing the ringworm treatment, and making sure we stayed covered up and that we were washing our hands really well. When we got the green light from the vet that both were ringworm-free, my son was so excited to be able to snuggle with them, and introduce them to the rest of the house – we had them quarantined in my bathroom and then the utility room until they were healthy.”
The wait was worth it, and Lacy, nor her son, can imagine life without Mikey and Leo in it: “I can't emphasize enough how sweet they are ... it's almost like they are expressing their gratitude for being alive. They also have a special "brotherly love" that shows all the time. They are almost inseparable, whether they are giving each other baths or wrestling on the kitchen floor,” shares Lacey. “I will be forever grateful that APA! took them in, nursed them to health, loved them, kept them together, and made it easy for me to bring them home and care for them myself until they were well. Thank you!”
We’re thankful for Lacy and all of our adopters who’ve taken in ringworm cats; precious lives that could’ve been seen as “too contagious” to love and care for. This fungus is no reason for a life to be lost. These animals have far too much love to give. Take one step into the Ringworm Adoption Center and you’ll see for yourself!
If you would like to contribute to the amazing efforts of our ringworm adoption center, then please do so here. All of our programs here at APA! are successfully functioning because of your support. We couldn’t be more grateful for the compassion that this community shows us, and our animals, every single day.