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Acne, Cats, & Stress of Annoying Little Brother

Feline Acne

Good Medication & Healthy Management


We took in a stray kitten who is now 5 months old. Topper, my male cat of 10 years wanted nothing to do with him and hisses and growls. A month ago, Topper broke out with a bad case of blackheads. We cleaned him with hydrogen peroxide and it got worse and so did his aggression. His chin is now nearly hairless, bumpy and oozing. He got a shot of Metacam and Convenia. Since then he rubs his chin vigorously. We’re sure stress triggers the acne. The kitten is in the stalking, jumping phase and we think we have to let the little one go if we can’t get Topper’s chin to heal.

Dr. Nichol:

It’s common for indoor cats, with their limited social exposure, to react with territorial or fear-based aggression when a feline juvenile delinquent is thrust into their lives. Being used as a punching bag is hard on Topper. His diminished immune response has led to that miserable acne on his chin. He feels bad and he looks bad-as if middle school weren’t already difficult.

Topper may be facing a resistant infection called MRSP. According to veterinary skin specialist Dr. Rebecca Mount of Dermatology for Animals this kitty needs a bacterial culture.  In addition to a carefully chosen oral antibiotic she recommends benzoyl peroxide for flushing of Topper’s hair follicles. Avoid hydrogen peroxide. It’s damaging to tissues.

For that young whipper snapper to stop treating Topper like a surrogate rodent the kid’s primal needs for stalking, hunting, and general mayhem should be carried out in a wonderland of feline amusements you can add to your home. The list of Environmental Enrichments is on my web site,

The long suffering Topper needs a break. Provide hide boxes where he can climb up high and disappear plus a safe room that knucklehead won’t invade. An indoor avoidance shield from Invisible Fence will send that scallywag an annoying static electricity message if he dares approach Topper’s private lair.

Please don’t rehome this kid; more serious behavior disorders could dog this cat. Even if he and Topper never join paws in singing kumbaya at least they can coexist.


Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video or podcast to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.