Your cat has a red nose – What can you do about it

What does a red nose in your cat mean?

When your cat has a red nose, this is usually because the skin under the hair is inflamed. In most cases, this occurs as a result of damage or irritation to the skin of your cat’s nose. Bacteria settles in that damaged skin and infects the skin on your cat’s nose. The cells in your cat’s skin start to make substances that tell the body that something is wrong there.

As a result of these substances, the blood vessels in the skin on your cat’s nose open up wide so that a lot of blood can get to this damaged spot on your cat’s nose. Blood also contains the many cells that can clean up the damage and eliminate bacteria. So the more blood arrives, the better the attack of the cause. Because the skin on your cat’s nose now contains much more blood than in a normal situation, your cat’s nose will look a bit more red than you are used to.

Cat with a red nose due to dilated bloodvessels.

Causes of a red inflamed nose in your cat


In most cases, your cat’s red nose is the result of a fight. The other cat caused a wound on your cat’s nose and that wound has started to get infected. In many cases, an abscess can also develop, but on the bridge of the nose itself this is rare. On the bridge of the nose you generally only get superficial skin inflammations and therefore a red nose in your cat.

flat noses

Besides a fight, a common cause of a red nose in your cat is that the cat has a abnormal shape of its nose. We see this especially in the flat-nosed breeds such as the Persian cat or a mix of this breed. The tear ducts can be poorly formed here, so that tear fluid from the eyes cannot disappear in the normal way. In that case, tears run over the nose and cheeks. The skin on the cat’s nose is then wet for most of the day. This causes inflammation, resulting in a red nose in your cat. In addition, skin folds often arise in these cats, where the skin inside the fold cannot be kept clean by your cat. And poor hygiene causes inflammation and therefore a red nose in your cat.


Even if your cat has a fever, his nose can turn very red. This is caused by the fact that at the end of the fever phase, the body widens the blood vessels in your cat’s skin to get rid of the heat from the fever. In this case, in addition to the fact that your cat has a red nose, you notice that your cat isn’t fit and doesn’t want to eat well.


When the skin on the nose also becomes a bit bald or a bit crusty, in many cases there is a mite living on your cat’s nose skin. You will generally also see spots forming on the rest of your cat’s body, but that is not always the case. It is a common cause of a red nose in a cat and is easily resolved. Below you can read how. 


A skin fungus is a fungus that develops and grows in your cat’s skin and hair. This can encompass the entire body, but can also be very localized. For example, on a cat’s nose and therefore cause a red nose in your cat. In many cats, a skin fungus starts somewhere on the head or on a cat’s nose. It can be recognised as a red spot, the outer edge of which is usually more intense red than the inside of the “ring”. Hence the name ringworm. This type of fungus is also contagious to humans. So do you have similar spots on your arms or face? Chances are there’s a fungus on your cat growing.

allergic reaction

In the event of an allergic reaction, the cat’s entire body usually has spots, but the head in particular has skin inflammation if there is an allergic reaction. This can cause the skin on your cat’s nose to be red. It can be due to an allergic reaction to the food or to environmental substances in the air such as tree pollen or grass pollen, house dust mites, etc. Or there may be a contact allergy, in which case the food bowl is the most common cause.

Cat with a flat nose and due tho that an inflamed skin on its nose.

Treatment of an inflamed or irritated nose

Prevent bacterial growth

It’s important to keep the red skin on your cat’s nose as dry as possible. So make sure that you regularly dry copious amounts of tears. It is also important that you prevent bacterial growth in the skin. You can do this with Chlorhexidine wipes. This agent kills bacteria and ensures that the bacteria no longer like to stay in that region. In the case of a red nose in your cat, you must clean and disinfect the nose with such a cloth 3 times a day. Usually the skin has recovered after about 5-7 days. If the problem is under control again, you can suffice with 1x per day if your cat belongs to the flat-snouted cats.

Stimulate healing

The wipes above also contain substances to soothe the skin. But my experience is that honey ointment works better. Especially in the more serious cases of a red nose in your cat, it is wise to rub the red skin on your cat’s nose with honey ointment half an hour after using the Chlorhexidine wipes. However, this is not necessary with the milder red noses. There, the treatment with the wipes is sufficient. Honey ointment also has an antibacterial effect and stimulates skin healing. And it prevents the tears from the eyes from touching the skin.

