Ringworm in Cats – Everything You Need to Know

ringworm in cats

It is such a heart-warming experience to have a feline companion at home when you get back from a tiring day at the office. However, it is equally challenging to take care of your pet as it may be prone to different infectious diseases. Yes! The felines are likely to catch contagious infections like ringworms. You need to be careful because the infection may be transmitted to animals as well as humans. Therefore, you need to have more information about ringworm in cats. Keep reading, and you will be enlightened about everything about it.  

What is Ringworm?   

Well! Unlike as the name indicates, this is not a worm. Yes! You read it right! It is a fungal infection of the skin. Ringworm is one of the zoophilic species which live on the animals’ bodies and can be of 3 types. Microsporum Canis is the most common of the type that lives on the skin and hair of cats, mostly on the hair. However, they may also live on the skin. You may not commonly find the other two types of fungus.  

The onset of ringworm in cats

If you think that your cat will suffer from the infection even if the ringworm spores are found on the hair coat of your cat, you are mistaken. Yes! Your cat is safe until and unless there is a minimum number of ringworm spores. However, this number varies concerning the individuals and the types of exposure. The factors crucial to get into 

contact with these spores include:  

  • Age  
  • History  
  • Drugs suppressing the immunity  
  • Nutrition  
  • Stress and population  

The infection nurtures more, where more cats get together. So, if you want to prevent your cuddly cat from catching the ringworm, you need to work closely with it to avoid its contact with potential carriers of the fungus.  

Similarly, you need to check the hygienic conditions and grooming habits of your cat. The long-haired cats like Himalayas and Persians are more likely to get the infection because they are hard to be groomed. However, irrespective of the reason and cause of infection, you need to consult the vet in case of an infection.  

Ringworm in Cats Symptoms

Well! The symptoms of ringworm come in different combinations. Typically, it appears like a hair loss on one or more areas of your cat’s body. However, you can look for the following symptoms in various forms: 


Although the itching is not an essential sign, it may appear in some cats. However, some others suffer from severe irritation to the extent of self-mutilation.   

Hair Loss

You need to observe the growth and disappearance of hair on your cat’s body. Sometimes, it follows a symmetrical pattern while, in some cases, it is random. 

Scaling and Crusting

Some of the cats suffer from scaling. The skin develops crusts on different areas of the body as a result of the infection.  


You should be worried if you see some blackheads appearing on the face of your cuddly little friend, especially on the chin of the little one.   


The infection may also cause the appearance of patches all over the body. These patches are usually dark, and you can easily track the changes over time.   

Nail Infection

Well! This sign appears mostly as the sole symptom. Yes! Your cat may have developed some greasy or crusty infections around their nails.  


The ringworm in cats causes severe redness in the parts of the body where there is a loss of hair. It happens especially in the beginning, when the symptoms start appearing.  


It is a sign of your cat being emotionally and psychologically upset with something. Yes! If your feline has symmetrical hair loss due to overgrooming, you need to check for the ringworm infection.  

Itchy Ears

In some cases of ringworm, your cat might develop light itching in one or both of her ears. However, it is not very usual.  

Diagnosis of Ringworm in Cats

Being a fungal infection, you can not diagnose it without your proper medical examination. Therefore, you need to visit the vet in the first place. The vet will pluck the hair from the affected area and check it with a sterile hemostat. They call it fungal culturing. In most cases, they will use the “dermatophyte test medium” as it indicates the colors according to the presence or absence of fungus. In case your cat has growing ringworm, the color will turn red. Wood’s Lamp is a device that many practitioners use to identify the area where there is a hair loss. It makes it easy to take the culture. The area in which there is a fungus, it turns either yellowish-green or apple-green when the vet uses the Wood’s lamplight. 

Wood’s Lamp is not a diagnostic tool. It is rather a screening method. Once your vet has identified the presence of fungus in florescent hairs of the cat, he can further confirm the help of the Wood’s Lamp. It will help the practitioner to track the progress during treatment. As the treatment of ringworm in cats proceeds, the shades of the cat’s hair will change under the Wood’s Lamp. Hence, the treatment can be modified accordingly. When the infection is close to the resolve, You will see only the tips of the hairs will be glowing. The reason being, the infection is no more there in the roots of your feline’s hair, and the hairs are getting healthier. 

Treatment of Ringworm in Cats

If you own a cat and has a medical history of HIV Infection, or organ transplant or chemotherapy, you are likely to catch the ringworm infection from your cat suffering from the virus. According to the reported facts, almost half of the people in contact with the infected cats may develop the symptoms of the infection. Therefore, when you visit the vet along with your infected cat, they will carry on a two-fold treatment. Yes, Firstly, to treat your cat and then to decontaminate the environment she is living. It is done to prevent the transmission of fungal infection to human living with the cat. 

