How to Recognize and Treat Feline Acne

Pimples: They’re Not Just for Teenagers!

So you thought you were done with acne years ago? Or that dealing with your own teen’s unsightly blemishes was challenging enough? And now you’re wondering why in the world it looks like your kitty has zits on her chin! No! Couldn’t be! Surely cats can’t have acne…But, yes. Yes, they can. And maybe she does.

You heard us right. Feline acne, referred to by vets as follicular keratosis, is a real thing. The problem is more than a cosmetic issue, as feline acne can often be accompanied by redness, inflammation, itchiness, and infection. While, we can’t predict how or when feline acne will occur,  we can treat it, so that your favorite feline remains comfortable and looks like her usual gorgeous self when it’s time to greet the other kitties in her clowder (feline fun fact: a group of cats is called a “clowder”).

Acne in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

So, what do you do if your cat starts sporting unsightly and uncomfortable red bumps all over his chin? Here are a few interesting facts about feline acne—and what you should do if your cat encounters this problem:  

Is cat acne really acne, like a human’s?

Yes, it is basically the same annoying affliction. Feline acne, like human acne, is a cosmetic occurrence that doesn’t usually come with other systemic symptoms that bother or harm your cat. That said, unlike humans, cats who struggle with this problem don’t gracefully graduate out of it once puberty passes. It is likely to be a lifelong challenge that comes and goes. In most cases, your cat presents with simple blackheads around the chin and face, maybe down the neck. In more severe cases, the pores might be filled with puss or even get badly infected and cause swelling or thickening of skin and even some scarring. Since a simple case can turn into a severe case if left untreated, it’s best to respond to the issue as soon as you notice it.

How do I recognize feline acne?

You will not find it difficult to recognize feline acne should your kitty show signs of it. Just like human acne, the underlying issue is dirt or oil from sebaceous glands clogging the hair follicles. This will appear as small blackheads in the areas we mentioned above: around the chin and face, and perhaps down the neck and on other areas of the head. They will look much like human blackheads, cluing you in that your cat may have a case of cat pimples. Of course you’ll want to be sure because there are other more serious skin problems that can afflict you cat and lead to other health problems. You will want to bring him into Ambassador Animal Hospital so we can rule out things like mange, ringworm, or allergies.

How do I treat it?

Fortunately, garden-variety feline acne is easily treated much in the same way we treat the same problem in humans. In many cases, you can even use human acne treatment products. You can use cotton balls or pads to apply witch hazel or hydrogen peroxide to mild cases.

While the causes of feline acne are not specifically known, good hygiene and good nutrition help. So, maybe cut back on catnip pizza. Also, if your cat eats from a plastic bowl, switch to a metal or ceramic one. Plastic is more likely to retain bacteria which will perpetuate the problem. Make sure to clean your pet’s food and water bowl regularly as well. Keep an eye on your pets grooming habits. If needed, you can help out by brushing whiskers with a soft toothbrush. With a good routine in place, your kitty will be back to her typical photogenic self soon enough.

If your cat has a persistent case of feline acne or other skin conditions, bring him into Ambassador Animal Hospital for a checkup and consultation. We can recommend skin care products for your cat, supplements, and specialty diets to help keep your fur friend’s coat and skin healthy.

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