A dry nose, in and of itself, is not necessarily an issue in cats. However, if the dry nose is accompanied by any other symptoms, then you may wish to seek veterinary advice. Let us look at some of the other indicators besides the dry nose that could be indicative of an issue.
- Does your cat have a fever? A normal temperature for a cat is 100- 102. 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your cat’s temperature and see if there is a temp. If it is higher than 102.5, a trip to the veterinarian is likely in order as there is something going on.
- Is your cat dehydrated? Have you seen them drinking water today? Pinch the skin on the back of the shoulders and release it to see if it goes right back to the normal shape or if it takes a few seconds to slowly creep back to normal. Perhaps it continues to stay pinched up after you release it? These are indications of dehydration which is a dangerous condition. A trip to the vet right away is in order. They will check your cat’s urine to see if it is dangerously concentrated – an indication of extreme dehydration. If an IV is necessary, they will get fluids going directly into their body faster than any other way.
- Check the color of your cat’s gums. Are they pale? They should be pink and full of blood. If you push on the gum tissue and it grows white and then pink again, this is normal. If they are very pale and you see no color change when you push on them, they are anemic. This is also a deadly situation and they should be vetted immediately. We often see anemia in cases of heavy worm infestation – particularly deadly in kittens and in older cats. Your veterinarian will run some blood-work and tests to find the reason for the anemia. If it is worms, a worming medication will be administered. If it is another reason, then antibiotics and other medicine may be necessary. Anemia can be caused by many things.
- Is their nose so dry that it is cracked or is getting sores on it? Do these sores ooze? This can be an indication of a skin issue that will require veterinary care. It may not be life-threatening but will continue to get worse until there is an underlying infection that could become life-threatening in time. Remember that any infection can eventually spread to internal organs if not treated.
- Cats can have respiratory illnesses and if there is a cough accompanied by the dry, warm nose then it could be an indication that respiratory infection that could turn into pneumonia in a cat. Antibiotics are generally administered which will clear this situation up rapidly. Some cat litters can cause these infections and you should speak to your veterinarian about this. Switching to a low dust litter may be necessary for your cat.
As you can see, a dry nose can be a lot of things, but it can also be nothing at all. It’s up to you to determine what is normal for your cat. If your cat typically doesn’t drink a lot of water, then determining water intake isn’t a fair test for him or her. Use the skin pinch test.
Make sure that you have rectal thermometer on hand so that you can take their temperature when it is necessary. Using a dab of Vaseline on the thermometer will help you insert it more gently. Hold your cat under your arm as if he or she is a football, with the rectum facing you. Insert the thermometer gently and wait for it to beep.
You might have to wrap your cat tightly in a towel to test the temperature or their skin, or even the color of their gums. If your cat is having none of the gum test, try slipping something in their mouth for them to bite down on so you an do this one safely. Be careful not to get bitten.
Cat bites are particularly nasty and tend to get infected. You should do all in your power to avoid getting bitten and if you do, make sure that you clean it very carefully and use an antibiotic ointment on it.
Remember that if your cat doesn’t feel well, stress is a bad thing and you don’t want to make him more stressed as he already feels poorly. Covering his head so that he isn’t seeing what is going on can be helpful.
Wrapping him tightly in a towel as you handle him will reduce the risk that he gets hurt from flailing and you won’t get scratched or bitten either. Use a carrier when you must transport them and sometimes laying a towel over the top of the carrier to keep it dark will help keep them calmer.
If you see that anything that you are trying to do is only stressing your cat out completely, then you’ll likely be better off just going straight to the veterinarian and letting them make the determination. Cats can be difficult patients because they are very wiry and hard to handle when they are angry or in pain.
Sometimes it is hard to tell which the issue is and if you don’t feel comfortable, it’s always in everyone’s best interest to be safe and just let the vet do it.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.