Critter Culture
Why Is My Cat Drooling?

Why Is My Cat Drooling?

Critter Culture Staff



Cats have a wonderful range of habits, but whether you feel drooling is one of the cuter ones is entirely subjective. Some cats go through their entire lives drooling happily, and it becomes a regular part of their routine when they're content. For others, drooling might be a symptom that requires further investigation.

Understanding more about why your cat drools can help you decide whether to call your vet or just grab a hand towel.


They might simply be happy

Tabby cat and feet of a person wearing socks with cat designs on it Linda Raymond/ Getty Images

When cats are happy, they enter a state of relaxation. As they hit that state of serenity, their muscles relax—including their mouth muscles. Loose mouth muscles make it easier for drool to drip from your cat's mouth. Cats that purr, knead, and close their eyes while drooling are likely content and don't have an underlying condition.

Always remember, however, if this is the first time your cat is drooling as an adult, you need to rule out medical causes with your vet.


Your cat may have dental needs

fluffy kitten relax on white blanket. Adorable gray cat lying on the bed. Small tabby grey cat is resting in the room Irina Shatilova/ Getty Images

Some cats develop dental disease. You can protect against this to an extent by giving them dental treats, but it's important to watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Eating less than normal
  • Blood in their saliva
  • Refusing to eat kibble

If they display any of the above symptoms, they may require treatment from their vet. When cats have dental disease, drooling can help reduce the irritation they're feeling. Your vet can diagnose dental causes and prescribe relevant treatments.


They ate something they can't chew

Funny cat with a camera MriyaWildlife/ Getty Images

As curious creatures, cats love to try dishes they cannot successfully chew. Their mouths don't contain the same enzymes or dental structure as humans, making it difficult for them to process the same foods. One common culprit is pasta, which may stick to the roof of your cat's mouth and cause drooling as they try to get rid of it.


A respiratory infection may be the cause

Little bit overweight tabby cat know how to relax, nice pose on the back showing big belly Lulamej/ Getty Images

Cats can catch respiratory diseases that are unique to their species. Common examples include feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. Alongside drooling, they may display

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Breathing faster than normal
  • Conjunctivitis

Drooling is more likely to be a side effect of a respiratory disease that causes mouth ulcerations. Usually, cat colds and respiratory diseases clear up within three weeks. You can support your cat by giving them plenty of fluids and keeping them comfortable.


They may have had an accident

Angry domestic cat attacks laptop. Animals versus technology Ekaterina Markelova/ Getty Images

When your cat is frisky and loves to play, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they'll experience an accident. Although they're usually graceful creatures, their charm won't always protect against the world around them. Cats that love to chew are especially likely to experience oral trauma that causes drooling. Sharp objects and electrical wires are key culprits.

Following a chewing accident, always give your cat soft foods and consider asking your vet for pain relief.


They might have an upset stomach

Closeup portrait of one sad calico maine coon cat face lying on bed in bedroom room, looking down, bored, depression, woman hand petting head krblokhin/ Getty Images

Another unhappy side effect of your cat chewing enticing objects is intestinal blockages. Blockages are more likely to occur during the holiday season, as shiny ribbons and tinsel may tempt your cat. Intestinal blockages prevent saliva from moving through the body as it should. Eventually, it backs up and leaves through the mouth instead. If you suspect your cat's intestine is blocked, always treat it as an emergency.


They encountered a toxin

Gray tabby cat eating, sniffing and munching fresh green grass and green oats with funny emotions Kseniia Soloveva/ Getty Images

Licking and chewing toxic substances can cause cats to drool. It's important to remember that what we humans see as harmless could cause havoc with a cat's health. Plants are especially problematic, particularly if they're outdoors and covered in pesticides. Drooling is a common response to ingesting something foreign and warrants further investigation.


Sometimes cancer causes drooling

Close-Up Of Cat Aurimas Skirmantas / EyeEm/ Getty Images

Oral squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common cancers to affect cats. When the mass grows bigger, it may prevent them from swallowing the saliva in their mouths easily, leading to drooling. Other signs that your cat may have cancer include

  • Struggling to swallow their food
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sores that don't heal
  • Bad breath

If you suspect your cat has cancer, see your vet at the earliest opportunity.


Neurological causes

little girl laying on wooden floor stroking black cat golero/ Getty Images

Neurological conditions such as brain injuries following trauma, seizures, and strokes can make it difficult for your cat to control drooling. Some conditions prevent them from controlling the muscles that help them swallow, resulting in more drooling. Alongside drooling, neurological issues can make your cat lethargic, uncoordinated, or aggressive.


How a vet will investigate your cat's drooling

Hand of veterinary doctor stroking sick cat at animal hospital. Chalabala/ Getty Images

Vets have a wealth of diagnostic tools at their disposal. From monitoring vital signs to performing x-rays and blood tests, they can often identify the cause of your cat's drooling. Most vets will only use the tests they believe are necessary, especially if they're invasive. They'll also start their consultation by asking you questions about your cat drooling and their medical history.


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