My cat has a swollen lower lip. What is the cause and is there anything I can try at home to treat it?

Original Question: My kitten has had a swollen lower lip for about 5 days now. It has gotten slowly bigger and redder than the first day I noticed it. I am a student and can't afford the very expensive vet bills! They want $125 just to examine her. I have read that it could be allergy related. Would giving her 2 ml of liquid Benadryl help? Should I be doing something else? Her demeanour is the same, still playful and feisty. She is still eating and doesn’t appear to be in pain. - Carmela

My cat has a swollen lower lip. What is the cause and is there anything I can try at home to treat it? Aug 4, 2018

Hi Carmela,

Sorry to hear that you’re dealing with this.

I appreciate you sending along the picture but I won’t be able to make a firm diagnosis from it. Only your veterinarian can do that which starts with a physical examination and consultation. I suggest you start with that and let them provide you with treatment options. Due to licensing regulations, we also not able to provide advice on any kind of drug or dosage. It would irresponsible to do so and may cause harm no matter how simple and safe you may think the medication is. However, there are a few concepts I can share with you.

When cats develop a lower lip swelling, you are right about one possibility which is allergies. This can be a cause and often we don’t find the actual inciting item that they are sensitive to. It could be long gone now such as a spider bite or mosquito bite. Another common cause of swelling in the lower lip of cats is chin acne. This is a common disease and although it sounds trivial, it can be quite irritating and insidious. Cats can get bacterial infections of the chin which causes swelling and discomfort. You can often find papules and pustules (pimples) in the area. These conditions can also occur in combination. The area can be inflamed from allergies and then an opportunistic infection can develop because the right conditions could be present to support it. The two issues are the common causes and to combat them you can clean the chin daily if infected with antibacterial soap, dry it thoroughly, and apply an antibacterial ointment. If it is an allergic reaction you can consider changing the food and water bowl to a different material, wait out the reaction or see your veterinarian about a treatment trial on a medication to calm the reaction.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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