UMass Extension Vegetable Program

Tomato Cat Facing

Cat-facing is a physiological disorder of tomatoes. Cat-face originates in the early stages of flower bud development and is the result of abnormal development of plant tissue between the style and ovary which results in misshapen fruit. Other impediments to flower bud development can also result in cat-facing. The syndrome is related to unfavorable growing conditions, in particular several days below 60 F when the plants are young. High levels of soil nitrogen and excessive pruning aggravate the problem. Accidental exposure to phenoxy herbicides can also lead to malformed fruit. Cat face is more prevalent on large-fruited, fresh market tomato varieties. Good growing practices, especially temperature control, should be followed in greenhouse production of field transplants. Excess nitrogen, aggressive pruning, and accidental exposure to hormonal herbicides should be avoided.

MB Dicklow Updated 11/2010