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cat acne treatment

Cat Acne Treatment: How To Keep Your Kitty’s Skin Clear & Smooth

Nothing comes close to causing full-on panic mode like waking up on your high school picture day with a pimple the size of Mount Rushmore on your chin. Human acne is not a pleasant experience, but it can usually be taken care of easily. Fortunately for our feline friends, the same goes for cat acne treatment!


Cats are clean, majestic pets, but they can also develop acne. Your feline friend is not in high school or prepping for a photo shoot, but pet owners will likely want a solution. Once you notice your cat’s acne, you may want to pop their tiny blemishes. Instead, read on about what cat acne is, what causes it, its symptoms, and information for at-home treatments.


Can a Cat Get Acne?

Yes, cats can get acne. It usually appears around the chin area, but it may pop up anywhere on your cat’s body. Cat acne may appear in all cats, regardless of breed, size, and age. It appears as small blemishes that may not be visible to your eye at first glance. It is a little harder to spot on cats with darker coats and may also be a little more visible on short-haired cats than long-haired ones.


Cat skin blemishes do not usually become severe skin conditions, but like any potential health concern, it is recommended to speak with a veterinarian. The vet will then run a diagnosis on the affected area to best determine what the cause is.


What Causes Cat Acne?

Various things may cause cat acne. It can be easily manageable with the right products and medical advice from a vet in most cases. Before you self-diagnose your cat, read about what might cause them to breakout below.


Allergies and Pollutants

Just like acne, allergies are not just limited to people. Cats may also get allergies from dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants that can trigger their allergy symptoms. Besides scratching, sneezing, and hair loss, cats may develop raised bumps on their skin from an allergic reaction.


It’s been suggested that there are more pollutants inside than outside. Whether your cat is indoors or outdoors, it can be exposed to airborne irritants, which, if left uncleaned, may cause zits on your cat’s skin.


cat with brush


Grooming Habits

Grooming your cat is not just for show; it also helps promote your cat’s overall wellness. Poor hygiene may cause your cat to develop acne. Most skin conditions are discovered during a cat’s grooming session. If you neglect to groom your cat, it may be affected by other issues besides acne, like dental, vision, and other skin conditions.



Stress is never a positive contributing factor regardless if you are a feline or a human. A stressed-out cat may experience a decline in its mental and physical well-being. A kitty dealing with stress may be more prone to acne.


If the acne starts to feel uncomfortable for your cat, it may stress out more and start to scratch the affected area. If your cat is stressed, it may exhibit bad behavior aside from developing acne on its skin.


Excessive Sebaceous Glands

Sebaceous glands produce skin oil that helps keep a cat’s skin and coat in good condition. Some cats’ bodies produce too much sebaceous oil, which then clogs up hair follicles. This process creates comedones, commonly known as blackheads.


All humans and mammals produce this oil, but acne breakouts occur if the body makes too much. Poor feline grooming habits may also lead to hyperactive oil production from the sebaceous glands, causing cat acne.


Other Illnesses or Infections

Sometimes certain skin conditions and bacterial or fungal infections may cause your cat to develop acne and need treatment. Cats like chasing small prey like mice, but the downside is that mice might carry lice that attach themselves to a cat’s hair follicles and clog up the glands that make sebaceous oil.


Fungal spores from the environment may cause a breakout of acne on your cat’s skin. A cat’s chin makes contact with plastic bowls when they eat or drink water. Plastic food and water dishes are more prone to collect bacteria than ceramic or stainless steel bowls.


Is Cat Acne Common?

Yes, cat acne is common, but it does not mean it is the end of the world for you and your cat. It is easily treatable, especially if a veterinarian is consulted. The chin and mouth areas are more likely to have acne than any other part of a cat’s skin. Vet-suggested shampoos, foods, and ointments are easily accessible at most pet stores.


Being able to treat cat acne should not be a hassle or something you should struggle with alone. If you know what the symptoms of cat acne are, you will be able to address it and manage it easier. Cat acne is not limited to certain breeds and can affect all felines. Each cat may have other contributing health factors that can be causing acne as well.


What Are the Symptoms of Cat Acne?

If you notice strange behavior in your cat, it may be best to look for signs of acne while they are relaxed and lounging on your lap. The symptoms can be identified once you know what they are. Here are the common symptoms of feline acne:


Blemishes Around Chin Area

When running your fingers through your cat’s coat, you may observe that their chin looks dirty. If you gently move the fur around their mouth area, you may see blackheads formed. They appear like small dark dots.


