Why is My Cat’s Nose Bleeding?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. August 8, 2018
Why is My Cat’s Nose Bleeding?

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In this AnimalWised article we’re going to discuss something which can strike understandable fear in the heart of any cat lover. If we see blood coming from the nose of our cat, then it is easy to think the worst may have happened. However, there are many possible causes of nasal bleeding in cats, scientifically known as epistaxis. While it might be heartening to know that the majority of causes will be minor problems, there is the potential for a serious condition. This is why, if you are wondering why your cat’s nose is bleeding, it is important to take them to the veterinarian for a clear medical picture and diagnosis.

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External bleeding on a cat's nose

As we have mentioned in the intro, epistaxis is the scientific term for nasal bleeding. In cats, however, we often see that they bleed from the outside of their nose. This is particularly the case in outdoor cats. Whether they scrape themselves going through a wire fence or get involved in a fight with another cat, small cuts can be common. Uncastrated males tend to fight more than other cats, whether over territoriality or access to females, so you may see them with bloody noses more often than others.

If we see our cat has a small cut or scratch on their nose, then you can clean them with clean gauze, water and a simple soap solution. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. Small cuts may not even bother the cat, but if the wound is large and doesn’t stop bleeding, then you should take the cat to the vet.

If the cat comes home with scratches and cuts on their nose regularly, then you may need to restrict access to the outside. The reason for this is that even minor cuts can pass on disease or infection. This includes feline AIDs and feline leukemia. You should also consider castration if your male cat repeatedly gets in fights. Diseases can be spread in this way, particularly from feral cats.

Epistaxis in cats – nasal bleeding

One of the most common causes of nasal bleeding in cats is something we may not consider too much. If we see our cat sneezing a lot, then we need to be considerate that there may be a foreign object in their nose. If this is the case, the cat may have sudden sneeze attacks and rub their nose repeatedly to try to get the foreign body out. They may even try t rub their nose against a wall out of frustration. Unless we can see the object at the outside of the nostril and it is obviously removable, then we should leave it and have a vet remove it. The reason is that there could be a hook or similar danger which could damage the cat if not removed safely.

The bleeding may also be explained by the rupture of a blood vessel or internal injuries caused by the object. If this is the case, you will often see droplets of blood on the ground or on walls where they have tried to expel the object.

If you see that blood dropped onto the ground also has mucus in it, then it is possible that a bacterial or fungal infection has caused the nose bleed. You may see sneezing or irritation develop over time if this occurs. We need to take them to the vet for an adequate diagnosis.

When are nosebleeds in cats signs of something severe?

There are situations where a cat’s nosebleed might be the symptom of something more acute. It may be the only symptom we observe, but this doesn’t mean it can be ignored. Our cats need a complete veterinary assessment if this is the case as it could be due to one of the following:

  • Injuries: in these cases a cat might have a nose bleed due to a trauma. This could be from being hit by a car or falling from a height. If they bash their nose they might have a nosebleed, but it could also be a sign of potentially fatal internal injuries. This is why a vet’s assessment is so necessary.
  • Poisoning: the ingestion of some toxins can lead to nasal, oral or anal bleeding. These cases are veterinary emergencies as the cat’s life is in immediate danger.
  • DIC: this condition is disseminated intravascular coagulation and can occur in severe cases of different medical problems such as heat stroke or a viral infection. This condition causes blood clots to from around the body and block blood vessels. They are very difficult to reverse and also require immediate veterinary care. Epistaxis in cats can also appear due to other coagulation problems.
  • Tumors: a prompt veterinary diagnosis is required to achieve the best prognosis.
Why is My Cat’s Nose Bleeding? - When are nosebleeds in cats signs of something severe?

What to do when a cat is bleeding from the nose?

While taking your cat to the vet is the best course of action, we also have some additional information which might help if your cat has a bloody nose:

  • It is important to stay calm and no panic, it is very important when reassuring your cat.
  • Confine the cat to a small space such as a bathroom or utility room as they may panic and try to run off. We may even have to restrict them to their carrier if you think they are going to be a danger to themselves.
  • An Elizabethan collar can prevent them from scratching their nose and making the situation worse.
  • We need to look for a source of the bleeding and see if there are any other wounds or injuries.
  • Although it can be difficult to keep the cat still, especially if they are panicking, we can try to ice it as the cold restricts the bleeding. We need to use thick cloth as it could harm them if it is too cold.
  • If we know where the bleeding is coming from then using some gauze we can try to apply pressure to the wound.
  • If the nose injury is superficial we can disinfect it with an appropriate disinfectant.

If it is obvious that your cat's nosebleed is superficial, then it will be a judgment call on your part whether you take them to the vet. However, if you are at all unsure, it is better to take them to the vet for an adequate assessment.

Why is My Cat’s Nose Bleeding? - What to do when a cat is bleeding from the nose?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why is My Cat’s Nose Bleeding?, we recommend you visit our First aid category.

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1 comment
Elizabeth Longfield
i notice at least i believe it is connected. my indoor cat, when i grow grass he has brownish red in his nostrils and (not a lot ) missing fur on nose . thinking from soil or allergy to the grass ???
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Elizabeth,

It is certainly possible as these would be allergy symptoms, but it will take a veterinary diagnosis to confirm. Since these are also symptoms of serious health concerns, it is best to be sure.
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