Can Cats Develop Acne?


I do 100% believed in your saying. My cat is
having exactly what you call blackheads on her
chins, but she scratched them strongly that I can
see blood came out. I took her to the Vet on the
next day but doc said it will be recovered itself
and no need to do anything. Its been almost 2
weeks, and dont seem the wound is improving at
all because she keeps scratch them sometimes. I
had to put the collar around her neck for a week
already but it seems like same. I wonder how long
would it take to be recovered as she seemed very
unhappy with the collar on and she will sneak
behind to scratch the wound everytime I take off
her collar for a break. What should I do now?
should I take her to vet again? Please advise.
Many thanks.

Hong Kong

I suspect that your cat is suffering from a syndrome known as feline acne.

Feline acne is not the same as human acne. However, two important features are similar. First, like human acne, feline acne is mainly cosmetic. Sores develop on the chin, but they usually aren’t painful and rarely pose a threat to longevity or well being. Fortunately, cats rarely suffer self esteem problems as a consequence of acne.

Second, like human acne, feline acne is difficult and frustrating to eliminate.

The simplest tactic to employ in treating feline acne is to eliminate plastic and ceramic food and water bowls. Some cats suffer allergic reactions to these materials after their chins contact them in the course of eating and drinking. I recommend stainless steel bowls. Along those lines, plastic Elizabethan (cone) collars also can cause similar reactions. If you feel that the cone collar isn’t helping, then it’s probably not worth the hassle.

I also recommend aggressive flea control in cases of feline acne. Even if your pet is not infested with fleas, occasional flea bites could be activating her immune system and exacerbating the problem.

In some cases acne sores become infected. These cases may respond to antibiotic therapy. However, I have had very limited success using antibiotics to treat feline acne.

Some cats with acne may enjoy clinical benefits from basic human acne treatments. Benzoyl peroxide (found in treatments such as Clearasil) is the most commonly used agent in humans, and it often helps cats. However, benzoyl peroxide can bleach furniture or carpet that the cat contacts.

Vitamin A derivatives can be used topically (in the case of Retin-A) or orally (in the case of Accutane). These products generally are reserved for extremely severe and refractory cases. Do not use these products without first consulting your veterinarian.

In your case, I’d recommend starting with the basics. Switch to stainless steel bowls, and get your cat on a good flea preventative. If the problem persists, you’ll have to go back to the vet.

Photo: Yoshi demonstrates proper use of a hypoallergenic metal bowl.

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