After whupping lung cancer and winning the heart (okay, the tolerance) of the formerly cat-hating Peachy, our Grady found himself in need of a new challenge. “Fortunately”, a new nemesis was just around the corner…
Ringworm. (Cue villain music here.)
It was a dark and stormy night an ordinary morning at Tabby’s Place when one of our eagle-eyed volunteers, Stephanie, noted something that she optimistically described as a “scratch” on Peachy‘s face. Fast-forward a few hours, and the R-word had to be uttered: the red, scaly area above Peachy’s eye had the looks of none other than ringworm.
In all seriousness, while ringworm is one of the contagious diseases we fear most at Tabby’s Place, it’s not at all dangerous and certainly not life-threatening. It just packs a vile-and-vicious combination of (a) extreme uglitude and (b) obnoxious contagiousness. Contrary to popular assumptions (including mine in my pre-Tabby’s Place days), ringworm is not a worm at all, but rather a fungus similar to athlete’s foot. It’s common in the environment, and most cats (and humans) are exposed to it regularly, without ever developing the scaly pink lesions that announce ringworm’s presence. Cats in home situations easily groom the ringworm spores off, so most folks never have to see or think of the fungus. But, anywhere you have a large number of cats (say, around 100) combined with high human traffic, you’ve got a recipe for ringworm.
Alas for Peachy!
So, to prevent the spread of the funky fungus among all the lobby cats, poor Peachy was banished to our ringworm isolation room, where she’s bravely not-at-all bravely enduring the standard treatment for ringworm: a schedule of dips in stinky lime sulfur solution. The rough news is that Peachy has to be in the isolation room for a few weeks, but the hopeful news is that the lime sulfur dips should vanquish the ringworm, and quash its spread beyond the reception desk.
Which brings us back to our beloved boy, reception desk-dweller Grady.
When I first heard of Peachy’s ringworm, as much as I love Peachy, my first thought was for Grady: “There’s no way Grady can get ringworm!” Just the thought of our love-bug having to go into isolation and be dipped in lime sulfur hurt my heart. As gentle as Grady is, I imagine he’d be very easy-going and resigned to ringworm treatment, just as he was calm and mellow when we had to crate him while we blitzed his entire reception desk area with bleach. But the idea of Grady’s banishment – a hiatus in the all-day, every-day stream of affection he deserves – and his having to endure something he wouldn’t understand and couldn’t possibly enjoy…it was just too much to bear.
Which is why I’m deeply delighted to report that ringworm seems to have met its match with Grady. Naturally, we’d be concerned for any cat who spent the bulk of his time snoozing a foot away from a confirmed ringworm victim, and Grady and Peachy had been increasingly cozy over the last few weeks (as you can see in these photos). Add to that Grady’s immune-suppressed state (due to his chemotherapy), and he’d seem a likely target for that mean fungus. But Grady-love hasn’t shown so much as a single spore of ringworm.
Take that, fierce fungus!
And, I’m elated to share, Grady continues to prosper on all fronts. He’s sworn off his once-constant appearances on our list of “medical concerns,” and seems to have eased into a mellow, healthy, no-news-is-awesome-news rhythm of napping, silently and effectively demanding belly rubs, and wandering into Jonathan’s office for the occasional nap on the Executive Director’s chair. (Do you think Grady’s trying to give Jonathan a subtle message here?) His hair is slowly growing back, too, and, much as we’ve all developed a fondness for Grady’s funny “half-mohawk,” it is a joy to see him looking more and more the part of the normal, healthy, cancer-free boy he is.
Please keep Peachy (and the brave sanctuary associates who have to dip our prissy Siamese in lime sulfur!) in your thoughts and prayers. And, I know I don’t need to remind you of this, but please keep our beloved wonder-tabby, Grady, in your prayers and close to your heart, too. It gives my heart such joy to know how well Grady is loved by all of you.