The symptoms of ringworm in cats include ring-like skin lesions on the cat's body, as well as dry and flaky patches of skin. The ring lesions usually appear on the head, ears and limbs of the cat. Flaky skin and bald red patches may also appear and indicate ringworm.
Cats can contract ringworm through contact with an infected human or animal. They can also contract ringworm through contact with contaminated bedding, flooring and food dishes. Ringworm spores can live for up to a year in the environment.
Cats infected with ringworm spores may not show any symptoms. Routine veterinary care allows a care provider to notice small differences that owners may not notice. A veterinarian can also use ultraviolet light or samples of skin cells to diagnose ringworm with or without other present symptoms.
Kittens, geriatric cats, long-haired cats and cats with compromised immune systems are most likely to get ringworm. Ringworm is also common in crowded environments like animal shelters and thrives in warm, humid conditions. Take precautions with a potentially infected cat by washing hands thoroughly after interaction with the animal and keeping it separate from other humans and pets. Ringworm is contagious and can spread to other people or animals through contact with an infected cat.
Treat ringworm in cats with antifungal shampoos and skin treatments. In severe cases, veterinarians may prescribe an oral antifungal medication. It is also prudent to treat areas and surfaces where the animal lives.