Why Do Cats Have Black Lips – Is This Normal?


While there are many coat types and colors, your cat’s other features are usually more predictable. They’ll have yellow, green, or rarely blue eyes, they’ll have a pink tongue and lips, and their paw pads range from white to pink to brown or black. But what about cats that have black lips? Is something wrong? Are black lips a cause for concern? Why do cats have black lips?

Cats have black lips as a regular part of their coloration. Some cats, particularly orange cats, black cats, and calico cats, are born with black lips. In other cases, your cat might have Lentigo.

Don’t worry if you notice that your cat’s lips are a little darker than usual. The vast majority of the time, it’s perfectly normal and healthy for your cat to have that coloration. 

Why Do Some Cats Have Black Lips

Black lips are a genetic trait like any other. They’re a slightly rarer color than some alternatives, but your cat’s darker lips mean that they have a little more melanin in or around their mouths. 

Black lips seem to be more common in cats with specific fur colors. It’s most noticeable on cats with orange fur since the black lips stand out in an orange face. However, gray cats have also been reported with entirely black lips, along with calico cats, tortoiseshell cats, and a lot of other colors. 

Like melanistic Bengal cats, some animals may also have been bred in a way that encourages melanin production, which makes black lips more likely. 

While black lips are usually entirely regular, sudden changes in your cat’s lip color can still be a reason for concern.

If your cat’s lips were pink and suddenly turn completely black, it may be time to call your vet. Also, look for inflammation, decreased appetite or dehydration, and any discharge or unusual smells since these can all be signs that something medical is affecting your cat’s lips. 

If you’re worried about your cat’s lip color, your vet should be able to tell if you need an appointment or if you can monitor your cat at home. 

Why Is My Cats Bottom Lip Black

Over time it’s typical for the pigment in your cat’s body to shift and change slightly. Most of the time, pet owners won’t even notice the changes in their cat’s color or coat pattern because they happen slowly. Your cat’s bottom lip can also get darker as a part of that process. 

Most vets agree that changes in your cat’s lip over time aren’t a cause for concern. However, it’s still something to keep an eye on if your cat shows any other signs of illness or has a sudden behavior change at the same time. 

Generally, a black lower lip is perfectly fine. However, if the black color is bumpy, you see any discharge, or your cat seems unusually protective of their face or lips, it may be time to take them to the vet. 

Is It Normal For The Roof Of A Cat’s Mouth To Be Black

It’s perfectly normal for black cats, or cats with a high percentage of black fur in the case of calicos, to have black gums and a black roof of their mouth.

Orange cats can also have Lentigo, which can cause black spotting that might even be thick enough to look all black. Both conditions are normal and nothing to worry about. 

However, if your cat’s gums are white, yellowish, bluish, or any color other than pink or black, that might be a cause for concern. White gums can be a sign of anemia. Yellow gums often indicate liver problems, and bluish gums may mean that your cat isn’t getting enough oxygen. 

If you see any of those colors, it’s essential to contact your vet right away. 

What Is Cat Lentigo

Cat Lentigo is a harmless skin condition that causes small black spots to appear on their skin, gums, and even around their eyes and nose. Also called lentigo simplex, these black spots are no reason for concern as long as they are flat and the same texture as the surrounding skin. 

Think of these spots as the cat equivalent of freckles. Your cat will likely develop a few more spots over time, and spots can sometimes appear suddenly. Some cats will have many lentigo spots, and other cats will only even have one or two. 

Unlike freckles, sun exposure doesn’t seem to be a direct contributor. Your cat is likely just pre-disposed to these little spots; it doesn’t have anything to do with your care or your cat’s environment. 

What Does Lentigo Look Like

Lentigo is usually pretty easy to spot, as long as it isn’t on the inside of your cat’s mouth. It appears as small, usually round, dark spots on your cat’s skin.

The spots can range in size from barely visible to a pinhead or a small bead. In some cases, spots might appear next to each other and look even larger. 

These dark spots are usually fairly dark black, not brown. Lentigo spots should also be flat and the same texture as the surrounding skin. If your cat’s lentigo spots appear raised, or wetter, or drier than the surrounding skin, then it may be a different issue, and you should contact a vet. 

Is Lentigo In Cats Bad

Nope. Lentigo is perfectly normal for cats. Not all cats will ever have Lentigo, but you shouldn’t worry too much if you’re lucky enough to get a cat with natural freckles. 

Why Does My Cat Have A Black Spot On The Roof Of His Mouth

Most of the time, black spots on the top of your cat’s mouth or anywhere else in their mouth are just a regular part of your cat’s pigmentation.

But, if you see sudden changes in the pigmentation in the roof of your cat’s mouth or around their gums, you might want to contact a vet just in case. 

It’s also important to watch and make sure the black color isn’t appearing around your cat’s teeth, especially if they haven’t had dental work in a while.

Black pigmentation should also be flat and the same texture as the rest of the skin in your cat’s mouth. A different texture or raised black bump can both be signs of trouble. 

What Is The Black Stuff Around A Cat’s Mouth

When it comes to black stuff around your cat’s mouth, there are several possible causes. If you want a definitive diagnosis, we’d recommend taking your cat to the vet. However, here are a few of the most common causes. 

In some cases, owners may think that Lentigo is something stuck to your cat’s mouth. The pigmentation won’t rub off or shift, which can be one of the first significant clues that your cat has Lentigo. 

Your cat might also have some feline acne. Acne is prevalent in cats with plastic feeding bowls because the plastic harbors bacteria that cause acne. 

Food allergies can also sometimes cause a crusty, acne-like rash around your cat’s mouths. Your vet can likely suggest a new food or prescription allergy medication for your cat if they have a food allergy. 

What Does A Healthy Cat Mouth Look Like

A healthy cat’s mouth can be hard to assess, but there are a few promising signs to look for.

Your cat’s gums may be pink, black, or color somewhere in between, but they should always look plump and moist, with a bit of shine. The color should also be fairly consistent; sudden color changes can be a sign of medical problems. 

Your cat’s teeth should also be clean, with no visible tartar or only minimal tartar. 

Your cat’s tongue should also have plenty of barbs and is usually a bright pink color, even if your cat’s gums are black or brown. 

Excessive drooling, lots of tartar, swelling, dryness, or discoloration can all be signs that something is wrong. 

Final Thoughts

Skin and fur color changes over time are usually a regular part of your cat’s life. But, any sudden change in your cat’s coloring can be a cause for concern, especially if it comes with other symptoms at the same time. 

Lentigo isn’t the only skin pigment condition cats can have. Cats can also get Vitiligo, which is almost the opposite of Lentigo. Vitiligo causes a lack of melanin in patches of skin, and in cats, Vitiligo can also affect fur color. Usually, Vitiligo spreads gradually over time, turning your cat’s skin and fur white. 

On the other hand, Lentigo is usually limited to the skin, which means that you’re only likely to see lentigo places where your cat’s skin is visible.

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