Runny Nose in Cats: Symptoms and Treatment


Due to physiological characteristics cats do not suffer from common colds. Therefore rhinitis in cats is almost always a sign of serious illness, which is unlikely to pass by itself, without consequences. Why a runny nose occurs and what should you do after noticing the symptoms of disease? The nasal expirations have antibacterial and antiviral properties, so in the period of the disease “runs like hell” is the body’s attempt to repair itself. Nasal expiration envelop the mucous, wash off the dust and small particles, protect from mechanical irritation and drying, “push” all the excess out. Depending on the causes of runny nose, expiration can be of different intensity, density and color:

  • runny nose in cattransparent and liquid, viscous and sticky, thick and dense;
  • whitish, yellowish, gray-green, red or with red clots;
  • abundant or spotting;
  • flow constantly or only in the morning/evening/after activity;
  • form crusts, cause hoarseness, sneezing and rattle or flow freely.

By describing the symptoms accurately, the owner will help the vet to quickly make a diagnosis. Pay attention even to the little things that seem unimportant-the cat rubs its nose or runny nose does not bother it, sleeping soundly or often wakes up, sleeping with its mouth open or as usual, eating with the same appetite or sluggish (stuffy nose reduces the sense of smell).

Fungi, Bacteria

There are hundreds of species of bacteria and fungi that affect the mucous membranes. They can be pathogenic “pests” or conditionally dangerous “neighbors”, which in most cases do not undermine the health of the cat. Depending on the degree of sensitivity, number of bacteria/fungi, their aggressiveness and the general condition of the cat, the pet may feel differently. For example, chronic snot in cat’s nose with a sluggish fungal infection is a rare transparent expiration that appears after sleep or periodically. In acute bacterial infection (chlamydia, cocci, rods, etc.) exudate forms a crust, flows constantly, clogs the nose.


They are one of the most dangerous causes of rhinitis. If there is green snot in cat’s nose, fester eyes, pet sneezes and/or coughs, there are problems with the gastrointestinal tract (vomiting, refusal of water or thirst, changes in appetite, diarrhea), overall a cat does not feel well – urgently go to the vet!

Allergy and Chronic Diseases

runny nose in kittyNew food, shampoo or litter, household chemicals, remedy for fleas or a new houseplant, all these may be recognized by the immunity as “the enemy”, it can be any substance other than distilled water. Therefore, allergies cannot be excluded, even if an adult pet has never suffered from this disease. Diabetes, ICD, nephritis, obesity, heart disease – boogers in cat’s nose may occur because of an illness that is not directly related to the respiratory system. In theory, any disease, especially sluggish and invisible to the owner (i.e. left untreated) can lead to inflammation of the nasal mucosa and/or eyes. This is due to reduced immunity and general resistance of the weakened organism. The cat becomes susceptible to bacteria, viruses, protozoa, etc.

Inflammation of the Ear

Variety of ailments, from infections and injuries to systemic diseases may lead to this. The inflammatory process in the ears often affects the rhinopharynx, and since the nasal mucosa is softer and more susceptible to the skin lining the ear, it is easy to confuse the cause and effect. A runny nose is not cured, until ears of the pet are. Therefore, it is important that the veterinarian examined the patient completely, assessed the general condition.


Dry cough and black snot in cat’s nose can be the result of hypothermia. For example when the pet is pending much time outside in freezing weather, sleeping in a draft, got locked out on the balcony. In severe cases, when hypothermia sharply reduced body temperature-the cat must be wrapped in a blanket, attach to the paws of the warmer and immediately taken to the clinic.

Congenital Diseases

These are distortions and deformations of the face or the nasal septum of various kinds, which cannot always be immediately noticeable. In such cases, transparent liquid discharges from the nose of a kitten or an adult cat. At first glance, it shouldn’t cause discomfort to the cat. Deformities that lead to chronic rhinitis and respiratory disorders can be the result of injuries – after a blow to the head, after a fight, falling from height, etc. Surgical treatment: bone / cartilage in case of injury or in case of congenital pathology should be returned to a normal position.

How to Help your Pet before Visiting the Clinic?

Do not trust your friends, telling what to do if a cat has a runny nose. They usually give advice based on their own experience (but the reasons for rhinitis may be different!) or information from the network (again, general tips). Do not try to cure the cat with folk remedies, human drugs or medicines from the drugstore, recommended by the seller. The in cats runny nosetask of the owner is:

  • to provide the cat with rest, to prevent drafts;
  • not to force to eat. You can warm up a little food to stimulate appetite.
  • clean the nose with a gauze swab and warm boiled water, without trying to push the corner of the swab inside the nostrils.

After the tests, the vet will decide how to treat the cause of rhinitis and how to eliminate its symptoms.

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