Did you know that humans aren’t the only ones that can suffer from acne? Our cats can too. While our acne often starts when we begin puberty, this isn’t the case for our feline friends. Here is everything you need to know about cat acne and how to treat it.
What is Cat Acne?
Cat acne is just what it sounds like – blackheads and pimples that form on the chin or around the lips of a cat. It happens when your cat produces too much keratin on the skin and it plugs up their hair follicles. When the hair follicles are clogged, it can result in a blackhead appearance and your cat’s face might look dirty; it may even look like flea dirt (flea feces), but luckily those nasty little creatures don’t prefer the chin for their home. If bacteria get involved with these plugged follicles, the infected follicle takes more of a boil or a pimple appearance and it can become fairly painful.
There is little known about the exact cause of cat acne and it does not discriminate between lifestyle, age, breed, or gender. Some believe it is caused by poor grooming or excessive grooming, while others have made a connection between plastic food and water dishes to cats diagnosed with acne because bacteria can hide out in nooks and crannies of beat-up plastic dishes. The main cause, however, is said to be too much sebum, the natural moisturizer your cat produces to keep their coat soft and shiny.
How do I know if my cat has acne?
Observe your cat’s face for a dirty appearance. Also, if your cat has a swollen and painful chin with lesions around their lips, it may be acne that has a bacterial infection. Consult your veterinarian for a diagnosis and be sure to rule out other possible causes of the affected area.
How is cat acne treated?
The first step in treating your cat’s acne is a veterinarian diagnosis. If there are lesions and painful infected boils present, your cat may need oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Before it gets to that point, however, mild acne can be managed and treated with proper hygiene.
Topical treatment can be easy when it comes to keeping your cat’s skin clean where the acne is present. A good antiseptic scrub, such as PetMD Chlorhexidine Wipes with Ketoconazole and Aloe for Cats and Dogs, is an excellent choice for over-the-counter topical treatment. The product has both Chlorhexidine, which is an antiseptic and antibacterial frequently used in veterinary hospitals, and Ketoconazole, an antifungal medication. These pads are convenient to use and have aloe added for soothing the skin. (Use as directed by your veterinarian.)
Cat acne can be treated non-invasively and by using topical treatment. Monitor your cat for relapses, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to clean their face once a week to help to prevent symptoms from returning. Remember, don’t pick or squeeze at cat acne! Not only with that help spread bacteria, but you may get swatted at for doing so.
About the Author
Dani Buckley is a small-town resident in Montana. She is a veterinary technician manager and mom of eight four-legged kids – 5 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 horses. When she moved back home to Montana, her horses and her dogs moved with her (Carbon and Milo). The pack grew by three when she moved in with her boyfriend, Cody. Altogether there is a German Shepard (Lupay), a Border Collie (Missy), a Blue Heeler (Taz) and her two adorable mutts.
Her horses are her free time passion – Squaw and Tulsa. Dani has owned Squaw for 17 years and this mare has made 2 trips across the country with Dani! Squaw is a retired rodeo and cow horse. Her other mare, Tulsa, is an upcoming ranch horse. The girls have an unmatched personality and bond with Dani. She has been around horses her entire life and rodeoed throughout high school and beyond. Now, she enjoys riding on the ranch, working cattle and trail riding.