Why Are Cats’ Noses Wet? Here’s What Science Could Tell Us About It!

Cats' Noses

Why Are Cat’s Noses Wet? Here’s What Science Could Tell Us About It!


The early morning wake-up visits from your cat wouldn’t be complete without the feeling of your kitty’s damp nose against your face or cheek. If you have ever wondered why your cat has a moist nose, there are numerous causes behind it.

You may be shocked to know that many mammals have wet noses, including animals in the wild and those we keep as pets.

So, what’s the problem with animals like your cat having a moist nose? To better comprehend the reason why cats have damp noses, you have to know a bit about animal biology.

Get to Know the Rhinarium

The moisture formed by a cat’s nose largely originates through sweat glands situated on the rhinarium, which is the hairless skin surrounding the nostril apertures.

cats' noses

Furthermore, the glands on the rhinarium and the drainage from a cat’s tear ducts also add to the reason why a cat’s noses are wet.

Of course, drinking water could cause a cat’s nose to be wet, as can environmental conditions like rain and snow. Cats can also have wet noses by grooming themselves, which they spend plenty of time doing.

Now that you know where the moisture originates from on a cat’s nose, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty and tell you why felines have wet noses.

A cat’s wet nose keeps the body temperature in check.

As human beings, sweat pours out of our bodies on hot days and cools our bodies down. Unlike humans, cats cannot sweat all over their bodies as they only have sweat glands in their paws that provide cooling.

When cats grow hot and start feeling overheated, they use their moist hairless noses to create evaporation which helps them to regulate their body temperature normally.

A wet nose helps fine-tune Their body smell

Unlike we humans who have taste buds covering our tongues, cats have extremely few of these taste receptors on their tongues to them determine what foods to eat. Instead of employing taste senses to pick what to eat, cats rely on their sense of smell.

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The wetness on a cat’s nose collects scent particles, allowing the animal to hone in on odors to discern what they really are. If a cat has any problem like a respiratory infection that leaves its nose heated and very dry, the animal loses some of its ability to smell, affecting its hunger.

A cat’s nose moisture varies

Because cats normally have cold, wet noses, some cat owners think that a warm and dry nose signals a sick cat, but that’s not necessarily accurate. During the day, a cat’s nose temperature and moistness change.

Your cat could wake you up by placing or touching you with his wet, cool nose on your chin or face and have a warm, dry nose later in the day when he’s lounging around.

Dr. Patterson of the School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M claimed that “wet or dry noses are not a symptom of sickness per se” and whether your pet’s nose is dry or wet is “largely connected to the temperature and humidity in their environment they are.”

When do I worry about the dry nose of my cat?

Though you don’t have to worry if your cat’s nose is sometimes dry, you should be bothered if your cat shows certain signs of disease. The Things to watch for include excessive thirst, decreased appetite, weight loss, and vomiting or diarrhea.

If your cat’s nose seems always to be dry and you observe any of these indicators, you should please contact your veterinarian to find out what’s wrong with your cat.

A wet drippy nose on your cat may be a warning sign

While it’s usual for a cat to have a cold, wet nose, it is not normal for a cat to have a nose that runs or drips. If you observe your cat has a runny nose, he could be suffering from an upper respiratory illness or allergies.

If the drainage coming out of your cat’s nose is thick and pigmented, it can be a bacterial infection on the cat. Any cat that is suffering from an upper respiratory infection would usually cough, sneeze, and have wet eyes.

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The cat will probably also develop a fever and will refuse to eat food. If the drainage coming out from the nose is clean, it’s likely an allergic reaction. Either way, play it safe and consult your veterinarian quickly.

Is a wet nose a signal for a healthy pet?

Have you ever heard that a cat’s wet nose is an indication that the pet is healthy? Even though that’s often the case, it’s not always true. A moist nose can help your pet in various ways, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee optimum health for your pet.

How does my cat’s wet nose help the cat?

Have you ever been awoken at 5 a.m. by a cold, wet nose pushing against your hand or face? Although the ability to readily wake lazy humans is surely one perk of a wet nose, your dog or cat gets from a moist nose in a few other ways.

cats' noses

Scents are highly significant to your dogs. Animals mark their territory by leaving small scent traces when they rub against people and objects.

Outside, pets define boundaries by peeing or defecating in strategic spots. When other animals inhale those scents, they understand the message your pet is sending.

A wet nose boosts your pet’s capacity to distinguish odors. Microscopic smell particles float through the air and land on your pet’s nose. If the nose is wet, they’ll adhere to it rather than drop off, which makes distinguishing odors much easier.

A damp nose also helps keep your pet cool. As moisture evaporates from the nose, it creates a cooling effect. Luckily, it’s easy to replenish lost moisture with a simple swipe of the tongue.

Can my pet’s nose be too moist?

A damp nose isn’t necessarily a good indication. If you discover that your pet’s nose is suddenly very wet, an upper respiratory infection might be blamed. When dogs and cats develop a cold or other infection, they may experience runny noses, much like people do.

Is a dry nose a bad signal?

A warm, dry nose isn’t usually a signal that your pet is ill or sick. There are some dogs or cats that naturally have dry noses.

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Even though your pet generally has a cold, moist nose, it may become dryer and warmer after having had a nap or a few hours spent in the sun. Dryness may also be a natural result of aging.

A dry nose might indicate dehydration or disease, particularly if your pet’s nose is usually wet. You may tell if your pet is dehydrated by inspecting its gums. Dehydration typically makes the gums look pale instead of pink.

The scruff test offers another technique to assess if dehydration is a concern. Perform the test by gently tugging up your pet on the skin on the back. If your cat or dog is not dehydrated, the skin will soon snap back against the body.

If your furry companion is dehydrated, it will take a few seconds for the skin to return to normal. Other indications that may indicate illness in pets, whether the nose is dry or moist, include:

  • Unusual Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Change in Behaviour
  • Obvious Pain
  • Urinating More or Less than Normal
  • Hiding (in Cats)
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Lameness
  • Constant Scratching
  • Hair Loss
  • Difficulty Moving or Walking
  • Weight Loss
  • Changes in Bowel Habits
  • Lumps
  • Cloudy or Red Eyes

To conclude

Your kitty pet relies on that cute nose to explore his environment and provide him with an excellent sense of smell.

It’s typical for cats to have wet noses since the wetness helps them regulate their body temperature and also fine-tune their sense of smell in their environment.

So the next time your kitty cat snuggles up to you, take a hard look at that lovely tiny nose and appreciate how vital it is!

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