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Why Are Cats Noses Wet – 5 Possible Reasons

Why Are Cats Noses Wet – 5 Possible Reasons

Should cats have moist noses? When you “boop” your healthy cat or kitten’s nose in the morning to start a snuggle session, you may find out that their cute nose is moist. But is a wet cat’s nose normal? Yes a cat’s nose should typically be wet rather than dry. But why are cat’s noses wet?

The wetness (or dryness) of a cat’s nose, in actuality, depends on many different things to be honest. But we’ll now check why this is normal, and when you need to be worried about your furry friend’s health.

Why Do Cats Have Wet Noses?

Gray cat's nose and mouth macro close-up

The sweat glands on the rhinarium, the hairless skin that encircles the nostril openings, are the primary source of the moisture produced by a cat’s nose.

Numerous environmental, physical, and health factors can cause a wet nose. It might be something as straightforward as moisture left over from grooming or something more complicated like an upper respiratory infection.

The occasional dryness of your cat’s nose is also possible and not cause for alarm. But, keep in mind that if some other behavioral or physical changes happen along with cat’s nose differences, you should go for a vet check-up.

1. Drinking

The majority of cats are meticulous drinkers and are very skilled at keeping their faces dry and clean while doing so.

When trying to drink, your cat might unintentionally dip their nose a little too far if the water level in their bowl is low. Although a wet nose of this kind usually doesn’t last long, it can cause excessive licking, which will keep it wet for a little while longer.

2. Environment

Blue eyed Cat looking at distance

The temperature and humidity in the area have a big impact on how wet your cat’s nose is. When it’s warm and humid outside, water vapor in the air that your cat exhales condenses, leaving the outside of the nose damp.

On the other hand, cold, dry air can actually rob the nose of its moisture, leading to a dry and possibly cracked nasal planum. Another way to dry out your nose and remove moisture from it is to lay in the hot sun or close to a heater.

3. Tears

The nasolacrimal duct allows excess fluid from tearing the cat’s eyes to drain from the eyelids and travel to the nose. Any time your cat is crying a lot, like when their eyes are itchy from allergies or an illness, the moisture descends and results in a wet nose.

The drainage from a cat’s tear ducts, in addition to the glands on the rhinarium, also contributes to the animal’s wet nose.

4. Licking

cute cat licking lips

A cat’s tongue can easily touch its nose, so any licking could potentially spread moisture up to the nose. Cats frequently groom themselves, which causes their noses to get pushed through wet fur and collect moisture as they lick themselves.

Cats can only sweat through the pads of their feet and cannot sweat anywhere else, so keeping their noses wet can help them stay cool in hot weather. To prevent overheating, people who lick their noses release moisture that will evaporate and help release some of their body heat.

Cats may be resetting their sense of smell by clearing off those entrapped scent particles when they lick their noses.

RELATED: Why Does My Cat Lick Everything?

5. Upper Respiratory Infections

Many different upper respiratory infections can affect cats. Those infections may manifest in coughing, sneezing and runny eyes or nose. A wet nose can result from any of these signs.

A Cat’s Heightened Sense Of Smell

Cat Smelling Grass Strands

A cat’s nose is much more complex than just its moisture content. The nose helps them as the entrance to your cat’s most crucial sense—smell.

The truth is that cats have a better sense of smell than dogs, despite the fact that you may have seen a dog follow a person or another animal while keeping its nose to the ground.

Cats have over 200 million scent receptors in their nasal cavity.  Thanks to them, they can recognize their favorite humans, other animals, locate their place of habit, and their prey. With just one quick whiff, they can also determine where you’ve been throughout the day.

Cats have a scent gland called the Jacobson’s Organ located above the roof of their mouths. They are able to do this because they breathe through their mouths, and occasionally they hold their mouths open slightly in a “sneer” to catch a good whiff of scent. This is known as the flehmen response.

Another important aspect of eating is smell. The smell of a cat’s food is much more important to cats than the taste because they have fewer taste buds than other animals. In order to unblock their sense of smell, cats that have upper respiratory issues may stop eating.

Do All Cats Have Wet Noses?

 cute Siberian cat looks out from behind furniture

Given that we just talked about the possibility that your cat’s nose might alternate between being wet and dry throughout the course of the day, it’s safe to assume that wild cats are not any different. 

When it’s warmer outside, their noses may be wetter, and when it’s colder outside, their noses may be drier.

It makes sense that wild cats would benefit from a sniffer that is more moist since having a wet nose can help regulate body temperature more than having a drier nose and some people even speculate that it can improve a cat’s ability to smell.

