Feline acne

Speaking of acne, most of you must have experienced it. Do you know that your pet cat can experience it as well? Feline acne is different from acne in humans. This often the case with a cat with oily skin. Feline acne can be found on the chin & bottom lip of your cat. Usually a cat that is exposed to acne, mild clinical symptoms appear, even we as the owner often do not realize it. Cats can suffer from feline acne at various levels of age, gender and various breeds of cats.

The occurrence of acne on your cat first begins with sebaceous glands that produce or excrete excessive oil. The sebaceous glands (known as sebum) serve to lubricate the skin, preventing dryness and irritation. These sebaceous glands are mostly present in the back, eyelids, chin, the base surface of the tail, lips, scrotum and prepuce. This sebaceous gland is connected to the hair follicle. The blockage of sebaceous gland causing the formation of blackheads. This blackhead can be a growth medium for bacteria, as a result of these, blackheads can cause irritation, swelling & infection and eventually formed acne.

The definite cause of feline acne is not known. Some possible causes of acne occurrence in cats are as follows:

  • Blockage of skin pores due to excessive sebum produced by overactive sebaceous glands
  • Cats bowls are usually made of plastics that generally have pores. If your favorite cat bowl is rarely cleaned, bacteria or other microorganisms can hide within the pores. The bacteria can move to the cat’s chin when your cat is having its meal.
  • Cats rarely cleaned, it is recommended to bathe your cat regularly to keep its hygiene level
  • Cat allergies to food can also be a possible cause of feline acne


The symptoms that are seen when your cat is exposed to acne are as follows:

  • The chin & probably the lower lip or both have black stains (blackheads) on it, which look like dirt.
  • Swelling of the cat’s chin
  • In the event of secondary infection may cause swelling, redness, pustules, causing bleeding due to irritation.


Treatment of cat acne depends on the severity of the acne condition. Removing excess sebum is the goal. Some treatments include:

  • In mild conditions, with only a few blackheads, it may only require topical treatment. Gently clean using antibiotic soaps, hydrogen peroxide, iodine (Betadine) or Epsom salts.
  • Topical Vitamin A
  • Topical antibiotics
  • Topical Retinoid (Retin-A 0.01% gel)
  • In more severe cases, cleansing of the skin with ointment or gel containing benzoyl peroxide (such as OxyDex) or chlorhexidine may be required
  • Topical glucocorticoids (to reduce inflammation).


Treatment for severe feline acne:

  • First the feathers around the chin are cut for more effective treatment
  • Provision of oral antibiotics (to treat infections) such as amoxilin clavulenant, enrofloxacin or cephalosporin (alone)
  • Oral glucocorticoids such as prednisone for severe inflammation.


Tips to prevent feline acne:

Feline acne-bowl

  • Replace your cat food bowl from plastic to ceramic or metal bowl / stainless steel.
  • Wash always daily food & water bowls.
  • Clean your cat regularly (bathe) especially the chin area.


With some knowledge and above tips, hopefully your cat will be free from feline acne.


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