Cat Zits: Feline Chin Acne

Last Updated on July 15, 2021 by Jenny

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Cat Zits: Feline Chin Acne

Infected Cat Zit

Cats can get zits just like humans (as shown above). However, cat zits start out as what looks like black dirt under the cat’s chin. Scroll down to see the videos of Caymus’ and Trigg’s zits—these are the little black specks. If you don’t clean these off your cat’s chin, they can get infected, turning into what humans more readily recognize acne white heads (as shown above). Yes, cats get acne. Usually it is just on the chin and it isn’t all that uncommon.

Cat Chin Acne Causes

There are different theories on why cats get acne:
  • Plastic Food Bowls or Plastic Pet Fountains – the plastic helps retain bacteria which helps the zits grow
  • Plastic Exposure in the Home – After I eliminated our plastic and ceramic food bowls, and Trigg still had this acne, I figured out that he got his feline chin acne from resting his head/chin on the dining room table leg that’s plastic – so be sure to think of everything plastic your cat is exposed to in your home.
  • Ceramic Food Bowls – the glaze on ceramic bowls can eventually crack and when it does, then tiny bacteria gets into the cracks and causes the same problem that plastic bowls do.
  • Metal Food Bowls – Stainless bowls and wet food can react and cause zits
  • Food Touching – Some believe it is a result of their chin touching their food (and honestly the black specks do look like food debris sometimes or flea poop)
  • Hormonal Issues/Genes – 2-4 year old neutered kitties who are like teens hormone-wise seem to have feline acne more. My Trigg has a much more oily coat than Charlie.  Therefore, it’s really no surprise that he gets zits from the additional oils that he produces.
  • Beef Allergy – My vet recently enlightened me that some cats get cat chin acne because they’re allergic to beef.
  • Wheat Allergy -My vet recently enlightened me that some cats get cat chin acne because they’re allergic to wheat.
  • Lack of Omega-3 -a reader commented on one of our videos said her vet said it was a lack of Omega-3.
Murphy and Caymus live in the same house, have the same father, yet Murphy’s zits are ten times worse than Caymus’ and Rags never had many at all.  I have never spotted feline acne on Charlie.

Cat Chin Acne Treatment – Mild Version

Caymus Zits Close-Up
Caymus’ Zits Close-Up – the black specs are his zits. This is a very mild version.
  • Replace Plastic Food Bowls or Plastic Water Fountains – Getting rid of the cause is the acne is the first priority.  By eliminating possible causes as mentioned above.
  • Petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) – take a little bit of petroleum jelly and rub it in, then scratch off the black stuff with your clean fingernail. Then wash with a washcloth to remove the Petroleum jelly.
  • Toothbrush – instead of pulling the black specs out with your fingernails, you can use an old toothbrush, swiping in the same direction.
  • Flea Comb – Use the comb to swipe out the little black specs.
  • Warm Salt Water and a Towel – Use warm salt water and use a clean towel and rub the area and repeat with a new towel.
  • Another popular opinion is to wash your kitty’s chin with benzol-peroxide wash or a diluted version of dandruff shampoo might help as well. As it will help clean the skin and keep it clear of cat zits.

Cat Chin Acne Treatment – Severe Version

  • Pop the Zits – Should your cat acquire the whitehead version of feline zits, then it is best to pop the zits. Yes, pop the zits. Make sure you take the right precautions before popping – clean hands, clean finger nails and a lancet to make a tiny hole before squeezing. The feline acne is a little different than human acne. The whitehead part of a cat zit becomes very hard and when popped looks more like a little grain of rice. So, if you keep up with your cat’s zits, after a month or two, they should go away.  You can also take your kitty to the vet and ask the vet to take care of the problem.  A quick video search on YouTube will show you that some cats’ acne gets so bad that they have to put the cat under to address the issues.
  • Antibiotic – See your vet for this.
  • Anti-inflammatory – See your vet for this.
  • Anti allergy cream – See your vet for this.

