Welcome back! If you are coming from my previous blog post, we are moving on to fostering kittens (and sometimes cats) who have ringworm. Ringworm is the most common infectious skin disease in cats, but it is highly manageable. Ringworm can spread from cats to humans, as well as other animals in the home. This blog intends to educate you on the care required for cats with ringworm, not to scare you. Hopefully, this information will help you decide if this type of foster animal is a good fit for your home.
Kittens with ringworm need just as much if more love than any other foster kitten. If you think of all the time you love on and play with healthy kittens, don’t you think kittens that have contracted ringworm deserve that treatment as well? You should expect a kitten that still wants love and attention. They may be shy at first, especially if they were separated from their siblings or were found outside. Be patient with these kittens as they are so deserving of your love and care.
You will need an isolated space to keep this kitten as ringworm can spread through contaminated animals, objects, or the environment. You will need to take proper precautions and implement daily cleaning to ensure the ringworm does not spread any more. Ringworm kittens will still need regular weight checks, proper feeding schedules, and litter training and cleaning.
Cats and kittens that have contracted ringworm have been through testing to find out that they have ringworm. One of the most simple tests is to use a blacklight. The ringworm spores will shine bright unless they are new or small, and it may take a few days to show. I keep a blacklight in my foster supplies and check every animal that comes into my home in case any ringworm spores weren’t seen at the clinic.
Depending on the age of the kitten, treatment will consist of medicated baths, topical creams, and oral medication. When a kitten is too young or weak, they do not receive oral treatment, as it is too harsh on their bodies. Oral treatment stops any new ringworm from forming and controls existing spores. Cats of all ages receive medicated baths that help control the spores that the kitten has currently. Most of the time, the kitten will get used to the baths pretty quickly, and it is smooth sailing from there. I also use Lotrimin after the medicated baths on the individual spores; this can help reduce the spore size and help with itchiness.
Kittens with ringworm do require slightly more time commitment than one without. You will need to plan for medicated baths every three days, and the medication needs to sit on the skin for 10 minutes. At this time, you will need to keep the kitten warm, and when the time is up, thoroughly rinse and dry them. Previously when I had had a ringworm kitten, I placed a clean kennel in a warm location for the kitten to wait 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I quickly cleaned their area and replaced all blankets and towels for sanitization.
My suggestion would be to plan an extra thirty minutes a day for a kitten with ringworm. This time may vary on the number of kittens, the health of the kitten(s), and any issues that the kitten may have as well. I clean their area and all lines once a day. The cleaner their space is, the quicker they can fight off the ringworm infection. Any items that may have been exposed to ringworm need to be properly cleaned after use. This prevents future foster animals, or yourself, to contract ringworm.
Kittens with ringworm are highly contagious. Depending on your comfort with ringworm will depend on how isolated you may want your foster space to be. I kept my ringworm foster in a hall bathroom; there was no carpet, which made sanitization faster, and it did not put my other animals at risk to contract. If you do not have any animals in the home, you may still want to keep the kittens isolated if you are worried about contracting ringworm. I have had ringworm spores myself, and as long as they are caught quickly and treated, it was not very bothersome to me.
You will need to create a safe and comfortable space for the kitten, as you would any other kitten. The difference is the linen needs to be properly disinfected with bleach or a peroxide solution. I always keep plenty of blankets and towels on hand and run dirty laundry through the wash twice in hot water and bleach. You will also need regular kitten supplies: wet and dry food, a low water dish, non-clumping litter, and a litter box. It is also a good idea to give the kitten plastic toys for playtime – they are easy to sanitize and therefore can be used for other foster kittens.
Kittens with ringworm may be a bigger commitment than you are ready for right now, and that is OK. The best thing you can do is educate yourself, and if you change your mind, your help will always be needed! In my opinion, ringworm kittens do require more time commitment than other kittens, but it is still completely doable. Planning for bath time and daily sanitization will keep you on schedule and be best for the kittens health. If you are worried about you, or those in your home contracting ringworm, I would recommend reading up on the infection and deciding if it is something you are willing to risk.
If you have any questions or would like more information on fostering a ringworm kitten, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have had awesome experiences with my ringworm fosters (pictured below) and I would love others to not be afraid as well. Let me know in the comments if this article was helpful!