Why is My Cat Drooling

icon June 2, 2023

Cats have a reputation for being elegant and aloof creatures, but every cat owner has likely encountered a drooling feline at some point. While drooling in cats may not be as common as it is in dogs, it is a natural and sometimes harmless behavior. Understanding the reasons why cats drool can help pet owners better care for their furry friends and ensure their well-being.

There are a number of reasons why your cat might drool, and they tend to fall into three major categories:

  • 1. Inflammatory, painful, or unswallowable diseases
  • 2. Use saliva to clear the discomfort in the mouth
  • 3. Stimulated by the outside world

So, why do cats drool? Let's delve into the various factors that can contribute to this phenomenon.

Reasons Why Your Cat is Drooling | Puainta

Why Do Cats Drool?

Cats may drool for various reasons, some of which are considered normal while others may indicate an underlying health issue. Here are a few common reasons why cats drool:

Normal Drooling in Cats


Cats may drool when they are in a state of extreme relaxation or pleasure, such as during a comfortable nap or when being petted in a favorite spot. This type of drooling is typically harmless and not a cause for concern.

Excitement or anticipation

Cats may drool in response to exciting stimuli, such as when they're anticipating their favorite meal or engaging in play. This type of drooling is generally harmless and temporary.

While occasional drooling is usually harmless, persistent or sudden changes in drooling patterns should not be ignored. 

Why Is My Cat Drooling? Puainta®

Abnormal Drooling in Cats

1. Upper respiratory tract infection

Cupulovirus in the upper respiratory tract can cause ulcers in the mouth and tongue of cats due to pain and thus increased saliva. If the cat has a decreased appetite, depression, and a cracked and bleeding nasal lens or a red dotted ulcer on the tongue, it may be baculovirus.

2. Dental issues

Cats with dental problems like gum disease, tooth decay, or oral infections may drool due to pain or discomfort. Excessive drooling accompanied by bad breath, difficulty eating, or pawing at the mouth may indicate a dental issue that requires veterinary attention.

If you have oral problems, you may also have the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to swallow

Read more: Dental Problem

2. Poisoning

Cats with drug allergies, or licking plants that are toxic to cats, or eating spoiled food may show signs of poisoning and excessive drooling. In addition, many household cleaning products and some foods that are commonly eaten by humans are also toxic to cats.

In addition to drooling, the following symptoms may be associated with cat poisoning:

Vomiting, diarrhea, frequent urination, mental disturbance, convulsions, and difficulty in breathing. In this case, the cat needs to be promptly induced to vomit to reduce the toxic substances in the stomach and then see a veterinarian immediately. After treatment, the cat can be given pet electrolytes, which can replenish the loss of electrolytes caused by vomiting and diarrhea in a toxic situation and promote recovery of body functions.

Plants that are toxic to cats include.

  • Lilies
  • Hydrangea
  • Green lilies
  • Tulips
  • Lavender
  • Carnation

4. Foreign Objects

If your cat has something stuck in its mouth, it will likely cause drooling. The rope is a common foreign body in the mouth, but other possibilities include toy parts and even grass. If you see a string hanging from your cat's mouth, do not pull it out. The string may be wrapped around something in the stomach or intestines, and pulling can cause significant injury. Instead, go to the nearest open veterinary office.

5. Nausea or gastrointestinal problems

Cats may drool excessively when they feel nauseous or have an upset stomach. This can be a result of various factors like ingestion of something toxic or irritating, digestive disorders, or gastrointestinal blockages. If your cat is drooling along with other signs like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, it's important to consult a veterinarian.

6. Motion sickness

Some cats may drool when traveling in a car or experiencing motion sickness. This can be due to anxiety or discomfort related to the motion. If your cat consistently drools during car rides, it's best to consult a veterinarian for advice on managing travel-related stress.

7. Heatstroke

Cats can drool excessively when they are overheated or suffering from heatstroke. If your cat is drooling, panting heavily, or showing signs of distress in hot weather, it's crucial to seek immediate veterinary care.

Do Cats Drool When Stressed?

 When a cat experiences stress or anxiety, it can lead to excessive salivation and drooling in some cases.

Stressful situations for cats can include visits to the veterinarian, car rides, being introduced to new environments, or encountering unfamiliar people or animals. Each cat is unique, so their response to stress can vary. Some cats may drool as a result of stress, while others may display different behaviors such as hiding, aggression, or excessive grooming.

Why Does My Cat Drool When I Pet Him?

If your cat drools when you pet him, it could be a sign of pleasure or relaxation. Some cats exhibit a behavior known as "kneading," where they rhythmically push their paws against a soft surface, such as your lap or a blanket, while purring. This behavior is often associated with contentment and can be accompanied by drooling.

When a cat is deeply relaxed and enjoying the interaction with you, it can trigger a reflex that stimulates the salivary glands, resulting in drooling. This response is similar to how some cats may drool when they are kneading on a comfortable surface.

Why Does My Cat Drool When I Pet Him | Puainta

Should I Be Worried if My Cat Drooling Excessively But Acting Normal?

Excessive drooling in cats can sometimes be a cause for concern, but it's important to consider the overall behavior and health of your cat to determine if it is a serious issue.

In some cases, mild drooling can be normal for cats, especially if they are excited, anxious, or anticipating food. However, if you notice a sudden increase in drooling that seems excessive or if your cat is drooling excessively for an extended period, it could indicate an underlying problem.

Why is My Cat Drooling and Not Eating?

There could be several reasons why your cat is drooling and not eating. 

  • Dental issues
  • Oral injuries
  • Upset stomach,
  • Gastroenteritis

It's essential to monitor your cat closely and observe any other symptoms they may be exhibiting, such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in behavior. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to discuss your cat's symptoms and seek appropriate veterinary care.

Are Drooling and Lethargy Normal for Cats?

Drooling and lethargy can occur in cats for various reasons, and their significance depends on the context and severity. While some drooling can be normal, especially if it occurs during moments of relaxation or contentment, excessive drooling or drooling accompanied by other symptoms could indicate an underlying issue. Here are some possible causes of drooling and lethargy in cats:

  • Infections and illnesses: Various infections, such as upper respiratory infections, can cause drooling and lethargy in cats. Systemic illnesses, including kidney or liver disease, can also manifest with these symptoms.
  • Heatstroke: When exposed to high temperatures, cats can experience heatstroke, which can lead to drooling, weakness, and lethargy. This is a medical emergency and requires prompt veterinary intervention.

When Should You Call the Vet About Cat Drooling?

If you notice your cat drooling excessively, it may be a cause for concern and should prompt you to consider contacting a veterinarian.  Here are some situations when you should consider calling the vet:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Injury or trauma

In most cases, cats drool intermittently with a small amount of saliva. If your cat is drooling excessively, it is best to seek medical examination as soon as possible, as some of the causes can be very serious and early detection and treatment is always best.

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