So as if having 7 animals isn’t enough, I’m one of only a few people at the humane society willing to foster ringworm cats and kittens. Consequently, I often have a room or two filled with the little buggars. By buggars I mean the kittens, not ringworm. Personally I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s not an actual worm. That would be disgusting. No, it’s just a fungus, like athlete’s foot.Since ringworm is contagious to people and other animals, I have to keep these cats isolated. Luckily I have 4 bedrooms so I’m an instant ringworm B&B of sorts. Come little kitties, stay a while. Relax. Chill out while receiving weekly sulfur dippings and daily oral meds. At first I wore a smock and gloves when handling my 5 ringworm domestic kitten fosters but quickly tired of that. So now I hold them with abandon. To hell with ringworm! So far so good. I’m rash free as of this writing. Just in case, I have a tube of Lotrimin waiting in the wings. I’m nothing if not prepared…
Smartly, I let humane society staff perform the particularly stinky sulfer dips. I have my limits you know. But I do give the kittens oral meds each morning along with meds for my aging Greyhound. And then there’s the feedings. With 12 stomachs to fill, I don’t get to eat and run anymore. I feed them, scoop cat and dog poop, give meds, grab a bite, then run. I’ve become good at organizing my mornings.Ringworm cats are unadoptable until they’re symptom free and getting them to that point takes weeks. But I don’t mind. Actually, ringworm is the easy part. That’s because I’m used to fostering feral kittens, not domestics. And believe me, there’s a world of difference.
Feral kittens are born outside and have little to no contact with people. So they become fearful and shy around us, which means they won’t get adopted because they’re technically “wild.” So we at Marin Friends of Ferals foster these skitties (skittish kitties) until we can bring out their domestic side hiding behind frightened eyes.Fostering skitties means I can be on my computer and nobody walks across my keyboard deleting an email that took me 15 minutes to compose. I can be on the phone and nobody crawls across my shoulders and chews my hair. I can organize a bunch of papers on my desk and they’ll still be neatly stacked in that spot the next day. With skitties, they take time to warm up to us. We have to move slowly, take baby steps in gaining their trust and opening their hearts to having a loving relationship with humans. We’re like aliens to them…big, scary, unpredictable beings that potentially pose a threat. Sorta how I view Donald Trump.
Domestic kittens, on the other hand, couldn’t be more joyous, trusting and eager for contact with us. They’re like leeches; they’re all over you. I’ve even learned to type with one hand so I can keep them off my keyboard with the other. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting one type is better than the other, just different.With ringworm skitties, I try to get them to trust me while I treat their fungus. With ringworm domestics, I’m basically hoping they’ll ignore me so I might actually get some work accomplished.
That thought, I’m quickly learning, could not possibly be more unrealistic.
Wonderful article! I am one of the few ringworm fosterers, I don’t have a spare room for them, and I live in a very tiny house, so I’ve given up trying to isolate them. I do have a “condo” they sleep in at night, but otherwise they have the run of the house with my 2 dogs and 2 cats, and after MANY years of fostering ringworm kittens none of us (me, pets or visiting friends and family) have ever gotten ringworm. I used to work at home, and could foster “skitties” and it was my favorite thing in the world. I would tuck the small ones under my shirt and get to work on my computer and before you knew it they thought I was their momma. Fostering is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, knowing I am really helping some sweet animals that are providing me with lots of entertainment. Loved your article and the photos, Janet.