Why Does Your Cat’s Nose Change Color?

We may live with them and love them to bits, but there are so many things we do are yet to learn about our feline friends. Besides knowing about their introversion and wanting to be treated like royalty, you may not be aware that cats’ noses are one of their most important organs. They even have nose prints, which are sort of like human fingerprints.

Therefore each cat’s prints are different from the rest due to uniqueness of the patterns formed by bumps and ridges. You may also not know that the color of your cat’s nose is related to the fur color such that black cats are born with black noses, gray cats with gray noses and so forth. However, what scares most cat owners is seeing their felines’ noses changing color. So, today we are going to answer the question: why does your cat’s nose change color? Here are a few reasons.

A stained nose

Before you rush to the vet thinking that your cat suddenly has developed a weird illness that causes his nose sometimes to become yellow or red, it could only be a stain. Cats use their nose to guide them to prey and check if food is edible according to Senior Cat Wellness, he may have buried his face in a colored liquid or food that caused the nose to stain.

Therefore check if the change in nose color is permanent by dabbing at it with a damp cotton ball. If any color gets on the cotton ball, then that is only a stain. That, however, should not mean that you should allow the stain to stay there all day. Cats spend most of their time grooming themselves hence a toxic substance in the stain could cause your cat to fall sick if they ingest it while they repeatedly lick the nose.

Your cat is growing old

Just like humans experience changes within their bodies with age, our pets also are not spared from this eventuality. Besides losing their hearing and sight, cats also change the color of their noses which can become pale with time. Your old cat could also develop lentigo, which is a benign condition that results from an increased number in epidermal melanocytes; hence no need to bother the vet. Lentigo is characterized by dark spots that can go up to 1mm in diameter. Mostly you can see the spots on the nose leather and eye rims, especially if your cat is light-skinned; black cats make it hard to spot the hyperpigmentation.

Temperature changes

You may have noticed that your face gets pale if it is cold and this also something that we share with our felines. While it can be hard to see paleness on our cats’ faces, a pale nose will be easy to spot. According to Healthy Pets, some pets have a natural condition known as “winter nose” or “snow nose.” It means that during winter, your cat’s nose will not be the same color as during summer. Dr Karen Becker explained that the difference is due to a temperature-sensitive enzyme called tyrosinase that works best in warm weather hence the discoloration during cold weather. This enzyme is responsible for melanin production.


Cats love soaking in the sun’s rays, but it is not a good idea to let them stay out for so long. Similar to how our skin turns red when exposed to too much sun, white cats especially have a dark pink nose when they get sunburn. While you might be tempted to protect them by applying your sunscreen, that would only cause them to fall ill because of the toxic ingredients in the product. However, there is a sunscreen for the felines, so arm yourself with one. Since prevention is better than cure, if you notice your cat has a change in nose color due to too much sun exposure, discourage them from basking when the sun’s rays are at their peak intensity.

Increased blood pressure

You may have noticed that the moment your cat is excited to see you, her nose changes from pale pink to a darker pink. A sudden increase in blood pressure usually causes that change. While that is momentary and the nose goes back to its usual pale color, sometimes, it may not, which should be cause for alarm. A cat suffering from high blood pressure will have a darkened nose color that may last for a while, but before you conclude that you have an ailing pet, it is best to consult with your vet and have them run more tests. Hypertension is, however, mostly seen in older and obese cats.

Contact dermatitis

In 1997 Lisa posted in Google asking if her cat, whom she got at nine weeks, was undergoing a natural change in her nose color. When she adopted the cat, the nose was black, but at three months, it had turned to pink. She added that she had even switched the feeding dishes from plastic to glass because someone had advised her that plastic could be a cause. Although the problem was not changed by switching the dishes, the cat owner had a rough idea about contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is caused by a pet’s sensitivity to certain materials; for instance, most pets are allergic to plastic; hence food and water bowls are recommended to be made from stainless steel. This type of condition causes paleness of the nose as the cats lose pigmentation of the skin.

Should you be concerned?

As seen from some of the causes of change and nose color, most of the time there is no need for a vet to intervene because it could be only that your cat is excited, getting old, or responding to the environment. However, any change that stays for longer than expected should be investigated by a professional to check for underlying conditions that could be manifesting through a darker or pale nose color. With that being said, you should monitor your cat’s body so that anything from the ordinary can be solved soonest possible.

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