Cats Dry Nose Illness

dry nose illness

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats
As you look at your cats dry nose, illness and paying a visit to the veterinarian are some of the first things you may first think of. When an owner becomes familiar with the ideal cat nose condition and the most common nose illness symptoms, it is much easier to keep an eye on the overall health of a feline.

The appearance and function of a cat nose changes from time to time with some of the instances requiring immediate medical attention. In the end, depending on many different factors, a cats dry nose may indicate nothing at all.

Ideal Cat Nose Conditions

It is quite normal to find the nose of a cat dry or moist, as the sweat glands of a feline play an important role in its overall appearance and temperature. Owners should know that at any moment, the sweat glands can become active or inactive.

A dry nose tends to feel warm, which many owners often misinterpret as a fever. Cats with a normal body temperature can display a warm dry nose. However, cats with both a warm nose and ears are most likely suffering a fever. Paying attention to your cat is a good way to access the concern of a dry nose. When a feline is acting as they normally would, a cats dry nose shouldn’t immediately suggest illness. An assortment of factors can contribute, including a dry climate. A sign that cats dry nose is cause for concern is the presence of dry, tacky gums, which is also an indication of dehydration.

When a cat’s nose is moist, this too is quite normal as the nasal region can appear moist to various degrees. However, when the nose becomes very wet (especially with heavy nasal discharge) – you may take your cat to the veterinarian to rule out a respiratory infection. A cat’s natural grooming habits and licking may also cause the nose to become moist and feel cool, which is a direct result of moisture evaporation.

When a small amount of clear nasal discharge comes out of your cat’s nostrils (visible at the exit point), this is also a normal occurrence. Yet, an increase in this nasal discharge is usually an indication of an infection, irritation, or inflammation. Overall, it is important to note that the temperature and level of moisture of a cats nose is not always the best way to gauge feline health.

Common Symptoms of Nasal or Sinus Disease

While sneezing and nasal discharge are the most common symptoms of nasal and sinus disease, there are many other signs that indicate an issue with your cat. He or she may rub their nose or paw at their face. A cats dry nose is sometimes a result of excessive rubbing. Blood may flow from one or both nostrils. The mouth or nose may emit an unpleasant smell. When post-nasal drip is present, a cat may excessively swallow. Over the bridge of the nose, you may notice swelling. Additional signs and symptoms include gagging, pain, noisy breathing, loss of appetite, weight loss, and diminished energy.

Typical Cat Nasal Problems

To get an idea of some of the nose illness issues a cat owner may come in contact with, consider the following common feline nasal concerns:

Nasal Discharge: Cats may experience nasal discharge when faced with various illnesses. It is not uncommon to see clear, cloudy, or bloody discharge. A cat with clear nasal discharge is usually suffering a response to an allergy or sometimes a mild viral infection. When an infection is more severe, cloudy discharges appear when bacteria or a virus is present. Blood found in cat discharge is a sign that a foreign body is lodged in the nose, tumors, serious inflammation, or trauma.

Nasal Congestion and Sneezing: When the nasal passages become congested, cats may display noisy breathing. One of the most common reflexes of the upper airways is sneezing, where irritating material and substances in the nasal cavity triggers this type of explosive response. It is quite normal for a cat to sneeze, but when it becomes a chronic, severe, or persistent problem – medical attention becomes necessary. When sneezing is accompanied by nasal discharge, a more serious concern could be an underlying issue.

Growths: Cats can sometimes suffer growths on their noses. In white-colored cats, sunburn can strike the nose where a form of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma may develop.

Injury: Cats may undergo an injury of the nose when they are involved in an accident or a fight with another cat. This is a common occurrence seen between quarreling male cats.

Cat Flu (Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Disease): This viral infection is a common cat disease that can turn into a life-threatening matter. Severe sneezing may affect a feline with cat flu, which can produce bloody discharge if a small blood vessel in the region becomes ruptured. Additional nose illness symptoms of cat flu include an inflammation of the lining of the eyes (conjunctivitis), eye discharge, fever, loss of appetite, and depression. Usually, this medical concern in cats is seen in kittens, elderly felines, or those with a suppressed immune system.

Chronic Nasal Disease: Cats with chronic viral nasal disease are suffering from one of two viruses that attack the upper-respiratory tract. Affecting cats with dry nose and illness, owners are often unaware how contagious feline rhinotracheitis virus (FVR) and feline calici virus (FCV) really are. Cats with chronic viral nasal disease may experience sneezing, nasal bleeding, bilateral nasal discharge (both nostrils), eye discharge, and increased breathing noises. Bleeding associated with the viral disease is slight and when it becomes a more extreme symptom, the possibility of a tumor is high.

While many owners feel that cats dry nose and illness go hand and hand, this is not always the case. The best defense against serious nasal and sinus problems is to learn the signs and symptoms that indicate a need for further attention and action.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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33 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi there. I am a very worried cat mom…..
    I have a 6 year old male cat who has had some strange things going on the last couple of months. First, a couple of months ago, he had a really runny eye, that mostly cleared up in a few days….it still may have slight discharge. Then he got sunken in white sores all over his black nose that also healed within a few days, but the white colour stayed. Now, a few weeks later, the sores on his nose are back. He is also shaking his head quite a bit, but other than that, eating, drinking, and acting normally. He is mainly an indoor cat unless he is camping with us on a harness. We have a dog too. Any thoughts on what the most likely cause may be?

