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Kitty acne and sunburn:

  • Cats can get acne! The most common cause is the cat's failure to clean its chin properly.
  • Affected cats have blackheads on their chin and lower lip.
  • If there is swelling, pain, and itching, the blackheads could be infected and antibiotics needed. Consult your vet.
  • There is no particular treatment for the acne itself, other than cleaning the area with a mild benzoyl peroxide preparation (again, consult your vet).
  • The cat's forelegs should be checked. A leg injury might prevent the cat from properly cleaning its chin in the first place.
  • Cats without protective pigmentation can get sunburned. The affected areas are usually the ear tips and the nose.
  • White cats are especially susceptible. Even cats with just white ear tips or a white nose can get sunburned.
  • Initially, there is a mild reddening of the ears and/or nose area. The eyelids and lips can also be affected.
  • But the condition can worsen -- leading to balding, scaling, and the development of pus. The ears can even curl.
  • Such lesions are at their worst in summer, and can disappear in winter. But if they return, they will become progressively worse.
  • These lesions can turn into skin cancer.
  • Prevention, or treatment before cancer develops, consists of limiting exposure to the sun, and the application of protective agents (see your vet).

Source: The Reader's Digest Illustrated Book of Cats, The Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd., Montreal, 1992, p. 172.