Why Does My Cat Have Black Boogers?

Last Updated on: May 29, 2024

Has your feline pal got a black crusty nose or black boogers in its nose? If so, you should have it examined, as it can cause difficulty breathing. With time, your cat may look lethargic and start coughing or sneezing all over the house.

If your pet has the above signs, then you must be wondering why does my cat have black boogers in its nose. Well, it’s nothing to worry about most of the time, but you should first find out the cause and how to prevent cat boogers.

Reasons Why Cats Get Black Boogers

The crusty black noses or cat boogers are common among our feline pals. The black crust can be found in the cat’s eye or nose, and in minors, it forms on the corner of their eyes. At times, it can seem permanent; other times, it can be just a passing period.

Nasal and Respiratory Issues

Upper respiratory infection is one of the possible causes of black discharge in a cat’s nose. The respiratory infection may be caused by a common virus like the one causing the common cold in humans. This will result in your pet’s immunity reacting and producing some discharge through the cat’s eye or nose to eliminate the virus.

Your pet may also be affected by a bacterial infection that can trigger the same immunity reaction. 

An allergic reaction to an allergen like pollen can also cause nose boogers.

But it’s important to note that black discharge alone might not indicate a respiratory infection. The cat’s nasal discharge color can vary based on the underlying cause.

The black discharge of cat boogers could also be associated with other issues. Respiratory infections in cats are often accompanied by additional symptoms, such as:

  • Sneezing: Cats with respiratory infections may exhibit frequent sneezing and eye discharge.
  • Coughing: Respiratory infections can sometimes cause coughing in cats.
  • Nasal congestion: Infections may lead to nasal congestion, causing difficulty breathing through the nose.
  • Runny nose: The color of the nose boogers can vary, and it might be clear, yellow, green, or even have traces of blood.
  • Lethargy: Sick cats may become lethargic and less active than usual.
  • Eye discharge: in severe cases, respiratory issues can make your cat’s eyes watery. Watery cat’s eyes can result in the formation of eye boogers.

Presence of Foreign Objects

Another reason for booger in your cat’s nose is the presence of dust or other foreign materials in its nose. The presence of a foreign object can force your cat’s immune system to react by producing mucus. Excess mucus will help force it out and prevent it from reaching its lungs.

Foreign bodies in a cat’s nasal passages can be anything from dust particles or plant material to a more substantial object. 

Here are some signs that may indicate a foreign body in your cat’s nose:

  • Unilateral Discharge: This occurs in cases of a foreign body, as opposed to respiratory infections that often result in bilateral (both nostrils) discharge.
  • Sneezing: Cats may exhibit increased sneezing as their body attempts to expel the foreign material.
  • Pawing at the Face: If your cat paws at its face or nose frequently, it could be a sign of discomfort. It may have foreign bodies dislodged in its nostrils.
  • Respiratory Distress: In severe cases, foreign material can cause difficulty breathing, especially if it is blocking the airway.

The presence of dirt in the cat’s eyes can also leave your pet with eye boogers. If you suspect a foreign body in your cat’s nose or eyes, it’s essential to consult a vet. Attempting to remove the object yourself can be risky and may lead to further injury or complications.

A veterinarian can perform a thorough examination, potentially using diagnostic imaging to identify and locate the foreign body.

Scar Scab

If it has a black discharge with a scar near it, the discoloration may be caused by the healing process. The black coloration could be due to dried blood or pigmentation associated with the healing skin.

Here are some possible explanations for black boogers in the context of a scar or scab:

  • Healing Process: When a cat sustains an injury or wound, the body initiates a healing response. Blood clots form and scabs develop to protect the wound while the underlying tissues repair themselves. The presence of dried blood within the scab can contribute to the black color.
  • Pigmentation: In some cases, the skin around a healing wound may develop increased pigmentation, resulting in a dark coloration. This is a natural part of the healing process, and the pigmentation may persist even after the wound has healed.
  • Foreign Material: If there is any foreign material in the wound, it can contribute to the dark color of the discharge.

Feline Herpes

Feline herpes is a common cause of upper respiratory infections in cats. It is caused by a herpes virus known as feline herpes virus-1 (FHV-1).

Cats affected by feline herpesvirus may exhibit various symptoms, including nasal discharge.

However, it’s important to note that not all cases of black boogers in cats are necessarily associated with feline herpesvirus.

If your cat has black discharge from the nose, it may be due to several reasons, including feline herpesvirus. Feline herpesvirus can cause the following respiratory symptoms:

  • Sneezing: Cats infected with FHV-1 often exhibit frequent sneezing.
  • Watery or Thick Nasal Discharge: The discharge may be clear, yellow, or green, and in some cases, it may contain blood.
  • Conjunctivitis: In addition to respiratory symptoms, cats with feline herpesvirus may develop inflammation of the eyes (conjunctivitis).
  • Fever: Infected cats may run a fever.


Lentigo is a term used to describe small, pigmented spots on the skin. These black spots can appear around its nose and mouth. Lentigo resembles boogers, so you may confuse them for black nasal discharge.

How To Clean Cat Booger

Cleaning your cat’s nose or dealing with “cat boogers” can be necessary, especially if your cat has nasal discharge. Here are some steps to help you clean your cat’s nose safely and effectively:

1. Gather Supplies

  • Soft, clean tissues or cotton balls
  • Warm water
  • Saline solution (available at pet stores or make your own by dissolving 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water)

2. Prepare the Area

  • Find a quiet and comfortable space for your cat.
  • If your cat is comfortable being held, you can sit down and cradle your cat in your lap. If not, you may need another person to assist by holding the cat securely.

3. Moisten the Tissue or Cotton Ball

Dip the corner of a soft tissue or cotton ball in warm water or saline solution. Make sure it’s not too wet, as you want to avoid dripping.

4. Gently Wipe the Nose

Approach your cat calmly and gently while making sure it’s comfortable. Hold the moistened tissue or cotton ball near your cat’s nose and gently wipe away any visible discharge. Be very gentle to avoid causing discomfort or injury to your cat.

Depending on the discharge amount and your cat’s tolerance, you may need to repeat the process several times daily. If using a saline solution, it can help break down and loosen dried mucus.

Monitor your cat for any signs of distress or discomfort during the cleaning process. If your cat becomes agitated, take a break and try again later.

Keep an eye on your cat’s overall health and the condition of the nasal discharge. If it persists or worsens, consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Final Thoughts

Every cat can develop boogers in their eyes and nose. These boogers are generally not dangerous, but they can be worrying if the discharge continues for a few days. Frequent boogers can be caused by foreign objects, an injury, and illnesses like herpes.

If you notice the boogers, you should consult your vet, but make sure you’re not mistaking it for lentigo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for your feline pal to have boogers?

No, boogers can be a sign of respiratory infections, the presence of foreign objects, or feline herpes.

How can you get rid of boogers?

Gently wipe the discharge from the cat’s eyes or nostrils using a damp, soft piece of cloth. But make sure you find the cause of the problem before trying any medication.

Can an injury leave my cat with a booger?

If it’s inside its nostrils, then the dry blood can mix with mucus to form boogers, commonly referred to as scab-boogers.

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