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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21447
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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Customer Question

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.

Is your cat's nose normally pink and now is very dark pink or red?

How old is your cat?

Is your cat acting normally, eating, drinking, eliminating and responsive/active?

Any sneezing, runny nose, coughing?

Is your cat's body very warm to the touch?

Why do you suspect a heart problem?


Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.

I need to sign off now, so I'm going to send you an answer, before receiving the additional information I requested. I see that your cat is 12, and a tabby; that information wasn't visible to me, when I sent my reply.

If Lil Bit is eating, drinking, eliminating and acting as usual, this is good. A suddenly very dark pink nose can indicate an upper respiratory infection, allergies, a skin irritation, causing itchiness, which can cause her to rub her nose frequently with her paw, or against the floor or other objects in the house.

This symptom can also indicate fever, especially if her body feels very warm to the touch. Normal fever for cats is between 100.5 and 102.5, so if you can check it with a regular rectal thermometer, this information will be helpful.

If Lil Bit is exhibiting any unusual symptoms like breathing difficulties, lethargy, weakness, decreased appetite, not drinking, or if her only symptom is her suddenly red nose, a vet evaluation is recommended, ASAP. Older cats are more prone to develop certain medical problems and a routine senior blood test, in addition to an in person physical exam, are necessary.

I hope Lil Bit will be fine, once she's assessed by the vet!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
1. Her nose appears "sunburned". 2. She's 12 years old 3. Her appetite etc. appears normal; Little Bit's activity level does not seem to have changed (we have a "cat window" and our cats go in and out at will; ergo she does her "business" outside. She just seems a little more skittish at times more so than others. 4. No cough or allergy symptoms 5. Little Bit won't let you touch her. 6. I was on MEERKAT FORUM chatting with some friends and one of the burrowmates had posted that her cat had a heart problem (verified by the vet)after his nose had turned red. Apparently his brother died of the same health problem but had the red nose first. Thank you for responding.
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.
Hi again,

I just checked back and saw that you had replied, so I'd like to send you more information.

Because Lil Bit spends time outside, it's possible that her nose DID become sunburned, or she may have been bitten or stung by an insect. However, her nose would most likely be swollen or painful and she'd exhibit discomfort on her nose.

I've never been aware of any feline cardiac condition causing the nose to turn red; if anything, it would be the opposite, the nose, gums, tips of the ears, would turn paler, in cases of heart disease, since a circulation problem would be present and/or the blood would be less oxygenated.

Here is some information regarding heart disease in cats, and initial symptoms:

I don't doubt your online friend's report re: her kitties with red noses then being diagnosed with heart disease, and I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of her one furry boy; however, at this time, I would suggest a complete senior examination, including blood work, for Lil Bit, ASAP, and that should put your mind at ease, if all is well. If Lil Bit is found to have a heart condition, or any other medical condition, you've caught it in time to begin treatment.

I hope all will be well with Lil Bit!

Would you please let me know how she's doing and what the vet's findings are? Thanks!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Her nose has been like this a couple of months now. The color inten-
sity has changed a bit off and on and the percentage of the nose
being red also has changed; i.e. sometimes her nose may be red to the
bridge of the nose and other times not as high up. Does this situat-
ion indicate any type of health problem? Little Bit stays out of the
sun (we live in the Houston area). Did you note my PS that my friend's
kitty's heart problem was an enlarged heart?
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.
Hello again, and please forgive my delayed response. I had mentioned that I needed to log off, and did that after sending you my last answer.

No, I hadn't seen your edited answer, including the information about your friend's kitty, and that the cardiac problem was an enlarged heart; thanks for adding that.

The nose color can vary with level of excitement and blood pressure, and that's why you're seeing variations in the degree of redness, intermittently. Since there's a possibility that this symptom might be cardiac or blood pressure related, Lil Bit definitely needs a hands-on physical exam by her vet, to get a more definite diagnosis. As I had mentioned, a routine senior blood panel, in addition to the physical exam, including auscultation of her heart by the vet, to listen for any abnormalities, should be your next step. Her blood pressure will also be checked. If anything out of the ordinary is detected, Lil Bit will be recommended for a chest x-ray or cardiac ultrasound to determine the problem, and if necessary, treatment will be prescribed.

You're a very astute pet parent, to notice these subtle changes in the color of Lil Bit's nose, over the past few months, and having her checked out, now, will put your mind at ease, if all is well, and treatment will be given if a problem is found.

I hope everything will be alright with your furry girl.