Is it normal for my cat to have a wet nose all the time?

We could easily spend a full day talking about all the things we find cute about our felines. 

Those big round eyes. Their furry little bodies. The way they snuggle up with us when we least expect it. And what about those adorable noses?

The nose may not be one of the first things you notice about a cat, but it can often be the first thing you feel. 

How many times have you been given an early morning wake-up call as your feline’s cold nose presses against your skin?

The first time a pet parent is treated to this gentle, cooling tap, there can be a tinge of worry; concern your newest family member is coming down with a cold. There’s no need to worry.   

It’s perfectly normal for a cat to have a wet nose all the time. In fact, it’s often a sign of good overall health. 

While cats do typically have cool, damp noses, this doesn’t have to be the case all the time. 

Some have drier noses than others. And even if your cat happens to be of the wet nose variety, there may be the odd occasion where it does happen to feel dry and warm.

Why do cats have a wet nose?

Have you ever wondered, ‘Why are cats’ noses wet?’

If you have, well you’ve followed your nose to the right place.

Many mammals have wet noses, so cats are certainly not on their own when it comes to this intriguing attribute.  

From a biological perspective, a lot of the moisture actually comes from the sweat glands found on the rhinarium, the furless skin surface that surrounds the openings of the nostrils. 

Sweating through their noses – and the process of evaporation – helps to regulate body temperature, but that’s not the only big benefit.

A wet nose greatly improves a cat’s sense of smell, helping them determine exactly which direction a particular scent may be coming from. 

Sweating isn’t the only reason your cat’s nose is often cold to the touch either. 

That unmistakable dampness can be caused by drainage from the lower tear ducts.

Cats are meticulous groomers as well, and will often lick their nose out of instinct; the saliva leaving a fresh, damp coating. Drinking water can also result in wet snout, as can adventures in the rain or snow. 

What’s the difference between a wet and a dry nose for a cat?

A cat’s nose can go through a number of changes in just a short period of time.

It may start the day off cold, moist and damp, but a spell in the sunshine, or an hour next to the fireplace, can see it quickly turn dry and warm. 

These subtle temperature differences are not really something a pet parent is ever going to notice, unless of course your feline is the type to press their face up against you at any given opportunity.

However, whether a nose is wet or dry can make a difference to how your cat goes about their daily routine. Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell it’s how they identify people, objects, and Encore’s mouthwatering recipes. If a wetter nose means a keener sense of smell then those felines with the dampest noses are being treated to an explosion of sensory delight whenever they sniff the air. 

Just because a wet nose is considered normal or healthy, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with a drier nose. Likewise, a nose that’s too wet may actually be a sign our felines are struggling with underlying health issues.

Is it possible for a cat's nose to be too wet or dry?

If your cat seems to be suffering from an overly wet nose, or you’ve begun noticing abnormal nasal discharge, then this may mean they are battling a cold, or allergies. A nose that’s too cold could be down to environmental factors. Are they spending too much time outside in the cold? Is your house warm enough?

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a nose that is too dry, or has been drier for longer than usual may also be a sign your feline is under the weather. Check for flaky, crusty, or swollen skin around their nostrils, which could be linked to dermatology issues. 

I'm worried about my cat's nose – should I seek veterinary advice?

Few things are as important to us as the health of our pets. As their guardians it is our role to make them feel safe and comfortable, protecting them from anything that could cause injury or illness. 

That’s why as soon as we notice even the slightest thing wrong with them, or potentially wrong with them, we’re immediately sent into a state of worry. 

On its own, a nose that is wetter or colder than usual, or strangely dry, is more often than not nothing to be concerned about. However, you may want to contact your vet if you notice other symptoms too such as sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, or a drop in weight. 

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