Why Do Black Flecks Appear on My Cat’s Chin?

Unfortunately, blackheads and acne are not just for teenagers—they can turn up on your cat’s chin, too, as they have on Chiggy and Caymus.

This is the first sign of cat acne if your cat has black stuff on his chin. Fortunately, you can get rid of these black flecks before they turn into full-fledged zits.

While some mistake feline acne for cat chin mites, there is a treatment for this type of acne, and with perseverance, your cat can be zit-free in no time. Here’s everything you need to know about these mysterious black flecks and, most importantly, how and why you should make them go away.

What is Cat Chin Acne?

Feline acne cat chin acne zits Blue Lynx Mitted Ragdoll Cat Trigg IMG_5520
Photo credit: Floppycats.

Cat chin acne is an inflammation of the cat’s skin from the chin area, which is extremely sensitive. It is seborrheic dermatitis commonly located in the chin area. The main result is the excessive production of sebum. This is an oily compound typically produced in the skin to protect it from various environmental factors. Still, in the area affected by dermatitis, sebum production greatly outweighs the average amount.

As a result, this area becomes very oily, and black flecks appear on the cat’s fur. This is nothing else than accumulated sebum which has solidified. The first sign of cat chin acne is the chin area becoming oilier. You may notice that the cat’s hair is glued together by the sebum, just as you would see your hair if you haven’t washed it for a few days.

However, this usually goes unnoticed because the differences are subtle, and the evolution is relatively rapid. What does stand out is the blackheads, which aren’t attached to the skin, just to the cat’s fur. What typically happens is that owners notice these black, coffee-grind-like flecks in the cat’s fur.

Pet owners often mistake them for flea poop on a cat’s chin and take their kitties to the vet. However, if the black flecks are only present on the cat’s chin, vets point to acne instead of a flea infestation because fleas would not leave poop solely under a cat’s chin.

How To Test if the Black Flecks Are Flea Poop of Acne

Cat Zits on Ragdoll Cat Chiggy - Feline Acne - Cat Acne Why do black flecks appear on my cats chin
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

You can do a simple test at home to find out if your cat has a flea infestation or chin acne, and the answer is in the flecks. It is pretty easy to tell the difference between these two types of black flecks since they are very different.

In the case of acne, the black flecks are dried-out sebum. They are dried-out oil, which means that when exposed to a bit of heat, they will melt into a more fluid oil. As for flea droppings, these are the fecal matter of a flea, which feeds primarily on blood. These black flecks are digested blood.

The Test to Tell Them Apart

Photo credit: Floppycats.

It would be best to have a white paper napkin and warm water. You place the black flecks on the napkin and fold them in. Then, apply the warm water and rub the napkin (with the flecks inside) between your palms for about one minute. When you open the napkin, you will have a definitive answer. If you notice the area around the fleck becoming red or reddish brown, you are dealing with flea droppings.

As a result of acne, the area around them turns light yellow or very light brown as the dried-out sebum melts.

The Acne Turns Into Full-on Seborrheic Dermatitis

Why Do Black Flecks Appear on My Cat's Chin
Photo credit: Floppycats.

If you don’t take any measures to treat your cat’s acne, it will not go away. We will get to the treatment options immediately, but here’s how the illness progresses. If left unattended, the black flecks on the cat’s chin appear in more significant numbers. The skin produces so much sebum that it can’t breathe properly.

Moreover, the adherence of the flecks to the fur also damages the hair. The result is the inflammation of the skin on the cat’s chin. At first, it becomes pink and is sensitive to the touch. However, this can quickly develop to the point where the skin is red and extremely sensitive. It is also itchy, so it produces lesions when the cat scratches the area. Read here on treating your cat’s acne.

The Causes of Cat Acne

Why Do Black Flecks Appear on My Cats Chin
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

What causes cat acne? Well, there are plenty of possible causes for this, and it is up to your vet to figure out which. The cat’s medical history will be significant to make the final diagnosis. However, the leading causes are exposure to plastic feeding bowls or other plastic around the house. If your cat is sensitive to plastic, it may develop chin acne due to repeated contact with that area and its bowls. For this reason, it’s good to either get rid of plastic feeding bowls or rotate them with other bowls like ceramic or metal.


Trigg Eating From the ModaPet Lemon Zest Bowl
Photo credit: Floppycats.

The link between stress and dermatological issues in cats is well-known. If your cat is going through a particularly stressful period, it might develop dermatological issues, and chin acne is one of the many possibilities. Read about other causes here.

Cat Acne Treatment

Cats Chin Black Flecks
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

If your cat has chin acne, you should be patient with the treatment plan because it is something you must commit to for a while. The first step is to remove the cause of the blackheads by replacing plastic food bowls or water fountains. Next, remove the existing blackheads from your cat’s chin. You can do this with your fingernails (be sure to wash your hands) or with a toothbrush, comb, warm salt water, and a towel. Lastly, you have to provide your cat with better skin care. Read all the steps to removing cat zits here.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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One Comment

  1. Patti Johnson says:

    Always a great topic! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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