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About a week and a half ago we noticed that our 8 month old kitten, Cody, had a lot of black spots on his chin. He is all white, and there were so many black spots that it looked like the fur on his bottom jaw was actually grey, not white. I've never had a cat with acne before, but have heard people mention it. I called the rescue where I adopted Cody from and described what it looked like to her, and she said it's most likely just acne, but that I should take him to my vet for a check up just in case.

I took him to the vet 1 week ago today. My vet confirmed that it is acne, and although there is a lot of it (it covers his entire bottom jaw) that it is considered a mild case because it's not really scabby or infected looking. She gave me some soap (I don't remember what she said it was called, and she didn't give me a formal prescription for it, just put it in a smaller bottle with Cody's name on it). She said to wash his chin with this soap and a washcloth once a day.

I have been washing his chin daily, and immediately after I wash it, it looks great, there isn't much noticeable acne other than right along his lips, and his chin/bottom jaw look white again. But by the next day when I go to wash it, his chin is grey again and there's just as many black spots as there were before I took him to the vet. Is this normal? I don't want to wash his chin more than once a day because the skin looks all red and irritated after I'm done. Also, when I'm washing his face some of the "gunk" comes out, which I know is what I want, but it's these massive pieces! It looks like huge flakes, like flaked fish food or something. And they look red instead of black. As I've said earlier, I've never dealt with this before so I'm just wondering if this is normal as well?

I use stainless steel dishes for their dry food and water, and ceramic dishes for their wet food. The ceramic dishes are washed daily, and the stainless steel ones are washed every 2 or 3 days.

Cody is a face rubber. He's the happiest little cat and when he sees people he gets all excited and turns into this little ball of purr and rubs his face on the furniture, on the floor, on your legs, on the wall, on the fridge....you get the idea. I've read that face rubbing could be a contributing factor in the acne.

I feel like the most horrible cat mom in the world saying this, but we have no idea how long he's had the acne. We cuddle with him every day, hold him every day, but for some reason we didn't notice the acne until recently. Cody was eating Acana grain free dry food since I adopted him last October, but about 1.5 months ago I switched them all to Solid Gold Indigo Moon (which is a grain and gluten free dry food). Could this be part of the problem?

I guess what I'm trying to say with all of this is: 1) when cats have an acne break out, how long does it usually last? 2) am I doing things correctly, is there something more I should be doing? 3) does his break out sound "normal"?

Thanks in advance for any information/advice :)
 

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I had a girl who had feline acne from time to time over her 17 years. She was cream colored and of course it was very noticeable. If she'd been black I may not have noticed it at all! At times it would clear up, and then she would get outbreaks that seemed to last for weeks. Yes I had special soap, and creams, but none of them really seem to make that much difference. Sometime I thought it might be related to stress. At its worst, it can get infected and that what sounds like is happening with Cody's chin. You should tell the vet that it's worse after washing with the soap, you may need an antibiotic cream or something now. I never really found anything that cured it completely with my cat. That's my experience, but this was quite a number of years ago, and maybe now there's some medication that new?
 

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I don't get any gunk when I wash Opie's chin (he's had it for over a year) but it always looks red and irritated afterward, and it does come back amazingly fast.
 

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Success! :)

I spoke with my vet and she recommended a different way to wash his chin. She said to wet his chin using a facecloth, then apply a small amount of the scrub she gave me and gently rub it in with my fingers. Then run my fingers through his fur as if I'm scratching his chin but with only very light pressure. I did that and voila! The sebum (fancy term for gunk) that was blocking his pores came out much easier, Cody didn't mind it, and best of all, no irritation! She said the red I was seeing was from the sebum.

His chin looks a lot better now, he only has a few spots of acne left and they're so minimal I only need to wash his chin every other day.
 
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