What Is The Fluid On A Cat’s Nose?

Most frequently, saliva from licking or tears that have dried from the eyes are the substances that cause your cat’s nose to become wet. If your cat is feeling unwell, it might also be snot. The nasal cavity’s secretions can cause a cat’s nose to become moist as well.

A cat’s nose assists in keeping them healthy and cleansing their body of potential allergens by gently flushing them out of the nasal cavity before they have a chance to penetrate deeply into the body.

What Does It Mean If A Cat’s Nose Is Dry?

Cute pink and freckled nose of a sleeping cat

The humidity in the air also has an impact on the moisture levels in the nose. This is especially true in many places during the winter.

Dehydration, brought on by decreased water intake or increased fluid loss, is the main reason you spot a dry cat nose. If your cat seems dehydrated, consult your veterinarian. Here are signs of dehydration you can see on your cat:


• Sunken eyes

• Lethargy

• Skin elasticity

• Dry mouth

• Panting

• Elevated heart rate

Loss of appetite

Is A Dry Cat Nose Alarming?

Generally speaking, your feline friend’s dry nose means nothing more than that they might have been standing under the ceiling fan or that the weather may be turning cold. So that shouldn’t be that much cause for concern.

When a dry nose is present along with other unsettling symptoms or behaviors like a fever, decreased appetite, or lethargy, it should raise some red flags.

Touching your cat’s nose or ears can help you determine their relative body temperature, so a dry, hot, or warm nose could be a sign of an illness or even heat stroke. If your cat exhibits any other odd symptoms or behaviors in addition to a dry nose, make sure to take them to the vet.

Simply pay closer attention to your cat’s unusual behaviors if you notice that their nose is suddenly dry so that you can spot anything that might seem a little strange or indicate some health condition.

Keep in mind that cat’s hairless noses can get sunburn and cause swelling, dryness, flaky skin and dryness.

What If My Cat’s Nose Is Overly Wet?

Fluffy gray cat tongue licking his nose

Your cat’s nose may become more or less wet throughout the course of the day. Unless there appear to be additional problems, don’t be alarmed. A runny or drippy nose may be a sign of allergies or an upper respiratory infection.

Pay attention to the drainage’s color. While clear drainage can indicate a viral infection or allergies, thick, colored drainage typically indicates a bacterial infection. Most frequently, these illnesses also include runny eyes, coughing, and sneezing.

Lethargy, a loss of appetite, and a fever are frequently other symptoms. Visit your veterinarian right away if your cat’s runny nose is accompanied by any other symptoms or behavioral changes.

Is My Cat Sick?

Conversely, your cat’s nose temperature and moisture are not accurate indicators of whether it is ill. Instead, focus on actions and behaviors like lack of appetite, drowsiness, increased thirst, gastrointestinal distress, or increased vocalization.

However, if your cat’s nose suddenly becomes warmer and drier than usual and remains that way, along with other symptoms, it may point to a fever or dehydration. Due to cats’ notoriously poor drinking habits, it’s crucial to watch for signs of dehydration.

A wet nose that is dripping wet in fact, on the other hand, can cause some issues. If your cat’s nose is wetter than usual, it could be due to a discharge caused by a respiratory infection, allergies, or other health problems.

Wheezing or congestion may accompany this. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian to schedule an examination.

See Also: 4 Causes Why A Cat Sounds Congested But No Discharge

Why Are Cat Noses So Interesting?

cat peeking out from under blanket

If the fact that cats have an improved sense of smell compared to dogs wasn’t intriguing enough, perhaps the following additional nose trivia will:

• Like human fingerprints, each cat has a unique nose print that is special to that cat. Identification of nose prints is not currently possible, but it might be in the future!

• The hue of your cat’s skin has an impact on the color of their nose. Cats with lighter coats and noses complement each other.

• Your cat’s nostrils have slits on the underside where air exits and enters through the front, round portions. They are better able to pinpoint a scent’s source thanks to this process.

Wrapping It Up

Why are cat’s noses wet? You won’t have to wonder why your cat’s tiny nose is wet and cold the next time you give it a “boop.” A cat’s nose can benefit from a little moisture to improve their sense of smell as well as control their body temperature on hotter days.

Although nose moisture and coolness are standard, a dry or warm nose does not always indicate a health issue. The moisture content of a cat’s nose can fluctuate throughout the day, so don’t be concerned if your finger is met with a dry one rather than a wet one.

Knowing your cat’s typical behaviors will enable you to decide whether or not a particularly wet or dry nose is something you should worry about.

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