What Cat Behavior Means

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Many people take the name feline ringworm literally and believe that the disease is brought on by a worm. The truth is that it's caused by a fungus. This fungus mainly infects the hair and skin, but can also make its way to the nails.

General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home
You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.
General Cat Care #2: Feeding
An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).

Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.

Ringworm in cats is very, very contagious. If you have multiple cats, then one can infect the other very easily. Owners also need to be aware that they can become infected with the fungus too. Infected animals easily transmit the disease by coming into direct contact with other animals. The fungus can also reside in food dishes and bedding, and infect your cat when he comes into contact with it.

Just because your cat has been infected with the fungus that causes feline ringworm doesn't mean that he will show signs though. The spores may simply reside on your cat without causing any symptoms for a long period of time. These spores are capable of surviving in the environment for months and months.

Ringworm in cats can become a problem for any feline regardless of age, sex, or breed. However, certain groups have a higher risk than others. Kittens and older cats alike share an increased risk for infection. Also, cats with long hair or a weakened immune system will have a higher risk too.

When signs of feline ringworm appear, they're quite easy to notice. Your cat will develop bald patches on various areas of his body. Each patch will be circular in nature, and may also have a flaky appearance, with a red dot appearing in the center.

General Cat Care #3: Grooming
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs
General Cat Care #4: Handling
To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.
General Cat Care #5: Housing
Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.

The areas that are usually affected include the ears, limbs, and head. Milder cases of ringworm in cats only causes bald patches in smaller areas. The disease can progress though and cause problems over the entire body.

Although the signs of feline ringworm are quite noticeable, your vet will have to do more than just take a look at your cat in order to make a diagnosis. The condition can be diagnosed very easily using an ultraviolet light that will make the fungus glow when exposed to it. The vet may also choose to take a skin biopsy or even examine the fungus under a microscope.

Medicated shampoos or ointments are usually effective in getting rid of ringworm in felines. Some cats may be given oral medication to combat the disease though. As mentioned earlier, the fungus is quite hardy. Therefore, this medication may need to be given for a period of months to ensure that your cat doesn't have a reinfection.

If your cat has ringworm, then you'll need to be very careful when handling him. Always make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly after you handle him. It's also important that you use a special disinfectant on the bedding, food dishes, and any other areas that your cat comes into contact with.

Feline ringworm spreads very easily, and your other pets may have been infected too. It's a good precaution to use the medicated ointment or shampoo on your other pets too. This is especially important if they shed a lot.

General Cat Care #6: Identification
If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.
General Cat Care #7: Litter Box
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).
Updated: February 24, 2017 — 5:40 pm

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