Interesting Facts About a Cat's Nose

Interesting Facts About a Cat's Nose

Health & Safety

A cat's nose plays a crucial role in their lives trapping bacteria and other nasty irritants found in the air. This means a cat's nose really is their first line of defence when it comes to keeping healthy and any nasty airborne infections at bay. On top of this, a cat boasts a highly developed sense of smell from the moment they are born. Kittens are able to distinguish their mother's smell and to locate where the nipples are even when their eyes are shut, this naturally helps them nurse right from the word go.

Cats depend on their sense of smell when it comes to their appetite too and if they can't smell the food they won't eat it. This is why when your cat suffers from an upper respiratory infection which leads to a blocked nose, your cat can't smell things and this usually results in them going off their food. It's really important to keep a cats nose free of any sort of discharge especially if they have lost their appetites. It's always a good idea to warm their food up slightly so the smell of it is stronger and this tempts them to eat when they are under the weather.

A Cat's Keen Sense of Smell

A cat's sense of smell is also often referred to as “olifaction” and it's much keener than that of a human. However, it is not as good as that of a dog but it does play a variety of important roles in your cat's life and how they react to things as well as other animals and especially other moggies. Cats use their sense of smell to do the following:

  • A cats uses it to communicate with other cats when they first meet - sniffing each others faces and then their tails and backsides
  • Cats use their scent glands as a way of marking their territory – this allows other cats to use their sense of smell to recognise where the boundaries are
  • When females are in season they give off odours so their male counterparts know when she is ready to mate
  • Their sense of smell enhances a cat's sense of taste

A Dry Nose & a Wet Nose

Cats noses can be either wet or dry because it really does depend on many things which includes temperature and humidity to name but two factors. However, when a cat's nose is dry, it could be an indication they are under the weather and maybe coming down with something. It could even be they are dehydrated or are suffering from a fever. If you notice your cat has a dry nose, although it is not a definite sign of them being unwell, it is however, a good indication there might be something wrong.

A healthy cat can suffer from a dry nose simply because of low levels of humidity. But if you are worried and think your pet may be sick, you should check to see if they are eating normally or if they have lost their appetites. Another sign they might be unwell is if they are acting lethargic and don't have their usual amount of energy. These are both sure signs there could be something wrong with them and you should take them to see a vet.

The Smells Cats Really Don't Like

There are certain smells that cats really do not like, but with this said most cats are not keen on very strong odours. This is one of the reasons why it's never a good idea to use any sort of strong smelling products when cleaning out litter trays. The strong smell might just put your cat off from using it. Other odours that cats don't usually like include the following:

  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citrus
  • Tea Tree
  • Lavender

What Causes Cats to Suffer From Nasal Discharges

Cats tend to get runny noses when the weather turns colder or if they are coming down with something. As such you might notice they suffer from some sort of nasal discharge. This could be thick and mucoid or it could be thin and watery. The discharge may also contain a little blood in it. With this said there could be several reasons for causing the condition which includes the following:

  • A bacterial infection
  • A fungal infection
  • An upper respiratory infection
  • A trauma to their heads
  • A nasal tumour
  • Allergies
  • Cleft palate
  • Tooth root abscesses
  • A foreign object lodged in their nasal cavity
  • Pneumonia
  • Cheyletiellosis

What to Do if Your Cat Has a Runny or Blocked Nose

If you find your cat has a very runny or blocked nose, it's important to find out what is causing the problem. You should take your cat to the vet so they can make a thorough examination of your pet. Sometimes a vet might need to carry out an internal examination of their nose which means your cat will need to be given general anaesthetic because the procedure is quite invasive. Once the cause has been diagnosed, the vet will be able to start the right sort of treatment to clear the condition up as quickly as possible so your cat makes a full recovery.

Interesting Facts About a Cat's Nose

  • A cat's nose is as unique to a particular cat as a fingerprint is to a human - no two cats have the same nose
  • The naked skin around a cat's nostrils is known as “nose leather”
  • The colour of a cat's nose leather depends on the colour of their coats – it can be pink, black, blue, chocolate, brown, lavender and brick red
  • Chinchilla cats have nose leather that's outlined with a lovely grey colour
  • Some cats even boast freckles on their noses


If you keep an eye on the condition of your cat's nose, you will soon see whether or not they are nice an healthy. However, if you notice a little discharge, then you might need to check and see if your pet is eating properly. If you find they are lethargic and not at all interested in their food, then a trip to the vet is essential so a correct diagnosis can be made and your cat treated as quickly as possible.

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