Why do cats have wet noses?

Owning a cat gives you plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with their noses, from when they demand food to when they nudge you awake! You might have noticed that their snouts are often (if not always) wet and maybe even wondered if it’s normal. 

We take a look at what’s right, the reasons for all things ‘wet nose’, and help you know when you might need to visit a vet with your cat.

Reasons for wet noses in cats

A wet nose is dependent on many different environmental, health, and physical conditions. This means that whilst their nose may be dry in the morning, it could become wetter as the day progresses, with some changes more concerning than others. Here are just some of the factors at play when it comes tothe dampness of your kitty’s snout.

A cat's wet nose


The temperature and humidity surrounding your cat will have an effect on your cat’s nose. Warmer weather usually leads to some humidity which will make their snouts wetter than usual as they’re breathing in the water particles in the air.

Cold, dry or artificial air, on the other hand, actually ends up drawing the moisture from your feline’s nose meaning that they can end up with a dry and sometimes cracked nose.


There’s no denying that cats are a little neater than their canine counterparts when it comes to eating and drinking, but sometimes they do get their noses wet in their efforts to stay hydrated. While this type of wet nose is typically short-lived and it’ll dry out rather quickly, your cat might try to get rid of the water by licking at their snout which will keep it moist a little while longer.


Another reason for your cat’s wet nose could be that they’re licking it a lot. While grooming, their noses follow the trail of their tongue, gathering the moisture which they’ve spread along their fur with their mouths. Sometimes, it’s as simple as just licking their snout with their tongue after a yawn or a yummy meal and leaving it covered in wet saliva.

Cats don’t have the ability to sweat from anywhere but through the pads of their feet so, keeping their nose wet can actually help them keep cool in warm weather. The moisture on their snout will evaporate and with it, help cool their bodies so that they don’t get too hot!


The production of tears in a cat’s eyes drains any excess fluid from the eyelids and to the nose and mouth through the nasolacrimal duct. So, if your cat is suffering from allergies or an illness you might notice that their nose is a little wetter than usual!


Upper respiratory infections

Just like humans, cats are susceptible to many types of upper respiratory infections and can develop symptoms like a runny nose and eyes when they’re not quite themselves. This may also be accompanied by coughing and sneezing all of which can lead to a wet snout.

What should I do if my cat’s nose is dry?

With so many different factors affecting the wetness of a cat’s tongue, a dry nose is usually nothing more than something to do with the change in weather or the fault of central heating. It’s when a dry nose is coupled with other symptoms or signs such as lethargy, fever, or decreased appetite that’s a possible cause of concern and it’s best to seek the advice of a vet.  

And that’s it! The next time your cat gives you a little nudge with their wet snout, you won’t have to wonder why it is wet and cold. Just remember, learning your feline friend’s normal behaviours will help you recognise any unusual signs or symptoms and ensure you can quickly get them any care or treatment they might need.


Looking for more cat advice?

We’ve written some handy cat advice guides, to help you unlock the secrets of your mysterious moggy.


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