Cat with dry nose

Dry nose in cats

My cat has a dry, warm nose. Does it mean that my cat is sick? Owners often ask our vets this question, and the simple answer is no. Cats use their nose to collect important information about their food and their environment. A normal, healthy cat's nose can vary between wet and dry several times over the course of a day. The common reasons for this are too much time spent near a heat source, such as a radiator, a fan or lying in the sun. A healthy cat may have a small amount of clear nasal discharge.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced, UK registered vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

✓ Included free as part of many pet insurance policies
✓ Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet
✓ Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Symptoms of ill-health associated with the nose

  • Unusual nasal discharge
  • Persistent sneezing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Flaking, crusting, swollen or blistered skin
  • Discharge from the eyes

If your cat has a constantly runny nose with or without discoloured mucus it can be an early sign of an upper respiratory tract infection. Cats that are persistently sneezing, or have discharge from their eyes, should visit their vet.

Causes of health problems associated with a dry nose

  • Respiratory infections
  • Sun exposure or sunburn (solar dermatitis)
  • Autoimmune disease (pemphigus)

What can you do to help your cat?

  • Ensure that your cat is not spending too much time in the sun.
  • Check that your house is not too warm for your cat. Ensure that there are cooler places for them to escape to. Ideally, keep your house at a constant temperature and keep your cat’s bed away from drafts.
  • Make sure your cat is up to date with their vaccinations to help prevent infectious diseases that can cause respiratory illness, especially if they go outside.
  • Make sure your cat is eating and drinking normally. If your cat is a fussy eater or becomes inappetent (anorexic), read more in our article if you need advice.

Treatment of a dry nose

Treatment will depend on the results of a clinical examination by your vet and any tests that are done. Read more about cat flu and respiratory infections in our article. Cat owners should be aware of the risk of sunburn to their cat, especially light-coloured cats, and those with thin fur, or pink skin on the ears and nose. There is more information about sunburn in our article about ear problems in cats. Autoimmune diseases are very rare and other diseases would be ruled out first.

When to see your physical veterinarian:

  • A persistent nasal discharge or sneezing
  • If your cat is sleeping more than normal (lethargic)
  • If your cat is not responding to you or does not seem well in themselves.

Still worried?

Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of our vets.

More articles about Cat