Cat Rubbing Its Throat – What Could It Be?

Why is my cat rubbing its throat?

There are several possibilities why a cat is rubbing its throat. In the first place, this may be natural behaviour that comes with his personal grooming. In that case, he washes himself a little better in that place than in the other places. It is also possible that he suffers from itching of the skin of his throat. And the last possibility is that he is somehow experiencing pain in his throat, so your cat is rubbing his throat to get rid of this pain or discomfort. Below are all the reasons why your cat is rubbing his throat in more detail.

Cat is rubbing its throat due to a small wound.

Natural grooming behavior as the cause of your cat rubbing its throat

As you may know, cats wash themselves to keep their skin and coat in top condition. Some cats take this very seriously and may overgroom a certain location. In this case, your cat is rubbing its throat to clean and take care of that region. If he does this in peace in a relaxed way, then there is not much going on. But some cats also over-groom themselves when they are under stress. By washing they calm themselves down, which reduces stress. In this case you will see that the coat of the throat also starts to become thinner or even bald over time.

Reduce stress

If you think your cat is exhibiting “normal” grooming behavior, you don’t need to do anything. However, if you feel that your cat is rubbing his throat abnormally much, it is wise to help him experience less stress. If you have a clear idea of what is causing his stress, then of course you remove that source of stress if possible.

But in most cases an owner does not know why a cat is stressed and is rubbing its throat. In that case, it is best to give Zylkene tablets to your cat that is rubbing its throat. They work very well to counteract the feeling of stress. But not every owner likes to give tablets to his cat. In that case, you can try Feliway to help your cat rub his throat less. You have to try both remedies for at least 30 days before you can say whether or not they help.

Your cat is rubbing his throat due to an itch or irritation

If your cat is rubbing his throat due to the fact that he experiences itching in his throat, he may also scratch his throat obsessively. The itching can be caused by a wound, a skin infection, an insect sting or an allergy. So you will have to examine the skin of his throat, between the hairs, just as well.

Skin inflammation with an infection

Is the skin very red and wet at the area where your cat is rubbing its throat? Then he has a skin inflammation with a bacterial infection in it. With this problem you need hydrocortisone to reduce the inflammation and therefor the itch. But you also need ingredients that reduce bacterial growth. Zymox Topical Hot Spot Spray works best in this case. You use this twice a day for at least 7 days. With a maximum of 14 days. If it didn’t resolve by then you need to see a veterinarian. 

Little wounds

Is there a wound in the area where your cat is rubbing its throat? But is it small and superficial? In that case you can put some iodine ointment (or betadine solution, but that is more inconvenient to use in cats) on the wound twice a day. Don’t put it on too thick. If your cat washes himself he will digest the iodine. This will cause diarrhea. The wound should then be healed within a week at the latest. In the course of that week it should also start to itch less. In that case, your cat also is rubbing its throat less. If the wound is larger than half a centimeter or if it is a deeper wound, it is better to visit your vet.

Irritated skin

Is the skin a little redder than normal, but otherwise dry? Then there is no infection, but the skin is simply irritated. This may be due to an insect sting. Then it is very local and a small circle. Usually it is therefore a bit swollen. You don’t have to do anything about it. It will heal by itself. 

If it covers a larger part of his throat you need to give your cat an anti-inflammatory treatment. You can use hydrocortisone spray for it. Use this twice a day for at least 7 days. Your cat should start rubbing his throat less after a day or two. 

If that doesn’t help or it returns quickly, the chances are that your cat that is rubbing its throat has an allergy. The throat and head are the two places where an allergic reaction is most visible. If the complaints are quite intense for your cat, it is best to visit your vet. He or she can give your cat medication for the itching while you look for the cause. If you don’t want that, you can try to see if it’s a food allergy. In that case, use the following food for your cat:

Food allergy explanation

A food allergy is often the cause of your cat rubbing its throat. With such an allergy, he can have an allergic reaction to ingredients in the food. In particular, the animal species that was used as a protein source or the grain that was used as a carbohydrate source can be the cause. The foods above have those ingredients in a processed form. The proteins and grains have been processed in such a way that a cat cannot react allergically to them, but can still use them as a building material for his body and energy source to move around.

Do you want to do the food allergy test? Then it is very important that your cat does not receive normal food or treats or rewards through its mouth in any other way during 8 weeks. You will probably not notice a difference during the first 4 weeks. But for the last 4 weeks, your cat should stop rubbing its throat if the food allergy is the cause. After all, it takes about 3-4 weeks before he has completely removed the old “bad” proteins from his body and therefore no longer has an allergic reaction to it. So you need to have some patience for it! Does it still have no effect after 8 weeks? Then you will have to take your cat to your vet. It might be an allergy for pollen or dust mites. 

cat rubs his throat on a flowerpot due to itching.

Your cat is rubbing his throat due to pain in his throat

In general, it is obvious that your cat has itchy skin, or that it has a sore throat. The pain may be due to an object being lodged in his throat. But an inflamed throat itself can also be the cause of your cat rubbing its throat. In that case, he is also coughing or swallowing a lot.

To tell the difference between the two, you can offer your cat some food. If an object is stuck in his throat, he cannot bring the food from his mouth to his stomach and he will regurgitate the food within half an hour, if he decided to eat it at all. However, with a throat infection, your cat sometimes has so much trouble with his throat that he doesn’t want to eat. But if he eats it, he usually doesn’t regurgitate it. In both cases, it is best to go to a vet. He or she can at least give your cat a painkiller and antibiotics so that his throat infection can heal. And if he also suspects that something may be stuck in the throat, they can investigate this further.

Release of pheromones

Something cats also often do is rub their head and neck against objects. They basically do this to mark off their territory. Not that your cat does that very consciously, but that is the reason. Is your cat mainly rubbing its throat against objects? And does it look a bit like giving cups? Then you don’t have to worry about it. If you are rather into cleaning yourself, it is wise to clean the objects that he uses a little less. Then his pheromone sticks a little better and he therefore has to rub those pheromones on the objects less often. If all goes well, your cat will start rubbing his throat a little less.

Cat is scratching his throat due to an itch

Good luck!

Hopefully you have an idea about how you can best help your cat that is rubbing its throat. Hopefully he is acting normal again soon.