A cat's nose is a fantastically sophisticated and accurate tool for exploring the world around it. Indiscriminate kittens, still deaf and completely blind, rely only on the scent, smelling milk nipples, the warm side of their mother, littermates and their den. On the nose, the owner determines whether the pet is sick: the cat has a dry nose - it is hot, hot - the temperature is elevated, swollen and clogged - they suspect an infection.
What is the cat’s nose like?
The structure of the cat's nose in a simplified form is two nasal passages (two nostrils are separated by cartilage, as in humans), leading to the labyrinth of the so-called trellised "shells". The cat, if necessary, can hold a certain aroma in the "nooks" of the winding labyrinth, getting rid of impurities in order to more accurately identify the smell that interests it. A dirty nose in a cat is a decrease in smell, so it is important to ensure that the nasal passages are not blocked by secretions or litter.
After passing through a labyrinth, molecules irritate smell-sensitive cells that are associated with the olfactory center of the brain, where aroma is recognized. There are many more receptors in the cat’s nose than in the human nose — the cat’s nose is 15 times better than ours! The cat hides its nose, rubs it and begins to sneeze uncontrollably, smelling irritating substances - chemicals, perfumes, spices, citruses, vinegar. To us, the aroma may seem subtle, and the cat is physically suffering from such amber, so do not use perfumes near the cat or wash the pet’s feeder with cleaning products.
In addition to the olfactory function, the nose performs many other tasks. Cats breathe through the nose, mucous membranes of the nasal passages warm the inhaled air, inside the nose the air undergoes preliminary cleaning of the smallest particles, viruses, and bacteria. When a cat has a hot nose, thermoregulation function suffers - it is important to pay attention to the temperature of the nose (mirror) of the nose. The skin of the nose is highly sensitive to temperature changes, so cats can determine the temperature of the food or surface without even touching the object of interest.
The shape of the nose is determined by the structure of the cranial bones and cartilage. The most healthy noses in breeds of "natural" proportions. Cats with flattened muzzles are susceptible to various diseases of the respiratory system, as their nasal cartilage and bones are curved and compressed.
The color of the nose mirror depends on the color and often repeats the color of the hair on the face, but a few tones darker. Brown spots on the nose in tricolor cats and elderly pets are common. But if the nose of an adult cat suddenly changed color, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian. But do not panic if the cat's nose turns black with age - over time, both the hair, and the paw pads, and the eyes, and the nose change color. The tendency to change the "image" is especially noticeable among color-point cats (mask, socks, dark ears, dark tail on a light background). Sometimes the fact that the nose has a blackened nose is explained by a cooling: the cooler the room, the color, including the nose, is darker. In light-colored favorites, the opposite is true: the nose is pale in winter, and in summer, under the influence of sunlight, the color becomes more saturated, brighter.
What is a healthy nose?
It is generally accepted that the nose of a cat should be cold and slightly moist. Indeed, in a healthy cat, the nose is cool, smooth, and may even be slightly slippery. But after a cat’s sleep, active play or stress, a hot nose is normal. If your nose remains dry and warm to the touch for a couple of hours, you should measure your pet’s body temperature, and if you have any other symptoms of malaise, contact your veterinarian immediately. A cat's pale and very cold nose can signal systemic diseases, hypothermia, shock, a sharp decrease in body temperature, and poisoning.
If a cat has a white nose, by changing its shade one can judge the work of the circulatory system, since a shade of blood is clearly visible through skin lacking pigment. For example, a bluish color may be a sign of heart disease or lack of oxygen. Reddish inflamed nasal mucosa can be a sign of rhinitis, infection, and mechanical irritation. When a cat has a red nose, high blood pressure, fever, and allergies are suspected. A yellowish shade of a nose mirror - liver, kidney disease. In cats whose noses are colored dark, it is more difficult to notice such changes. In order not to miss the onset of the disease, instead of the nose, examine the mucous membranes of the lips, eyelids.
Observation and care
If the cat is in good health, the nose does not need additional care - the pet does everything herself. During hot weather, when a cat has a dry nose, it licks, moisturizing the mucous membranes. Despite the natural curiosity and the habit of sniffing everything, a cat’s dirty nose is an occasion to wash thoroughly using paw pads and claws. However, the owner should regularly inspect the nose and touch it with the back of his hand: if the cat’s usually cold nose suddenly becomes hot and dry, you should take a closer look at your pet.
And how to clean the cat’s nose if such a need arose? This is a simple manipulation, but you need to act delicately so as not to cause aggression and not scare your pet. The fidget is smeared in flour or the cat’s nose is stuffed up - you can’t get inside the nasal passages. Only the visible part is cleaned using moistened cotton buds with a limiter. You need to move from the inner edge to the outer, removing accumulated litter, secretions or dried crusts. If the cat does not breathe, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian. The cause of nasal obstruction can be foreign objects, tumors, clotted blood, and much more: do not try to clean your nose yourself, this is fraught with injuries.
So that after cleaning the cat’s wet nose does not cause rhinitis or bronchitis (if the room is cool), the moisture should be removed with a paper towel. No need to rub your nose - just a light touch. Wipes should not be stained (especially if the cat has a white nose and / or light coat on the face) and odorless: chemical dyes and perfumes often cause allergies, local irritations and dermatitis. In addition, the sensitive sense of smell of a cat after such care may be affected. For the same reason, you need to clean the spout with ordinary boiled water, without using special liquids unless absolutely necessary.
Do not forget that a healthy nose in a cat should always be clean, slightly shiny and even, without scabs, crusts, flaky areas. Having noticed any changes, especially if they appear regularly or do not disappear within a day, be sure to visit the veterinarian. On the other hand, a cat’s cool wet nose doesn’t mean that the cat is completely healthy - just touching the nose is not enough to evaluate the condition.