a maine coon nose sniffing the air

Are Maine Coon Noses Supposed To Be Wet?

Normally you wouldn’t touch your Maine Coon’s nose. Their ability to smell is one of their most important senses.

Is a wet nose something to worry about in your Maine Coon, or is it normal for a Maine coon to have a wet nose? 

Should you be trying to find out whether their noses are meant to be wet?

A Maine Coon’s nose is meant to be wet if they are trying to cool down or if they need the sense of smell for hunting and eating. Excessive discharge, however, might mean your Maine Coon is ill.

So while a wet nose is a perfectly normal situation for a Maine Coon that’s healthy, there could be some signs that mean it’s ill.

an articstic photo of a maine coon

What Causes A Maine Coon’s Nose To Be Wet

The idea that a Maine Coon’s nose always should be wet is far from accurate.

Unlike cats with a cold or while eating to keep their nose moist, it’s possible for them to have a dry nose and still be in good health.

You probably think that a Maine Coon’s nose should be dry if the cat is suffering from dehydration in hot weather; however, some Maine Coon cats with severe dehydration can still have a moist, even wet, nose.

As a Maine Coon owner it’s not necessary to worry about the moistness or dryness of their nose.

If your Maine Coon is in good physical health and active then you have nothing to worry about, whether the nose is wet or dry.

Sudden changes from the normal pattern with additional clinical signs of illness, like appetite reduction, weight loss, vomiting, or diarrhea, are signs that your Maine Coon needs to visit a veterinarian.

Your Maine Coon has sweat glands in the nose and nasal cavity. They become moist or wet in order for your Maine Coon to regulate their body temperature through evaporation.

You may have heard that cats groom themselves from vanity. They can often spend far too long wishing their coat with their tongues.

While time consuming, it is a major reason why your Maine Coon will have a moist nose.

a hand stroking the nose of a maine coon

A wet cat nose might be due to something as simple as a water bowl.

When giving your kitty their water, place it in an elevated dish, or as I prefer a fountain freshwater provider.

Your Maine Coon should be able to more easily assess the depth of the liquid and thus avoids its nose dipping into the water.

Whilst moist or wet noses are normal signs in a Maine Coon, a runny nose or excessive discharges are an indicator of possible illness or disease.

Many diseases such as FIV and upper respiratory infections can cause salivation which would be an immediate cause for alarm.

So knowing the difference between a moist nose, a wet nose, and a runny nose with excessive discharge will help you care for your Maine Coon.

The Maine Coon Has A Wet Nose For Picking Up Scents

Wet noses are typically associated with healthiness but a cat can equally have a dry nose and be healthy.

For cats, wetness may help the cat pick up scents as well as determine where they’re coming from.

Unsurprisingly, wet dog noses operate in a similar fashion, providing them with an advantage over dry ones.

Your Maine Coon, along with other breeds of cat has a scent gland in the upper roof part of the mouth.

When you see your Maine Coon holding their nose in the air taking up the smells they are actually breathing into the mouth. The whole process has a name called the Flehmen response.

a maine coon kitten looking straight ahead

Your Maine Coon May Be Trying To Cool Down

Depending upon the prevailing environment it’s possible a wet nose is your Maine Coon trying to cool down.

Maine Coons like all cats aren’t overly great in high temperatures.

A Maine Coon possesses no sweat glands so cannot sweat to take away excessive heat.

The normal body temperature for a Maine Coon is 101.0 to 102.5°F (38.3 to 39.2°C).

If the environment is excessively hot then your Maine Coon will need to cool down. It’s usually best indoors with the air conditioning on and circulating air.

The signs of an overheating Maine Coon are;

  • panting
  • feet sweat
  • lethargy
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • hgh body temperature
  • shaking
  • unsteadiness
  • drooling or salivating
  • low enthusiasm

So along with a wet nose make sure the Maine Coon has a good temperature environment to live in.

a maine coon on a couch

What If My Maine Coon’s Nose Is Dripping Wet?

