Things You'll Need
Latex or rubber gloves
Topical anti-fungal solution or lime-sulfur concentrate product or griseofulvin
Benzalkonium chloride spray
Cat pill popper or "pill pocket" treats
Ringworm is a fungus that afflicts animals and humans, though the symptoms look different in different species. In a cat, ringworm causes hair loss in irregular shapes, especially on its legs and face. Once your vet has diagnosed your cat as having ringworm, she may suggest different treatments to try simultaneously or one after the other.
Kill the Ringworm with Topical Treatments
Wash the cat. Put on latex or rubber gloves to prevent the ringworm from spreading to you, and give your cat a bath as you normally would using a gentle shampoo. Rinse and towel dry.
Apply a topical ringworm solution over the affected areas. Your vet might prescribe an anti-fungal solution containing miconazole or clotrimazole, or you can use an over-the-counter ringworm product that contains enilconazole or concentrated lime-sulfur.
Decontaminate your house. The fungal spores that cause ringworm can live in your house for up to 18 months, re-infecting your cat, you or other pets. Spray benzalkonium chloride on any areas your cat frequents, including its bedding and toys, furniture, your sheets and clothes.
Repeat treatments. If you used a lime-sulfur solution, you will have to repeat the treatment every few days for one to four weeks until your cat's skin is clear. Otherwise, repeat the treatment once a month for preventive purposes, or follow the instructions of your veterinarian.
Cut the pills to the correct dosage. If your cat's ringworm is severe, your vet might prescribe griseofulvin, which comes in a pill form. Use a razor blade or pill cutter to ensure proper dosage: give your cat 20 to 50 mg of griseofulvin per kilogram of your cat's weight, according to your vet's instructions.
Make your cat swallow the medication. To give your cat a pill, gently, but firmly, hold the cat by the scruff of the neck with one hand while using the other to force the pill to the back of its mouth. If this is ineffective, try using a cat pill-popper available at any pet store. Once the pill is in its mouth, hold your cat's mouth closed and gently rub its throat in downward strokes until it swallows the pill.
If this doesn't work, try hiding the pill in special treats that have "pockets" for this purpose, or ask your vet if it is OK to grind the pill and mix it in your cat's food. (Some medications lose their efficacy when you grind them, so always check first.)
Repeat the administration of griseofulvin daily until your cat's symptoms have disappeared.
Before giving your cat a bath, clip its claws to minimize injury to yourself.
Always talk to your vet before beginning any ringworm treatment.
Note that griseofulvin can cause bone-marrow suppression.
kitten image by Radoslav Lazarov from Fotolia.com
Sarah Bronson received her Master of Arts in journalism from New York University in 2002. Since then her clients have included "The New York Times," "Glamour," "Executive Travel," "Fodor's," "The Jerusalem Report," "ESPN—The Magazine," the "Washington Times" and "Figure" magazine. Her areas of expertise include biotechnology, health, education, travel, Judaism and fashion.