The Cat Nose: Common Cat Nose Conditions

The nose is one of the most important parts of a cat's anatomy. It not only provides your feline family member with needed oxygen, but it also helps them to smell things and taste their food. Unfortunately, this can be an area that needs special attention as cats may develop health problems in or around their nose. Common issues include black spots on the cat's nose, stuffiness, and bleeding. That's why it's so important for pet owners to know what these symptoms are and how they can help their furry friend!

Common Cat Nose Conditions

If your feline has a stuffy or running nose, is sneezing, or experiencing nose bleeds, it might be an infection, allergy, or sinus problem. However, there's a long list of the possible causes of nose and sinus issues in cats. Determining the cause might be difficult and almost always requires a veterinarian. Some of the more typical conditions include,

  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Blocked nasolacrimal duct in nose
  • Dental disease
  • Parasites
  • Polyps
  • Trauma

Additionally, cats breeds with a flat face, such as Persians, Burmese, and Himalayan, can develop problems because of their facial anatomy.

Cat Stuffy Nose & Feline Rhinitis 

A stuffy nose is a typical sign of rhinitis, a condition that can make your cat uncomfortable and cause breathing problems. It could also come with other issues, such as the occasional runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and discharge from the eyes. The most common cause of feline rhinitis or sinusitis is a viral infection and allergies. For some pets, it can occur seasonally from pollen or year-round from indoor allergens, such as dust mites and mold. If your furry friend is also vomiting, isn't drinking enough, or is more lethargic than usual, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Even without the additional symptoms, your pet needs to go to the veterinarian for this condition. The vet will examine your pet, review their history, and possibly take x-rays and other tests to confirm the diagnosis. For mild cases, your veterinarian will provide medication to treat the symptoms and improve their comfort. Your vet won't prescribe antibiotics. They're not effective for viruses. Cats with severe cases might need intravenous fluids and a feeding tube to maintain weight during treatment.

Treating Black Spots on Cat's Noses

Black spots on a cat's nose aren't a sign of cancer or another disabling disease. These are often Lentigo and more of a cosmetic issue than a medical condition. You should still take them to the vet to make sure it's not a different issue, such as melanoma. Experts don't know the exact cause of the black spots or what triggers them. Also, it's more common in orange cats. However, it's also seen on calico, tortoiseshell, yellow, and flame-point cats, which of course, all have an orange tint. It can appear on the nose, lips, and eyelids. These grow together in clusters and can form large spots that might concern pet owners. Outside of testing the growth for cancerous cells, there's no treatment. Veterinarian specialists suggest you treat them like age spots. They're a part of your pet's personality. 

What if it's not lentigo or cancer?

Sometimes fleas and flea dirt can build up on your cat's face, even if he or she is a good groomer. To make sure your pet doesn't have a flea problem, use a fine-toothed flea comb and run it through their fur. If you find fleas, start full treatment to rid your cat and home of these pests.

Another potential cause of black spots is acne. Yes, even cats get acne. Again, the veterinary community doesn't know the exact cause. However, it's common and can go away as quickly as it appeared. To prevent it from coming back, examine the areas of your cat's life that might be causing acne, such as plastic food dishes. The key to keeping outbreaks minimal is a rigorous hygiene routine. Because your bet can't see these areas, you may need to help them keep their face clean until the acne clears up.

Cat Nose Bleed Causes & Treatments

Unlike the other conditions, a nose bleed can be a serious condition for your cat. However, in most cases, the cause is related to trauma that will heal or an untreated upper respiratory infection. If you can't stop the bleeding on your own, it's necessary to seek emergency care. You want to prevent your feline from ingesting too much of the blood. However, after stopping the cat nosebleed, you will notice blood clots and red in vomit or feces from swallowing it following the nosebleed. No matter what, if trauma or infection aren't the causes of the bleeding. In that case, your veterinarian will run additional tests to determine the cause, such as blood tests, urinalysis, blood pressure, fungal cultures, and nasal swabs.


Your cat's nose is vital to their health. Some conditions, such as a runny nose that doesn't go away, a stuffy nose, or a bloody nose, can be a cause of concern. Some symptoms, such as a cat nose bleed, might require immediate veterinary attention. Given all this information, if you notice any of these signs with your cat, contact their veterinarian right away for an exam. 

Why is my cat's nose dry?

Your cat's nose can be cold, warm, dry, or wet. You might think something's wrong if you always see the pet's nose wet. However, cats lick their nose regularly. In most cases, unless there's a visible discharge or other symptoms, a dry nose is perfectly normal.

Why does my cat have a runny nose?

Your cat might be experiencing allergies or a cold. Upper respiratory infections are common in cats. These can cause additional signs, such as congestion, sneezing, and loss of appetite. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms.

Should a cat's nose be wet or dry?

Cats' noses can be wet or dry. Watch for other symptoms, such as a running nose, black spots, sneezing, or coughing. These may be signs of a cold, sinus infection, or other condition that requires veterinary care.

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Written by Leo Roux

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