Tuesday, September 8, 2015

There Is A Fungus Among Us - And We Want You To Bring It Home.

We've asked you to adopt the world's worst dog. We've asked you to read a lot of really ridiculous stuff. We've asked you to fall in love with wonderful but disfigured puppies. As if that wasn't bad enough, now we're going to ask you for the impossible:

We want you to bring fungus home.

Okay, not fungus itself. But kittens with fungus. Or fungal infections.

Don't give us that look. We realize this bears a good amount of explanation. So hang in for a bit.

Here's the sitch: Our much beloved Silicon Valley is famous for a lot of things. Great technology. Fantastic work opportunities. World class universities. Beautiful landscapes. People who drive Priuses but practice ridiculous lawn care. Geniuses with really poor social skills (sort of like our blogger, only without the genius bit). We're proud to be in one of the most forward thinking, innovative, best educated communities in the world.

But there's something else it's famous for right now: an epidemic of ringworm.

Which is not, oddly enough, a parasite but a fungus infection. And it usually winds up on kittens.

We like fungus! Who doesn't enjoy a good portabella?
If you catch ringworm, it'll cause some itchy, crusty spots on your skin. It's treated with some ridiculously stinky baths and a lot of waiting. While ringworm isn't fatal, being a kitten with ringworm can be deadly. Why? Because very few shelters are equipped to handle ringworm kittens. They need to be kept separately and staff has to gown and glove up to handle them. Otherwise it can wind up everywhere.

FYI - Protective gear can be cool. Exhibit A:

Forget the moon, I just want to hang in your spare bathroom. 

Luckily we can handle ringworm. We have a few dedicated rooms for it. All of which are currently bursting at the seams full of fungus kittens as we've been taking them in from other shelters who can't handle it.

In-law visits and fungus kittens: there's only so much you can take.

The problem is our ringworm rooms are packed and the requests keep pouring in from other shelters who have ringworm kittens but don't have the facilities to separate them.

So we had this brilliant idea. You know what else is brilliant? Cats and protective gear:

photo: copyright © 2014, A Tonk's Tail. Used with permission 
You probably should have figured out by now we're buttering you up for the big ask.

We're going to ask nice people with spare bathrooms and bedrooms to give us a hand. If you've started giving us that skeptical look, we're going to take an adorable kitten photo break to try and reel you back in. Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

You can haz fungus kittens? Please?
Yes. We are asking you to take home fungus kittens. Why? Because we're crazy like that. Because we know how awesome you guys have been. And because all the cool kids like wearing protective gear. 

I am the One Who Saves Kittens.
Here's how it works: we give you some adorable, playful, fun, fungus kitties and all the trappings you need to take care of them. The gowns, the gloves, the booties - we joke about the respirators but they're not necessary - we supply all of that. We also give you all the food and any necessary medicine.  Heck, we even throw in toys that can be disposed of after the kittens are better. You install the fungus kittens in your spare bathroom or bedroom, away from resident pets.

A few times a day you don the gown, gloves and super-hip booties and go in and play with them. Treat them like normal kittens. Love on them. Once a week you give them a medicated bath. We won't pretend the bath stuff doesn't smell like Satan's own gym socks, but we will try to placate you with pictures of how cute kitten baths can be. 

It's like a spa day. With Satan's gym socks. 
You can do this. And to be honest, we really need you to. We're the last option for shelters contacting us and we don't want to turn these guys away.

We might be the first shelter to ever ask for foster homes for ringworm babies. If you call, you might be the first person whose ever been awesome enough to do it. Let's go out on a limb together. Rescue is hard work, but together we can make it easier. This is a chance to save a life in a very, very real way. If people commit to fostering these kittens, we can commit to taking them in. 

Plus it gives you an excuse to turn away annoying houseguests. "We have fungus kittens in the spare room" pretty much trumps all other excuses for telling Aunt Myrtle she can't come scatter her weird doilies all over your house.

We'll even give you some extra booties in case you want to just wear them for fashion purposes after you're done being a kitten hero. And a hug.

To get your fungus kitten starter pack, call long-suffering Animal Care Manager Laura Birdsall at 408.262.2133 ext 166. Or email her at laura.birdsall@hssv.org. We'll be hanging out with our fingers crossed hoping you'll call. 

What are you waiting for?


  1. Excellent idea! Treating ringworm cats really isn't difficult, and once you get the hang of dipping, it goes quickly. Plus you have the satisfaction of knowing that you've saved this kitten's life.

  2. I've got a whole room of them already in foster. They purr, play and act just like any other kittens. We have been treating with compounded liquid fluconazole, our compounding pharmacy even has fish flavor added. It's highly effective and the kittens are responding well and don't even mind their nightly meds! Remember folks "ringworm" is not a worm. It's like athlete's foot. Would you kill something for having athlete's foot?? I sure hope not. Step up people it's just not THAT big of a deal. Compared to other "contagious kitten things" it's great because it doesn't EVER kill them.

  3. It's been a few years since I've had ringworm kittens but the hardest part is just waiting for the fur to grow back. Ringworm burns itself out. I'm immune and my adult cats never got it. If I didn't have a non-fungus mom and kittens in my spare room right now I'd volunteer to help.

  4. I had 6 ringworm kittens in my garage 2 y ago. I took them from a lady who just couldn't stand doing there treatments every day and she was taking them to the shelter in our town. I did the pill and my vet scanned them every 3 weeks. Every kitten that was cleared was separated into a new crate for 3 w, then scanned again with the light and if clear they moved into my house. Only one was considered resistant to all treatments and he was let outside with my FERALS during the day and in the garage at night given no ore treatments. Time and fresh air treated him, according to my vet. It was a desperate measure but I had to because of 2 17 year old cats in my house and keeping him crated for months and months was not humane in my opinion. All of these beautiful cats were eventually cleared from ringworm and adopted within 6 months. I would do it again in a heart beat. Now I have my own nonprofit TNR group.

  5. Excellent article. You are using my copyrighted image without permission, though. Would you please remove it? I wish you had asked me first, I would have been happy to let you use it with proper accreditation and links - since this is promoting important information.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Hi Lisa - Thanks for letting us use the image and we're sorry about the confusion. It was great corresponding with you and thanks for caring about the kitties. Best wishes.