Skip to Content

9 Reasons Your Cat Is Rubbing Its Nose Raw!

With cats being such a popular pet option while their popularity is also constantly growing, we always see people reaching out who are having various problems with their pet.

The problems that we see people asking about really do vary and we see a huge range of questions asked with each month that goes by.

After we published our article going over a cat licking its nose raw, we noticed more and more people specifically asking about why their cat is rubbing is nose raw.

After seeing so many people asking why their cat rubbed its nose raw, we decided to publish this article going over the topic to try and help as many of our readers as possible who have noticed that their pet cat is rubbing its nose raw.

We want to be clear from the start of this article, you should always take a cat that is rubbing its nose raw to a veterinarian’s office to have the cat examined and professional advice offered but we have some general advice that should be able to help our readers.

Is It Normal For A Cat To Rub Its Nose Raw?

The answer to this question is both yes and no.

Yes, it is considered to be normal for a cat to want to groom itself and this often includes rubbing its nose as part of the grooming process.

However, no, it is not considered to be normal for a cat to actually rub its nose raw through the grooming process.

If you have noticed that your cat is rubbing its nose raw, this is definitely something that you should be concerned about and taking steps to try and stop.

Why Is My Cat Rubbing Its Nose Raw?

There are a number of reasons as to why your cat might be rubbing its nose raw and depending on the situation, living condition, age, and health of your cat, one condition may end up being more likely than another.

Here is our short list of the most common reasons that your cat is rubbing its nose raw:-

  • Allergies.
  • Parasites.
  • Skin conditions.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Nasal infections.
  • Stress.
  • Irritation.
  • Foreign bodies in the nose.
  • Tumors.

In some situations, your cat may actually have problems with more than one of these issues at the same time too so keep that in mind when looking for clues of what’s wrong.


One of the most common reasons that we see cats rubbing their nose raw is due to allergies.

Cats can develop allergies to a number of things such as pollen, dust, and even certain types of food.

While people often think about seasonal allergies when they hear the word allergy, cats can actually suffer from allergies all year round.

This can cause them to rub their nose constantly, often overlooking the pain and damage they are doing to their nose provided the rubbing offers some temporary relief from the irritation of the allergies.


Another common reason that cats end up with a raw nose is from parasites.

There are a number of different types of parasites that can infest both indoor and outdoor cats such as fleas, mites, and ticks.

These parasites will often bite or sting the cat around the face which can lead to the cat rubbing or scratching at its nose in an attempt to get rid of the parasites.

The problem is that as the cat scratches and rubs at its nose, it often ends up making the situation worse by damaging its nose in the process.

Skin conditions

Cats can also develop various skin conditions that can lead to a raw nose.

One of the most common skin conditions we see in cats is known as feline acne.

Feline acne is a condition where the hair follicles of the cat become blocked which can lead to irritation and inflammation.

This often leads the cat to want to scratch or rub at its nose in an attempt to get rid of the irritation only to end up making the situation worse.

Respiratory infections

Respiratory infections will usually need medication to treat and if they are left to develop, they can start to irritate your cat’s nose causing it to rub.

Provided that you get a suitable treatment for the respiratory infection in your cat as soon as possible, you will usually not have issues with your cat rubbing its nose raw.

If the respiratory infection is left to develop, even for a week then the irritation that it causes can result in your cat excessively rubbing its nose until it’s raw.

Nasal infections

There are a number of other possible nasal infections in addition to a respiratory infection that can end up causing problems with your cat’s nose.

Just like a respiratory infection, provided you treat the infection quickly, there shouldn’t be any long term problems.

If you do leave these infections to develop then they will eventually irritate your cat’s nose and cause it to start itching constantly.

Most of these other nasal infections are usually not as bad as a respiratory infection but if they are left to develop for long enough then you will find that most cats will start rubbing their nose raw.


One of the less common reasons that cats will start rubbing their nose raw is due to stress.

While it’s not as common as some of the other reasons on this list, we have seen a number of cases where a cat has started excessively rubbing its nose due to stress.

This is often due to a change in the cat’s environment such as a move to a new house or the addition of a new pet to the family.

Cats are very sensitive creatures and any change in their routine or environment can cause them a great deal of stress.

Even keeping your pet cat in a cat carry for too long can stress it out and cause the cat to start rubbing its nose on the case as an outlet for its stress.


Irritation cause be things in your home such as scented candles is a very common yet often overlooked cause of stress in pet cats.

Due to the strong sense of smell that cats have, you may find that your cat will obsessively rub its nose raw due to irritation for something that you have in your home.

In most cases, simply removing the source of irritation will usually be enough to prevent the issue from developing further.

Foreign Bodies In The Nose

Your cat may have something stuck in its nose such as hair or some grass from when the cat was sniffing around when out of the house.

The irritation caused by this can cause many cats to rub their nose with this not only rubbing the nose raw but it can common push the foreign body deeper into the nose.

In many cases, you can usually take a quick look at your pet cat’s nose and see if there is anything stuck in there.


In some rare cases, a pet cat may develop a tumor in its nose.

This is usually not the case but if your cat has started excessively rubbing its nose and you cannot see any other obvious reason why then it could be worth taking a trip to the vet just to be sure.

As with most things on this list, the sooner you catch it, the better and a vet may be able to remove the tumor.