Adopting Cats with Ringworm…it’s not that scary!

Posted on: April 21, 2021

Adopting is an exciting decision and just as you would prep for any new addition, it’s important to prepare to take on the new responsibilities of pet ownership. Most often those new responsibilities involve house-training and basic manners, but when you take a chance and adopt an animal who is recovering from an infection or illness, you are giving that animal a second chance at life and their best chance for proper healing. 

In the spring and summer, our shelter prepares for “kitten season” – a time of year when unaltered cats reproduce and numerous litters of young kittens end up at the Humane Society of Charlotte. Because these cats and kittens are arriving from various environments, they are more likely to be at risk of infections or illnesses. One infection that we see frequently is Ringworm. 

What is Ringworm 

It’s not an actual worm. Ringworm is an incredibly common infection among cats/kittens caused by a group of fungi known as dermatophytes. In cats and kittens, the dermatophytes that cause a Ringworm infection are called Microsporum canisUsually appearing in a circle or ring pattern and causing redness and crusting, these specific types of dermatophytes are zoonotic, meaning that they can infect other animals and humans. 

Kittens are the most susceptible to ringworm because of their weaker immune systems and how they are groomed by their mother cat, but adult cats are also able to contract the infection.  

Because of the volume of cats and kittens that arrive at HSC in the spring/summer months, the population with active Ringworm infections can dominate our available space and reduce our ability to take in more felines. By taking home a cat or kitten with Ringwormour adopters provide these felines a lower stress and less populated environment to heal, preventing the spread of Ringworm in the shelter and allowing us to save more lives overall. 

While adopting a cat or kitten with Ringworm may sound intimidating, it isn’t as scary as it sounds!  

Ringworm infection is easily treated and can be resolved within just a few short weeks. At the Humane Society of Charlotte, we will help you through every step of treating Ringworm so that you can take home your new cat or kitten with confidence and excitement rather than anxiety or worry.  

How do I treat Ringworm at home? 

When you take home your new cat or kitten, the HSC Animal Care team will provide you with an oral and topical medication to treat the infection from the inside out so that you and your new pet can return to a normal routine sooner rather than later.  

How do I prevent Ringworm from spreading? 

HSC will arm you with instructions on how to disinfect and prevent the infection from spreading to you or your other pets. Here are some of the basics: 

      • Keep your new cat/kitten in an area that can be easily disinfected, such as a bathroom with tile floors.  
      • Clean twice weekly using a bleach dilution of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach. Allow the solution to sit for approximately 10 minutes for maximum efficacy. Clean all non-stuffed toys in the same solution. 
      • Wash all of the cats bedding and soft toys using bleach at least once weekly in the washing machine.  

When adopting a pet with Ringworm snuggles and love need not be limited. Simply take extra precautions during treatment and make sure to either cover your clothing or change after you interact with your new pet. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward.  

Ringworm in new pets can sound intimidating but by adopting a cat or kitten suffering from this fungal infection, you directly affect the lives of other animals by preventing over-population in the shelterWill you adopt a cat in need this spring? 

If you have any questions about ringworm, kitten or cat adoption, or how you’ll be supported by the HSC team, please email HSC Adoption Manager, Calli Rutzinski at crutzinski@humanecharlotte.org. The Humane Society of Charlotte is always available for questions, advice, and help.