You may think of your cat’s coat and skin as fixed when it comes to color. It turns out, that your cat can be quite the chameleon. It’s normal for their coat and skin to go through color changes.
In most cases, your cat’s nose turning black is nothing to worry about. However, it can be a sign of a behavioral or a medical issue. We’ll take a closer look at why your cat’s nose is turning black, and what you can do about it.
Why is my cat’s nose black?
Some cats are born with black noses. For some cats, their nose changes color over time, becoming black. There are a variety of possible causes which are quite interesting.
Born With It
A cat’s nose color is determined by the color of its fur. It turns out that whatever color your cat’s fur is, their nose will be as well. Generally speaking, that is. If your cat has white fur, they won’t have a white nose. Instead, it will be pink.
Orange or tabby cats have orange noses. Gray cats have, you guessed it, gray noses. Black cats have black noses. Multicolored cats can have a nose of any color in their coat, or even different colors. So, if your cat had a black nose as a kitten, it’s because they have black fur as well.
Cats, like their canine counterparts, explore the word with their mouth and nose. They don’t have hands, so they stick their nose into everything. It’s possible for them to get something on their nose that stains it. Some foods can have a staining effect. Mud and household materials can as well.
If you think staining is the culprit, you’ll need to wipe it off. You can do this with a damp cotton ball. Just wipe it gently, because your cat’s nose is sensitive.
Signs staining is the culprit include color changes around the nose as well. If your cat has streaks on their fur, they probably got into something that colored their nose and fur. You may also notice different colors or shades of color on the nose.
If the color changed very rapidly, this should also lead you to suspect staining. It’s normal for a cat’s nose to change color, but it shouldn’t occur instantly. Of course, its possible that you just didn’t notice the change until it became drastic. After all, how often do you think about the color of your cat’s nose?
I remember being a child and noticing dark spots on the arms of my great aunt. I was fascinated by these marks. What were they? How did they get there? Were they dangerous? They were age spots, which I now know are a perfectly normal part of aging.
Age spots, also known as liver spots due to their distinctive color, are technically known as lentigo.
Cats can also develop lentigo, known as lentigo simplex. Just like humans, cats develop dark spots due to age.
Lentigo will begin around the mouth, and then it moves to the nose. It can also affect the eyes and even the gums. These age spots will turn your cat’s nose black.
Orange cats are the most likely to develop lentigo, and develop it at an earlier age than cats of other colors. It’s completely harmless, and simply means your cat is getting older.
Just like humans, cats can bruise. Bruises occur when an impact breaks blood vessels beneath the skin, which causes it to look black or blue. A bruised nose is known as a nasal hematoma.
Essentially, this happens when your cat’s nose hits or gets hit with something. They may have ran into a wall. They could have been playing or fighting with another cat. There are a myriad of ways your cat’s nose can get bruised.
Injury isn’t the only cause of nasal hematomas, however. It can also be caused by immune conditions. This is more likely if your cat is also having a nosebleed. Of course, nosebleeds can also be caused by trauma to the nose, so this doesn’t rule out injury.
A common cause of immune related hematomas is Feline Herpesvirus, or FHV. This is essentially the cat version of the common cold. Your cat may have sneezing, cough, and runny nose. They should recover from the illness within a week.
FHV rarely needs veterinary treatment. However, if your cat has a nasal hematoma, it’s wise to get them checked out to rule out a serious injury.
Why is my cat’s nose turning black?
There are several potential reasons why your cat’s nose is turning black. These range from concerns like allergies and high blood pressure to simple excitement. If your cat’s nose is turning black, there’s no need to worry right away.
However, you should take the time to determine why their nose is turning black. Once you know why it’s happening, you can determine an appropriate course of action.
Allergies can also cause your cat’s nose to change color. If your cats typically pale nose turns black, an allergic reaction could be the cause. The skin of the nose, known as nose leather, will also be thicker if allergies are the cause.
Other signs of allergies include coughing, sneezing, itchiness or rash, excessive grooming, difficulty breathing, and stomach upset. Your cat may be allergic to food, particularly if you’ve recently changed their diet.
Chicken, fish, beef, and dairy are common cat allergens. These are also ingredients in cat foods. Environmental allergens may also be the culprit. Common environmental allergens include pollen, grass, and dust.
If you think your cat has allergies, you’ll need to work with your vet. They can help you determine what your cat is allergic to, and devise a treatment plan.
Warmth or Excitement
This won’t cause your cat’s nose to go from light pink to black. However, it can cause it to darken. If your cat’s nose is already a dark color, it’s possible for it to appear black when your cat is warm or excited.
Both warmth and excitement increase the blood flow to your cat’s nose. In fact, their nose can be a general indicator of their temperature. As the blood flows to their nose, it fills the blood vessels beneath the surface. This causes the nose to appear darker.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common problem for cats just as it is for humans. Overweight cats are at a higher risk of developing hypertension. It can be acute or chronic.
Acute hypertension typically occurs when your cat is very stressed or excited. Once they settle, the blood pressure goes down. Chronic hypertension occurs when the blood pressure stays higher than it should be.
Other signs of hypertension include loss of coordination, blood in the urine, restlessness or periods of hyperactivity, and dilated pupils.
Cushings disease is rare in cats, but it does occur. It’s most common in overweight females, particularly those who also have diabetes. It occurs when the pituitary gland releases too much cortisol.
Hyperpigmentation, including darkening of the nose, is the first sign of Cushing’s in cats. As the disease progresses, you will notice other signs as well.
Many cats have an increase in thirst and urination. They also become bloated or pot bellied. They may suddenly lose weight, and become weak with muscle loss. Lethargy and poor coat quality are also symptoms of Cushings. Lastly, they may have panting and shortness of breath.
Cushings can be treated. In many cases, the pituitary gland is removed. If it can’t be removed, the disease can be managed with medication.
Is it normal for a cat’s nose to be black?
In many cases, a black nose is completely normal for a cat. However, it can also be a sign of a medical issue.
When is a Black Nose Normal?
It is normal for some cats noses to be black. If your cat has a black coat, or black spots or stripes on their coat, you can expect them to have a black nose. If your cat’s nose has always been black, then it is likely simply their normal nose color.
It’s also normal for a cat’s nose to turn black as they get older. If your cat is entering old age, a black nose is completely normal.
When to Be Concerned about A Black Nose
There are a few signs you should be concerned about your cat’s black nose. If the skin on the nose is thickened or scabbed, this can indicate a health issue.
You should also notice any other signs your cat is showing. Do they have stomach upset, pain, or lethargy? Has their appetite or bathroom habits changed? These are also indications that something serious might be causing their nose to turn black.
What to do if my cat’s nose is turning black?
In most cases, there’s no need to do anything if your cat’s nose is turning black. However, some causes do require treatment. It depends on the cause of your cat’s nose turning black.
When in Doubt, Check it Out
If you have any concerns about the color of your cat’s nose indicating a potential health issue, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. If they do have a medical issue, the faster they get diagnosed, the faster they can feel better.
Prompt veterinary care can also improve treatment outcomes and save you money on treatment expenses.
Keep an Eye on the Nose
If your cat’s nose is turning black due to simple age, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you aren’t sure about the cause, you’ll need to monitor their nose and their overall health.
A black nose rarely indicates a medical emergency. In most cases, it’s simply a natural part of the aging process. However, watching for any concerning signs will allow you to seek treatment if your cat needs it.