  2. Jaquie says:

    My kittens nose had like a bald spot and shes getting one on her leg too it looks like a red rash should i take her to the vet??

    • Michael Broad says:

      Hi Jacqui, it’s hard to tell what the problem is from your brief comment. It may be something like ringworm but you can either (a) upload a picture or (b) see a vet, and the very best of luck.

  3. Raven says:

    My cat was at my grandma’s yesterday, she’s been there before but not with the pollen so high. She was loving the screen room my grandma has and stayed there all day. Early in the morning back at home she had a sneezing fit. Her nose is warmer than uaual and dry. I spent time with her in the screen room making sure she stayed out of trouble and she was fine all day. . I woke up with a sore, dry throat that’s a bit stuffed so I’m thinking my cat’s problem is allergy related. I just want to be sure she didn’t pick something up while there from the outside world.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Hi Raven, thanks for commenting. I’d watch her. If there are no more sneezing fits and she looks well then I’d say it was a temporary problem. It may be a feline hay fever as you suggest. But if not see a vet to be safe.

  4. Annette says:

    Both my cats were put on Amoxicillan due to URI’s, Dizzy , my male cat just wants to sleep all day & when he does get up to move its only because he has ALOT of drool coming out of his mouth & sneezing fits. He will eat (or I should say he will lick the liquid part of a can of their wet food) but he really wont drink anything. Is the wet food enough??… Kitty, my female cat is constantly sneezing & at some times she has clear fluid coming out her nose & other times her nose sounds so dry & Im worried she is having hard time breathing.. My question is, how long does it take for the Antibiotics to work & is that alone usually enough?? What can I do to help her with her nose?? I am so worried about them!! I love my cats dearly.. I dont have the money to make many more trips to vet. I am getting worried, please any suggestions you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Anette, please give me a little while to respond to your comment fully. There are articles on this website which may assist but I have got to remind myself where they are and also do a bit more research. I’m very sorry to hear of your predicament and I fully understand how you feel about your cats being ill. It is one of the most worrying things one can go through.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Hi Annette. This is a follow up comment. Firstly, wet food should be enough for liquid intake but they may benefit from a water intake bearing in mind their health. I used to give my cat boiled or microwaved frozen fish with a small amount of added water which always worked to get more fluid down her. Of course she liked fish but you get the idea.

      As for antibiotics, these do work within a few days and thereafter but your cats’ URIs are caused by a virus with a possible secondary bacterial infection. As you know antibiotics don’t work on viruses. It is up to the cats to cure themselves of the virus with their antibodies over time. The vet has decided to prescribe antibiotics as a precaution against a bacterial infection which may not exist. You vet knows best. I hope he/she is good.

      I also hope that they have straightforward URIs. Sometime a URI can be a symptom of an underlying illness. I expect the vet would have discussed that. Have blood tests been taken?

      If you click on this link you’ll see a list of articles which refer to “URI”. One may assist you.

      I feel for you and your worry. I have been through it myself. I wish you all the best. If you want to discuss the matter more please leave further comments.

      • katelyn says:

        HELP!! All three of my cats noses are so dry and bloody/crusty…one is worse than the rest….vet isnt open till monday! Omg what is this?!!!! should i clean It with anything? I dont want to hurt them…it looks painful. The only thing i have done is dabb vaseline on it to try and keep it from drying out and getting worse….but its not really helping…:(

        • Michael Broad says:

          Hi Katelyn, I think what you are doing is okay and then see the vet asap. Something very strange appears to have happened. How sudden was this development? If it was sudden it must an injury rather than a diseases of some sort. Check their behavior. Is there something in or around the home (if they are outside cats) which could have caused this? Have they pushed their noses into something? If the noses are bloody and this is sudden it must be an injury. If the development was slow it indicates a condition or disease but as all 3 have the same problem this tells me it is not a disease unless it is being transmitted between them. Sorry I can’t be of any more help and the best of luck.

  5. Donna says:

    I have a 10 year old siamese female cat. She is healthy but a week ago I noticed here black nose has a white crusty dry skin on it. Do you have any ideal what this could be? She is strickly an indoor cat.

  6. fernanda says:

    My 10 month old kittens nose is peeling and seems red and irritated, is this something that should go to the vet asap?

    • Michael Broad says:

      Hi Fernanda. I don’t know what kind of cat you have but this reminds me of Bengal Nose, a condition caused by an immune response, as far as we know. Yes, I would go to the vet. I’d also watch what he/she does. This may be a one-off incident caused by your cat pushing his/her nose against something. If that is, it’s good news because it should heal and the problem is fixed provided he/she doesn’t injure himself the same way again. But if the nose is irritated, to me, it indicates an allergy perhaps. These are harder to fix. Good luck.

