Why Does My Cat Have Black Stuff on His Chin?

Cat with Acne

We all want the best for our feline friends and that means keeping them happy and healthy. Noticing black spots on your cat’s chin can be concerning, but rest assured these spots can be easily diagnosed and treated. There are a few different reasons your cat could have black stuff on her chin.

Black spots on your cat’s chin are most likely feline acne. These spots can often be mistaken for flea dirt. Acne is by definition a condition in which hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. The bottom line is your cat has blackheads. 

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More About the Black Stuff on Your Cat’s Chin

It is possible that the black spots on your cat’s chin could be flea dirt. Feline acne and flea dirt do tend to look very similar on your cat. I have had cats with fleas and I have had cats with acne and the biggest difference I noticed was the scratching. 

When cats have fleas, they will scratch like crazy. My cat’s feline acne was not a severe case. The black stuff was there but did not seem to cause him a lot of discomfort. But that may not be the case for all cats. Your cat’s chin may become inflamed and have open sores and crusty lesions. 

If you are fortunate, your cat will have only a mild case and it will clear up on its own. More about how you can treat a more severe case of kitty acne later.

What Causes Feline Acne?

Some cats are more likely to get acne and others may never get it. It is not really known why a cat gets acne. Listed below are some of the conditions that can contribute to your cat having feline acne.

Poor Grooming Habits – If your cat is older or has physical problems, he may have difficulty cleaning himself. Below you can get tips for helping your cat keep that hard-to-reach area clean and acne-free.

Hormonal Imbalance – Just like a teenager, a change in your cat’s hormones can lead to an outbreak of acne on his chin. 

Hyperactive Sebaceous Glands – Cats have scent glands in their skin known as sebaceous glands which produce an oily secretion that they use to mark their territory by constantly rubbing against objects. There are a large number of these glands located in the chin area and they are connected to the base of the hair follicles. Because your cat’s chin comes in contact with other surfaces that contain bacteria and dirt, they can become clogged, resulting in blackheads.

Food Sensitivities – Just like in people, being sensitive to certain foods can cause a rash or irritation on your skin. You can experience the same symptoms. Chicken, eggs, dairy, soy, fish, wheat and corn tend to be the most common food contributors to feline acne.

Contact Dermatitis – This is a skin condition that is caused by an allergy to something your cat comes in contact with. Chemicals, such as; soap, solvents, detergents and petroleum by-products are some things that can cause dermatitis. Flea powders, shampoos, plants, litter additives, shampoos and plastic bowls can also cause dermatitis in your feline friend.

Compromised Immune Systems – Cats with an autoimmune disease or a chronic infection may develop acne as a result of their weakened immune system.

What Can I Do About Feline Acne?

None of us want our pets to be uncomfortable. So if they suffer from feline acne there are some simple treatments you can use to rid your cat of those pesky black spots that have invaded their chin. 

Change the Diet – Your cat’s diet can be a source of inflammation if he is not eating high-quality food. Try buying a food that limits seafood, poultry and grains and see if your cat’s acne problem disappears. 

Correct Imbalances – If your cat has been sick or has allergies, try clearing these issues and see what it does for the acne. Getting rid of his acne could be as simple as fixing the other things that are ailing him.

Wash Daily – The first thing that is recommended for a teenager with acne is keeping it clean with daily washing. The same can work for your cat. Gently wash his chin with a damp clean cloth. Go organic…avoid soaps and wipes with perfumes and dyes. If your cat has acne, he most likely has sensitive skin as well. 

Dab with Witch Hazel – This is a treatment that has been around for years. Witch hazel is an astringent that cleans and tightens your cat’s pores. Dab a little on with a cotton swab after washing his chin. This is also a good routine for heading off those nasty breakouts.

Apply Aloe Vera Gel – Aloe vera is a gel that you can grow in a pot or buy in a bottle. It helps soothe the skin and promotes healing. It is also great for a sunburn. Use your finger to apply it to your cat’s chin.

Apply Manuka Honey – This is a special medicinal honey that contains antibacterial properties. The healing properties in this honey can help your cat get rid of his acne. The honey can be purchased at most healthy food stores. A little dab on your cat’s chin will start the healing.

Ditch the Plastic – If you are using plastic dishes, try switching to glass, metal or ceramic. Cats can be allergic to plastic. Additionally, plastic is absorbent and can carry bacteria. Changing your cat’s bowl from plastic to glass or metal can be just what he needs. It is also important to make sure your cat’s bowl is washed regularly as well.

Is Cat Chin Acne Contagious?

It is not known why some cats get feline acne and others do not. It seems to be more common in long-haired cats. Cats do not get acne from each other. One can have it and another one living in the same house may never have it.

But I believe it depends on what is causing the acne in your cat. If your cat’s acne can be attributed to an infectious bacteria, fungus and or microscopic mites, he could pass it to his housemates. If the acne is caused by a sensitivity, it will not be passed to another cat.

How Can I Treat My Cat’s Acne at Home?

Feline acne can subside on its own depending on what is causing it. If your cat has been ill and you clear that up, the acne may heal on its own. Additionally, if your cat’s acne is an allergic reaction to something, it can be relieved by removing the irritant. Perfumes, dyes, and plastics are good things to think about eliminating from your cat’s life. 

If your cat has black spots, you can try to treat it at home as long as he does not show any other signs of being sick.  Start by gently cleaning the “dirt” from the area. You can use aloe vera gel or witch hazel on the area if you have it available. If your cat is eating or drinking from a plastic bowl, change it to a glass or metal bowl. 

If your cat is predisposed to feline acne, you may need to repeat this cleaning procedure from time to time. If your cat has a severe case of feline acne, you may find it more reassuring to get advice from your vet to get your cat healed quickly. 

Boy, Pixie, and Mary’s Story

Having had several cats throughout my life, it was not uncommon for them to get fleas. If they only had a few, I would notice the scratching and you could see the pests on their neck. Boy, Pixie, and Mary were fortunate enough to never have the experience of having fleas on their bodies. 

Boy was about five years old when I started noticing these black specs on his chin. The first thing I did was check his neck for fleas. There weren’t any and he was not scratching either. The specs seem to come off, but it just looked like an area of “flea dirt”. Boy did not seem to be bothered by the black stuff on his chin, but it was not normal.

Boy had a vet appointment coming up, so I took that opportunity to discuss the spots on his chin. The vet referred to the spots as cat acne. She said the most common reason for cat acne is an allergy to plastic. Boy was being fed from a plastic food dish. Plastic is more absorbent than the recommended glass or stainless steel. 

We changed all the bowls to glass and this cleared up the cat acne problem on Boy’s chin. Mary and Pixie never really had a problem with cat acne. 

Final Thoughts

Black spots on your cat can be disturbing, but the solution is not as difficult as it seems. With a diligent skin care routine and some love your cat can be acne-free and live the good life.