Cat owners are always alerted by unusual behaviors in their pets. Sometimes, these unusual things are a cause of concern, but in many instances, you have nothing much to worry about.
Take nose licking, for example. Nose licking is a behavior that is quite common in house cats. You probably may not have noticed it before but your cat licks his nose for a variety of reasons.
Reasons why your cat is licking its nose
Cats lick their noses to keep their nose moist, for grooming and also due to stress.
Keeping his nose moist
Your cat’s nose is one of his most vital organs. Felines use their finely-tuned noses to increase their awareness of the world as well as taste their food.
Unlike humans, cats have few taste buds, numbering less than 500. People have about 9,000 taste buds. As such, they rely on their noses to gauge whether a certain type of food is delicious. This is also one of the reasons why a cat with a respiratory infection has a poor appetite.
Your cat might lick his nose to remove tiny bits of objects that have landed on it. These small objects can interfere with his sense of smell. A feline will also deliberately wet its nose so that scent particles can better adhere, enhancing his sense of smell.
Excessive grooming and stress
A stressed cat will do a lot of unusual things, including excessive grooming and licking of his nose.
Cats are such fastidious creatures that their owners sometimes fail to notice excessive grooming due to stress. Unknown to many pet owners, cats and dogs lick their lips and noses when they are stressed.
But how can you distinguish between normal grooming and stress grooming?
First, check if your cat has enough water to drink. You should also check your feline’s face closely, looking for signs of irritation, especially around the nose and mouth. If you have eliminated these possible reasons, it is highly likely that your feline is distressed.
Why cats over-groom when stressed
According to animal behaviorists, pets over groom themselves because they do not know exactly how to handle stressful situations. This inability makes them turn to themselves and grooming to find some semblance of comfort.
Stress and anxiety often arise due to changes in a cat’s living environment. Cats cannot handle even the slightest changes as well as humans. It can be as simple as the arrival of a new baby or pet in the house or changes in his daily schedule.
Apart from licking his nose and excessive grooming, stress in cats can manifest itself in a variety of ways. These include aggressive behavior like growling and hissing, stomach and bladder problems, and skin irritation.
Helping your cat cope with stress
The most important thing that you can do to help your cat deal with his anxiety is to get to the root cause of the issue. Once you have identified the source of the stress, you can try to eliminate it or at the very least, safeguard your pet against it.
Some cat owners have found success in alleviating stress in their felines by using natural remedies like herbs and flower essences. However, before you try one for your cat, consult with your veterinarian. Also, do not use multiple products at the same time. Use one at a time until you find one product that works best for your furry little pal.
You can also try products that contain pheromones like collars and sprays. Pheromone is a hormone that felines use to mark their territories and these products mimic that, making your pet feel calmer.
If you have more than one cat in your household, you should strongly consider giving your pets multiple litter boxes and feeding stations. Sometimes, a cat can become stressed because he feels he needs to compete for food and the use of a litter box. Adding a cat tree can also help your cat achieve a state of calm by giving him space to hide away from you and the other feline members of the household.
Set aside time for play. Sometimes, pent up boredom can manifest itself in the form of anxiety or aggressive behavior. Stimulate your cat’s mind and body by honing his instinct to hunt.
If your pet does not respond to any of these, your vet may recommend the use of anti-anxiety medications or prescription diets.
It is also worthwhile to point out that cats tend to pick up on their humans’ energy levels. If you are also stressed out, dealing with your issues can help both you and your pet.
Wet or dry cat nose
Some cat owners mistakenly believe that a wet cat nose is a sign of good health and dry nose means that a cat is sick.
The truth is, some cats have wetter or drier noses and in most cases, these have nothing to do with the health of a feline.
It is natural for a healthy cat to have a wet or dry nose, changing from one state to another. As long as your pet is not exhibiting other symptoms, his health is just fine.
Wet cat nose
Your cat’s nose can get excessively wet for a variety of reasons. For one the skin close to the opening of his nostrils have sweat glands. These sweat glands produce moisture, making the cat’s nose wet, especially when the temperature is hot.
Sometimes, a cat’s nose will feel excessively wet because he just licked his nose while grooming. And it is possible that he just finished grooming himself when you felt his wet nose.
It is also possible that your cat just drank from his water bowl.
Take note that there is a difference between a wet cat nose and a runny nose. A runny nose is a sign that your cat may be suffering from an upper respiratory infection caused by bacteria and viruses. A runny nose is also a symptom of an allergy.
Dry cat nose
On the other hand, a cat’s nose can become dry due to spending time near a warm or sunny location. The moisture on the nose can also be affected by humidity levels inside your home.
But if the nose has gotten too dry to the point that there are cracks on the skin, your cat might be dehydrated. Apart from dry nose and cracks on the skin, other signs of dehydration that you should watch out for include sunken eyes, dry mouth, appetite loss, panting, and lethargy.
Should you worry about your cat licking his nose?
In most cases, you do not need to worry about your cat licking his nose. But if you notice him doing it more than usual, observe his behavior and watch for other changes in his habits.
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