Cat Freckles: Why Kitties Get Them And What It Means

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Just like humans, cats can get freckles, too. As many of you all know, Marmalade has these noticeable spots on his little lips. You might also notice these eye-catching spots are often found on cats’ noses, too. So, what’s up with those cute freckles our cats are sporting? Well, let’s dive into a little science behind it so that you can learn all about them.

What Are Cat Freckles Technically Called?

According to Ask the Cat Doctor, these dark spots can appear on your cat’s mouth, nose, inside of their ears, and on the edges of their eyelids. Essentially, any place that you see skin or mucous membranes on your cat there is a chance that freckles can appear.

This condition that causes the development of flat dark brown or black spots is known as lentigo simplex. The lentigines, plural for lentigo, often start small and grow as the cat ages.

In humans, we know that redheads are often sunkissed with freckles. And those ginger “redhead” cats are similar when it comes to feline genetics. Because of this scientific evidence, this is why ginger cats are more prone to the development of cat freckles.

While most common in ginger tabbies, cat freckles are somewhat common for calico and tortoiseshell cats, as well as flame point cats due to the orange chromosomes in their genetic makeup. The cat freckles usually appear first on the lips before spreading to other areas of the body. In some cases, these spots can even appear on the pads of the feet.

Interesting cat freckles fact: unlike humans, sun exposure does not increase your cat’s chances of developing freckles.

Should I Worry About These Spots On My Feline Friend?

We want to stress that this condition is not a cause for concern. As cat owners, we know that it’s our duty to keep a watchful eye on our cats’ gums, mouth, and teeth. And obviously the presence of the cat freckles might make our minds feel as if a red flag is going off. But thankfully, this is a need not worry situation when it comes to our feline friends. Often the lentigines will start slowly spreading in the area where they are originally spotted.

But these flat black or brown spots on your cat are completely harmless. The reason that they occur is due to the increased number of epidermal melanocytes. These pigment-producing cells result in hyperpigmentation and gift us cat owners with those cute freckled kitties. Lentigo simplex is strictly a cosmetic condition with no treatment necessary.

My Maine Coon mix, Mr. Purple, has several cat freckles, from his eyelids to his mouth. He came into my life when he was about one, and I’ve noticed that in the past 2-3 years, he’s slowly started to develop more lentigines. He is now nearly 8 years of age, and as you can see in the image below he has many cat freckles. My younger ginger tabby, Tom, just recently developed a freckle on his nose that I joke is his Marilyn Monroe freckle.

Should your kitty have flat black or brown lentigines that are not raised, there is no need to worry. If you ever happen to notice a spot like this that is raised up from the body, then this is something you should discuss with your veterinarian.

Kitty freckles fact: these spots on your kitty are a telltale sign of aging and often appear once a cat has reached at least a few years of age.

Did you learn anything new and interesting about our feline friends? And if you happen to have a kitty who sports cat freckles, share with us! We’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Our beloved angel Nicolas developed these as he aged. He was a cream (buff, beige, yellow) tabbyman with a white undercoat. The freckles made him look very distinguished, as befits a king of cats.

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Written by Modi Ramos

Crazy cat lady since birth and lover of all things feline. Owner of CattitudeDaily and former Editor of iHeartCats. Meow!

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