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Home > Cats > How to Clean a Cat’s Nose: 5 Simple Steps

How to Clean a Cat’s Nose: 5 Simple Steps

cat owner cleaning her pet's nose

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

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Cats are notoriously clean creatures. After all, they spend anywhere between 30%–50%1 of their day grooming themselves. But there may come a time when your kitty needs an extra helping hand with their grooming. If you notice their noses are dirty or crusty after their daily grooming sessions, you might want to offer some help.

Keep reading to learn how to clean a cat’s nose.


The 5 Steps to Cleaning a Cat’s Nose

1. Get a Helping Hand

Your kitty probably won’t like the nose cleaning process, so you’ll have to calmly hold them. If you have someone else in your house who can assist, enlist their help and have them hold onto your cat while you tackle the next steps. You can use a kitty burrito towel wrap technique if a bit more security is needed.

veterinarian cleaning the inside of kitten's nose
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

2. Use a Cotton Pad

If you notice dry nasal discharge on their nose, dip a cotton pad in warm water and gently wipe their nose. Once the cotton pad is soiled, switch it out for a fresh one and repeat this step until their nose is entirely clear of dirt. Try wrapping the cotton pad around your thumb to make it easier and more convenient to clean his nose.

If the dirt or mucus is really stuck on, you might need to apply a warm compress to clean it off. You can do this by wetting a clean cloth with warm water and holding the corner of the cloth to his nose to try and loosen up any of the hardened material.

If your kitty has a shortened muzzle, such as a Persian or Himalayan, you may need to pay close attention to the folds in their skin. A cotton swab might be your best bet to ensure you’re not missing any dirt or mucus.


Hepper wipes

Whether your pet needs a quick refresh or cleanup of a sensitive area, pet-safe wet wipes are a convenient option. We recommend Hepper's Wash Wipes because they're effective on dirt and odors but also gentle on the skin. These USA-made premium wipes are safe for cats and dogs of any age and contain hypoallergenic, moisturizing ingredients.

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3. Determine Why His Nose is Dirty

Is their nose dirty because they spent all afternoon sniffing around your garden? Or is their issue stemming from a runny nose? Pay close attention to the color of any nasal secretions your cat might be dealing with. A small amount of clear discharge is normal or could be the result of allergies or a kitty flu. If his discharge is yellow, brown, or red, you’ll need to get him to the vet as soon as possible. Abnormal nasal secretions could signify an upper respiratory tract infection, which will need to be addressed by your vet.

If your kitty has been dealing with a stuffy or runny nose for more than a day or two, you should also make an appointment with your vet. It may be that your kitty has an infection going on. Treatment to support your cat in its recovery may be needed.

person cleaning cat's nose
Image Credit: NONGASIMO, Shutterstock

4. Invest in a Vaporizer

If your kitty is dealing with a stuffy nose, you might consider investing in a baby vaporizer. The warm and moist air that the vaporizer will create will help to loosen any nasal secretions as well as any crusty deposits on the exterior of their nose.

You can also recreate the same vaporizing effect in your bathroom with the door closed. Turn your shower onto hot and get some steam going. Don’t stay in the bathroom for too long as the increased humidity isn’t great for your pet.

5. Give Treats

The nose cleaning process could be scary for your cat. Follow up your cleaning regimen with some of your cat’s favorite treats for a job well done. While it is unlikely that your kitty will jump into your lap for his next nose cleaning session of his own volition, a treat immediately after you’re done cleaning his nose will help him realize there is a reward at the end for him.

giving russian blue cat a treat
Image Credit By: DSchmidtArt, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Even though cats are meticulously clean creatures, your kitty may need help from time to time to keep himself looking his best. Don’t use any cleaners or soaps on his nose when you’re cleaning it; warm water will do the trick in most cases.


Featured Image Credit: NONGASIMO, Shutterstock

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