Cute little cat noses – who doesn’t love them? Nothing can feel cuter than a kitten rubbing his face against you nose first. As with humans, some of the cat’s body functions can vary from person to person. This applies to the cat’s nose. Some people think an overly dry or wet cat’s nose suggests an illness – but that’s a myth.
You see, some cats naturally have drier noses than others, and most cats’ nasal temperatures and moisture levels vary throughout the day. Therefore, one of the best ways for us humans to decide whether or not to worry is to know what “nose condition” is normal for our kittens.
Why are cat noses wet?
The skin around the nostril openings is called the rhinarium, and the sweat glands on the rhinarium create moisture. The inner tear duct also creates drainage that helps keep your nose wet. Humans sweat to regulate our body temperature, and a cat can use the moisture in their nose – through evaporation – to achieve the same result.
Cats are demanding snow groomers and automatically give the nose a layer of moisture by licking. Saliva can dry out quickly, but it’s one of the reasons for a wet cat’s nose.
A damp cat’s nose can also be caused by something else simple – the water bowl. A still bowl of clean, clear water can make it difficult for some cats to determine the depth of the liquid. While he is having a drink, Kitty may accidentally dip his muzzle in the bowl, leaving a tell-tale wet nose.
A wet cat’s nose versus a dry cat’s nose
A dry cat’s nose is just as common as a wet cat’s nose and is usually not a cause for concern. Spending a large amount of their time in direct sunlight can lead to a dry nose. This happens to us humans when sunbathing our skin! A dry cat’s nose can also show up if a cat spends a lot of time near a non-solar heat source, such as a fireplace or heater vent.
What else could a wet cat’s nose affect compared to a dry cat’s nose?
The moisture content of a nose is also influenced by the humidity in the air. This is especially true in many places during the winter months.
The main reason a cat has an overly dry or cracked nasal skin is dehydration, which is caused by decreased water intake or increased fluid loss. See your veterinarian if you think your cat is dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration in cats include:
When is a wet cat’s nose a cause for concern and how do we treat it?
Cat expert and certified veterinary journalist Ingrid King says, “Even if people seem to believe that a wet nose is a sign of health [and] A dry, warm nose is a sign of illness, that’s actually not true. Cats’ body temperature is naturally higher than that of humans, so a cat feels warm most of the time. “
“Depending on the cat’s activity, a cat’s nose can switch back and forth between wet and dry several times a day,” Ingrid continues. “Has your cat just eaten or groomed itself? Your nose will be wet. Has it been in the sun or is the air in your house extremely dry? Your nose will be dry. Your cat’s nose is only an indicator of its health if you notice something unusual, such as: B. peeling skin, lumps and bumps, or a runny nose. “
Is it a wet nose – or a runny nose?
A runny nose, unlike a wet cat’s nose, can be a concern and should be evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out diseases such as upper respiratory infections (URIs). A variety of bacterial and viral infections can cause URIs, including feline herpesvirus and feline chlamydial bacteria.
Common symptoms of URIs are:
- Excessive runny nose
- Sniffing and sneezing
- Watery, red eyes
- Bubbly, colored discharge from the nose
A runny nose can also indicate an allergy and, if the symptoms and daily environment are discussed thoroughly with a veterinarian, could be due to simple changes in diet, litter, or other environmental factors.
The last word on a wet cat’s nose
Again, a healthy cat’s nose will typically alternate between damp and dry states throughout the day. It is important to be aware of your cat’s “normal” to avoid deviations – whether it is a wet cat’s nose or something else. A sudden change in moisture levels with accompanying symptoms may indicate an illness and a veterinarian should investigate.
Thumbnail: Photography © Sparkle | iStock / Getty Images.