A cat’s nose can change its moisture variance from time to time.

Evaluate the wetness of your cat’s nose at different times and see how often it changes if anything then note any other symptoms or issues that may be present.

It’s worth taking note of the color of the fluid if your Maine Coon has a dripping wet nose, as a nose that excessively produces fluid can be a sign of respiratory disease.

If the drainage is viscous in any way this could be a sign of bacterial infection. Clear drainage is more likely the sniffles, a cold, or an allergy if more persistent.

If the drainage is accompanied by other more serious symptoms like lethargy, weight loss, or vomiting then a trip to the vet is more than likely a good option.

Better to be safe than sorry.

a maine coon sitting on a wall

Discharge Vs. Wet Nose

While it may seem an inconsequential difference, discharge implies the Maine Coon is fighting an infection or illness of some kind.

The easiest way to perhaps classify the nose fluid is to check for viscosity. That is, whether the fluid has a more paste-like feel.

Most can tell the difference between a watery discharge and a more mucus-based one.

While a wet nose is normally fine, a nose that is discharging might be better dealt with by a vet, especially with other symptoms.

a maine coon head shot

Potential Illnesses

As with any animal, the cause of discharge from a nose could potentially be quite serious.

Not always, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the distinction.

Cat Flu

If your Maine Coon is normally sufficiently healthy, is active, and gets a well balanced diet, then cat flu shouldn’t be serious.

In very young kittens before the autoimmune system is developed and in much older cats it would be more of a problem.

Cat flu is like the human variant, there are mutating viruses that just go around from time to time, normally in the wetter colder months.

Some symptoms of cat flu are;

  • runny nose and eyes
  • coughs and sore throat
  • sneezing
  • lethargy
  • dribbling

The more your Maine Coon is still a kitten or getting on in years, the more you should consider a vet trip if the symptoms prevail.

a close up of a maine coon


Pneumonia is something you should definitely try and avoid in your Maine Coon.

A bacteria or virus can get into the respiratory system of your cat, and cause inflammation of the trachea and nostrils.

Quite quickly breathing difficulties can develop causing low oxygen levels in the blood.

A healthy cat is unlikely to succumb to the infection but young kittens and senior cats are particularly susceptible.

A Maine Coon can contract Pneumonia from fungal infection, parasites, or viral and bacterial infections.

The symptoms can be quite numerous but a few are;

  • shallow breathing
  • labored breathing
  • gurgling
  • nasal discharge
  • coughing
  • mucous
  • loss of appetite (weight loss)

If your Maine Coon exhibits these symptoms, please take them to a vet.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

FIV is a commonly diagnosed disease in domestic cats.

The virus attacks the immune system of the feline and is a dangerous disease as symptoms don’t appear straight away.

FIV degrades the immune system and makes a Maine Coon susceptible to other diseases it would normally be able to fight off.

The virus itself is transmitted in feline body fluids including saliva and nasal discharges.

Fighting cats that draw blood can infect the other with the disease.

Luckily a vaccination is available for the disease.

A close up of face of Maine Coon Alita


For A Maine Coon it’s perfectly OK for their nose to be wet or dry.

A moist or wet nose during the day is normal, with the cat using the feature to smell the air better or cool down. Or both.

The caveat to that is if there is a viscosity to the fluid on the nose then it’s more likely to be discharge. This is a sign of illness or infection.

If the discharge comes with more serious symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea then take them to a vet.

Adding moisture to a cat’s nose not only increases their sense of smell, it also helps regulate body temperature on scorching days

It’s a perfectly natural function

Don’t be alarmed if your Maine Coon’s nose is dry. The moisture level of a cat’s nose can change throughout the day.

As with every other animal, knowing your Maine Coon’s normal behavior will help you pinpoint any abnormality such as discharge from a wet or dry nose.

About the Author


My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One