Who's your cat's derm?" only sounds like a question you might get from the kind of woman who'd leave $13 million to her pet; in reality, the field of veterinary dermatology is far from frivolous (not just because it requires an additional four years of training after finishing vet school) and deals with many of the same issues that plague humans — one being acne, which commonly affects cats.
"Dogs don't really get 'acne,' per se," says Andrew Rosenberg, DVM, DACVD, at Riverdale Veterinary Dermatology, who explains that what may look like a breakout is more likely folliculitis, or inflammation of the hair follicles. Felines, on the other hand, do, and Rosenberg says that their blackheads and pustular whiteheads typically appear in the places we can all agree are the absolute worst: on the chin and lips.
"Acne can affect cats of any age or breed or gender," says Heather Peikes, VMD, Dipl. ACVD, at All Paws Dermatology and Allergy, who notes that it can be caused by poor exfoliation, stress, viruses, allergies, and poor grooming (so, same as humans) and also the use of plastic bowls. The first step to clearing up a breakout is easy, she says: Clean your kitty's food and water bowls often, and make sure they're stainless steel or glass.
If that doesn't do the trick, both Rosenberg and Peikes suggest pet-friendly medicated wipes (yep, pets get their own acne pads, too) before moving on to more powerful antibiotics or steroids. You can even give them a squirt of your own 2.5% (or less) benzoyl peroxide cream or retinoid, but make sure to consult your pet's doctor first, as they can be irritating. Perhaps most importantly, always apply the golden rule of human acne to your little companion: Thou shalt not squeeze or pick thy pimples.