My Cat’s Nose is Dry. What Can I Do?

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Question: Why do my cats have dry, brown spots on their noses?

Answer: Cats’ noses are furless. They have a special type of cells called granular cells that produce a waxy substance, also called sebaceous. It cleans, lubricates, and protects the nose. It is also used to coat their claws. These brown areas on the nose are granular cells that have ceased to function. The nose goes unprotected and dry, and the surface is rough and flaky. This condition is not harmful to the cat, but your vet may suggest treatment depending on the severity.

You can try the following home remedies, but you should also take your cat to the vet and get his opinion.

The most important thing is to prevent your cat from licking the nose area, as that will make it worse. If you can’t stop him from licking it, or you can’t prevent him from being in the position where he spends an awful lot of time licking himself, you will have to use something to protect the area. When you’re there, see if you can find a gentle nose moisturizer. The vet will probably prescribe a solution you can spray on your cat’s nose.


When your cat has a dry nose, she may wipe her nose on surfaces such as walls, your clothes, and your bed sheets just to get the moisture. If your cat is left alone for extended periods of time before your return, the problem may seem worse when you finally arrive because your cat’s nose is often drier due to the stress or boredom.

Many cats love milk. In fact, one of the signs of a cat in heat is that she wants to be fed milk. So you can start by warming some milk, put it into a shallow bowl and let your cat lap it up. It’s not going to last forever, but this step by step process will give your cat a little relief from her dry nose.

Another natural way to moisturize your cat’s nose is rubbing it with a slice of potato. However, if you use a slice of onion it may end up feeling like a bee sting to your cat’s nose!

When your cat’s nose is dry, she will take licks of her paws in an effort to get them to feel better. This is due to a reflex that occurs in a cat’s paws that is also present in humans.


Dry Air, or Something Else?

Cats’ noses are dry for a variety of reasons. There’s no need to panic though. Mild dryness can be easily fixed with a good moisturizer, while a trip to the vet is necessary if your cat’s dry nose is more serious.

There are several reasons your cat’s nose may become dry.

Dry air. Although cats virtually do not perspire, they do have moisture on their nose. If there’s a sudden change in the indoor/outdoor air temperature or an air conditioning malfunction, your cat will have to adjust to the new conditions.

Although cats virtually do not perspire, they do have moisture on their nose. If there’s a sudden change in the indoor/outdoor air temperature or an air conditioning malfunction, your cat will have to adjust to the new conditions. Allergies. A change in the air or a sudden decrease in humidity may be an allergic reaction for your pet. Use a hard bristled brush, which can help in reducing the amount of allergens on his fur and face.

Fungal Infection

In many cases, a dry nose is just a sign of a cat being a cat. As mentioned previously, many cats are fond of "sunning" themselves and will spend a lot of time grooming their nose. So if your cat spends a lot of time outside or in high traffic areas, he's likely to have a dry nose.

Of course, dry nose presents a problem when your kitty tries to drink from a bowl. A dry nose means your cat’s sense of taste isn’t working properly, which affects his or her appetite.

If it happens that your cat's appetite starts to suffer and your cat’s ears seem to be a little sore, a fungal infection of the paws might be to blame. As with humans, some kinds of fungus thrive in dry areas. Because ears and feet are often exposed, they're susceptible to fungal growth.

Cats that lick their paws are more likely to have a fungal infection. According to Webvet, the foot licking is believed to be a way of grooming the feet to remove dead tissues and alleviate itchiness.

In the worst cases, fungal infections can cause cats to lose feeling in their paws, which can lead to more serious complications in the feet and legs.


Cats are prone to picking up parasites that take refuge in their little noses. Your cat’s nose is a warm, cozy, moist spot perfect for parasites to develop.

The most common parasite found in the cat’s nose is the nasal mite. As unflattering as that sounds, nasal mites fall into the ‘good’ category, because they don’t cause any medical trouble (besides being extremely annoying).

The mites are very tiny – they can be seen with the naked eye only if they move around a lot while inside your cat’s nose. To see a live picture of a nasal mite, click here.

If your cat is scratching her nose more than usual, you’ll want to take her to the veterinarian to have her checked. You’ll also want to have her checked out if she’s sneezing a lot, or if her nose begins to get stuck to her fur.

Also, the presence of nasal mites changes the overall look of the nose. The inside of the nose becomes inflamed, which results in excess moisture, and the skin may look and feel irritated.

Solar Dermatitis

(A Cat’s Sun Burn)

Cats are believed to be obligate carnivores. By nature, they are meant to eat other animals as their primary source of food, and they are required to ingest vitamin A from meat to maintain good vision. Since they don’t synthesize it, vitamin A must be obtained from their diet.

The same theory holds true for cats that contract “solar dermatitis”, also known as feline “sunburn” and “vitamin A deficiency”. Solar dermatitis in cats is sometimes referred to as the “cat vitamin A deficiency reaction”.

Cats exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time can become affected by solar dermatitis. The sunburn on their nose, cheeks, ears, and paws can be accompanied by secondary infections including erosions, crusts, and alopecia (hair loss). More severe forms of the disease may result in ulceration and crusting of large portions of the skin.

The sunburned skin can be peeled and sheds resulting in temporary hair loss. The nose may appear red and dry. Other signs include:

  • Swelling of the upper lip and eyelids
  • Difficulty breathing

Steps You Can Take

My cat's nose is dry. Even though this is a common cat behavior, it can be a cause for concern. For instance, your cat may not be able to breathe as easily as she used to, or she might be uncomfortable. Then again, she might just have a cold.

Here are some of the issues a cat with a dry nose could face.

How you can do to make your cat comfortable:

You will have to verify whether she is having trouble breathing due to the dry nose. If she is, there are several options available.

Although it will need a vet's approval prior to administering any medications, you can offer warm, moist compresses, which can put some moisture back into your cat's nose. However, if the problem is due to an infection or something more serious, increasing moisture in your cat's nose could actually do more harm than good.

Another option would be to increase the humidity in your home. If this is due to something physical related to a dry nose, increasing humidity is a fairly easy fix. A humidifier, an easy-to-install bathroom dehumidifier, or a vaporizer may do the trick.

If your cat has a cold or allergies, the moistening agent could help alleviate her symptoms. Since hot or sunny weather often causes dry nasal passages, this could bring her comfort as well.