Why Is My Cat Drooling?

Why Is My Cat Drooling?

by Scritch

Noticing a bit of drool from your cat? Perhaps your cat regularly has a little dampness around her mouth, or maybe drooling is a new occurrence that seems very out of the ordinary for your cat. Let’s review what’s normal and what isn’t.

Happy or nervous drooling

As your cat relaxes into a snooze or in response to some good scritches, her jaw might slightly relax, allowing a bit of saliva to escape in a happy drool. Sweet bliss! Usually a happy drooler has done this her whole life and her human is used to these occurrences. In such cases, it is completely normal—you just might want to keep a small towel under your cat’s chin during kitty cuddle sessions. 

Some cats drool as a nervous response to a fearful situation or due to motion sickness during a car ride. You can alleviate your cat’s fears by either providing her with a safe place to escape or work on desensitizing her to the fearful stimulus. 

Medical concerns

For a cat that doesn’t usually drool and has no cause for stress, the sudden onset of drooling can signal a bigger problem. 

  • Health conditions causing oral pain: Pain or irritation in the mouth is uncomfortable for your cat and can prevent her from swallowing normally, which results in drooling. Causes for oral pain could be dental disease, tooth decay, or oral tumors. Other health conditions like liver and kidney disease can also cause drooling in cats.
  • Eating something foreign: If your cat swallowed (or attempted to swallow) something like a piece of string or a sewing needle, the foreign object can cause discomfort to the point that your cat cannot comfortably swallow. Your cat’s drooling might also be a result of consuming something with a bitter taste, like a new medication, a bug, or from taking a bite out of a household plant.
  • Poisonous plants: In addition to harmless plants that taste bad, certain plants like lilies, dumb cane, or philodendron are toxic to cats. When eaten, they can cause drooling and other more serious health concerns.
  • Heat stroke: On a hot day it may be difficult for cats, especially flat-faced breeds, to stay cool. Restlessness, panting and drooling are all initial signs of heat distress. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water and a cool place for your cat to retreat.
  • Upper respiratory infection: Like the common cold in humans, a respiratory infection causes many undesirable symptoms including nasal discharge and sneezing. Mouth ulcers are another symptom which might be the reason your cat is drooling.

If the drooling continues and you notice additional symptoms such as weight loss, refusing to eat, or bad breath, there is likely an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed. 

The bottom line: a little wetness is likely nothing to worry about, but a lot of drool or the sudden onset of drooling, especially when accompanied by additional symptoms, means it’s time to go to the vet.

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