Jul 10, 2016
Feline acne, especially chin acne in cats, is fairly common and if uncomplicated is not a health condition for great concern. However, feline acne can become infected and sometimes is in a pustular form that will be irritated and repeatedly burst.
A cat's acne is a product of its sebaceous glands, which secrete oils as in humans. However, in cats this is related to marking of territory. In most cats, acne will just appear as blackheads around the chin and lips. In cats with immune issues, hygiene issues, or other secondary factors their feline acne can become more serious and result in sores, large pimples, and eventually in infections.
Natural Cures: Keeping your cat's food and water bowls cleaner may help--plastic bowls are typically dirtier than glass or metal bowls. Reducing stress levels can reduce the amount of acne. Antibiotic cleaning of the chin or affected area can reduce the amount of bacteria causing acne and infection.
Remedies for Feline Acne
|Apple Cider Vinegar||2||2015-10-21|
|Dietary Changes, Cleansing With Colloidal Copper||2||2010-05-17|
|Food and Water Bowls||3||2009-07-11|
|Hydrogen Peroxide, Iodine||1||2008-07-25|
|Warm Water Chin Rub||1||2013-07-22|
My 11 year old cat suddenly developed acne a couple of years ago. It would heal and then come back over and over again. I changed his bowls and made sure his eating area was clean, nothing worked until I tried apple cider vinegar. I applied it topically to his chin twice a day with a cotton ball, in the morning and then again at night. His acne was gone in a matter of days and has never returned.
Replied by Jude
Virgil, Ontario, Canada
Replied by Celest
Replied by Hilary
Posted by Robin (Spokane, Wa) on 08/05/2010
When we took our Diva in for such an odd malady the vet said it was cat acne. Having owned pets all my live, I was floored. I never heard of it. He told us to keep her clean but she really didn't like it. Just to do something that might help, I used baby wipes. It went away quickly. I'm not sure it matters what you clean with, just that you do. It could be that Diva is just special that way.
Replied by Squillions
Columbus, Oh Usa
Posted by Tiffany (Rancho Cucamonga, California) on 10/02/2011
My vet game me a gel for her acne that not only didn't work, but burned her skin. His next step was steroids. Instead, I chose Red Desert Clay. Clean their face with mild soap first to completely clean the surface. I made the clay into a paste and rubbed it into her fur and skin around lips after her last feeding of the day. Leave it on all night to dry. It binds to bacteria and toxins. The next morning she had licked some of it off, but what was left had pulled the blackheads out of her skin and dried them out. I wiped them away and left her face alone for the day, then reapplied every night for a couple more nights and the blackheads were all gone! I now brush her teeth with the clay and she has no more tartar or bacteria build-up, clean breath and healthy looking gums. Also, switch her bowls to stainless steel and wash them after every feeding.
Posted by Mary (Tyler, Tx) on 05/19/2016
Barbe had chronic cat acne for years, and I tried various treatments over time, including my vets recommendations and many suggestions from this site (incl the apple cidar vinegar, Vetericyn and colloidal copper, just to name a few). She always had a porcelain bowl, and I got into a habit of cleaning the edge with a water & bleach solution, in addition to various treatments, with no significant or lasting improvement. She hated the daily cleansings and different treatments rubbed into her chin, altho we tried doing it different ways and I always rewarded her afterwards. I had also tried adding calming ingredients, like valerian, because I associated her acne with her anxiety & fearfulness. But then I gave up because it was like torturing her, and for no benefit! I was doing absolutely nothing for a few months since nothing seemed to help.
For a separate reason involving my elder dog's health, I then began supplementing my dog & cats meals with a meat & veggie mix which I made myself. I settled on using a canned pumpkin base then processed in fresh baby spinach. I often add a very small portion of other things (from my meals) like a couple slices of raw zucchini, or a few pieces of the soft insides of broccoli stalks, and cooked green beans or carrots. I process that together, sometimes adding low sodium chicken broth to make it easy to spoon, then stir in either canned chicken or canned salmon.
I give them each a spoonful with meals for 4-5 days out of the week, along with their dry food mixes of Instinct & Iams. They all love it! Before that, Barbe usually refused anything but dry food and select meats, often even turning up her nose at things like canned cat foods and Instinct's frozen raw mix. She has always been the pickiest of eaters, but she liked the veggie mix, altho often waits until I put the dry food on top first to get her started.
