Say what?!? Cats can get acne?!
Yes, our feline friends can get pimples just like we can, and they don’t like it either. Let’s talk about why cats get acne, how to tell when it’s a problem, and what you can do about it.
Why Cats Get Zits
Human acne is usually caused by a buildup of oil under the skin. Cat acne is a little different. Most cases of feline acne can be traced to minor bacterial infections that occur when their pores get clogged by dirt, food, or other gross grime. This is precisely why most feline breakouts occur on the chin or around the mouth area.
Some cats, like those with long hair or skin folds, are naturally predisposed to developing acne. Acne can also be brought on by environmental allergens like pollen or even fungal spores, and in some cases even flea bites.
Cat acne looks a lot like human acne, with varying degrees of severity. Some cases are short-lived while others keep on coming back. Your cat’s pimples may appear white and pus filled, dark or black, or even begin to bleed or ooze if punctured.
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What to Do About Cat Acne
First, let’s talk about what not to do when you notice your cat has zits. Never, ever pick or squeeze your cat’s acne; this can very easily lead to infection. (Plus, your cat hates it when you do that!)
Your best bet is to call your veterinarian, who will probably recommend one or more of the following solutions:
Switch Bowls – If you’re pretty sure your cat’s eating habits are leading to skin problems, try switching their food and water bowls out for stainless steel versions which can be fully sanitized daily.
Warm Compress – Minor outbreaks often respond well to two or three daily applications of a warm, sanitary compress.
OTC Medicated Products – With your vet’s recommendation, you could try one of the myriad antiseptic creams, medicated shampoos, or acne-inhibiting wipes available over the counter.
Home Remedies – If you’re into homeopathy, ask your vet about treatments like cucumber pulp, a black tea compress, apple cider vinegar, or witch hazel.
Prescription Medication – Serious acne might only clear up with serious treatment like oral antibiotics or Clindamycin gel.
It’s very important never to try and treat your cat’s acne with a product specifically designed to treat human acne unless you’ve been specifically directed to do so. You could seriously injure your cat.
When to Call the Vet
Call your veterinarian if you notice any of the following in conjunction with your cat’s acne:
- Bleeding or moderately-sized scabs
- Pustules or other obviously signs of infection
- Hair loss around the affected area
- Swelling, severe redness, or pain around the acne