Are Cats' Noses Supposed to Be Wet or Dry?

A healthy cat's nose can vary between wet and dry.

A healthy cat's nose can vary between wet and dry.

It is a common misconception that a dry nose equals a sick pet. A cat’s nose can vary between wet and dry throughout the day, although the average cat has a cold, moist nose. If other symptoms accompany your cat’s dry nose, he could be ill.

Causes of Dry Nose

Temperature and humidity often correlate to whether or not a cat’s nose is wet or dry, according to Dr. Adam Patterson of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Your cat’s dry nose could be caused from sunbathing in front of a window, or from sleeping near a radiator. As your cat’s environment changes throughout the day, so can the temperature and moistness of his nose.

What to Look For

If your cat’s dry nose occurs at the same time as other symptoms, his health could be at risk. Check for open sores, fissures, cracks or scabs on the nose; these could indicate a skin problem. According to Patterson, raised or inflamed areas that cause pain or soreness are often a cause for concern. Have your vet examine your cat’s nose if you notice any unusual skin irritation.

Clinical Symptoms

Many pet owners think that if their cat is dehydrated, his nose will be dry. According to Dr. Arnold Plotnick on Cat Channel, even a cat with severe dehydration can have a moist nose. If your cat’s dry nose occurs along with coughing, sneezing, decreased appetite, excessive thirst, vomiting, weight loss or diarrhea, there could be an underlying health problem.

Changes in Color

Along with variations of wet and dry, a cat’s nose can change color. Normal colors include pink, black, liver-colored or a color that matches your cat’s fur. According to Dr. Karen Becker at Healthy Pets, the nose might lighten in color if your cat is ill. Once health has been restored, the nose becomes dark again. Cats’ noses also can fade during the colder months and return to their normal color in the summer.

About the Author

Based in northern New York, Brandy Burgess has been writing on pets, technical documentation and health resources since 2007. She also writes on personal development for Burgess' work also has appeared on various online publications, including Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer information systems from DeVry University and her certified nurses aid certification.

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