Why Are Cats’ Noses Wet?

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Cats, like a lot of mammalian carnivores, have a particularly keen sense of smell. They use their noses for pretty much everything, from finding prey to finding out about other cats in the area. Have you ever wondered why are cats’ noses wet?

One peculiar quirk of a cat’s nose though is that it is wet and remains wet throughout its entire life. Which raises the obvious question: Why? And how does it help them? That is exactly what we are going to answer today. 

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Why are cat’s noses wet

Is it an illness? Some snot? Evolution? There must be an interesting explanation for why cats’ noses are always wet! Read on for a full explanation.

Why Are Cats’ Noses Wet?

There are, in fact, a good few reasons why your cat’s nose is wet, but the main one is to do with the nasal planum. The nasal planum is the soft tip of the nose in cats and dogs.

Body Temperature Regulation

Why are cat’s noses wet

On the nasal planum, there are a vast amount of sweat glands, and these will constantly open and release fluid to keep the nose moist. The two reasons they do this are more practical than it seems at first.

The first is body temperature. Cats are famous for being able to control the temperature of their bodies. This enables them to be warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. They can alter their body temperature to be exactly as needed.

A cat’s nose tends to stay the same temperature, even in extremes. This is due to the fact that cats’ noses are incredibly important to their survival, and so they regulate it along with their body temperature through how their nose feels.

When they feel okay, it is warm and moist; Anything other than that means that the cat is struggling with the environmental temperature and will often create evaporation through their nose to cool down.

Sense of Smell

Cat laying down looking straight ahead

The second reason is perhaps the most important: it aids their sense of smell. A cat’s sense of smell is not as powerful as a dog’s but is still thousands of times more powerful than our own.

It dictates almost everything they do in life, whether it be what food to eat or who to mate with.

Part of the reason for its power is a cat’s wet nose. See, a wet nose is actually better at attracting and trapping scent particles than a dry nose.

Since cats don’t have much of a sense of taste, they use smell to determine whether or not they should eat something. With a wet nose, it is easier to detect underlying scents that may make a cat avoid eating something they shouldn’t.

When Should You Be Worried About A Cat’s Nose?

2 Cats looking down

A wet nose should not normally be a cause for concern. When a cat’s nose is too moist or wet, it could be a result of something as simple as a wet paw wiping over the face or even just dipping their nose in the bowl when drinking, but there are also a few signs that could indicate an issue.

We can start by looking at the nose and wondering whether it is just a wet nose or an abnormally wet nose. First and foremost, the nose should always be moist.

If it is too dry in fairly wet weather, it could be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. But when a nose is very wet and your cat is behaving bizarrely, then it could be a sign of a couple of different things.

  • A Head Injury – If your cat has a broken nose, this will be quite noticeable. You’ll also notice that the nostril that is broken is a little more moister than the other nostril. This is because the broken nostril is producing the same amount of mucous as the other nostril.
  • Nasal Or Sinus Blockage – This is a less common condition, but could occur if your cat inhaled something that caused a blockage in the nasal passage.
  • Upper Respiratory Infection – Yes, even your cat can get a cold. If your cat has a runny nose, accompanied by sneezing and coughing, it probably just has a cold, and you should comfort and nurse them back to health.
  • Bacterial Infection – If the discharge coming from your cat’s nose is quite thick and is not clear, but colored, then it probably has a bacterial infection.
  • Allergy – It could just be an allergy, like hay fever. If the discharge is clear, but it is continuous, this may be the cause.
A tan cat with blue eyes

For any of these or if your cat is acting completely out of the ordinary, please contact your vet to get a proper look at your feline companion.

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Cats have wet noses. This is just a fact, plain and simple. The main causes for this wet nose are an increased ability to smell and temperature regulation, however, there can be times when a wet nose indicates something far more sinister. If this happens, it is best to call the vet immediately.

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Why Are Cats Noses Wet?

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