It sounds funny, doesn’t it? It seems rather odd to think of your cat getting acne but it’s a relatively common skin condition where tiny blackheads, pimples or crusts develop on the cat’s chin.
Causes of Feline Acne
There isn’t one definite answer as to the cause but it’s believed to be the result of lack of grooming on the chin so the hair follicles become clogged due to the accumulation of dirt and oil. It may also be the result of a larger than normal amount of oil production, stress, suppressed immune system or contact allergies.
In the case of contact allergies, certain dyes or eating from plastic bowls may be a contributing factor.
Blackheads form on the chin and give the appearance that the chin is dirty. Pimples may also form, burst open and form crusts on the skin. Abscesses can develop in more severe cases and the chin can become swollen.
It’s not uncommon for the chin area to become itchy which causes the cat to scratch at the area, creating more problems. It can also cause pain for the cat.
Some cats only experience feline acne once and others have ongoing problems throughout their lives.
Diagnosing Feline Acne
Other skin conditions must be ruled out. Your veterinarian may do a skin scraping, fungal culture or biopsy.
Mild feline acne may be treated with a mild topical benzoyl peroxide wash. In some cases oral or topical antibiotics will also be prescribed.
It may also be helpful to switch from plastic food/water bowls to glass or stainless steel. Be sure you wash bowls regularly. For cats with ongoing acne problems your veterinarian may instruct you to routinely clean your cat’s chin using a warm, damp cloth. Do not scrub the area because you risk causing increased irritation.
Want More Information?
This article is not intended as a medical diagnosis. If you have concerns about feline acne, consult your veterinarian. Do not use any topical acne gel, shampoo or wash without your veterinarian’s approval. The topical prescriptions used for feline acne are much milder than those used for human acne. Seek your veterinarian’s advice.
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.