Why Does My Cat Like Icy Hot Products?

Felines are naturally curious beings who will be intrigued by various scents, including the odor of topical pain relief products. So why does my cat like Icy Hot whenever I apply it?

Topical pain relief products come in various brands like Icy Hot, Bengay, Tiger Balm, Sportscreme, Aspercreme, and more. All of it has strong aromas that will surely entice your cat’s nose.

Why Does My Cat Like Icy Hot

Below, I discuss this topic to help you understand why your kitty seems to be addicted to your Icy Hot products. 

Why is my cat attracted to Icy Hot products?

Icy Hot is a brand of popular topical pain relievers. They offer it in spray, cream, rub, gel, and no-mess forms.

These products can be purchased over the counter and are widely used in many households. Some pet owners also notice that the smell of these products tends to attract their cats.

Here are the possible explanations as to why your kitty is obsessing about it:

It has a similar scent to catnip.

The most logical explanation here is that Icy Hot products have menthol or mint ingredients in them. This has a similar odor to catnip, which isn’t surprising since the two are in the same family.

Also, cats have a strong sense of smell, so they can easily pick the odor of these pain-relieving products right away. Even traces on pillows and blankets as well as those on your skin can be sniffed by your cat.

This explains why your kitty may start to behave differently once you’re applying Icy Hot. Take note that cats are quite eager to pursue a smell they like to the point of trying to get the container from you.

Your cat associated it with a positive experience.

Another possible reason here is that your cat has associated the smell of Icy Hot with a positive experience. For example, it’s possible that someone is giving them treats whenever the ointment or cream is being applied.

This can also be a case of reinforced behavior. Your cat reacts to the scent of Icy Hot because it gets your attention or elicits a reaction.

Warning: topical pain relief products are dangerous to cats!

Cat owners who are using products like Icy Hot must practice extra caution. Your kitty should never get in contact with these products as irritations and poisoning may occur.

Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues a warning about the dangers of pain-relieving creams to cats due to the flurbiprofen. While this isn’t an active ingredient in Icy Hot, you should never take chances.

On the other hand, Icy Hot contains methyl salicylate. Felines are more susceptible to toxicosis on this substance than dogs.

According to experts, salicylate ingestion of at least 50 mg/kg in cats is enough to cause acute toxicity. This should serve as a warning for you to keep your Icy Hot creams away from your cat at all costs.

In addition, some Icy Hot products may have camphor, which is another toxic substance for cats.

Like Vicks VapoRub, Icy Hot products aren’t safe for any pet. You should apply it away from your cats and never your pet lick your skin.

What happens if my cat licks Icy Hot?

If your cat licked Icy Hot, you should observe it for any signs of gastrointestinal upset. Your kitty may also drool and become lethargic.

If your cat ingested a substantial amount, say a pea-sized dollop, you should bring it to the vet immediately. Icy Hot has salicylates, which can poison your pet to death.

Bringing your cat to the vet after ingesting Icy Hot is the best decision. This is regardless if the feline just lick or ate the product directly.

Overall, you shouldn’t wait for symptoms to surface before taking action. By that time, your pet might already be on the onset of life-threatening poisoning.

Why does my cat like my ointment?

Ointments often have menthol or mint ingredients, which is similar to the odor of catnip. This explains why cats are specifically drawn to this product.

However, you should always keep the ointment away from your cat. It’s toxic and can trigger adverse reactions by simply licking the product.  

Why is my cat obsessed with licking my skin?

Your cat may fixate on licking your skin because of the topical products you’re using. You shouldn’t tolerate this behavior as many skin products for humans have toxic ingredients for cats.

For example, the Icy Hot cream has salicylates that are highly poisonous to felines. Licking the product from your skin is enough to cause diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, and weakness in cats.

Also, the fact that skin products are only applied topically means that it’s not meant for oral ingestion. If your cat won’t stop licking you, it’s best to wear pajamas and long sleeves while the skin absorbs the product.

Why does my cat like the smell of Bengay?

Bengay is a brand of pain-relief products, which is a competitor of Icy Hot. Overall, cats are attracted to this because of its minty odor similar to catnip.

Overall, you should never let your cat lick or even sniff Bengay products. Even if it’s already applied to your skin, the high toxicity of its ingredients is enough to trigger irritations in felines.

Why do cats like menthol smell?

Felines are programmed to be attracted to mint since birth. It’s the same reason why they are drawn to catnip, of which the scent has similarities to menthol.

The good news is that menthol, per se, isn’t toxic to cats when ingested. However, if it’s mixed in creams or ointments, the other ingredients might pose a problem.

Overall, it’s safer to not let your cat ingest or be exposed to menthol products. These products are made for topical use only, so even humans aren’t advised to consume them orally.


Why does my cat like Icy Hot? It’s mainly due to the minty smell that’s reminiscent of catnip.

Overall, you shouldn’t let your cat lick Icy Hot because of its salicylates that are toxic to cats. Always be cautious and always apply the product in a spot your cat can’t access.

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