Why Is My Cat’s Nose Wet?

close up view of a cat's nose

If you are a cat owner, you’ve probably noticed more than once that your cat’s nose seems to be wet. You may even have noticed that the wetness level varies from day to day. But why is your cat’s nose often wet?

A wet nose is generally considered normal for cats. Their noses can become wet for various reasons such as licking, drinking, sweating, and runny noses. Monitoring changes in your cat’s nose wetness can provide insight into their overall health and well-being.

In this article, we’ll discuss why your cat’s nose appears wet and what it can tell you about your pet’s health. So read on to discover the answer to the age-old question – Why is my cat’s nose wet?

Reasons Why A Cat’s Nose Can Be Wet

There’s an age-old saying: There’s more than one way to skin a cat. While we are not fans of skinning cats by any means, we will say there is more than one reason why your cat’s nose is wet.

Your Cat’s Nose Is Wet Because It’s Sweaty

Like dogs, cats have sweat glands in the skin on their noses. When they get too warm, their nose will start to sweat as part of their body’s attempt to keep cool. However, the little bit of sweat on your cat’s nose does not actually contribute a whole lot to the cooling process.

Cats also have sweat glands in the skin on the pads of their feet which is also part of the cooling process. It’s worth noting that cats don’t sweat very much overall so, like sweating on their noses, sweating through their paw pads is just one of several ways they regulate their body temperature.

You might think that since they can’t sweat much that cats would then pant to cool off as dogs do. Cats will pant when very hot, but this is also an inefficient means of cooling for cats. If your cat is panting it is likely too hot (or stressed) and needs help cooling off.

Cats primarily cool off by finding a cool place to rest and by keeping still so they don’t generate more body heat. They also lick themselves so that the saliva they leave on their fur or skin evaporates and provides cooling that way.

Your Cat’s Nose Is Wet Because It’s Licking Itself

Cats are known to groom themselves often, and part of that behavior is licking their noses. Cats will lick their noses in order to clean them and keep them moist. This frequent licking can lead to wetness you feel on your cat’s nose.

The texture of a cat’s tongue contains tiny barbs that help to capture dirt, dust, and other debris which keeps their fur clean. As your cat is licking its nose, it’s also cleaning it of any dirt or debris that may have gathered there.

Also, as mentioned in the previous section, cats groom themselves so that their evaporating saliva contributes to the overall cooling process. They will lick their noses as well while they are doing this so, if it wasn’t wet already from sweating, it will be wet after a good lick or two!

grey and white exotic shorthair cat licking its nose

Your Cat’s Nose Is Wet Because It Just Drank Water

Another common reason why you might notice a wet nose on your cat is because it just took a drink from its water bowl.

Like most animals, cats need lots of fresh, clean water and will visit their water bowl regularly throughout the day for a refreshing drink. Cats that eat dry food will drink more water and more often than cats that eat wet food.

Cats don’t submerge their noses in water when they drink but instead, lap it up with their tongues. As cats lap up water from their bowls, a bit of it can splash onto their noses, and voila! Wet noses.

Your Cat’s Nose Is Wet Because It Has A Runny Nose

Just like humans, a cat continuously produces nasal secretions. Also just like humans, the tear ducts drain into the sinuses. Normally, these secretions and tears drain out the back of the sinuses into the throat and are swallowed, so we never really notice them.

But when there is an overproduction of nasal secretions or tears, then instead of draining out the back of the sinuses they may drain out of the front – the nose. Also known as a runny nose.

If your cat’s nose appears to be wet more than usual, it could be because it has a runny nose. Having a runny nose can be caused by allergies, eye problems, or respiratory infections.

If you suspect that your cat has a runny nose due to allergies, eye problems, or respiratory infections, there are several things to keep an eye out for:

  • Watery or discolored discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Swollen or red eyes
  • Loss of appetite or decreased activity level
  • Increased need for rest or sleeping
  • Rubbing or pawing at the eyes or nose
  • Open-mouth breathing or wheezing

If you notice any of these signs, it is essential to take your cat to the veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian can diagnose the underlying cause of your cat’s runny nose and provide the necessary treatment.

Allergies, eye infections, and respiratory infections are all treatable with medication, but the treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of your cat’s symptoms. Early detection and treatment can prevent the condition from becoming worse.

Should I Be Worried If My Cat’s Nose Is Dry?

Now that we’ve gone over the various reasons why your cat’s nose can be wet, it may seem like their noses should be wet all of the time! So do you need to be worried if your cat’s nose is dry?

It is not necessary to be worried if your cat’s nose is dry. While a wet nose is an indication of a healthy cat, a dry nose is not necessarily a sign of illness. In fact, a cat’s nose can vary in wetness throughout the day, depending on the environment and their activity level.

It is normal for a cat to have a dry nose when they wake up from a nap or after a period of inactivity. However, if your cat’s nose is persistently dry and cracked, it may indicate dehydration or an underlying health issue.

Dehydration in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including a lack of access to fresh water or an underlying medical condition. In addition, certain medications can cause dryness in the nose and mouth.

If you notice that your cat’s nose is persistently dry and cracked, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian. They can examine your cat and run any necessary tests to determine if there is an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed.

It’s important to note that a dry nose alone is not necessarily a cause for concern, but it can be a sign of a larger issue.

close up image of an orange and white cat nose


To summarize, a wet nose is a normal and healthy part of a cat’s anatomy. While it can indicate health issues in certain situations, it is typically not a cause for concern.

Some of the reasons why a cat’s nose can be wet include sweating, environmental factors, and a runny nose due to illness or allergies. It’s important to pay attention to any changes in your cat’s nose, such as excessive dryness or discharge, as this could signal a health problem.

Ultimately, regular vet check-ups and attentive observation of your cat’s behavior can help ensure your furry family member stays happy and healthy.


  • Dr. Wendy Wilkins, DVM, PhD

    Dr. Wendy Wilkins is an experienced veterinarian and epidemiologist with over 20 years of expertise. She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a Doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Throughout her career, Dr. Wilkins has excelled in clinical practice, academia, research, and regulatory veterinary medicine. She is a respected voice in knowledge dissemination, delivering factual information in a readable and understandable manner through articles, books, and public engagements.

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