Should You Really Clean Your Cat’s Nose?

A cat’s nose is one of the most intriguing and valuable parts of her body. It can help to track, locate, and protect with their sniffing powers!

So, quite naturally, you would want to keep a cat’s nose clean and healthy. Still, most cat owners find themselves wondering whether to clean it or not.

A cat’s nose requires cleaning in the case of nasal discharge to prevent congestion and breathing difficulties. Additionally, cleaning is necessary if there is a black lining around their nose due to mucus and booger buildup. 

However, bear in mind that a cat’s nose is extremely delicate and requires proper cleaning. In this article, we have discussed when and how to clean your cat’s nose.

So, read on!

When Should You Clean Your Cat’s Nose?

You need to clean your cat’s nose carefully. However, note that, unlike ears and eyes, the nose only requires cleaning in particular conditions. Let’s discuss each one of them below: 

Cat Allergies

Allergies in cats are quite common. They could be because of airborne allergens, food, or even fleas and can definitely disrupt your cat’s routine!

An allergic cat faces symptoms such as skin itchiness, coughing, sneezing, or wheezing repeatedly. 

You may also find nasal discharge like clear, transparent mucus around her nose. It could lead to nasal congestion and, thus, breathing difficulties. So, you can clean your cat’s nose to provide her relief and breathing ease.

Visible Appearance of Black Lining Near Cat’s Nostril

Some cats have a thin or thick black lining near their nostrils. This happens due to the buildup of mucus, boogers, or scabs. 

If you notice that your cat’s nose has a black lining, we suggest cleaning it gently with cotton pads and saline solution. 

Note: If you notice bleeding in that area, it’s best to visit a veterinarian. It is because VCA Hospital quotes that upper respiratory tract infections may cause nosebleeds.

Slight Difficulty In Breathing 

Sometimes, your cat may not have any disease or infection. But, if she plays outside or around the house, the dirt might accumulate in her nostrils. Thus, causing slight difficulty in breathing. 

So, it’s best to check her nose for dirt and it once before looking for other causes. 

Is It Safe to Clean Your Cat’s Nose?

A cat’s nose is sensitive, but it’s safe to clean in the above-mentioned cases! However, there are some instances when you shouldn’t clean it without asking the vet.

Cats have a transparent and clear mucus discharge due to allergies. However, if the nasal discharge is of any other color like yellow, brown, or red, you need to visit a vet.

An abnormal nasal discharge or bleeding is a sign of chronic upper respiratory tract infection. So, instead of cleaning the nose, you should ask for proper medications to avoid any additional discomfort. 

Apart from this, you also need to clean your cat’s nose gently. If you’re too aggressive, you may end up scratching your cat’s soft nose and hurting it. 

How to Clean Your Cat’s Nose?

Did you know that a cat’s nose can have up to 200 million smell receptors? So, it’s a vital organ and requires the right method of cleaning. 

Given below is how you can safely clean your cat’s nose. 

Materials Required:

  • Cotton Pads
  • Saline Solution 

Cleaning Process:

Step 1: Make Your Cat Comfortable

Most cats try to escape and may end up hurting themselves during any cleaning process. So, you need to ensure that your cat is feeling comfortable. 

Fetch by Webmd, a veterinarian-reviewed platform, suggests scheduling a cleaning session when your cat is sleepy. 

Hence, accordingly, you can schedule a nose-cleaning session after dinner to ensure your cat’s comfort. Also, don’t do it if you think your cat is in a grumpy mood.

Step 2: Start With The Cleaning Process

Once your cat looks comfortable, place her on a flat platform, like a table. Before you begin, pet her a little to soothe her nerves. 

Then, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Take a clean cotton pad and put some saline solution on it. 
  2. Wrap the cotton pad around your thumb for easy cleaning. 
  3. Gently hold your cat’s left side of the nose. Then, clean the surroundings of the right side. Remove any visible dirt. 
  4. For smaller areas, use the cotton-clad thumb’s nail to reach and clean them.
  5. Repeat the same process for the left side of the nose. Make sure to use a new cotton pad for the other side. 

Note that your cat might try to run away, so you need to be a little quick during nose-cleaning. 

Also, once you have cleaned the nose, try offering nutritious cat treats to get her excited for the next cleaning session. 

Difference Between a Cat’s Wet Nose and Unclean Nose

Do you often find that your cat has a wet nose? Well, there’s nothing to worry about in this case. 

Most cats have wet noses that help them decipher various scents. It’s because the scent particles get attached to wet surfaces more easily than dry surfaces. Moreover, cats also lick their noses a lot to wet them. 

So, unless and until you don’t find any dirt signs, including – mucus, boogers, or scabs, your cat’s nose is clean. 

On the other hand, an unclean cat’s nose is home to a black crusty layer surrounding it and requires proper cleaning. Additionally, if your cat has breathing difficulties or allergies, her nose might be unclean/congested. 

The table below will help you gauge whether your cat’s nose is just wet or unclean. 

CategoryWet NoseUnclean Nose
AppearanceDamp with no mucus, dirt, or black stuff Presence of mucus, boogers, or scabs 
Cat’s BehaviorNormal and relaxed with steady breathing Signs of breathing difficulties such as:
1. Panting
2. Mouth Breathing
2. Noisy, fast, and short breaths 
Cleaning Requirements A wet nose doesn’t require any cleaning from your end.

A cat can pretty much clean her nose in most cases.
An unclean nose may become a cause of concern due to breathing difficulties and restlessness in cats.

So, you need to clean your cat’s nose properly with cotton pads. 
Comparison between a wet nose and unclean nose

Final Thoughts

Cats are clean animals, and some people even consider them cleaner than humans! Moreover, they’re self-sufficient to clean themselves, but sometimes, they may require additional assistance.

So, if you notice any clear nasal discharge from your cat’s nose, black stuff, or breathing difficulties, you should clean their nose.


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