Categories: nose

Should a cat’s nose be hot or cold?

People ask quite a lot of questions about the domestic cat’s nose by which they mean the nose leather or the tip of the nose. Another similar question is whether a cat’s nose should be wet or dry. These questions apply to healthy cats as clearly a cat with an upper respiratory infection will have a wet nose because of discharge.

Cat nose leather. Photo: modified Wikipedia Commons image.

My stock answer is that domestic cats’ noses should neither be hot or cold nor wet or dry. Cats’ noses are somewhere in between these points.

In terms of temperature, the nose will normally be similar to the ambient temperature. If a cat has been outside in cold weather, there may have been some initial condensation of her breath on her nose leather which leads to evaporation of the liquid which in turn has a cooling influence upon the nose. The nose might therefore be wet and cold under these circumstances.

In short, a healthy cat will have a nose which is not wet and neither will it be dry particularly. There may be a bit of moisture due to condensation from breath.

These are common sense answers because you have to apply common sense to these questions. Personal experience will provide the answers. You cannot presume that your cat is ill for whatever reason if her nose feels dry or if it feels wet, warm or cold.

Perhaps these questions are asked by cat owners who want to diagnose their cat’s health. They may have noticed that their cat’s nose is e.g. wet. I don’t think you can diagnose feline health solely on this physical condition. There may be an straightforward reason for a wet nose as mentioned above.

It is unwise to try to diagnose cat health in this way. One surefire and obvious reason for a wet nose is an upper respiratory infection (URI) as mentioned but in these circumstances there will be many other signs, far more definite making information about the nose leather redundant.

There is nothing more to say, in all honesty. If you disagree please tell me in a comment.

Perhaps there is one final point. There is a condition called Bengal Nose which is a dried, cracked nose leather of the very popular Bengal cat breed. I’ve discussed this some time ago on a different page and I decided that it is due to a breeding issue causing a defective immune response.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in 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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