Who would have known Jock Itch cream has so many uses? Not me, that’s for sure. I never imagined I’d ever need to use it. Why would I? I’m not a male athlete. But as I discovered recently, one does not need to possess male body parts in order to develop the itchy rash otherwise known as ringworm.
Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t actually have worms. Ringworm is a form of fungus, same as jock itch. So I guess in a way I’m now just like one of the boys. You see, I’m fostering a domestic cat that has ringworm and although I’d never contracted the nasty rash, ones luck can only last so long. Yesterday my luck ran out.
Tommy, my foster, has a big patch of the stuff on his hind leg, which he enjoys rubbing against me at every opportunity. Wouldn’t ya know? I’m used to fostering feral kittens that need to be prodded from their fear of humans. So I’m not accustomed to having one that has no desire to be anywhere other than on my lap or perhaps nuzzling my neck.
In fact, that’s how I believe my adorable bundle of fur transmitted the contagious fungus to me. I got cocky. I stopped wearing gloves and a surgical gown the Humane Society gave me. Those things are hot! How do doctors wear them without becoming dehydrated? I was dripping with sweat, like being in a 104 degree Bikram Yoga class but without the limbering benefits.
So I discarded the medical garb, threw caution to the wind, and promptly contracted ringworm. On my neck of all places. Damn those cute little cuddly domestic kittens…
Ringworm is by no means the worst thing I’ve received from a cat. Far from it. I’ve been doing rescue work with ferals for 9 years, so I’m no virgin to cat-astrophies.
There’s the time I trapped a feral kitten that wouldn’t leave the trap. Nothing I did worked to budge the little guy. So finally this gal says, “I don’t think that kitten is feral. Why don’t you just grab him?” Whereupon I thought, Okay, why not? How much damage can a kitten do to me?
About 2 seconds later, I found out. Turns out this kitten WAS feral and he let me know in no uncertain terms. He shredded my forearm and bit clean through my knuckle. It’s still swollen to this day. You can bet that was the last time I ever assumed a feral kitten was harmless. (And the last time I ever listened to that gal.)
Then there was the time I got clawed while caging a cat at the Humane Society. She suddenly swiped at me, catching one of her long nails in the meaty part of my hand between the forefinger and thumb. My natural reaction was to pull back – with her claw still embedded. BIG mistake.
In pursuit of elusive cats, I’ve crawled through poison oak, been repeatedly stabbed by blackberry thorns, climbed on steep roofs and into scary spider infested attics, crawled through mud, waded in creeks and climbed tall trees. But I don’t mind; it comes with the territory.
Anyway, we’re now closing in on rescuing feral cat number 2000. They’ll no longer reproduce in the wild, nor will they lack shelter, food or water — simple offerings that create a measure of comfort these cats have never known. That, right there, makes it all worthwhile.
I say the ringworm, the scrapes, scratches and bites are small prices to pay when the reward is so rich.