Understanding And Caring For A Cat With Acne
Believe it or not, cats can get acne just like humans can. Although some cats will go their entire lives without a single pimple, others will be struck by a sudden outburst of dozens of irritated pustules on their faces. While cat acne is uncomfortable and irritating for a cat, it can also become something far worse if left untreated. Read on to learn what causes cat acne, what you can do about it, and how to prevent it from worsening.
What Causes Cat Acne
Cat acne is caused by the same leading culprit of human acne: clogged pores. A cat's pores can become blocked with a material called sebum, which is an oily or waxy substance produced by the body's sebaceous glands. Ordinarily, sebum doesn't cause any problem for cats, but if a pore becomes filled with sebum, it can cause an infection that results in a pimple. This generally only occurs near the mouth and chin on cats.
Treating Cat Acne
Cat acne is treated in much the same way as human acne is. Most veterinarians will suggest that you keep the area as clean as possible and that you treat it with a topical ointment like benzoyl peroxide to shrink the existing pimples. Benzoyl peroxide will also help to clean out sebum, preventing more acne from developing and helping to calm existing pimples.
However, it's important to note that you should never use an acne formula intended for humans on a cat. Even if it has the same active ingredient, human formulas often contain additives like perfumes or coloring agents that aren't safe for cats. Keep in mind that a cat will continue to lick and clean their faces while you're using an ointment, so it's imperative that it's formulated for cats and won't hurt them.
Preventing Further Damage
While untreated acne can be uncomfortable for humans, it can also become much worse for cats. If you've ever had acne, think about how itchy and painful acne can be, and then think about how there's often an urge to scratch the area. Since cats have claws, they can gouge their pimples, infecting the skin. It can also cause scarring, which may result in permanent hair loss on the affected areas.
To prevent this damage, work with a veterinarian to clean and treat the acne as soon as possible. You should also purchase an e-collar to prevent your cat from scratching or kicking the affected area. These can usually be picked up at your vet's office or at a reputable pet store.
With adequate treatment and care, your cat will recover from its acne and have a healthy appearance again soon. Make an appointment with your veterinarian if your cat is showing the signs of cat acne.