Yes, Kitty can suffer from blackheads and acne just like you do. His treatment might be pretty much the same as when you have the occasional breakout. However, sometimes blackheads result from an underlying feline skin condition. Kitty usually develops blackheads on his chin. Resist popping them.
No matter his age, Kitty can come down with feline acne, consisting of blackheads and whiteheads. Besides the chin, it's frequently found on the lips and mouth. Blackheads consist of follicles plugged with sebum from Kitty's sebaceous glands. As in people, these blackheads might become infected. This leads to pimples, also known as comedones. As with humans, some cats may come down with occasional blackheads while for others it's an ongoing issue.
Kitty doesn't get acne from eating too much sugar or not taking his makeup off before he goes to bed -- but he might get acne from the feline equivalent of not removing makeup: Feline blackheads often result when cats don't groom themselves properly. He might also suffer from overactive oil glands, just like teenagers do. Certain yeast and bacterial infections cause acne-like symptoms. Stress and food allergies can also contribute to outbreaks of feline zits.
Your vet might advise you to use benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient in many human acne cleansers and medications, to clear up Kitty's skin. Wet a cotton ball with benzoyl peroxide and gently clean Kitty's acne. The medication dries up excess oil, allowing the skin to heal. Don't use the same type of benzoyl peroxide sold over-the-counter for people; they are much too strong for Kitty. Your vet will either have a medication for Kitty on hand or advise you where to purchase it. If Kitty is severely afflicted with acne, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to combat infection or even steroids in the worst cases. If the vet diagnoses a yeast or bacterial infection, she might recommend antibacterial shampoos or topical ointments to cure the condition.
Cats might develop chin acne from eating and drinking out of plastic bowls. These bowls allow bacteria to flourish, infecting the skin around Kitty's chin and mouth. Replace plastic bowls or plates with those made of metal, ceramic, glass or china. If Kitty isn't as fastidious as he once was, wipe his face gently with a damp washcloth after he eats. Ask your vet if you should clip his hair in the affected area.
- Vetstreet: Cats Get Pimples Too: How to Clear Up Feline Acne for Good
- VetInfo: Feline Acne
- VetInfo: Feline Acne Treatment With Benzoyl Peroxide
- Cat World: Feline Acne - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Acne in Cats
- VetInfo: A Guide to Cat Acne Treatment and Prevention Read more: A Guide to Cat Acne Treatment and Prevention
- Vetbase: Acne in Cats
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.