Cats, with their mysterious ways and adorable quirks, bring so much joy to our lives. However, certain behaviors, such as drooling, can sometimes leave us wondering about their well-being.  Our Lytle Veterinary Clinic team wants to help you solve this feline mystery by explaining this puzzling behavior. Learn why cats drool and when this behavior should be assessed by our team.

Drooling as a contentment sign in cats

Sometimes, the explanation for your cat’s drooling is simply unadulterated happiness. Some cats have a drool reflex that kicks in when they are profoundly content. Here’s when you might spot some happy drool: 

  • Purring and petting  When those purrs reach peak volume and your cat melts into your touch, they might release some drool as a sign of their ultimate enjoyment.
  • Kneading Kneading’s rhythmic motion, similar to making biscuits, might bring your whiskered pal such joy that a little drool spills out.
  • Yummy anticipation Some cats can’t contain their excitement around mealtime, and their anticipation might manifest as drool, especially if a special treat is on the menu.

Drooling in these cases isn’t a cause for alarm. Your cat is simply expressing their inner bliss!

When drooling might indicate a health concern in cats

While sometimes perfectly normal, excessive drooling or significant changes in your cat’s drooling habits could indicate a need for veterinary attention. Consider these potential medical causes behind your whiskered pal’s drooling:

  • Dental problem — Dental disease is exceptionally common in cats. Conditions, such as gingivitis, tooth decay, tooth resorption, broken teeth, or oral infection, can cause considerable pain and lead to excessive drooling. Bad breath or difficulty eating are often additional dental problem signs.
  • Foreign object Cats are notorious for their playful curiosity, and sometimes that curiosity leads them to investigate things they shouldn’t. Grass blades, strings, small toys, or other objects can become lodged in a cat’s mouth or throat, leading to discomfort, drooling, and even pawing at their face to try and dislodge the item. 
  • Nausea — If your cat is feeling under the weather, drooling can be a nausea sign. This could be attributable to various issues, from a mild dietary indiscretion to serious health conditions affecting their kidneys, liver, or other organs. Watch for accompanying signs such as vomiting, decreased appetite, or lethargy.
  • Respiratory infection Upper respiratory infections in cats can interfere with their normal breathing and swallowing, potentially causing drooling. Sneezing, coughing, discharge from the eyes or nose, and general malaise might be present as well.
  • Toxin ingestion If ingested, household cleaners, certain plants, medications, and other toxic substances can cause significant reactions in cats. Along with drooling, poisoning signs may include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, or seizures. Seek emergency veterinary care immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested a toxin.
  • Motion sickness Some cats get extremely carsick, and drooling can be an unfortunate nausea side effect.
  • Neurologic disorder While relatively uncommon, certain neurologic disorders can sometimes cause a cat to drool excessively.

Anxiety-induced drooling in cats

Cats are sensitive beings, and their emotions can influence their physical responses. Stress and anxiety might manifest as drooling in some cats. Cats’ common drooling triggers include:

  • Car rides and vet visits — These experiences’ unfamiliarity and sensory overload can cause significant stress for many cats.
  • Household changes — Cats are creatures of habit. Disruptions, such as moving to a new home, renovations, new furniture arrangements, or schedule changes, can cause unease.
  • New introductions Bringing a new pet or new person into the home can disrupt the social balance and cause anxiety for your resident feline.
  • Loud noises or unfamiliar situations Fireworks’ booms, thunderstorms’ crackles, or noisy gatherings with unfamiliar people can overwhelm some cats.

If you think stress is causing your whiskered pal to drool, try to pinpoint their anxiety source and create a calmer environment. Provide hiding places, stick to routines, use calming pheromone diffusers, and be patient with your cat as they adjust.

When to see your veterinarian about your cat’s drooling

If you notice excessive drooling, a change from your cat’s usual drooling habits, or drooling coupled with other concerning signs, schedule a visit with our team. We’ll conduct a thorough exam, discuss your cat’s history, and recommend necessary tests to arrive at a diagnosis. Treating any underlying issues will help alleviate your cat’s drooling and improve their overall well-being.

By learning the reason behind your cat’s drooling, you can determine whether they are simply content or need veterinary care. If your cat’s drooling has become excessive, schedule an appointment with our Lytle Veterinary Clinic team.