Cat Acne
What is it? How to treat?

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Cat acne? That's right cats can have acne too! It's relatively a common skin disease of the chin and lower lip, and it is seen in cats of all ages.

I initially thought that it was fleas, but when we took our cat Pita to the vet, he told us that it was not flea bites but acne! He told us that the exact cause of feline acne remains unclear, but the most common theory is a lack of cleanliness.

Acne in cats occurs when the hair follicles become plugged. Cats' skin naturally releases a semi-liquid fatty material called sebum, which coats and protects a cat's fur, giving a healthy sheen. However, if a cat doesn't pay much attention to its chin while grooming herself, she can develop acne. In other cases, a dampened front paw may not be enough to clean away dirt and accumulated oils.

In addition to lack of grooming, there are other factors that may also contribute to cat acne, such as:

  • Wet food, which may stick to the cat's chin.
  • Carpet, bedding and hard surfaces. While sleeping or napping on her chin, dirt and even bacteria can lodge into the skin.

You may ask, how does feline acne looks like? Well, the first signs of acne are blackheads and pimples that erupt on the chin and lower lip. Before we found out that Pita had acne, it didn't seem to bother her, there were no changes on her behavior. Although, we noticed that often she would place her chin on our hand to get petted. A few weeks later we noticed that she had some blackheads and we thought that it could be flea bites.


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While this is a common skin disease, it can become something more, a secondary bacterial infection may develop. In some cases, the area can become reddened, swollen, and either itchy or painful. You may heard of the expression "fat chin," the swelling and the lip thickens due to the severe feline acne - it makes the affected cat look as if she's pouting.


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If the condition doesn't bother your cat, the blackheads will not require treatment, you can simply manage the condition. However, if the areas become infected, you should seek veterinary assistance.



How to manage and control cat acne

  • Change your cat's bowls to shallower dishes, and use non-plastic food bowls (plastic bowls can harbor more bacteria than glass, metal, or ceramic bowls). It may help keep the cat's chin cleaner and less prone to problems. Keep your cat's bowls clean!
  • Cleaning your cat's chin as part of her weekly grooming, can help to prevent recurrences of acne. Just dip a clean cloth in warm water, wring it out, and place it against your cat's chin until it cools off.
  • You can also add Vitamin E into her food, which has omega fatty acids and helps fight inflammation.


Attention: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO "SQUEEZE OUT" the blackheads or pustules; this can be very painful for the cat and it may spread infection beneath the skin and cause deeper infections.


Often, the acne will return once treatment is stopped, and some cats will require maintenance therapy of a topical medication. If your cat has persistent acne, you should contact your veterinarian for assistance.


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