My cat has a runny nose: why? What to do ?


Therunny nose in cats has a wide variety of causes, some of which are of greater concern than others. It is therefore strongly recommended to always identify the origin of nasal secretions as quickly as possible. The owner should in any case not neglect his cat whose nose is runny and beware of self-medication. A consultation at the vet is highly recommended.

Runny nose in cats: the different causes

The most common reasons that lead to nasal discharge in cats are:

  • Inflammatory rhinitis: it affects nearly 65% of cats having a runny nose. In the current state of knowledge, its origin is still unknown.
  • A foreign body in a nasal cavity such as a spikelet, a more common cause in kitties frolicking in nature or city parks.
  • A yeast infection.
  • A chronic dental problem, especially in older cats.
  • A trauma.
  • A viral disease, knowing that many viruses are involved such as:
    • Feline herpes virus type 1 or FVH-1,
    • Calicivirus, very contagious, responsible for feline calicivirosis but which is also an agent of feline coryza or viral rhinotracheitis.
  • An allergy to:
    • A household product in particular,
    • A pollen,
    • Dust…
  • Haemostasis or coagulation disorder, causing pinkish discharge from the nostrils, or even nose bleeds : a problem that can be found in a cat which poisons itself by ingesting an anticoagulant drug or even poisoning itself with rat poison among others.
  • A benign tumor of the nasopharyngeal polyp type.
  • Cancer.

In most cases, a runny nose in cats does not have a serious cause. But it is still better to check with the vet. If there is a serious problem, it is better for the animal to have early diagnosis. It can thus be treated quickly and the chances of recovery will be more numerous.

Runny nose in cats: no self-medication

Many owners go on to self-medicate as soon as their cat has a runny nose. They take back from the medicine cabinet an old treatment that had been prescribed or that they had spontaneously bought without asking the veterinarian’s advice. This is really not the best idea as it can seriously harm the kitty. Without training, it is difficult to identify the exact cause of nasal discharge and a hazardous treatment can worsen the cat’s state of health rather than treating him.

Another problem with self-medication: some people give their cat whose nose is runny decongestants or even mucolytics falling under the pharmacopoeia intended to humans. However, they are often toxic to animals.

What if a cat has a runny nose?

It is necessary to be able to give to the veterinarian all the possible indications: all the symptoms presented by the small feline, age, importance and appearance of the nasal secretions. They can in fact be:

  • Transparent and very liquid, like water: these are serous discharge,
  • Stringy, viscous, thick: we speak ofmucous discharge,
  • Yellowish to greenish in color: it is a purulent discharge, and the presence of pus indicates a bacterial superinfection,
  • Haemorrhagic, more or less tinged with blood: this is a epistaxis.

It is therefore necessary to be very attentive to your cat and to identify all the symptoms that may or may not be associated with a runny nose, for example:

  • Discharge or “throwing” at the level of a single nostril or both,
  • Sneezing
  • Excessive swallowing,
  • Swelling localized around the muzzle,
  • Tearing in one or both eyes
  • Noisy breathing,
  • Breathing difficulties,
  • A foul odor that emanates from its muzzle and / or its mouth,
  • Loss of appetite
  • Apathy …

The cat may also shake its head frequently or rub its muzzle more or less insistently. Every detail counts and must be noted so that the veterinarian becomes aware of it during the consultation which must be scheduled quickly.

In the slightest doubt, the veterinarian will not hesitate to continue his investigations by means of additional examinations that only he can deem essential. The cat may very well suffer from disease Much more serious than a simple cold and that his master had not suspected until then. During this consultation, the practitioner can therefore diagnose a serious health problem in cats and set up the necessary care protocol. It should always be borne in mind that although a runny nose in cats is benign in many cases, it should in no way be minimized.