Noses are funny things. In cats, we love to look at them, take photos of them, and most of all, boop them!
Cat noses, however, can be easy areas to see changes that might indicate your cat is sick, or might get sick in the near future. And no, we are not talking about if it’s wet or dry. They should generally be dry, but some cats tend to have a wet nose (especially breeds like Persians).
Overall, the skin and hair of cats can be an easy indicator as to how your cat is doing. Sudden changes in haircoat—such as suddenly becoming dry and flaky—can be reasons enough to get your cat in to see a vet. Lumps and bumps are no different, and are especially easy to spot on the bridge of the nose, since this area tends to have slightly less hair than other parts of their body (especially in medium and long-haired cats. This is also because there isn’t a lot of skin or fat here to obscure even the smallest of bumps.
This can be a good thing, because spotting an issue sooner rather than later generally makes it easier to address—especially when it comes to cats. And not all bumps are necessarily urgent. Read on to learn more!
Anatomy of the Cat Nose
Cats have two nostrils that are hairless, which make up the majority of the nose “pad”, and a philtrum, which connects the nose pad to the lip. Above the pad, lies the bridge of the nose, which runs from the nose pad to just below the eyes. It is made of soft tissue, including skin and fat that sits atop the bone of the skull.
What Changes On the Nose Bridge Should Be Concerning?
A bump itself can be concerning. But other items to look out for include:
- Difficulty breathing or open-mouth breathing
- Sudden noisy breathing
- Foul odor to breath
- Any discharge from the nose
- Bleeding from the bump
- Scabbing of the bump
- Hair loss over the bump
- Itching or pawing at the bump
These are all items that indicate there could be more going on than just a simple bump.
What Normal Changes Could Cause a Bump in This Area?
Don’t forget that normal things can occur here, too. You might simply notice something that you haven’t before in this area.
The hair of the haircoat often changes direction here, so can stand up a bit more and give the appearance of a bump. Or a cat may have scratched their nose and caused some fur to stand up and look more prominent.
What are Common Causes of Bumps in This Area?
Cats are often up to all sorts of mischief! Bumps can be simple, and caused by literally just bumping into something, which may lead to tissue swelling that can generally resolve on its own without further care.
Cats are also prone to bug bites in this area, as they may stick their noses into all sorts of interesting places. Some cats are more reactive to certain bug bites—especially mosquitos, which can show up as bumps on the nose (and often on the ears, as well).
Infections in the mouth, in particular with teeth on the upper jaw, can also lead to something called a facial abscess—which may look like a bump in the area of the nose.
In older cats, bumps can also mean different types of skin cancers. Squamous cell carcinomas, mast cell tumors, as well as nasal lymphoma, are some that are more commonly seen in this area.
What to Do if You Find a Bump on the Bridge of Your Cat’s Nose
First, get a photo of your cat, provided that they seem to otherwise be feeling ok. Next, contact your vet and let them know what your concerns are. Show them the photo, as this can help your vet decide if your cat needs to be seen, and how urgently.
If your normal vet is not open, a local emergency vet can often offer you guidance as well.
When Should You Be Concerned?
If you find a bump and, after discussing it with your vet, decide to monitor it at home, here are a few things that can help determine if and when you should check back for a reassessment:
- If it doesn’t go away in a day or two
- If it is getting noticeably larger
- If it seems to bother your cat or be painful to your cat
- If nasal discharge develops
- If your cat is squinting
- If your cat has changes to their breathing
- Other changes to your cat’s face or behavior that aren’t normal
Sometimes treatment involves simple monitoring at home, and the bump will resolve on its own. This is the best case scenario. Expect most bumps to resolve in a day or two, if they are going to.
Get a photo when you first notice the bump (and show it to your vet!), and every subsequent day that it remains. This will help you to decide if it is getting bigger, smaller, or not changing. It can be even more helpful to hold up an object (like a coin, eraser, or ruler), to give some perspective on the size of the bump, if you’re worried that it is getting larger.
If your vet thinks an infection is present, they might prescribe an antibiotic to help eliminate the infection and swelling. This can often take a number of days before the swelling improves.
If there was an allergic reaction to a bug bite, your vet might send you home with an anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce the swelling. These can help to reduce the size of the bump very quickly, sometimes within hours,.
Or, if there was trauma involved, and your cat is making it worse by scratching the area, your vet might consider the use of an Elizabethan Collars (or e-collars).
With these tips, you should now know how concerned you need to be about a bump on the bridge of your cat’s nose, as well as how to get them the help they need.
Remember, your instinct is important in situations like this. So if something doesn’t seem right, or if your cat isn’t recovering as quickly as you’d expect, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to your vet and ask the question!
Featured Image: Ijat Seeing, Shutterstock