Ok, ok, stop, before you laugh at this post title and click away, give me a chance to explain. Yes, cats get acne. Little pimples on a cat’s chin and sometimes the nose or eyebrow region are part of growing up for many young cats, especially males. Some cats get acne throughout their lives, due to genetics, allergies or contact with bacteria on surfaces like plastic food dishes. It may seem like a silly problem to worry about–after all, we all had to deal with it as teenagers, right? But cat acne isn’t much fun for an owner who can’t allow their cat to give them an affectionate chin rub without risking getting smeared with pus.
Preventing Cat Acne
You can’t guarantee your kitten won’t develop kitty acne any more than you could prevent your own skin from breaking out during adolescence. However, you can minimize the risk of a cat acne breakout by taking a few simple steps to avoid risk factors.
First, feed a high quality food with no corn, wheat, soy or gluten meals. This will prevent most food allergies. For an even better chance of raising an allergy-free kitty, switch to a whole prey model raw diet (after doing lots of research and talking to a raw-friendly vet). You’ll also need to feed this low-allergen diet from some stainless steel or glass bowls, which must be washed often to avoid bacteria accumulation. Finally, minimize stress. Just like humans, cats can suffer breakouts when stressed.
Treating Cat Acne
If your cat already has cat acne, treatment is simple but must be repeated regularly. First, make the changes suggested above under “prevention,” in order to prevent future outbreaks.
To treat the current outbreak, see your vet and ask for a recommendation for a cat-safe antibiotic soap. The vet may sell a product made just for cats, or she may advise you to buy a particular brand. Remember, never use essential oils or any product containing them on cats. Once you’ve found and bought a safe soap, wash the affected area daily. Especially stubborn outbreaks may require oral antibiotics or scrubbing with diluted hydrogen peroxide in addition to the daily scrubbing with antibiotic soap. A topical ointment may also be prescribed, particularly if the vet suspects a fungal componenet to the skin irritation.
You may also need to remove stressors from the cat’s environment to get rid of an acne outbreak. Try to reverse any major recent changes in the cat’s routine and then gradually reintroduce the changes, using a product like Feliway to calm your cat.