Products that Help with Cat Acne:

Ceramic Fountains:

Metal Fountains:

This is a video of Caymus’ zits:
This is a video of Trigg’s zits:

Has your kitty had zits?  What has worked for you?  What has your vet recommended?  

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8 thoughts on “Cat Zits: Feline Chin Acne

  1. Leslie says:

    This was SO helpful!! My tortie cat had a bit black spot on her chin for a few weeks (several months ago). I googled and learned a bit about cat acne – I read not to pop it due to risk of infection. Eventually a very hard, black, rice-like thing fell off her chin one evening. I then noticed 2 additional black specks under her chin and tried rubbing them out with my fingers but it didn’t come out – so I left it alone, figuring it’s acne, it’ll self heal.

    Well, fast fwd a few months to April 2020 and the chin spot was back and continuing to grow. My dad mentioned ticks. She gets monthly flea/tick med but I still got paranoid and panicked. The black zit let out puss. One under her chin is quite stubborn and the other under the chin popped with a hard, white, rice-like lump. I used a chlorhexidine wipe to clean up afterward and plan to for a few days to be safe, prevent infection of any open skin. She has a plastic water fountain currently, which I’m now searching Chewy for a ceramic or steel replacement! I’ll try a toothbrush or something to get that last stubborn zit under her chin.

    Thank you!

    • Jenny says:

      You’re welcome – yes the “puss” of a cat zit is different than our own…it’s interesting. Poor Chiggy (my cat) can get them and I do enjoy popping them…which isn’t good for him…but 10 years in, we’re OK.

  2. DeidreC says:

    The minute my Giorgio eats from a metal dish, his chin breaks out! The first happened shortly after I brought him home and fed him out of brand new, stainless dishes. I had used stainless with all of my other cats in the past because I hate plastic pet bowls and I knew that stainless was better because you could really clean it well. The breeder said to try glass and it worked like a charm, so from then, I use Fiestaware fruit bowls and no more zits!

  3. Patti Johnson says:

    Great info, Jenny! Thanks for reposting! We have been very fortunate with our girl, Miss Pink Sugarbelle, not getting any chin acne so far. My heart just goes out to the kittehs who do get the chin acne and the owners who have to deal with it (always so stressful when our beloved kittehs have a health issue). No one wants acne (human or kitteh).

    Luckily we follow the rules to avoid exposing her to materials/products that can cause the condition thanks to helpful articles like this!

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for posting this and for the videos! My cat has had cat acne since I got her (10 years ago, how time flies!) and everyone I talked to about it told me it was fleas. She also over grooms and rips her fur out leaving bald patches on her belly, arms and tail. I knew it couldn’t be fleas since flea dirt doesn’t only show up on the chin and on her bald patches the skin is healthy. For some reason people don’t seem to know about feline acne even though it is so common! Thank you for posting this and increasing pet owners knowledge of pet health! Also your cats in the videos are both beautiful! 😀

    • Jenny says:

      Oh how sad – yes, so many people don’t know what it is. And even in my videos where I say it looks like flea dirt, but it’s not, they still tell me it’s flea dirt. Oh well.

  5. Gabbi says:

    Hello, Floppycats!
    This article was actually very helpful. Of our three cats, the middle one [who is about 4 years old] has just started getting these black specks on his chin. He’s got a white chin and muzzle, so it’s really easy to spot these. My mom has found three so far… and I thought maybe they were scabs as the cats tend to play rough with eachother. But they actually pop, and like a normal human zit, a hard [sometimes puss] substance will come out. She joked about how he may have “Kitty Acne.” So, I googled it, and this was the first site I looked at… and confirmed that cats actually CAN get zits! [Which I think is hilarious!] None of these specks have turned white or got as big as the one shown in the picture, which is good. But thanks for the information on this! The article was super helpful!

    • Jenny says:

      Glad it was helpful – although the cat zits I am used to do not pop – I have two videos on YouTube that show how my cats get zits:

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