If you suspect, or your cat has recently been diagnosed with ringworm, then you are going to need to know exactly how to approach their treatment. Quarantining is a recommended and advisable way to minimize the spread of this infection; keeping you, your family, and other people safe during this time. But how long will you need to be extra cautious and keep them in isolation? This is what most vets recommend.
So, how long do you quarantine a cat with ringworm? A cat that has ringworm should be quarantined for 14-28 days/ 2-4 weeks. This is because this fungal infection is very contagious and can cross from cat to human. However, this time may need to be extended if your cat continues to get ringworm outbreaks.
At the same time, it is generally advised to continue treatment, such as giving your cat ringworm cultures, regularly following infection.
This will ensure they overcome this condition for good.
And here is why.
Ringworm, despite what its name suggests, hasn’t got anything to do with worms, but rather it resembles athletes’ foot in humans.
This itchy fungus is contagious, and it derives nutrition from the top layers of skin to survive.
Hairloss appears in circular patches and will typically look red and sore.
If you notice those circular patches in your cat, it’s more than likely ringworm, and your cat will need immediate veterinary attention.
Your vet will be able to advise you a lot more on the condition, but it’s also a good idea to do your own research and learn as much about the condition as possible.
That is why I have written this article; to give you greater insight into what is involved.
So let us now take a closer look at the most commonly asked and important questions regarding this condition.
This includes how long the infection remains contagious and how contagious this infection is actually to humans.
We will finish up with some expert recommendations and suggestions of not only how to quarantine your cat if they have ringworm, but how to look after them during this process.
So, be sure to keep on reading to get all the information you need and to help your cat get back to its healthy, more comfortable, and ring-worm-free self.
How Long Is Ringworm Contagious In Cats After Starting Treatment?
Ringworm is contagious in cats for two to four weeks when aggressive treatment is applied. The disease can last longer and remain contagious if an owner uses only minimal measures to treat the infection.
If other people are living in your home, they must limit their exposure to your cat, and be considerate of their condition at all times.
Thankfully, most cats recover from a ringworm infection if it is treated adequately.
The lesions appearance might not change much within the first week of treatment, but you will notice significant improvement after two to three weeks.
When treating your cat with ringworm, be mindful about discontinuing treatment too early as the infection can reoccur.
Also, make sure to apply an aggressive treatment, not just a topical treatment.
For this reason, it is generally recommended to consult your vet if you have not already.
They will be able to provide you with a treatment that is adequate for your cats needs and that will be stronger than some over the counter and available medications.
One thing to consider is the general health of your cat.
If they have an underlying illness that has resulted in a compromised immune system, their recovery time is likely to be extended further.
After you have tried your best to help your cat recover from a ringworm infection, you have to prepare for the likelihood that it might still persist.
In this situation, your vet might have to try a more aggressive treatment of antifungal drugs to treat your cat.
How Contagious Is Ringworm From Cat To Human?
Cats can easily transmit ringworm to humans. Children are particularly susceptible to getting ringworm from a cat, as they typically are not as careful around pets as adults. Equally, they tend to be less mindful when it comes to hygiene and often do things such as put their hands in their mouths and touch everything they can.
It would be best if you took corrective measures to reduce exposure to the fungus while your cat is getting treatment.
Keeping them well isolated is considered crucial here.
Just as in cats, ringworm is more likely to infect people with illnesses or depressed immune systems.
For humans, it is usually more detectable and causes more clinical signs.
If you or people in your household develop small reddened skin, thickening patches with scaly edges, it is advised that you seek immediate medical attention.
Rest assured that humans generally respond well to treatment.
Ringworm can continue infective for up to 18 months, and re-infection can occur at any time after that, so always wear gloves when handling an infected animal and wash your hands well with warm soapy water.
Ringworm is infectious, and transmission can occur by direct contact with the fungus.
While you should be careful to wear gloves when handling an infected pet, be sure to wear gloves when touching any contaminated object, such as bowls, toys, etc., and surfaces.
That being said, touching the ringworm fungus doesn’t always result in an infection.
Healthy adults are usually immune to infection unless there is a scratch or break in the skin.
However, adults with weak immune systems, children, and the elderly are therefore more susceptible and need to be more careful.
The incubation stage between exposure to the fungus and the development of ringworm lesions typically ranges from 7-14 days; whereas certain cases can take up to 21 days before any infection symptoms develop.
How To Quarantine A Cat With Ringworm
Once your vet diagnoses your cat with ringworm, you must do all you can to protect your home environment, your supplies, yourself, and your family.
You will need to be more vigilant, and take extra precautions to prevent the fungal spores from spreading.
So make sure you do the following:
- Wear gloves when near or handling your cat. Especially on any items they have been in/on.
- Cover your hair or wear it up in a bun
- Wear protective clothing such as a large shirt or old jumper,
- Minimize your cats items, and keep them defined to one area of the home.
You should place your cat in a contained space and sanitize it daily.
