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Feline Acne

Feline Acne

Though a common skin problem in cats, acne outbreak often goes unnoticed for a long time, which, in turn, makes the animal vulnerable to various other health problems.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Cats, irrespective of age, gender, or breed are affected by acne. The sebum secreted by their sebaceous glands lubricates their skin and helps in preventing dryness and irritation. When the hair follicles to which these glands are connected get blocked, they develop into black heads, and these black heads―when irritated, infected, or swollen―give rise to painful pustules that are typically associated with acne outbreak.


In felines, acne can be caused as a result of stress, poor grooming habits, hyperactive sebaceous glands, food allergies, etc. A suppressed immune system, contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and other such skin conditions may also trigger this problem at times. Some people feed their cats in plastic tray, unaware of the fact that these trays are safe haven for bacteria. Coming in contact with these bacteria whilst feeding may also make your pet vulnerable to acne.


The symptoms of this condition are so mild that they most often go unnoticed for a long time. If you check the region around the cat's chin and lips carefully, you will see comedones or black spots resembling dirt in these regions. If the cat scratches the swollen red pustules because of the irritation and discomfort they cause, they can burst and start bleeding.


The treatment of acne in cats primarily revolves around the removal of excess sebum. In mild cases, a topical application of antibiotic soap, hydrogen peroxide, or iodine (Betadine) may be followed. Severe cases can be treated with an ointment or gel that contains benzoyl peroxide or chlorhexidine. As for inflammation, it can be reduced by applying topical glucocorticoids.

Home Remedies

If your cat is affected by acne, you can wash its facial area with an antibacterial soap. In this case, you need to make sure that you rinse its face thoroughly with warm water and pat it dry with a soft towel. Yet another home remedy involves the use of Epsom salts in warm water. You need to mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts in one quart of warm water, soak a rag or cotton ball in the mixture, and hold it against the cat's chin for about 5 minutes.

If left untreated, feline acne may lead to folliculitis―an infection of the hair follicles that resembles acute acne outbreak in humans. The follicles develop pus and the lymph nodes become swollen and sore. If your cat suffers from this condition, you should consult a vet without wasting a minute.