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Help With Cat Acne

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok, can anyone give me some insight as to what might have caused one of my cats to suddenly develop cat acne? I'm sure this is what it is since it is only on the chin and sounds exactly like what my mom described that her cat was treated for previously. Both of my cats eat the same thing - Iam's dry chicken/poultry. They have been eating this food for quite a while and the only semi-recent change is that my son has taken to sprinkling some dry catnip on top of the food occasionally because he thinks they like it. I have since told him to stop doing that since I wondered if maybe this was causing the problem. Both cats use the same dishes - we found that separate ones didn't matter because they would eat out of either one so we just consolidated to one bowl for food and one for water. I have (this week) swapped our bowls out from plastic to stainless since I read this was best when dealing with acne. Ceramic or glass won't work for us because the cats eat up on a shelf so the dogs can't get their food and the dishes fall off occasionally. I just want to know why Livvy got this all of the sudden. If I can't get it under control in the next few days, I will take her to the vet. So far, I am cleaning her chin with dilute hydrogen peroxide on a cotton pad twice a day and putting some antibiotic ointment on the acne. It seems a little better, but I was wondering if I need to change her food as well since I don't know what the trigger was. Any recommendations? It would need to be something that both cats will eat since they are grazers and like to take turns visiting the food dish throughout the day. It would also need to be food that I can find at a normal pet store like petsmart or at wal mart.
post #2 of 13
I don't know much about allergies and cat acne, but little bits of food remaining on the chin area can cause it. I would try cleaning your cat's face with a warm wet washcloth after eating. I had a cat with the same problem and wish I could be of more help.
post #3 of 13
Feeding a cat in plastic and even ceramic dishes can hold a lot of bacteria that can cause acne. Glass or stainless steel is better to feed them from. You need to wash their dishes every day because oils will sit on the bottom of the dish and their chins will touch it.

Peroxide is not a good thing to put on a cats skin, so its important that you take your kitty to the vet to get the appropriate meds to help her.

You can also look at some additional threads in health and nutrition section to get some info on the food. Iams is not the best thing to feed them and they do need wet food, too. There are some experts that can guide you with that.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
I always thought Iams was supposed to be a good brand of food. I know people have their preferences, but I've seen several references to it not being that great. As long as chicken or chicken products is the first ingredient on the list - isn't that supposed to be the most important thing coupled with the protein content? I don't have a bag to look at right now because I always transfer the food to an airtight container, but I thought Iams was decent on the protein content. That said, I'm not opposed to changing their food, especially in light of the cat acne, but I have to find something that is easy to obtain and still yummy enough that both of my cats will eat it. I don't have close access to a boutique-type pet store either, so I need a major brand that I can find at Petsmart. Is Nutros supposed to be better? I know we fed that to a past cat, but switched to Iams at some point after she died and we got our present cats (don't remember why we switched - whether it was easier to find or recommended by someone). Also, my cats have always pretty much shunned wet food. The times I have offered it, they take a couple of bites and that's it - so I stopped trying because the food just went to waste. One of my cats lived at a rescue for the better part of a year before I got him and only had dry food there which may explain why that is what he likes, and the other one (the one with acne) I got as an older kitten, but she tends to be finicky and won't even take people food like fresh chicken when offered.
post #5 of 13
Some cats are simply more prone to it than others, and there seems to be a higher percentage of cats with white chins that get it than non-white chins. The food bowls need to be kept squeaky clean. Wash them regularly in the dishwasher. You might want to buy a second set of food bowls and rotate the clean ones in daily if possible.

I've never heard that the brand of food contributes to the problem. Some food causes allergies, but that type of problem wouldn't just show up on their chins.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow, that's interesting because Livvy has a white chin. I keep the dishes clean, but will be even more meticulous about it now - dishwasher rather than just hot water and dish soap in the sink. Hopefully the change to stainless steel will make a difference.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by straymagnet View Post
I always thought Iams was supposed to be a good brand of food. I know people have their preferences, but I've seen several references to it not being that great. As long as chicken or chicken products is the first ingredient on the list - isn't that supposed to be the most important thing coupled with the protein content? I don't have a bag to look at right now because I always transfer the food to an airtight container, but I thought Iams was decent on the protein content. That said, I'm not opposed to changing their food, especially in light of the cat acne, but I have to find something that is easy to obtain and still yummy enough that both of my cats will eat it. I don't have close access to a boutique-type pet store either, so I need a major brand that I can find at Petsmart. Is Nutros supposed to be better? I know we fed that to a past cat, but switched to Iams at some point after she died and we got our present cats (don't remember why we switched - whether it was easier to find or recommended by someone). Also, my cats have always pretty much shunned wet food. The times I have offered it, they take a couple of bites and that's it - so I stopped trying because the food just went to waste. One of my cats lived at a rescue for the better part of a year before I got him and only had dry food there which may explain why that is what he likes, and the other one (the one with acne) I got as an older kitten, but she tends to be finicky and won't even take people food like fresh chicken when offered.

