Scrubby has a ridiculous case of acne. It was so bad that we had to make an appointment with our vet, a woman with a combined DVM/PhD degree, to give him a facial.

My vet shaved Scrubby’s chin, applied a hot compress, and squeezed the hell out of his zits. She also prescribed an antibiotic and a steroid that we administered over seven days. The whole thing ran me $75. I could have had a facial.

Since that time, I have removed all remaining plastic bowls. (We only had this semi-plastic waterer in regular use, but it’s still plastic.) We started using less harsh dishwashing detergent. And I created an esthetician’s suite where I am washing his chin, nightly, with Cetaphil and Neutrogena.

He still has acne.

I googled “feline acne” and “chin acne” and “steroids” and “harsh dishwashing detergent” and found my way onto several bodybuilder websites where I learned that people on steroids fight “body acne” by applying a paste of Cascade dishwashing detergent right before going into a tanning booth.

Holy. Shit.

This reminds me of the time, years ago, when I wrote a semi-anonymous advice column. A young woman asked if semen could cure bacne.

I don’t know what prompted this person to ask a blogger for advice; however, that article BLEW UP because lots of people have bacne and search for a cure.

So I’m not freaking out about the Cascade/tanning approach because I know that people are desperate and severe acne has been linked to depression. I am simply telling you that nothing good comes from taking steroids or tanning.

(Not that anyone will listen to me. But I know something about losing collagen in my skin. I am 39. I can feel the impact of sun — both real and artificial — on my face and body.)

In Scrubby’s case, we are going to continue the nightly facials and skip the tanning booth. He is a pale and freckled ginger cat. He would fry under the UV light.


  1. Getting rid of the plastic bowls and regularly cleaning the rim of the other food bowls seems to help over time. We haven’t had a cat with chin acne lately, but that’s probably because we have all metal and ceramic dishes these days.

  2. Please post pics. I normally wouldn’t want to see pictures of pimples… but I am literally on the edge of my seat.

  3. As a gingerish female with pale skin, I share Scrubby’s troubles.

    I don’t know how well it works on cats, but I actually use Dr. Smith’s cream for my own human acne issues and it helps. Not sure if it just soothes the itch and irritation and makes it look better, or if it’s actually helping with the acne, but I figure if it’s safe enough to use on a baby with sensitive skin and irritation, it might not hurt to try.

    Fortunately, Fisi does not have acne. She just has the teenage attitude instead.

  4. We just went through this with Sam recently, and then it spread to Lucy. The culprit turned out to be a new water bowl — we got rid of it, and it cleared up. It did take a couple of weeks though, and Sam still has one major scab under his chin from it. It might just need some time to work its way out of his body!

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