Ken the Cat has Ringworm. How do I know this? I HAVE RINGWORM!!! That’s right: I have an inter-species disease.
Innocently at the doctor for an unrelated foot problem, I asked him to check out a spot on my arm, which I had been assuming was nothing serious.
A little known fact: I have the most easily bothered skin on the planet…it’s a rare day that I don’t have a pretty impressive rash to show off to my friends and family (it’s my party trick).
Given my history, I wasn’t expecting any comment from the doctor.
The doctor examined me with a hand-held microscope, and then recoiled with horror, and immediately went to the sink to wash his hands.
“Do you have any horses at home?” he wanted to know.
This definitely topped my list of “strange questions asked” that week.
“How about dogs, cats? Any barn yard creatures?”
After I told him I had one cat, he nodded, and told me I likely got my Ringworm from Ken the Cat. I would need a cream to treat it for four weeks.
“Will there be enough cream for Ken the Cat?” I asked. Sadly, Ken would require something stronger, and apparently, human doctors can’t prescribe Ringworm cream to beasts - clearly a medical inefficiency.
Ringworm is not “worms”. The doctor informed me that it was named before scientists knew what it was! It’s a fungus that lives on animal hair and, apparently, human skin.
I felt better for a brief moment learning that I didn’t have worms…but then, that calm feeling was immediately replaced by one of disgust and repulsion at the thought that a fungus was growing on my arm…and that it was apparently growing all over Ken (he who insists on sleeping on my head at night)!
Even though I had cream for myself, the doctor told me it was useless to treat it until ground zero - Ken T. Cat - was being treated.
Taking Ken to the vet is a stressful experience for both me, and the poor little guy - and it’s pretty much the same routine every time.
He absolutely hates the carrying case I need to put him. Ken is a powerful cat. Weighing in at 13 pounds, he is twice as long as most cats I know, and he really knows how to use all four of his legs to avoid getting in the case.
I had to call down my neighbour Philip to help me wrestle Ken into the bag.
From there, there’s the cab ride to the wrong vet (this happens every time. Every time, I get out of the cab, watch it drive away, and THEN realize I’m in the wrong spot).
This happens because my vet is hard to find, and the driver wants me and Ken out of his car as soon as possible, so he just stops at any old animal hospital, and boots us out.
I’m usually very distracted in the car because Ken is howling and carrying on something ferocious. When he isn’t acting like a wrongfully convicted detainee at Guantanamo Bay, he’s panting and gasping for air as though there is none in the car. I’ve learned to put my coat over the carrying case so that Ken doesn’t realize where he is…sort of like putting a burlap sack over the head of someone you’ve kidnapped so they don’t know where you’re taking them. It works a little.
Ken hates the cab, and would prefer that I walked there. His wish is my command, since I always get out of the cab 20 minutes walk away from where I need to be.
Once we arrive at the office after a stroll down a busy street, Ken is set free from the carrying case, and runs all over the place in a frenzy, knocking over all the supplies, and finding a keyboard or computer to stand on for five-second intervals.
The Vet Assistant - right on queue - makes a disparaging remark about Ken designed to make me feel like a bad pet parent who needs to spend more time at the vet’s office, due to my incompetence with animals.
This time, she said: “Ken’s fat - he’s going to need to go on a diet so he doesn’t die prematurely”.
Other times, the assistant has said: “Ken has an enlarged heart - he’s probably going to die of a heart attack before his time” and “Did you bring these toys? They’re death traps.”
To test for Ringworm, the vet had to shine an ultraviolet light on Ken’s face and neck to see if any bits of him light up. Then, he pulls out a few fur samples, and throws them in a test tube.
I have to wait for two weeks to find out how serious the Ringworm infection is…but the vet doesn’t think it’s too bad. Until I get the results, I have to wash Ken twice a day with a special soap.
I shudder to think what a more serious treatment might involve. Poor little guy: