Should a Cat's Nose Be Wet or Dry?

CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, says the notion that a cat's nose must be wet is not entirely accurate.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: April 25, 2008 2 a.m. EDT

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Q: Is a cat's nose supposed to be wet or dry? If it’s dry could something be wrong with my cat?

A: This notion that the nose of a cat or dog always should be wet is a bit overblown. Yes, the average cat or dog has a moist nose, but this is not an important indicator of a pet’s general health by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve seen many perfectly healthy cats that just happen to have a dry nose.

You would think that a cat suffering from dehydration would have a dry nose and that a dry nose would be an important sign to look out for. However, I’ve treated cats with severe dehydration whose noses were as moist as can be. So don’t worry about the moistness of your cat’s nose.

If, however, your cat’s nose has experienced a sudden change in the degree of wetness, and is accompanied by other clinical signs (decreased appetite, excessive thirst or urination, coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, etc.), I would have the cat evaluated by a veterinarian.

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Should a Cat's Nose Be Wet or Dry?

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Reader Comments

colleen    Tucson, AZ

6/12/2016 5:01:51 AM

my cats nose is wet but she sneezes a lot and scratches her ears my vet cant find anything wrong

Bryan    New York, NY

6/2/2016 10:05:30 AM

From being raised with dogs, I believe a cat's nose should be wet because it signifies that they are healthy.

Marta    Sacramento, CA

7/17/2015 7:58:07 PM

What if your cats nose goes white after being pink? Is that a sign of anything?

Maddie    Jackson, NJ

2/24/2015 10:36:54 AM

I have a kitten who is almost two years old. He is healthy and doesn't suffer any of the symptoms listed above. Sometimes his nose is dry, other times it's wet. I don't think it really matters.

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