Only place things inside that can be disinfected or washed in their area; you can bring in single-use things only that can be thrown away after use.
Your cat will still need toys; it’s essential to continue to provide mental stimulation for them while they are in quarantine.
However, you should only give them toys that can be disinfected safely without harming your cat with the chemicals, or give them DIY toys that can be thrown out after they’ve finished playing.
Don’t allow the exposed items to touch anything else in your home and change your cat’s bedding and toys every couple of weeks.
Sanitize dirty things in a washing machine using hot water and bleach. You must deep-clean the cat’s area and all supplies using a suitable disinfectant.
How To Look After A Cat With Ringworm
Looking after a cat with ringworm involves using a combination of topical therapy and systemic oral therapy.
For the treatment to be at all successful, you must eliminate all environmental contamination.
Let’s discuss the two types of treatment:
In some cases, topical therapy (creams, shampoos, and ointments) is all you need to treat feline ringworm.
Usually, a combination of topical treatment and oral medication is required to treat the infection.
Shaving the hair in some areas might be enough if only one or two spots are infected.
If the disease has spread or if your cat is a longhaired breed, your vet might recommend that you clip all of your cat’s hair.
Make sure to treat your cat going to the advice of your vet. Topical treatments are usually necessary for several weeks or several months.
Vitamin E Oil
You should consider supporting your cat’s healthy shin by applying a layer of Vitamin E oil as required.
Vitamin oil doesn’t treat ringworm, but it does help your cat’s skin repair itself during treatment.
Ask your vet about using Vitamin E oil if you are unsure about it.
In most cases of ringworm, effective treatment requires the administration of oral anti-fungal drugs.
The most common drug used worldwide has been griseofulvin.
However, more current medicines like itraconazole or terbinafine are being used more regularly and are preferred as they have fewer side effects.
It’s essential to continue the treatment as necessary as discontinuation too early can cause the disease to recur.
Do not stop treatment unless your vet recommended that you stop.
Medicated Baths And Dips
It would help if you also bathed your cat twice weekly using a medicated shampoo.
After bathing your cat wash your hands well and sanitize any surfaces your cat touched using a bleach solution.
You can get a lime sulfur dip and a range of antibacterial shampoos from your vet.
Lime sulfur dip acts as a potent antifungal agent that you allow to soak into your cat’s fur until it dries. You will need the following:
- Lime sulfur dip
- A spray or garden hose
- A sponge cut into small squares
- An overall or cloth covering
First of all, pour the lime sulfur into a spray bottle or garden sprayer and spray the body, limbs, paws, and tail, not forgetting the toe pads.
Massage the liquid into your cat’s fur, use your bathtub or sink and wear gloves.
Avoid spraying your cat’s head and use a sponge to apply the dip to the face and ears, avoiding the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Once your cat is completely covered in the dip, put them immediately into their bed, so they can be warm until they dry. Don’t rinse your cat.
Lime sulfur is far cheaper than antifungal shampoos, but if overused can be very drying on your cat’s skin.
Antifungal shampoos are well worth the cost, as they are as effective as lime sulfur and gentler on your cat’s skin.
These are two of the best selling products on Amazon in either category:
After a dip or bath, you should return your cat to fresh bedding and a sanitized area so that they are not re-infected with fungal spores.
They will need fresh bedding, toys, and a cozy heat pad.
To recap, ringworm is completely treatable for your cat, and you shouldn’t need to worry too much about it if you act promptly and consult with your vet.
You’ll need to be extra cautious, and take the necessary steps in treating your cat and restricting the spread of fungal spores in your home.
Hopefully, by now, you understand that ringworm can be treated; but you must make sure you quarantine your cat immediately if you suspect an infection or after diagnosis.
Sanitize infected areas regularly, and this includes all items in your cat’s confined space.
Remember to give your cat medicated baths twice a week, clean lesions, and apply a topical cream daily.
Give the right amount of treatment to your infected cat as discontinued treatment as too early a stage can cause a recurrence of the infection.
It will be hard not to pet your cat during his time of isolation, but it’s essential to stop the spread of ringworm and to get your cat feeling better.
Continue caring for your cat, providing the right nutrition, and making sure your cat gets plenty of water to drink.
Toys are essential in keeping your kitty’s spirits up; they will need mental stimulation especially without the attention you normally can provide!
Will I Get Ringworm If My Cat Has It?
Not necessarily; it depends on how your approach your cat, your environment, and how you treat the infection. Not all owners will get ringworm from their cats, but it is definitely possible and this is a very contagious condition. Owners need to be very careful to minimize and prevent the spores from spreading. Keeping contact minimal with a cat, and abiding by appropriate precautions (such as wearing safety items and equipment like gloves) can effectively prevent any transmission.
Will Cat Ringworm Go Away By Itself?
Cat ringworm can naturally resolve by itself in time. However, this approach is not advised and generally will take longer to resolve. During such time your cat will be uncomfortable, and there is an increased risk that infection can spread. It is advised to proactively treat the condition; liaising with your vet throughout the process.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.