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Cats and Ringworms

Updated on August 21, 2012

Ring Worms in Cats

Ringworm is a type of skin disease that is found to affect both cats and dogs. Today we are going to talk about how it affects cats; detailing what it actually is, how it is caught, what can be done to prevent your cat from catching it and how it is treated.

Although the name might suggest otherwise, ringworm is not caused by a worm under your cat’s skin. It is, in fact, caused by fungi called dermatophytes which feed on the dead cells of the skin, hair and nails and then spread. Most ringworm cases in cats are caused by the dermatophyte known as Microsporum Canis (M Canis).

M Canis is extremely contagious and your cat will usually contract ringworm by coming into contact with an object or other animal that hold the infectious spores; such objects can include grooming tools, bedding and clippers. The spores will attach themselves to the skin and then germinate to invade any already broken or grazed skin/hair, developing sore lesions. If there is another animal in your house that already has ringworm, then any other cat in your house will most likely have caught it from them. Kittens are usually quite susceptible to developing it, especially if they are allowed outside. Although there is no exact explanation for this, it is widely believed that should they catch it, then their immune systems are not fully developed or strong enough to fight of the infection.

The appearance of ringworm is exceedingly varied and so as a result it can often be hard to tell if your cat has the disease. With some cats that have it, the lesions can be severe in appearance and present themselves as an irritated scaly piece of skin; this area is very sensitive and shouldn’t be touched. The hair around the ringworm can either be very rough, broken or completely gone. Other lesions can be much less severe and as a result can sometimes be mistaken as feline acne or flea allergies.

A vet will be able to tell if your cat has ringworm by running a series of diagnostic tests that will be able to determine if M Canis or another dermatophyte is present. A diagnosis should never be made on appearance alone as the skin condition can look like other skin afflictions like the ones mentioned earlier. Once the diagnosis of ringworm has been made your vet may prescribe either tablets (to be administered with food) or ointment (to be rubbed into your cat’s coat). Healing time can vary between 6 weeks up to 3 months, sometime longer, depending on the severity of the case.

It is important to remember that a cat with ringworm is highly infectious and so should be treated as such. When handling your infected furry friend always use gloves and wash your hands afterwards. If there are any children in your household then make sure they stay away from and don’t touch your cat. The key is to be employ caution and be aware of where your cat is and what he or she is up to.

Please be aware that this article is for informative and advice purposes only. It is not a medical document and if you are worried that your dog may have cancer or any other type of illness then you should contact your local vet immediately.

To see our fantastic range of pet insurance policies and more, head to our website Animal Friends Insurance for cat insurance polices. For every quote we make online we’ll donate 50p to an animal charity with the goal of donating a million pound to animal charities by the end of 2012. Keep up to date with all things Animal Friends related on our Feel Good Park Facebook page. For every ‘like’ we receive we’ll donate £1 to an animal welfare charity.


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    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Thank you for the continuing excellent information about our companion animals and how we can help through knowledge and awareness.