Once your cat shows the diagnostic report confirming ringworm, the vet is the best person to design the treatment therapy. However, it normally involves a combination of things like clipping the hair, antifungal medicines (oral administration), and environmental cleansing. For all those out there who want to know if the only the topical treatment, mainly bathing, can do the trick or not. Well! You can completely recover your cat’s health only if you combine various techniques in addition to bathing and cleansing. 

Therefore, it is essential to consider the presence and risk of other animals in contact with the infected cat. If you have other furry pets in the house, you need to bath them twice a week to prevent them from catching the infection.

If we talk about the clipping of hair coat, it depends mainly upon the degree of the infection, age, and size of your cat. Yes! You can not avoid clipping because if you do, it may transmit fast. The reason being, the infection weakens the roots of the hair, resulting in shedding them. The shed hair may stick to other parts of your cat’s body or even other pets. Hence, the chances of transmission increase manifold. Also, your cat’s reports will keep coming out to be positive repeatedly. You can avoid the situation only if you clip the affected hair patch. Also, you can easily apply ringworm shampoo for cats if you have a clear space in front of you. You can follow the general rules of clipping when you have ringworm in cats

  • If your cat has short hair and shows five or more patches of ringworm, you have to clip the entire hair coat.
  • If your cat has short hairs and has only fewer than five spots of ringworms, you can clip only the specific spots.
  • However, if you have a cat with long hair, you need to clip the whole of the coat, irrespective of the number of ringworm spots.

Important methods of treatment of Ringworm in Cats

  Topical Products

  Systemic Therapy

  • Miconazole and/or Chlorhexidine

  • used twice a week while taking a bath

  • should rest on Cat’s body for 10 minutes.

  • It cannot be used for kittens until they reach 8 weeks of age.

  • Important drugs: Ggriseofulvin, Terbinafine.

  • Must be properly prepared by a pharmacist.

Response time of treatment

As you will start the treatment for ringworms in cats, you will observe a stark improvement over 2 to 4 weeks. At the end of 4 weeks, you will again visit the vet so that they examine your cat. They will perform Wood’s Lap test to track the pattern of improvement. If you do not properly apply the shampoo on the face, muzzle, and ears, the infection will persist in the areas. 

The vet will take the fungal culture on every visit until they get a negative report. However, after that, they will take the culture weekly. To get rid of the fungus completely, the vets wait for two consecutive reports to become negative.  

Environmental Cleaning

If you want to avoid ringworm is cats, you need to do a second stage treatment. Yes! This calls for detailed decontamination of the surroundings. The spores of ringworm may survive in the environment for as long as 18 to 24 months. So, it is essential to keep everything under control. Since the spores are microscopic, they can easily travel from one place to another with the air currents and heating ducts and vents.  

If you are wondering how long to quarantine cat with ringworm, here is the solution. If you own only one infected cat or kitten, you can keep it quarantine anywhere in your house for two weeks. Yes! But then she must have taken the oral antifungal medicine before the quarantine, and you should keep it in a room, maybe a bathroom, which you can easily wash. Alternatively, you need to wait for four medicated baths. As a result, you will be able to give at least some access to your cat to the rest of your house. 

However, you can do the following things to decontaminate the environment:

  • Get rid of all the rugs, collars, blankets, brushes, and toys which your cat has been using all this time.
  • Throw away the cat’s belongings, which you can not easily vacuum or brush.
  • Replace the decorations and drapes in your house, clean all the ventilation and heating ducts with the help of a vacuum. 
  • Try to purchase an exhaust fan that can draw out all the invisible spores of the ringworm in cats
  • Use the bleach solution to clean all the possible surfaces.
  • Do a thorough dusting session that could clean all the surfaces. 
  • Scrub the areas and surfaces which your cat may have used. You can use bleach for this purpose. 
  • Use a light-weight dehumidifier as the humid air encourages the spores and their survival.

Once you are sure that you have tried everything in your power to get rid of the ringworm spores, you need to vacuum all the surfaces daily. Also, keep a regular dusting routine to avoid ringworm in cats. You can then apply the disinfectant once a week as it might irritate you if you do it daily. 


Now when you have gone through all the essential aspects of the ringworm fungal infection in cats, you are better able to fight against it. All you have to do is to take good care of your cuddly friend, so that she stays safe, away from other infected animals. As a result, your cat will remain happy, healthy, and playful all the time. You can have quality time with her playing around and walking outdoors. Take care of yourself, your surroundings, and your pets to lead a happy family full of bliss.