Preventing Ringworm in Cats

Despite its name, Ringworm in cats is not a parasitic worm. It is fungal infection that is easily passed to dogs and humans. Ringworm commonly affects cats of all ages and will cure itself. Because it is infectious, it's important to know how it is transmitted, what causes the fungal infection and common treatments.

Types of Ringworm Fungus

Ringworm is caused by three fungi:

  • Microsporum canis

  • Microsporum gypseum

  • Trichophyton

Fungus spores cling to animals, furniture, toys, clothing, brushes and their bedding and thrive in warm, humid climates. Because spores live for two years, it's important to wash everything a cat is in contact with after ringworm is discovered.

Ringworm in Cats Spreads Easily

A cat with ringworm is contagious. If a human or other animal touches something an infected cat laid on or rubbed against, the spores will transfer to the new host.

Most people and animals are able to fight off the fungal infection naturally. A number of other people and animals are at risk for contracting the fungal infection. These higher-risk groups include:

  • Elderly

  • Impaired immune system

  • Malnourished

  • Overstressed

  • Underlying illnesses

How Ringworm in Cats Looks

Ringworm in cats generally leads to small, hairless patches of rough, bumpy skin. They usually start out very small and grow in size. Some cats will itch them excessively causing scabbing and oozing.

Ringworm patches usually are round, but this is not always a certainty. They are most commonly located on the face, lips and tail. Some cats get ringworm fungus in their nails causing the nails to grow unevenly or in odd shapes.

Preventing Ringworm in Cats

To keep your cat free of ringworm, it's best to keep him indoors. If you keep your healthy cat indoors all the time, you eliminate the risk of him contacting ringworm from another cat.

If your cat must go outdoors, check him daily for lesions. Try to keep your cat from coming into contact with stray cats. Strays tend to have a higher risk for ringworm because they often lack proper nutrition.

If you bring home a new pet, make sure the cat or dog does not have any lesions on any part of his body. Ask for a vet check before bringing your pet home to make sure there are no health issues.

Clean your home of dust and animal hair daily. Swiffer mops, vacuums and dust rags used to collect dust and spores work effectively. If your furnace blows hot air, vacuum out the vents and have your air filter in your furnace changed.

Spray bedding with a mixture of water and bleach (a one-part to ten-part mix). Clean kennels, combs, brushes and any animal clothing too.

Certain breeds have a higher susceptibility for getting ringworm. Asian breeds, particularly Himalayans and Persians, are susceptible to ringworm infections. Be cautious about bringing these breeds home.

If you have to board your cat in a kennel for trips, check the kennel out first. Before boarding your pet, ask about their sanitizing practices. Also ask for client recommendations. Online local directories, often allow user reviews.