Categories: nose

Cat has a dry nose

I see that some cat owners are concerned that their cat’s nose is dry or they want to know if it is okay. They must mean that the nose leather (the tip of the nose) is dry. As my cat was on my lap I ran my finger over his nose leather and it was dry. I did it several times and he let me do it without complaint. He lets me handle him in this way which is nice of him. His nose leather has been like that for his entire life and he is approaching 7-years-of-age. I am thankful that my cat, Gabby, has always been healthy. May it last, God willing.

Cat’s nose leather is normally dry. Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay .

My conclusion (as expected) is that a healthy cat’s nose should be dry under normal conditions. However, the outside conditions will dictate whether a healthy cat’s nose is dry or damp. If it is cold outside there may be condensation on the tip of the nose as the warm air of the lungs meets the cold nose leather and condenses. This is completely normal and does not mean the cat is ill.

It is exactly the same for humans. When we go outside in the winter or early morning in the spring or fall for a walk we might have to dab our nose with a tissue as it drips a bit of water. If we are healthy with no signs of having a cold, this is condensation and not a sign of illness.

I can’t think of any other conclusion or anything more to say to reassure cat owners that their cat should be fine if their cat’s nose is dry. If a cat is unwell with a viral respiratory infection a cat’s nose will be wet because of a watery discharge from the eyes and nose which is a symptom of a cold or flu.

I think people are concerned that their cat’s nose is dry because they expect the default state should be slight damp. This is not strictly true. If the cat lives in a part of the world where for long periods the climate is cold and the cat is allowed outside, their nose may be damp for the reason described. But this is not necessarily the ‘correct’ or default state of affairs for the tip of the nose.

Without wishing to harp on there is no reason why a cat’s nose should be anything other than dry. There may be a tiny bit of moisture due to condensation because the air from the lungs is warm relative to the temperature of the nose leather which is similar to the temperature of the air temperature as it is an extremity of the body.

P.S. If the observation about a dry nose is a reference to the other part of the nose it is normal. You don’t expect a nose to be wet unless the cat has been outside and it was raining or the grass was wet.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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