Feline Acne and How to Treat It

Feline closeup

If your cat appears to have small spots that look like blackheads under her chin or around her mouth, she may have feline acne. There are several treatments you can use to treat the condition, including topical ointments, oral medications, and lifestyle changes. Find out how you can help clear up your kitty's skin.

What Causes Acne in Cats?

Have you ever noticed your cat rubbing his face on the sides of doors, edges of tables and on your legs? Cats have small oil glands in their faces called Sebaceous glands. When these glands work the way they should, oil is distributed through the cat's fur and keeps the coat shiny and skin soft. However, many experts believe cats also use this oil to mark their territory. This would explain why cats rub on doorways and such.

Acne appears when these glands become blocked. The reason for the blockage can be from any number of factors, including:

  • Age
  • Stress
  • Disease
  • Cat not grooming self properly
  • Skin problems
  • Overproduction of oil

Other experts believe low quality food and the use of plastic food bowls can cause feline acne. These experts say that the plastic bowls hold bacteria that then gets on the cat's chin when she eats and causes the breakouts.

Treatments for Feline Acne

First, do not try to diagnose your cat on your own. While you may be able to easily recognize the appearance and symptoms of feline acne, there are some diseases that can look like acne, but are actually far more serious. It is always best to consult with a professional. The vet should take a skin scraping of the area; this will help him rule out other problems such as ringworm. If your vet identifies acne as your cat's problem, he is likely to recommend one of the following courses of treatment:

  • Shampoo with benzoyl peroxide
  • Topical treatments
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Corticosteroids
  • Vitamin supplements

Severe and Recurring Acne in Cats

Since acne seems to still flare back up from time to time in most cats with this condition, you should also consider switching to a stainless steel bowl. Be sure to run the bowl through your dishwasher every few days to completely sterilize it, and don't leave uneaten food sitting in the bowl. Dispose of it promptly. You may also want to try gently cleaning off your cat's chin after she finishes eating or drinking from her bowls. The local pet supply store should have disinfectant wipes that will help with this task.

Products for Felines with Acne

If you've tried everything else and your cat is still suffering from feline acne, you may want to take a look at some of the products on the market to treat this condition. You'll find a small selection at your local brick and mortar pet supply store. Below are some online stores with products to help with this condition.

  • Skin and Coat Tonic: This product claims to keep the hair shaft and follicle strong, and this may reduce problems with feline acne as well.
  • Feline Acne Wash: Consult with your veterinarian before using any product on your cat, but this one looks promising. The product is applied three to four times each day just under the chin. It is supposed to reduce the sebum the cat produces. At only $12.50, it is certainly worth a try.
  • Missing Link for Cats: This treat contains vitamins and nutrients to promote healthy skin. This might be effective if the cause of the acne is from poor diet.
  • Davis Benzoyl Peroxide Shampoo: Consult with your veterinarian before using this shampoo on your cat since cats ingest most substances applied to their skin. More than likely, the veterinarian will okay you trying to use this shampoo on the cat's chin, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Although feline acne can be frustrating for both you and your pet, be patient and keep trying new treatments until you stumble on the one that works for you and your cat.

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Feline Acne and How to Treat It