Measuring fever

Do you have the impression that your cat has a fever and has a red nose as a result? Then it is wise to measure his temperature. Use a rectal thermometer for humans for it. Measure the anal temperature in your cat. The normal body temperature range for cats is between 100.5°F and 102.5°F (38.0°C and 39.5°C). If he does indeed have a fever, you can go through the self-diagnosis again so that you can hopefully make a diagnosis. In any case, you do not have to treat the red skin of your cat’s nose. Once the fever is gone, his nose will return to a normal color.

treatment of mites

It’s wise to treat any mites if your cat’s red nose is also a bit scaly or crusty. The products that work best against this are only available at your vet’s counter or online by means of a prescription. Among other things, you can choose from Stronghold, Advocate or Bravecto as mite killers. These products are all a pipette to put in your cat’s neck and also work against fleas, ticks and bowl worms. The Bravecto works for 3 months, the Stonghold and Advocate only for 1 month. However, there is a significant price difference between these products. But they all work equally well against mites and are hopefully the solution for a red nose in your cat. If you want to use a product without a prescription you can use the Mange Relief for cats. But the products from your vet are stronger. 

Treat fungal infections

Treating a fungus in cats is a bit tricky. This is because cats can be symptomless carriers. This means that they do carry the fungus, but do not have any complaints themselves. You as the owner can get complaints from it, as well as other pets. In principle, it is wise to consult your vet and let him help you solve this problem.

Don’t you want to have your vet help you? And your cat has only a small spot on your cat’s red nose? Then you can also apply a foot fungus cream with miconazole nitrate to the spot twice a day. The spot will then quickly become smaller. You have to keep on lubricating for a week longer after the lesions have completely disappeared. However, it is possible that your cat also carries this fungus on other parts of the body, but has no skin complaints in that area. Nevertheless, he can continue to infect other people or animals in the household. You can not treat your cat’s whole body with this cream, unfortunately. 

Treating a contact allergy

So there are basically several types of allergies that can cause a red nose in your cat. A contact allergy arises because your cat’s nose comes into contact with something to which he is allergic. In most cases, this is the foodbowl. That is why it is best to use a ceramic food bowl for your cat. Virtually no cat has an allergic reaction to this. After the source of the allergy has disappeared, in other words, his food bowl has been replaced, your cat’s red nose will usually disappear within a week. 

Treating a food allergy

A food allergy usually arises due to a certain protein source (usually a certain species of animal, for example, beef proteins) or a certain type of grain (for example, wheat). To determine this, you can give your cat a special food without those substances for 2 months. You probably won’t see a difference for the first 4 weeks. After all, the allergic substances still have to be eliminated from your cat’s body. In the last 4 weeks you should see the red skin on your cat’s nose recovering. At least, if there is a food allergy. If your cat’s red nose has not resolved after 8 weeks, this will not happen ever.

As the best food for the food allergy test, you can use Hill’s Z/D. If this has an effect, you can give the food for the rest of his life. But you can also switch to the cheaper foods for food allergies. Most brands have one. In many cases, they also help sufficiently when there is a food allergy. But you first want to make sure whether a food allergy is really the cause of your cat’s red nose. That is why it is best to use the strongest allergy food first. If your cat gets a red nose again with the less strong hypoallergenic food, you can go back to the Hill’s Z/D.

Treating an atopic allergy

Unfortunately, an atopic allergy is a bit more difficult to diagnose yourself. In principle, it is necessary to remove the source of the allergic reaction from your cat’s life. And for that you need to know what he is allergic to.

This allergy is best diagnosed by your vet. He or she can take some blood from your cat and send it for testing for allergic antibodies in his blood. They usually test for around 30 substances. Very often you can’t eliminate the source of the allergy from your cat’s life. Tree pollen or grass pollen cannot be removed from the air. And you can’t completely eliminate dust mites from your cat’s life either. In this case, it is usually necessary to give your cat medication for the rest of its life to prevent the red and inflamed nose in your cat. However, most people like knowing for sure that it is an atopic allergy.

The problem doesn't resolve

If your cat’s red nose hardly improves with the above advice, something else is going on. In that case, it is best to go to your own vet. He or she will do a number of investigations to find out what is going on. In many cases, an allergy appears to play a role. In some cases, the vet will suggest taking a piece of skin tissue under anesthesia and having it examined by a laboratory.

Cat wit a red nose due to a fever.

Hopefully your cat has a normal happy nose again

Good luck in finding a solution for the red nose of your cat. If in doubt, contact your own veterinarian. Your cat deserves a red nose free life!