Petsmart where I live sells Blue Spa and it is a great food (IMO) it would be worth looking into if you are interested in trying another food.The price is also not bad and if you go to thier website you can compare thier food to what your currently feeding your cas! Good luck!
post #8 of 13
Some cats are just more prone to acne. My cat, Matilda, is like that. She has a white chin too so it's noticeable. Her acne started as black specks and then my vet shaved it to make it easier to clean, which aggrevated the hair follicles and the acne turned into full blown zits that stuck around for months. They were big and awful looking. She had to go on antibiotics. With just the black specks, try to keep them as minimal as possible by cleaning daily. Matilda will always have black specks in the corner of her mouth, but as long as I can keep her chin pain-free and mostly clear, I'm fine with it.

Dry food is very greasy (try putting some in a brown paper bag and see how long it takes before the oils show up).They spray dry food with fats to make it more appealing to our cats. That grease gets on your cats chin when it eats. If you can add more wet food to your cat's diet, it might help. I've also found that feeding dry food on really shallow bowls helps. The stainless steel thing is important too. Get rid of plastic dishes, plastic water fountains, plastic food mats, etc. No matter what you feed, try cleaning the cat's chin after meals.

About Iams...it's overpriced and not great. Any food you can buy at a grocery store (with few exceptions, now that higher end brands like Newman's Organics are showing up in grocery stores) is generally something to stay away from. You can find better food for the same price, or maybe even less. I'm in no way an expert on cat food, but what I know from this website is that (1) chicken as the first ingredient isn't bad, but the weight content is skewed because of water and so when you see it as the first ingredient, know that it's much further down the list in reality. Iams has chicken as the first ingredient but because of water content, the first ingredient isn't really chicken, it's chicken by-product meal. (2) Chicken By-product Meal isn't something I would feed my cats. Not everyone has a problem with by-products...do your own research on that one. (3) corn filler is bad! Iams uses a lot of corn and that's just not something cats need. The 3rd and 4th ingredient in Iams is corn. Bottom Line: You can do better than Iams. It's probably better than a lot of other grocery store brands, but it's not great. Check out these brands: Chicken Soup, Natural Balance, Nutro Natural, Authority (or for really premium brands, check out Innova, Evo, Wellness, Orijen, etc.)

Acne can be stress related for cats too. For that, you can try Rescue Remedy (they sell this at Whole Foods).
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I actually went to Petsmart yesterday and picked up a bag of Nutro Natural Choice Complete Care after talking with a couple of people there and reading some labels. I had fed Nutro Max Cat to a cat we had several years ago and now I can't remember why we switched (probably price combined with easy to find for where we were living). So I went back to the Nutro brand which I remember had a pretty good reputation and is easy to find where we live now - though I did notice Petsmart here has several of the foods people mention on these boards. Does anyone know if Max Cat dry is just as good as the other Nutro varieties? - it seems to be a little cheaper. I also picked up some canned Nutro to TRY and see if my cats will eat it. I hate to feed them wet if all they eat is 2 bites and then they're done with it - which is what usually happens. Livvy's acne is still pretty bad. I think I will have to take her to the vet for some antibiotics because I'm afraid she may be getting an infection on one side of her chin. The neosporin only seems to be helping minimally. She makes it worse by kicking at it. I'll hate it if she has to wear one of those e collars.
post #10 of 13
I don't know if she is spayed, that could also be a factor. When Flynn "hit puberty" he developed chin acne and stud tail, which went away on its own after we had him neutered.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yep, Livvy was spayed at 6 months old. She is 4 years old now. She also has a history of being prone to infections when she gets minor injuries and is deathly allergic to the feline leukemia shot. I think she just has a wacky immune system (she is FIV negative - we tested her). Normally she is healthy, but seems not to be able to fight things off like my other cat. That's why I wondered if it was an allergic reaction to something since she is the only cat we've ever had with acne. We will be going to the vet as soon as I can get her an appointment since it doesnt' seem to be going away with the home care I've been giving.
post #12 of 13
Don't give up on wet foods. When my Stumpy had to have all his teeth pulled and switched to wet food, I bought just about every variety of canned food in Petsmart and Petco and tried out every last one on him until we found a few varieties that he did like.

If Livvy has a wacky immune system, you might also want to try to natural immune boosters. Some people use L-Lysine (you can mix it in the food or even their water). Perhaps others can weight in on other examples.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I didn't actually have to take her in to the vet. I called and they told me to just pick up some oral antibiotics and some special cleansing wipes to use on her chin. Hopefully this will clear things up.
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