A common issue with cats is cat acne or feline acne. It causes severe discomfort for your cat if not treated properly but what is it and how can it be treated?
As human beings somewhere along our lives almost all of us suffered from acnes especially during our adolescence. Well, cats can also have acnes which are called cat acnes or feline acnes. The difference is, they can not treat it like we do so they need our help while dealing with it.
Do you remember those times? You wake up one morning getting ready for the school and you notice a red, swollen piece of ugliness on your face. If you are one of the unlucky ones with oily skin, you know what I mean. Like humans, cats can get acnes due to several reasons. Let’s see what it is and why it occurs.
What is Cat Acne?
A cat acne is a blackhead or comedone with inflammation on a cats chin or surrounding area and that is why it is also called blackhead cat acne. A cat acne on nose or lip is also possible. Cat acne might cause crusty sores, alopecia or lesions. It looks like dirt on your cat’s chin but it does not brush off. When you check your cat’s chin a little closer you may even mistake the little black spots with flea dirt. When one of my cats had feline acne and I realized it, I just thought it was a stain from her wet cat food and unsuccessfully tried cleaning it. Then I saw that the the wipe I used had blood like stains on it so I thought maybe the two cats I have had a hustle. But that was also a bust because there was no scratch marks or bleeding on neither of them. I understood that something was not right because she is a snow white cat and it was easy to spot the blackheads.
Generally cat acne does not cause any issues for the cat but sometimes it may bleed as the cat scratches it and become infected. On such occasions medical treatment may become inevitable.
What Causes Cat Acne?
Cats have sebaceous glands on their skins that produce oil for the well being of their skin. When the hair follicles around the sebaceous glands are clogged with black sebaceous material, the acne forms. Since the sebaceous glands are mostly located on a cat’s chin, that’s where the the blackheads form.
The blackheads or comedones can become irritated, swollen and infected and may turn into pustules in the end. Since there are bacteria inside the infected glands, your cat might want to scratch the acne feeling discomfort. Let alone relieving the discomfort your cat feels, it makes the situation a lot worse causing bleeding and spreading the infection. It might even cause other fungal and dermal infections as the acne gets worse and worse.
I must say that although we know how it forms, the exact cause of the acne is still unknown. The most common causes are poor hygiene including but not limited to dirty food or water bowls (especially plastic ones), stress, hyperactive sebaceous glands, hormonal imbalances and other infections whether they are fungal, viral or bacterial.
How to Treat Cat Acne?
First of all, you should consult to your veterinarian to make sure it is cat acne and learn the severity of the case. Sometimes it gets so infected that a medical treatment becomes necessary and some other times people just mistake some other issue with cat acne. Please use the below provided suggestions after your veterinarian gives OK.
Often cat acne treatment is easy because generally cats have mild acnes and simple solutions would be enough such as warm compress, improving the hygiene, washing the bowls daily, changing plastic bowls with metal or ceramic bowls, etc. You can also use some home remedies such as:
- Cleaning the affected area with cotton balls or cotton swabs soaked in soapy water and then cleaning it with clean water 2-3 times a day,
- Adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your cat’s food,
- Applying green or black tea, cucumber pulp, witch hazel, or aloe to the affected area (be careful your cat might have allergies).
Most likely the veterinarian will recommend you to treat the acne at home with home remedies or some creams prescribed by the veterinarian. Some cases are a lot serious though. The veterinarian’s intervention might include:
- Systemic antibiotics such as capsules, liquids or injections,
- Topical antibiotics such as creams or ointments,
- Steroid tablets or injections,
- Using antibacterial or antifungal products such as shampoos, wipes, etc.
Even if it is a bad cat acne, know that it is treatable. The WORST thing you can do is popping them. It might cause irritation and it is not any different than your cat scratching the acne. This treatable issue often redevelops so keep your cat stress free, its bowls clean and plastic free.
Did your cat also suffer from cat acne? Please comment below and share your experience so others can learn from your experiences.
Have a purrderful day!