Black Spots (Lentigo) on Cat Gums, Nose and Eyelids

At a glance

  • Also called: Age spots, liver spots, orange cat lentigo.
  • About: Also known as lentigo, areas of hyperpigmentation develop on the lips, gums and eye rims.
  • Symptoms: Flat, black spots on the eyelids, gums and lips of ginger, tortie and calico cats are common, they are the feline equivalent of freckles.
  • Treatment: No medical treatment is necessary for this condition.

What are the black spots on a cat’s gums, lips and nose?

Lentigo is the name of a common condition in which flat, brown or black spots appear on mucocutaneous junctions of the face (gums, lips, nose and eye margins) of orange, tortoiseshell, calico, yellow, flame (red) point cats. It is the result of an increase in the number of epidermal melanocytes – pigment-producing cells – which causes hyperpigmentation. 

Black areas of pigmentation first appear on the lips, and later lesions can develop on the eyelids, gums, and nose. Lesions start small and become more widespread as the cat ages.

The presence of lentigo is completely normal and harmless, however, any changes to the skin and mucous membranes must be evaluated by a veterinarian to differentiate them from melanoma, which is a cancer of the melanocytes. 


Black spots on cat nose
Image Alegro Studio, Shutterstock
  • Single (lentigo) or multiple (lentigines) flat brown/black lesions with a clear and defined border. The skin or mucosa surrounding the area is normal. Lesions start small and increase in size often merging to create larger areas of black pigmentation.
  • Most cats have a single or a handful of lesions (lentigo simplex), others may have a significant number of lesions (lentigo profusa).


Freckles are associated with sun exposure in humans; however, the cause of lentigo is unknown in cats.


Lentigo is a benign condition, and most veterinarians can diagnose it based on presenting symptoms. In some cases, the veterinarian may recommend a biopsy with a fine needle for microscopic evaluation.


Lentigo is a cosmetic condition only and requires no medical treatment. 

Black spots on the lips and chin of cats

Feline acne

Image © Dianne, Flickr

Feline acne is a common skin disorder characterised by the presence of black comedones (blackheads) predominantly on the chin but can also develop on the lips.

I have already covered this topic in detail here, so won’t go over it again. Acne can range from mild, as in the cat below to severe. Severe acne can become inflamed and progress to open sores on the chin, which will need treatment with antibiotics and medicated shampoos.

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Related article on Cat World:

Cat’s Nose With New Bump, Lump or Scab


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio

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