Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: November 1, 2022 by Crystal Uys


Feline acne is a common problem in cats. Cat guardians usually notice small, oily black bumps on the cat’s chin, very similar to blackheads in humans. These blackheads may become red and itchy if they get infected.


The exact cause of feline acne is not known, but it is believed that there are several contributing factors:

  • Overactive sebaceous glands
  • Stress
  • Plastic food bowls
  • Food allergies
  • Poor grooming habits


  • Small black bumps on the chin or lips
  • In advanced stages, red, swollen pustules that may bleed


Treatment depends on how severe the condition is. If symptoms are mild, gentle cleansing and a topical ointment may be all that is needed. In more advanced cases, conventional treatment may include antibiotics, topical ointments containing Benzoyl Peroxide, and steroids. In very severe cases, your veterinarian may want to sedate your cat so he can clip and clean the area thoroughly.

A holistic vet may view feline acne slightly differently. Acne, as well as other skin conditions, including allergies, are considered a symptom of systemic toxicity, and a holistic approach will look at identifying and removing the root cause of the condition, rather than just treating the symptoms. Treatment may include a systemic cleanse (do not attempt to to this without the guidance of a holistic veterinarian), homeopathic remedies, a change to a natural grain-free canned or raw diet, and appropriate supplements.


To prevent feline acne, switch to ceramic or metal bowls. Plastic bowls become porous over time and can trap bacteria. When they come in contact with your cat’s chin, acne can develop. Wash all food and water bowls in hot soapy water every day. If your cat is prone to acne, you may want to gently wash her chin with warm water after eating.

Photo by Melanie Tata, Flickr Creative Commons

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