Why Your Cat’s Nose Is Dry



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There’s no better feeling for a cat owner than a cat’s wet nose. However, what does it mean if it suddenly goes dry? Read on to discover the implications of a dry nose and what you can do about it.

Cat noses are a defining trait of their face, and it’s just as unique as your furry feline. The love language of affection for them is when they nudge your hand with their little noses!

Why Your Cat's Nose Is Dry. Image of a white cat's wet pink nose, mouth, and whiskers

Dry noses can be caused by dehydration, warm conditions, or an underlying health condition.

Sometimes, your cat’s nose will feel dry, and at others, it will be awfully wet. While the lack of moisture on your cat’s dry nose isn’t always an indicator of poor health, it might warrant a trip to the vet if coupled with other symptoms.

A Healthy Cat Nose

A healthy cat’s nose oscillates between the two extremes. Some have a wet nose leaving a small amount of residue after they sniff something, while others roam around with a dry nose.

There is no hard and fast moisture standard for perfectly healthy cats’ noses. Your feline’s nose shouldn’t be too wet, as if it’s struggling with a fever or so dry that it appears scaly, red, and painful.

What Causes Dry Nose in Cats?

A dry cat nose can seemingly happen for benign reasons. If you’re aware of the causes, it can help eliminate other factors that may signal a fault in your cat’s health.

Warm Surroundings

A cat’s dry nose can result from warm surroundings. The immediate environment, such as high temperatures or sitting too long in front of the fireplace, can cause a dry nose. Spending time in basements equipped with a central heating system or prolonged sun exposure can lead to a dry nose.


Cats are hardwired to clean and groom themselves. If you live with a furry feline, you will have noticed them spending most of their waking hours licking themselves clean.

Cat’s tongues are equipped to clean their fur of captured dirt, debris, and dust. However, if they over-lick their noses, it will leave them red and irritated. Often, they lick themselves after eating. Doing so dries out their noses temporarily.


If you reside in hotter climates, or your cat has been struggling with a sickness lately, it might be dehydrated. Cats display other symptoms when dehydrated, such as:

  • Urinating less frequently.
  • Sunken eyes.
  • Tenting skin.
  • Poor fur health.

While most will drink water as needed, if your cat refuses to drink water, you should change its diet accordingly.

Wet food is perfect for keeping it hydrated and healthy. Introduce it gradually into your cat’s diet, and if you notice any odd behavior, remove it immediately. Always consult your vet before making any changes in the diet.

Cats prefer drinking from water sources that don’t get their whiskers wet. You can invest in a large bowl or a water fountain.

Poor Health in Cats

Was your cat sick recently? If so, that could be why its nose is dry.

Chronic Nasal Discharge

A dry nose might result from an upper respiratory tract infection (cat cold) or nasal passage inflammation. Both conditions dry out its nose.


Ringworms and tapeworms are characterized as fungal infections in cats. They typically attack the digestive system, but their symptoms can appear as a dry or wet nose.

Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex

Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex typically impacts the lips of the cat, but it can extend to the nose. Your cat might suffer from it due to an overactive immune system.

Other symptoms that accompany poor health are the following:

  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Anorexia

Cat Has Dry Eyes

Tears contain water and minerals, making them natural moisturizers. While it’s uncommon, a lack of tears can result in dry eyes and nose. This condition is more common in some cats due to genetics.

Cats Can Get Sunburn

Sunburn is rare in animals, but if your furry feline likes soaking in the sun, consider purchasing a cat-friendly sunscreen.

The chances of sunburn in cats increase if they’re white or don’t have a thick coat. The sunburnt skin will dry out and peel, which will cause the nose to redden.

Apply the sunscreen approximately 20 minutes before letting your cat out. If your furry friend prefers walking alongside you, purchase a leash and walk across areas with shade.

When To Worry about Your Cats Dry Nose

A cat’s dry or runny nose often indicates poor health if accompanied by other issues. If you notice your cat has a dry, cracked, or irritated nose, take it to the vet immediately.

Some medical conditions subside without interference, while others require constant monitoring to prevent symptoms from worsening. If your cat exhibits the following symptoms, it requires veterinary attention:

  • Loss of fur.
  • Crusty lesions on the skin.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose, or anus.

How To Treat Your Cats Dry Nose

A simple home remedy to treat your cat’s dry nose is to apply a healthy amount of petroleum skin protection or jelly to the affected areas. It’s available as over-the-counter medication and can be bought without a prescription.

Ensure it isn’t a medicated ointment and is free from fragrance and taste. Doing so will protect your cat from allergic reactions and prevent it from licking its nose, which will dry it even more.

When treating your cat’s dry nose, it’s best to seek our veterinarian’s advice first. Then, your vet will run a few tests to rule out other possibilities. The procedure might also include a biopsy and, possibly, minor surgery. This involves placing the cat under anesthesia and obtaining a small piece of its nose tissue for further testing.

Standard therapies include the following:

  • Oral antibiotics and antiviral medication.
  • Tropical antibacterial and antifungal treatments.
  • Vitamin E.

Do Cats Always Need To Keep Their Noses Wet?

A cat’s nose will either be wet or dry, depending on its everyday activities, immediate environment, and current health. Typically, it is slightly moist and warm to the touch without any discharge, mucus, or dry crusting.

A wet nose might occur if a cat recently ate, drank water, or groomed itself.

Final Word on Cats’ Dry Nose

As a pet owner, it can be worrisome if your furry friend suddenly has a dry nose. Some cats will have drier noses than others, which shouldn’t be of concern. If you notice any other issues or if the dryness is causing problems, contact your vet for professional advice. We hope you found this article helpful.

Before you go, you might find these articles helpful:

Why Does My Cat Have Black Boogers

How To Prevent Hairballs in Cats

How Long Do Outdoor Cats Live

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