Chin acne is more identifiable on cats with lighter coat colors but can still be found on darker coats. It is not recommended to remove the blackheads by attempting to pop, squeeze, or puncture them. This will be more painful for your cat and may cause more harm than good. Instead, try a recommended cat acne treatment.


Excessive Rubbing or Scratching

Cats cannot speak, but they can communicate with their pet parents through actions and body language. It is not unusual for your kitty to rub its head on you as a sign of affection.


A cat dealing with chin acne might attempt to rub the affected area on a harder surface to alleviate any itchiness or irritation associated with the breakout. They can also try to scratch the affected area with their paws. Excessive rubbing or scratching may further irritate the skin and cause it to swell.


Dry Skin and Swelling

Feline acne may feel uncomfortable for your cat, and in an attempt to soothe, they may try to rub or scratch it. Dry or scabby skin may appear if the blackheads on your cat are not addressed right away.


If you attempt to remove your cat’s blackheads or if your cat accidentally scratches some away, it may cause the surrounding area to swell up. It may be become red and cause further irritation for your feline.


Hair Loss

When a cat’s acne is ignored or not caught fast enough, your cat may attempt to alleviate the issue on its own unsuccessfully. If they irritate the acne, it could cause hair loss. Bald spots are easy to see regardless of coat size or color. If you see your cat is missing hair near its chin or mouth area, it may be due to feline acne and require treatment.



If your cat continuously scratches its chin acne, it may puncture the skin, causing it to bleed. Even if it does not lacerate the skin, it may bruise the area. Bruises can hide under your cat’s fur, but blood is easy to see. If your feline’s wounds are not treated, they will be prone to bacterial infections.


caring for cat


At Home Cat Acne Treatment

If you determine that your pet has chin acne, it’s best to treat it properly before it may worsen. Many cat acne treatments may be done at home and are easily available at local pet stores. We will give you a head start by sharing some common treatments you can do.


Warm Compresses

Using a warm washcloth, gently apply pressure to your cat’s chin. This may help soothe mild acne and alleviate the swelling. Cats are known for not being huge fans of baths. Applying a warm compress or medicated cleaning wipe will help remove dirt and lower the chances of cat acne breakouts.


Improved Grooming and Diet

Your cat uses its tongue to help brush and clean its coat. Giving your cat weekly in-depth grooming sessions will help keep their ears, eyes, teeth, and coat free of dust and dirt and contribute to their overall wellness. Brushing your cat’s coat will help spread vital skin oils to keep its skin and fur healthy. 


Some cat foods are formulated with natural ingredients that promote healthy fur and skin. Providing your cat with organic and all-natural food, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, will also contribute to healthier skin and may lessen acne breakouts.


Cleaner Environment

Many cats deal with allergies that may cause acne breakouts. A cat’s allergies will be triggered less often if they are breathing in fresh air. It may also help if you avoid spraying perfumes, cleaning products, and hairspray near your cat since allergies from these products may trigger their acne.


Pet-Friendly Topicals

Your local pet store may carry some ointment, dry shampoo, or spray that promotes healthy skin. It is best to seek cat acne treatment products that are non-toxic and made with all-natural ingredients.


Most of these products may be applied weekly and could help treat your cat’s acne. If you are unsure about trying a product, seek advice from a vet to see what is best for your cat.


CBD for Cats

You might have heard within the pet community about the positive effects of CBD on cats. CBD is safe and non-toxic for cat consumption. It may be helpful in cat acne treatment. 


CBD is sought-after as a topical skin treatment because it promotes a calming effect on acne-prone skin. The cannabinoids from CBD products such as treats, capsules, and CBD oil supports a cat’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). A well-functioning ECS is essential for healthy skin and happy cats!


Veterinary Treatment

If you decide to consult with a veterinarian about cat acne, they can further diagnose the area and prescribe an effective treatment. They can run tests to see if an underlying skin condition is causing the acne. They may suggest an antibacterial medicine or topical treatment to help combat cat acne.


Final Thoughts – Cat Acne Treatment

Acne is annoying and unsightly, but the good news is that it is easily treatable. You should feel confident as a pet owner after reading this cat acne treatment guide. Your knowledge of cat acne causes, symptoms, and treatments will go a long way in keeping your feline friend happy and healthy!