CattyCorner: Do Cats Get Acne?

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on December 18, 2020

Greetings pawsome humans and cat cohorts.

It’s Forrest, popping up again with a topic most would never consider. Do cats get acne? To answer this, let me squeeze in a quick tale. When I was staying at my foster home, I had a friend with some serious sensitivities. She was a Himalayan mix and as I’ve learned, that’s a breed which tends towards skin issues in addition to breathing problems. But she was a great cat and I often think of her. Surely she’s making someone chuckle regularly as she had the cutest little snort when she got excited.


And she often got excited.

Birds at the window. Snort.

Fresh food in the bowl. Snort.

A good nap. Snort and snore.

But she’d also get snorty when she worried. Like the day she discovered acne on her chin.

Cat Acne Rises

My Himmi friend woke me from a nap, pacing in her tizzy over the discovery of some dark flaky stuff on her chin. As I opened my eyes, there she stood, her chin thrust in my face as she asked, “Forrest, what’s this black stuff on my chin?”


She indeed had tiny black flecks crusted in her chin fur. It looked as if she’d rubbed only her chin in a potted plant.

Before we could muse much more over the black stuff, our foster mom scooped up my Himmi friend and went to town cleaning her chin with a warm washcloth and some fancy medicated shampoo. As she worked, she said, “Yep, Himmi girl, you’ve got chin acne. No more plastic for you!”

My friend had indeed developed acne on her chin, but luckily our foster mom had a keen eye and saw the blackheads before they grew into painful bumps. Plus, she replaced all the plastic food and water bowls with glass and stainless steel. Apparently the nicks and scratches that develop in plastic over time can hold bacteria which can block up pores to create the acne.


But plastic dishes aren’t the only culprit for clogged pores and hair follicles. Acne in cats can also be caused by:

  • Allergies
  • Fleas or other pests
  • Overactive oil glands
  • Lack of proper grooming
  • Food and water bowls that aren’t cleaned regularly, no matter if they’re made of plastic, glass, or metal.

So, to bring the question to a head, yes, cats do get acne. But it can be resolved pretty easily when caught early. If your kitty’s chin is scabby and sore though, make an appointment with the vet. And whatever you do, don’t pop your kitty’s zits. This can cause infection.


My friend’s chin cleared up quickly with the new bowls and a few days of some special wipes our foster mom kept chirping about. She was a singer that one, but I learned a lot from her silly songs. My favorite of her chorales was entitled…

Don’t forget to feed the cat.

Feature Image: @pumpkin_the_rescued_cat/Instagram & @opieandsusu/Instagram

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