Feline Acne: What You May Not Know

A longtime client contacted me recently to cat sit Minnie and Mickey.  The client indicated Minnie had something going on around his chin.  Minnie had red open sores on his chin. She googled and discovered it was feline acne, a condition she wasn’t aware of previously.

feline acne
Minnie, when he was suffering with feline acne

Acne is no fun for anyone, whether animal or human. So…what is feline acne and what can we do about it? Read on…

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  We receive a small commission on goods purchased via these links, at no additional cost to you.

What Causes Feline Acne?

While the exact cause is not known, several factors seem to be associated with the development of feline acne. They include stress, a compromised immune system, poor grooming habits and the presence of other diseases or skin conditions in which abnormal amounts of oils are produced, causing the hair follicles to not function properly.

Characteristics of Feline Acne

Feline acne is primarily found on the chin and the lips of a cat. The chin may appear “dirty.” The acne is referred to as “comedones” and can develop into small abscesses, which can then break open and form crusts. In severe instances, draining tracts, hair loss and swelling may present on the chin.

Further, this may irritate the cat and he/she may begin to scratch at it, causing trauma and potentially secondary bacterial infections. This condition may appear just once in the life of a cat; it may come and go; or, it can remain for the life of the cat. It can occur in all breeds of cats, at any age and in both males and females.

Your veterinarian can diagnose feline acne via a skin scraping. Sometimes, a biopsy may be performed to rule out other conditions.

Treatment And Preventative Steps To Take

While feline acne can be controlled, it cannot truly be cured. Your veterinarian may prescribe, among other courses of treatment, a topical antibiotic or special shampoo.

He may also prescribe a short course of corticosteroids if there is a large amount if inflammation. In Minnie’s case, there were a few weeks of treatment with an antibiotic cream to finally clear his skin.

It can also be helpful to change out your cat’s food and water dishes to stainless steel or glass, and wash them often.  Plastic dishes can harbor bacteria, which can be a contributing factor to the acne.

Wider feeding dishes with lower sides such as the Dr Catsby’s Food Bowl, originally designed to help with whisker fatigue, also help prevent occurences of feline acne.

Also, be sure to clean your cat’s chin on a regular basis if he/she is prone to feline acne and if he/she has poor grooming habits.


Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.

16 Responses to "Feline Acne: What You May Not Know"

    1. I first learned about it several years ago, my cat Bo had it. Recently, one of my cat clients had a bad case of it. Took a few weeks for it to start healing

      1. Ah, now I’ve learned something, wasn’t aware of dog acne, except as I noted in earlier comments. So is it mainly around mouth/chin or can it be anywhere?


Post Comment