  7. Janae Rocha says:

    My 11 year old cat is getting over a cold and is eating/drinking. My concern is that her nose is very rough and dry. It looks like a dry patch has formed where her fur was very soft before. Is this a part of her bad cold that will heal in time?

    • It seems you are referring to the top of her nose (dry patch where fur was) and the tip (what breeders call the nose leather). I am surprised there is a dry patch were the fur was. The only time I have seen this is with ringworm but don’t assume that your cat has ringworm. I am just thinking out aloud.

      The nose leather may be rough and dry.

      I’d watch and wait to see how things develop. It should clear up. If your cat is a Bengal cat purebred cat you might want to read this page:

  8. ginger says:

    as you may know my kitten max has been suffering fo months eith this condition well vet gave shot pills both antibiotic 1mo. then 1mo. prednisone yet nothing biopsy they dont know blood work healthy. anyway good news vet sent max to dermatoligist hes one of the best he said i dont know but lets try famciclovir for herpes i said again another thing. dr said ive only seen eyes affected not nose but worth a shot well day 4 his nose is no longer black hard flaky peeling crusty it is 90% BETTER NOSE IS PINK A LITTLE DRY EVERYTHING ELSE GONE SO please tell dr try famciclovir EVEN IF HE SAYS HERPES DOES NOT EFFECT THE NOSE WELL MY VET TRIED IT AND THANK GOD WHO OWE ALL TO THAT THE DR TRIED SOMETHING AS A SHOT IN THE DARK he even thought it would not work but it is. thank you all for listoning to me and my bad spelling please for kittys sake try it

  9. Crystal says:

    My ten year old male cat has been having major sinus problems. Eye discharge, nose, wheezy breathing. I have taken him to 4 different vets now with all such varying opinions. He’s been on a massive amount of steroids, lypotene, & now trying round 3 of antibiotics. Unless I am willing to pay $1200 to scope up his nose I have been given no hope. I love him more than anything, is there something else I can do as he has several symptoms listed above? Any info would be appreciated

    • Michael says:

      Hi Crystal. Sorry to hear of your cat’s sinusitis. It is uncomfortable. You may know what I am about to state. Sinusitis is usually caused by secondary bacterial infections on the back of a viral respiratory infection.

      Note: an abscessed tooth (top premolar) can lead to an abscessed frontal sinus.

      Another cause is fungal infections. Another cause is exposure to pigeons or the dust of pigeon excreta.

      What about food? Do you give him cows milk? I very much doubt that you do but if so please stop.

      You might try a change in diet. Best quality wet and some raw perhaps.

      If the cause is secondary infections from viral infections, why is he getting constant viral infections? I don’t think he is so the cause is possibly not a viral infection.

      Antibiotics don’t always work because the sinuses are hard to get at.

      I would focus on a fungal infection as the cause. Try and track it down – research these: cryptococcosis and aspergillosis. to see what comes up. Often the cause of an illness is the same for people and cats so don’t be put off by research about human sinusitis. Try and eliminate the cause of the fungus.

      The best of luck to you both.

  10. silva says:

    i don’t know what happened she was sneezing and all of a sudden her nose starts bleeding it bled for ten min then stopped but her nose looks very irretated

    • Michael says:

      Silvia, this is a viral infection and possibly a secondary bacterial infection (upper respiratory infection – URI) that has damaged the lining of the nose. This has to be a vet visit asap. Please.

  11. Renee says:

    My cat does not have a runny nose but is plugged up and breathes out of her mouth! the vet said it was sinusitis. Do you use a suction device and suck out whatever is in her nose? I am even giving her an IV everyday because she will not eat/drink. Pray for Lyla please whoever reads this. We love her….

    • Michael says:

      If your vet is correct and it is sinusitis, that is a bacterial infection. You need antibiotics to cure that. What is the vet doing about it? Why isn’t she eating?

  12. Kathleen says:

    My daughter has been very worried because her cats nose is dry all the time. The vet she called said they would have to run many tests to find out why and as a young woman on her own she doesn’t have the money. She loves her cat and is worried. This article has helped some but does not talk about a cat whose nose is dry all the time. Any help out there? Thanks!!!!!!

    • Michael says:

      I would be carefully about this one because we have to ask “what is a dry nose?” firstly and then secondly, “how moist should a cat’s nose be?” My cat is healthy and I have just checked his nose. It is dry. Sometimes there might be a bit of moisture on it.

      If you daughter’s cat is healthy don’t have preconceptions about a cat’s nose being moist or dry as it might mislead you. If you think your cat is ill then, by all means, take him to the vet for a consultation but ask questions. A vet should charge very little on an initial consultant so don’t get fobbed of with the idea of doing lots of tests that may well not be necessary. Good luck.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      Your daughter shouldn’t worry if her cat is otherwise healthy, if the cat is eating and acting normally and her nose isn’t cracked or sore it is most likely that her dry nose is just the way her skin is.
      It just the same with people really, some of us have dry skin, some greasy, both are normal.
      You can safely put a little bit of Vaseline on a cat’s nose to moisten it if she has very dry skin, she will lick it off but some may have soak in before she does.

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