The throat is the passage to the stomach and lungs, and is closely associated with the cat respiratory system. This is the main reason why throat problems are a bit difficult to differentiate from feline respiratory diseases. Generally speaking, the phrase "throat problem" is used to define hoarseness and difficulty swallowing.
In anatomy, the throat is the frontal part of the neck. It consists of the larynx and pharynx. The throat also contains several pharyngeal muscles, blood vessels, the esophagus and the windpipe (trachea). One of the important features of the throat is the epiglottis, a cartilaginous flap that covers the trachea while swallowing.
The voice box, or the larynx, is situated at the top of the trachea, and is where the air passes on towards the stomach and lungs. A past history of frequent respiratory infection by the herpes virus and the reckless use of antibiotics may cause damage to the turbinate bones in the nasal cavity. This allows infection to easily occur in the airways and leads to hoarseness in cats. Such a respiratory infection, irrespective of the agent that causes it, is characterized by sneezing, coughing and nasal discharge. Most of the viral respiratory infections require treatment only for minimizing the risk of secondary infection. The cat is likely to get back her normal ‘meow’ regardless of disappearance of symptoms on their own or through feline upper respiratory infection treatment.
Tumors and squamous cell carcinoma in the laryngeal and pharyngeal regions can also lead to hoarseness. If hoarseness is accompanied by weight loss despite the cat eating properly, the possibility of hyperthyroidism needs to be considered. Other possibilities to rule out include laryngeal paralysis and rabies.
Throat problems like difficulty swallowing are normally associated with polyps in the nasal passage. Nasal polyps may sometimes cause blockages in the pharyngeal region. Such blockages lead to a gulping sound while swallowing, which is often understood as difficulty in swallowing. It is possible to see nasal polyps without the aid of an endoscope, but it is advisable to get the cat anesthetized and checked. Removal of nasal polyps is relatively easy and may even save the cat’s life.
As such, treatment of throat problems cannot technically be segregated from treatment of feline respiratory diseases.