Cats’ noses are wet because of the fluid production from sweat glands on their hairless nose skin or nasal planum. Some of the moisture that makes their noses wet comes from the drainage of the lower tear duct that drains the tear fluid from the eye. The fluid helps them to stay cool and regulates their body temperature. Felines also sweat through their paw pads which explains their wet footprints on a humid day.
Having a wet nose enhances their sense of smell as the dampness traps and holds onto scent particles.
Factors that affect the moisture on your cat’s nose
These are the factors that affect the moisture on your cat’s nose:
1. Air temperature and humidity.
Conditions such as air temperature and humidity affect the moisture in a cat’s nose. Humid weather condenses water particles in the air resulting in a damp nose while cold and dry air sucks the moisture from the nose making it dry and cracked. Lying in a sunny spot or near a heater may also cause a dry nose.
2. Your cat’s tears.
The production of tears in a cat’s eyes drains the fluid from the eyelids and to the nose through the nasolacrimal duct.
3. Your cat has an upper respiratory infection.
Just like humans, cats can develop a runny nose and runny eyes when they have an upper respiratory infection. This may be accompanied by coughing and sneezing. These symptoms can result in a wet nose.
4. Due to grooming.
Cats spend at least five hours each day grooming. This causes their noses to get pushed through damp fur gather moisture.
5. Their noses get wet when they drink from their bowl
Sometimes, the culprit for a wet nose is your cat’s deep bowl with a low water level. Your cat may dunk her nose too deep to reach the water and wet her nose in the process. This is temporary but it could encourage the cat to lick the nose which causes it to stay wet for a longer period.
Are cats supposed to have a wet nose?
No, cats are not supposed to have a wet nose consistently. A healthy cat usually has a nose that varies between wet and dry although it is also normal for the nose to be warm and dry consistently.
Is it bad to kiss your cat on the nose?
No, it is not necessarily bad to kiss your cat on the nose but it is not recommended for hygienic purposes. The same applies to kissing your cat on the mouth.
Why does my cat put his wet nose on me?
Your cat puts his wet nose on you and may sniff your face because she is greeting you. He could also be doing it to build familiarity and trust and to check and verify your scent.
Why does my cat have a dry nose?
Your cat has a dry nose because she could be spending too much time near a heat source like a vent or lying in the sun. It could also be due to dehydration or poor air circulation in your home.
These are the signs that your cat has a dry nose:
- An unusual nasal discharge.
- She has difficulty breathing.
- She has warm skin.
- She has flaky, swollen, damaged or crusty skin tissue.
Cats have a superior sense of smell which is considered their most important sense. Their noses could become wet due to the air temperature and humidity or while grooming themselves. It may also be due to tears flowing to the nose area.
Image: istockphoto.com / PsychoBeard