cat boogers

Cat Boogers: Feline Nasal Disharge & Black Stuff On Your Cat’s Nose 101

We’ve all wiped away nose or eye boogers from our cats but if you have noticed your cat is getting boogers more frequently or they have changed in colour it could be worth a trip to the vet.

While discharge and boogers are a normal occurrence; they can also be an indication of a health issue such as a respiratory infection.


Ask a Vet

If you notice that your cat’s boogers have changed in colour we recommend you speak with a vet ASAP to help you work out what’s going on and what needs to be done. JustAnswer allows you to talk in real-time to veterinary experts for a small fee.


This guide takes a closer look at the possible causes of cat nose and eye boogers and what you should do about them. 

Feline Nose Boogers

It is normal for cats to have nasal discharge and this can dry out and become boogers.

The boogers or discharge from your cat’s nose can be an indicator of their health, particularly if there has been a colour change or the discharge has become more severe. 

Nasal mucous discharge is there because it is helping to protect your cat’s respiratory system.

As such, there are a few possible explanations for your cat’s nose boogers.

It’s important to figure out what the reason for the boogers or discharge is if it is a common occurrence. 

Causes Of Cat Nose Boogers

Below are a few of the potential explanations for cat boogers: 

  1. Nasal and Respiratory Issues 

One of the first things a vet will check for is a nasal problem.

As the discharge or boogers are coming out of your cat’s nose then it points towards a nasal issue.

The discharge could be a result of an infected or irritated area in the airway that has resulted in extra secretions in the nasal and post nasal area (causing what is essentially a runny nose).

It could also be a result of the immune system trying to get rid of the secretions because they contain germs. 

Looking at the discharge may be able to help point to the right answer.

For example, if the discharge is blood-coloured or dark brown or black it could indicate there is a blood disorder. 

Before we look at the symptoms and possible causes of nasal discharge, it is important to note that the boogers could be caused by something as simple as a cold or a mild infection.

If you have noticed the discharge/ boogers multiple times then it is a good idea to take your cat to a vet for a check-up.


Ask a Vet

Speak with a vet ASAP to help you work out what’s going on and what needs to be done. JustAnswer allows you to talk in real-time to veterinary experts for a small fee.


The vet will be able to find the cause and will be able to offer suitable treatment. 

Common symptoms associated with nasal discharge include:

  • Inflamed eyes
  • Difficulty breathing (through nose)
  • Discoloured teeth
  • Facial swelling
  • Polyps

Potential causes of nasal discharge:

  • Bacterial infection 
  • Viral infection
  • Fungal infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Vomiting
  • Ear inflammation 
  • Cancer
  1. Dark Lint Or Material  

The black stuff on your cat’s nose could be due to black fabric such as clothing, carpet or material from one of their toys.

black cloth can cause the appearance of boogers

It could be from dust or lint that the mucous in your cat’s nose has trapped to prevent it from being inhaled.

These are simple reasons as to why your cat’s nose boogers have a black or dark-coloured tinge.

If you think this may be the cause, regularly vacuuming or keeping your cat away from certain items that shed lint often can help prevent it from happening.

  1. Scratches 

Your cat may have a small scratch or spot on or inside their nose that has scabbed and dried.

This could be the result of a scrap with another cat and is quite common with newly introduced cats.

If this is the case, the area may need to be cleaned but it should heal on its own.

If you notice your cat is uncomfortable or there is redness or swelling around their nose then you should get them checked by a vet to ensure the area is not becoming infected. 

  1. Herpes

Another possible explanation for nose boogers is herpes.

Dry, dark, reddish-brown nasal boogers could be a symptom of herpes.

Fortunately, herpes is usually not serious for cats, it doesn’t bother them and you can’t catch herpes from them.

The boogers can be wiped away with a warm compress.

A vet may prescribe medications or cleaning agents that can help manage the nasal discharge. 

  1. Lentigo 

If you are noticing crusty looking spots around your cat’s mouth and nose it might be Lentigo.

This usually presents as black spots near your cat’s mouth but can also be seen around the nose.

Lentigo isn’t dangerous, it is similar to age spots or freckles.

Lentigo doesn’t impact your cat’s health, it is simply discolouring of the skin. 

Should I Clean My Cat’s Nose? 

If you notice your cat has discharge or boogers around their nose, you should clean it with a warm, damp cotton ball.

Only wipe the outside of their nose, never inside their nasal passage.

Cleaning discharge away can help your cat to breathe easily.

However, many cats don’t enjoy having people touching their face so only clean it if it is safe to do so.

cleaning cats face

Be aware that their face is sensitive so take care not to hurt them when wiping the boogers away.

Remember to give your cat a treat after you’ve cleaned their nose as this will help calm them down.

Even if your cat is completely healthy, they may still need to have their nose occasionally wiped clean.

If you have noticed an increase in your cat’s nasal discharge or the colour has changed, it is worth taking them to a vet.

As we say, it might be nothing to worry about but it is always good to check. 

How To Prevent Cat Boogers

How to prevent the boogers really depends on the cause.

Sometimes, increased air flow or an air purifier in the home is enough to reduce them.

Cleaning your cat’s nose regularly can help too.

However, in some situations medicine will be needed to help reduce the discharge.

A vet will be able to prescribe the appropriate medicine and dosages.

Eye Boogers

Another issue you may be concerned about is eye boogers.

It’s not uncommon for cats to get gunk near their eyes after sleeping or if there is dust or impurities in the air.

This isn’t too different to humans, as our eyes react in a similar way.

Most of the time these eye boogers are not a problem.

cat eye discharge

However, if there is a change to the colour or amount of gunk around your cat’s eyes then it can be caused by illness. 

The shape of a cat’s face means they are more likely to develop eye boogers.

This is because their nose and cheeks spread outwards and water from their eyes gets trapped below the eyes.

This discharge should be wiped away but can dry out and become eye boogers.

These need to be wiped away as they can get in the way of normal discharge and cause more eye boogers to form.

If you find you need to wipe your cat’s eyes multiple times each day it may be due to a health issue. 

Possible Health Issues 

If your cat has eye boogers all of the time it could be due to:

  1. Allergies 

This is one of the top causes of eye boogers and is when your cat’s eyes become irritated by an allergen such as pollen.

Their eyes will water to soothe the irritation and this causes eye boogers to build up. 

  1. Infection

If there is a lot of gunk around your cat’s eyes and they are struggling to open them it could be caused by an eye infection or an upper respiratory infection.

If the gunk is yellow or green in colour this can also point towards an infection. 

  1. Sinusitis 

Sinusitis occurs when the bottom of the cat’s eye is swollen around the tear duct.

This can cause excess tears and these can get stuck under your cat’s eyes. 

  1. Conjunctivitis

This is when your cat has a scratch or something similar in their eye.

Conjunctivitis needs to be treated to prevent blindness. 

  1. A foreign object 

The final possibility is that there is something stuck in your cat’s eye.

This can be dust, dirt or something else and will cause more tears to be produced to try to wash the foreign object away.

More tears leads to more eye boogers.

The issue should solve itself but if it doesn’t a vet may be able to offer eye drops or other treatment to help. 

What To Do

If you notice your cat has more eye boogers than usual, take them to the vet for a checkup. It could be an infection or a result of damage to their eye.

Taking action quickly will help your cat make a full recovery. 

Summary 

Cat boogers can be caused by a combination of factors.

Often, they are nothing to worry about but sometimes they can be the symptom of a more serious issue.

If you are concerned, get your cat checked by a vet.