One should always be leery when finding a free purebred cat on Craigslist. And I found out why firsthand! When I lost my senior kitty in December, my current cat, Waffles, was very lonely. I needed another cat who I could name after breakfast food and be his new best friend. Enter into my life, a free persian cat from Craigslist in need of urgent rehoming. (Public Service Announcement: never give a cat away for free.)
I met Princess Biscuit in a QFC parking lot and immediately fell in love. My partner pointed out two spots on her very matted coat and was wondering if she could have something contagious to us or our beloved Waffles. My first thought was why is he trying to find problems with our new cat who is clearly perfect. She just is a little rough around the edges and in need of some TLC. Two days later and after a shaved down, I find that we have adopted a ringworm positive cat that has lesions and multiple areas of her body. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ringworm, It is a fungal disease affecting the coat and skin of cats. Purebred cats and kittens are more prone to ringworm infections. Most often lesions are seen around the head, ears, and sometimes other areas of the body, and can look like anything. The lesions are usually raised, red, scaly areas with thinning hair.
For this particular case, Princess Biscuit had it throughout her entire body but only two small obvious lesions on her back. This is why she was free on Craigslist. After obtaining her previous vet records, it appears she had been unsuccessfully treated for ringworm for a year and a half. Suddenly my options started to look a bit bleak. But, I wasn’t going to give up and I started a full decontamination and treatment process. It required bathing her twice weekly in something called a lime sulfur dip. Imagine submerging a cat in a sour smelling rotten egg solution. Then, bathed cats have to air dry for the day. It was quite an ordeal. But Princess Biscuit was a good sport about the whole thing. She also had to take anti-fungal medications orally daily for a couple month. I quickly found out why she was most likely never able to be clear to the medication. Talk about a grade five hard to pill cat! She required the assistance of a whole veterinary staff to get those suckers down the hatch.
After about two and a half months into treatment she was tested to see if she still had ringworm. Much to my despair and despite a lack of obvious lesions, she continued to still have ringworm. I did have a moment of panic when I thought this cat is never, ever going to clear this. And, for some cats, they can be lifelong shatters so it’s not a completely unrealistic fear. However, most, nearly all cats will eventually clear the infection. Not easily intimidated, I stayed the course and continued treatment. And eventually one month later, she did finally clear the infection. Now biscuit is a fully healthy. Well, I should say ringworm-free cat who only requires a couple more minor surgeries to become fully healthy. Like I said, one should always be leery of free cats on Craigslist! But all cats need a homes, not just the healthy ones. And it’s very rewarding to take a pet that’s been unsuccessful in another household and bring them to their full health and wellness.
Written by Dr. Lizzy Dean – Columbia City Veterinary Hospital