Do cats get acne? My cat has these blackhead pimple-like things on her chin and around her mouth. What are they?
Acne Anxiety in Acres Homes
Dear Acne Anxiety,
Many cats develop this skin condition around their mouths and chin and, yes, it’s commonly referred to as “cat acne.” Your vet can rule out other skin conditions, such as mites, a fungal or bacterial infection or fleas, but likely you’ll need to adopt a new routine to manage your kitty’s acne — because it’s not something that can really be cured. But, worry not! Most likely, it doesn’t cause your cat any discomfort and will stay in control with a few new habits. If left untreated, however, this skin condition can get worse, resulting in inflamed and itchy blackheads. Ew.
What causes cat acne?
No one knows for sure, but there are a few contributing factors to this condition. Vets believe that stress plays a role in it as well as poor grooming (as cats age), dirty food bowls and even a suppressed immune system. Hair follicles on your cat’s chin might also produce too much oil, causing these breakouts.
Getting a handle on kitty zits
One way to help your cat get a hold of her acne problem is to help her clean the affected area. Home treatments include gentle washing of the chin once or twice daily with a mild soap, benzoyl peroxide, chlorhexidine or other cleansers recommended by your veterinarian. And, whatever you do, do not use human acne treatments on your cat as these can be very dangerous to your kitty!
Another way to help is to make sure that her food bowls are cleaned every day and, if you’re feeding her from plastic bowls, consider switching to glass or stainless steel. Plastic tends to harbor this acne-causing bacteria. Considering that, and if your kitty is like most in that she’s happiest when her face is in her food bowl, this can lead to bacteria transfer from the bowl to her chin.
If your at-home remedies don’t seem to help make the acne better or the acne appears to get worse, it’s probably time to high-tail it back to the vet. The vet can prescribe an antibiotic or even steroid injections to help the situation. Also, a prescription-strength pet shampoo might be in order and your vet can advise you on that as well.
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