After about 6-8 weeks of supplementing, I was surprised to see -- for the first time -- her chin was clear, without any signs of the usual acne. It has remained clear for weeks, and I've noticed that her personality is noticeably less timid, she doesn't want to isolate in a separate room as much as she used to, and she's clearly happier and more playful with the other cats! I am thrilled that I found an easy cure that doesn't involve touching her chin -- all I do differently is feed her something she loves.
Posted by Emroanm (Boulder, Co) on 05/17/2010
I just wanted to share my experiences with feline acne. After MUCH experimentation we finally have it under control.
We have two cats. The eldest gets very bad cat acne (blackheads and deep, huge white cysts). We tried everything from homeopathics to topically applying castor oil, oregano oil, aloe gel, apple cider vinegar, colloidal silver, rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide (which both seem to work great at first but then cause terrible rebounds), switching to metal and/or ceramic bowls... and I'm sure other things I can't think of right now.
This is what seems to work. For our older cat it is a management system that requires light cleaning most days (at least checking so any breakouts can be nipped in the bud). Our younger cat has started to have the same problem- at about the same age as the other one began to have issues. But the younger cat only needs a treatment if it flares up and then he'll be fine for quite a while (months). So, I think each cat will differ in terms of frequency of treatment.
I'll start with diet, which has helped but hasn't been a cure. I add 1/3 of a can of wet food (we like the organic kinds) to about two cups of dry food (Iams). I then add a heavy dash of turmeric and two capfuls of apple cider vinegar, 1/3 dropper of oregano oil, and the same of colloidal silver. I add a little water and mix it all up really well. This lasts two cats a few days. (And they love it!)
For breakouts we have a cleaning routine. I find it easiest to sit on the floor with my knees together and bent and feet on the floor. I put the cat face up so he's cradled in my legs (head at my knees) and I can easily hold him and his head (firmly). Even the younger scaredy-cat puts up with this once I get him situated. Then I clean the skin thoroughly with a Q-tip (or multiple Q-tips) saturated with colloidal copper. For some reason this has turned out to be the best cleanser. With the younger cat any little white cysts are easily removed with just the Q-tip. The older one sometimes needs cysts and/or blackheads expressed (popped) so that he can get back to healing. I clean it until all dirty looking crumbs/residue is gone. Then, if it's an acute attack, a dab of Neosporin antibiotic ointment rubbed in well to the fur/skin. And that's it. We tried so many natural treatments, but antibiotic ointment is what really stops bad outbreaks in their tracks.
I have also found that ingesting oils or petroleum products (as in hairball goo) definitely cause breakouts. Also, adding things like vitamin powder to the food does too (it collects under the chin and they can't clean it). We also tried adding sage extract, CoQ10, and MSM to their food at intervals which did not affect outbreaks one way or the other.
If anyone ever finds a true CURE, we'd love to hear about it! Until then this management system works pretty well for us. The older cat finally has full chin of healthy hair again and no current acne!
Replied by Avo
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Replied by Eolra
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Replied by Ll
Posted by Nell (Sydney, NSW, Australia) on 07/11/2009
Kitty Acne & Stainless steel bowl: I just happened to notice Kitty didn't have the usual black spot of acne last week then read the washing the metal bowl more frequently suggestion (thanks for that) which I coincidentally had just started do in hot water every day when I changed her water and I realised that that is what has solved the problem. I had previously tried Cetaphil and Peroxide mixed together because that was all I could find on the net before I found this amazing website!! Kitty licked that off and hated it plus once I purchased Cetaphil I realised it contains sodium laurel sulphate so is best avoided. What a simple solution to such a horrid little problem.
Posted by Carrie (Jacksonville, FL) on 07/06/2009
About two years ago I noticed black stuff all over my cats chin. It was pretty gross, and some of it looked like white heads. I thought I was crazy until I took him to the vet and they confirmed cat acne! I couldn't believe it! The vet prescribed an ointment but it didn't do much to help my cat. But they also told me to about cleaning his food and water bowls. Now, I give my cat fresh water almost everyday, if not every other day. Everytime I pick up his water bowl to refill it, I give it a quick scrub. His acne has cleared up and hasn't come back ever since. I also wash his food bowl, but not as often as his water bowl. It was that simple!
