Feline Acne!

Well, I am back again because Miss Sadie and Gram did not think a dog should be discussing "feline acne." I really have no idea what it is, as I certainly do not have it, but Gram (my mom) explained it to me and I think you will learn something about it from what we are going to tell you.

All along you thought that only adolescents get acne and here I am about to educate you on the fact that cats get “feline acne,” too. Granted it is a condition that is usually harmless, but it can get ugly and should command a bit of your attention.

What is feline acne? It is a disorder that affects both male and female cats. It is characterized by eruptions of tiny blackheads found on the chin of a cat. It usually starts around the age of one year and can vary in severity through out a cat’s life. Feline acne is a lifelong disease, it can have periods of remission and the condition can be managed most of the time very easily at home with readily available products.

What causes feline acne? Feline acne is caused by overactive oil glands that takes the form of blackheads, a black crusty substance on the chin or a small lump found on the chin.

It actually is the excess keratin, an important part of the cat’s hair follicle, which can plug up the hair follicle and cause the problem. If by chance, some bacteria or other infectious agents get locked in, a pus-filled looking boil can form and will need your vet’s attention.

A cat can have just a few or as many as 20 blackheads and it can be a problem you can handle with little to worry about. However, if your cat has many more than that, a trip to the vet should be considered for some medical treatment.

The specific cause of this condition is unknown. Some of the suspected causes are dirty, bacteria laden food and water bowls, allergies, poor grooming habits, possible genetic predisposition, and of course clogged hair follicles. The good news is most cats do not get this condition.

How can you tell if you cat has it? They symptoms are usually mild and will actually look like your cat has a case of blackheads. It is something even with poor eyesight you cannot miss.

Other symptoms might include red swollen pores, a look of inflammation or irritation, a possible loss of some chin hair or it may look like black dirt that won’t wash off. If you have not paid too much attention to your cat lately and you suddenly see pimples on its chin that have a pus-looking substance in them, I suggest an immediate trip to the vet for some proper medical attention. These can be rather painful for your cat and can affect your cat’s general health.

Myths that have surfaces concerning feline acne. There are several myths that have surfaced regarding causes for feline acne. The first one being feeding your cat using plastic bowls. Plastic bowls will not give your cat acne, granted they should always be clean and washed each day, but a dirty glass bowl could be said to cause the same thing.

It has also been said cats that are sloppy eaters will get feline acne and this has not been proven to be true either. Even the cleanest of all cats can get it.

Stress is another thing that has been rumored to be a cause of feline acne and that too, is unfounded. If a cat were under enough stress to cause the acne, it would be a nervous wreck and have many more problems than acne.

Is feline acne treatable at home? The answer in most cases is yes. with your vet’s instructions. Mild cases of feline acne can be treated at home, however, if your cat has pus-filled pimples, more than 20 or 30 pimples or if there is any type of irritation, please take your cat to the vet for proper medical treatment. In many cases that ounce of prevention can actually save you future vet bills.

At home remedies include a gentle application of hydrogen peroxide on the chin using a cotton ball or washing the chin several times a day with an antibiotic soap and warm water. Your vet may prescribe an antibiotic ointment or an anti-fungus ointment.

I have read articles advising the use of alcohol and/or vinegar on the cat’s chin, if your cat is anything like any of mine, you will not get near it with the smell. My suggestion is a quick call to your vet and he/she may give you some easy at home suggestions as long as the chin does not look infected or does not have more than 20 blackheads.