Posted by Carol (Asheville, NC) on 01/21/2009
Stainless Steel Food and Water Bowls for feline acne
My cat developed feline acne (which looked like black dots under her chin). The ointment from the vet didn't help, plus she would clean it off as soon as I put it on. I began swapping out her stainless steel food bowl and water bowl once a week with freshly washed stainless steel bowls. She hasn't had a recurrence since that time, and it's been a few years.
Replied by Andrea
Posted by Vera (Beulah, CO) on 07/25/2008
Would you please add feline acne to the list of pet ailments?
Here is the remedy:
In the morning, I cleaned my cat's chin with a cotton square soaked in 3% hydrogen peroxide. He did not seem to mind much at all, and there were no residues to worry about. At night (or sometimes right after), I treated the sores with 2% iodine tincture (the yellow kind), then rubbed it in with my finger so he would not lick it. He liked this less than the peroxide, but all in all, it was a trouble-free treatment, easy on us both. There was a visible improvement within days. In 2-3 weeks, he was completely cured. It recurred a month or two later; I started treatment right away, it disappeared in several days, and he has been free of it for over 2 years. (Be sure to also switch to clean ceramic or metal cat dishes, the plastic kind harbor bacteria.)
EC: Thanks, Vera -- new page created!
Posted by Mariais (Gf, Mt, USA) on 11/16/2009
Calmoseptine cured my kitty's whiteheads/sore on his anus
My kitty, who is 6 months old, had multiple whiteheads, pimple-like, on his anus, which in a matter of days would develop into painful sores that would scab. Pet store people said it was related to his backed up anal glands. I expressed them and gave him 1/4 cup pumpkin or other squash daily, but he would keep getting the pimples even though his glands were empty. Then I decided to treat his butt issue like a rash and applied a tiny dollop of Calmoseptine with the tip of my finger. I made sure I applied when he was tired and was going to go to bed for several hrs. In a matter of days, I realized this was working like a charm: no new pimply whiteheads anymore. Thank goodness. I am now a proud mommy of a healthy kitty again.
By the way, Calmoseptine is not available anywhere, I could find mine only at CVS. it's under $10. I got samples of it when i was in nursing school and was pretty impressed with its results when i really needed it one time. I tried all kinds of things on kitty's butt including washing his anal area with soap and water, but the pimples kept coming back.
In my opinion, the pimples were directly related to backed up glands, but introducing more fiber in his diet was not enough to reverse the symptoms. This infection must be caused by a bug that is deeper in the anus skin, and was not affected by much else.
Posted by T. L. (Wytheville, Virginia Usa) on 01/01/2013
I have a cat with acne. Hers was hidden under heavy fur and became infected. After antibiotics and cortisone pills, she still itches and scratches, leaving her chin raw. I am trying a spray called Vetericyn that is safe, not painful when applied and is supposed to be very effective. Has anyone else tried it? My spray bottle came from Petco for $34... But it will be worth it if it is effective!
Posted by Mike (Sewell, Nj, Usa) on 07/22/2013
One of my cats is very prone to chin acne. It never got beyond a mild case of black specks around her chin and along the jaws near the lips but that may be because I keep on top of it. After speaking to our vet, I soak/wipe the area with witch hazel on a paper towel at least once a day - more if it starts to act up.
When she developed a cyst (fluid filled swelling) on her chin, I treated it several times a day with a towel and very warm water. The cyst finally went away (either naturally or due to my treatments or both) but I noticed her acne was under control without the witch hazel. Since then, I have been using nothing more than warm water and a towel once or twice a day and the acne is under complete control. I'm thinking the warm water and rubbing keeps the oils off and the pores clean. If cats have pores, that is. Not only is plain water better than any chemical, but she enjoys the warm chin rub very much.
Start with very warm water in a small bowl and dip the end of a small towel. Wring it out a little and wet the affected areas. Start with the towel fairly wet since it is difficult to saturate the fur down to the skin. Rub all around and back and forth, not just with the fur. Keep dipping and wringing the towel so it remains warm and on the very damp side. Continue for at least five minutes. Repeat as many times a day as necessary. I started with four or five and now do just twice or once to keep her completely acne free.
By the way - I switched from plastic to ceramic bowls long ago, but this didn't seem to make any difference in her case.
Replied by Joan