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4 Purr-fectly Normal Reasons Why Your Cat Is Drooling

Cats are masters at hiding their aches and pains. That’s why when we see our cats doing something unusual, like drooling, we want to know the reason why so we can keep our kitties safe and healthy. Here are four purr-fectly normal reasons why your cat is drooling, as well as some warning signs that mean you’ll need a veterinarian’s help.

4 Purr-fectly Normal Reasons Why Your Cat Is Drooling

She’s Happy

When you think about a happy cat, you no doubt imagine a cat with a deep, soothing purr. Kneading or “making biscuits” is another adorable sign of a contented kitty.

For some cats, drooling can be on that list, too. Some experts believe it has to do with the happy and safe feelings our cats had when they were nursed as kittens. If your cat is drooling while she’s purring and snuggling on your lap, then you have a cat who’s in the “drooling when she’s happy” category.

She’s Asleep 

You may have noticed your cat’s different levels of relaxation while she’s sleeping. There’s the quick catnap where she looks like a miniature sphinx, then there’s a longer nap, curled up on her favorite chair. I know my personal favorite is the adorable forward head plop when she’s completely and utterly relaxed.

Just like a human can wake up and find a little damp spot on their pillow, your feline friend may also drool when she’s deep in dreamland.

She’s Feeling Stressed 

Stress or anxiety can be a cause of cat drooling. Has your kitty been riding in the car? Has she had her annual veterinary checkup? Or maybe she had an encounter with something new, like a new pet or new people?

Cats love their routines, so anything out of the ordinary may cause them stress. If your cat feels stressed or anxious, it could be the reason your cat is drooling. It can also cause many other symptoms.

If your cat is suffering from anxiety, here are some therapies and activities that can help. 

She’s Not a Fan of Her Food 

Have you ever eaten something that tasted so bad that you wanted to wash your mouth out? If your cat eats a new food or a treat that she doesn’t like, she may drool as a way to get the taste out of her mouth.

This is one to be careful with, though. Drooling right after eating can have some serious causes as well, which means you’ll need a veterinarian’s help.

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When to See Your Veterinarian If Your Cat Is Drooling

There are a few reasons for drooling that are dangerous and require a trip to your veterinarian. If your cat has no prior history of drooling and has  suddenly begun drooling excessively, one of these conditions might be the cause:

She Has Dental Disease 

Cats can get gingivitis and gum disease, just like humans. And, just like in humans, this can lead to bleeding gums, pain, tooth loss, and more. If gum disease is caught early and treated, all of that can be prevented.

The warning signs of gum disease include:

  • drooling
  • bad breath
  • red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • visible tartar or discolored teeth
  • difficulty eating
  • pawing at the mouth

If you think dental disease may be why your cat is drooling, please speak with your veterinarian. They will be able to find the best treatment plan for your cat so they will be happy and healthy again.

If your cat is reluctant to let you clean her teeth, here are some helpful tips on how to get her used to the process.

She’s Feeling Nauseous 

If only animals could tell us when they feel bad, it would make our lives so much easier. While your kitty cat can’t tell you if her stomach feels upset, there are signs you can look for, such as:

  • drooling
  • swallowing
  • lack of interest in her food
  • general restlessness

Nausea can have many different causes. It may just be a simple tummy upset after a change in food. It also can be caused by more serious conditions. Your veterinarian can help you pinpoint the exact reason and get your cat back on track.

Something Is Stuck in Her Mouth or Throat 

Cats are famous for being curious, but it can get them into trouble. If they bite into something that isn’t edible – or if they eat something that’s too big for their throat – it can get stuck.

If something is stuck in your cat’s airway, it will probably make her cough or choke. If it gets stuck in her mouth or esophagus on its way to her stomach, it can cause other symptoms like:

  • drooling
  • gagging
  • retching
  • pawing at the mouth
  • difficulty swallowing

If you think your cat has something stuck in their mouth or throat, go to your veterinarian immediately.

She Ate Something Poisonous or Toxic 

Many things that are perfectly fine for humans are poisonous for cats. I’m not just talking about household chemicals like soaps or other cleaners. Foods and plants that pose no threat to us can be extremely harmful to our furry friends.

Eating poisonous or toxic items can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including drooling.

If you think your cat may have eaten something harmful, call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435. They are very familiar with all the mischief kitties can get into and can even help you identify a potentially toxic plant from its (possibly chewed) leaves.

Please note that Animal Poison Control is staffed with licensed veterinarians, so there is a fee for this service (as there would be for a vet visit). If you have pet health insurance, it will often cover this charge after your deductible is met. Healthy Paws Insurance is what I currently use, and it has saved me thousands of dollars over the years.

She’s Suffering from Heatstroke 

If your kitty has been exposed to high temperatures before you noticed her drooling, heatstroke may be to blame. Many people know about heatstroke in dogs, but it can affect cats as well, which is why I recommend keeping your cats indoors during very hot weather. 

Be on the lookout for:

  • drooling
  • panting
  • pacing back and forth
  • bright red tongue
  • very red or very pale gums

If the heatstroke continues, it can cause very serious symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or even seizures, so make sure to get your cat help as soon as you can.

Heatstroke is considered an emergency, and you should always see a veterinarian to make sure your feline family member will recover quickly.

Here are some ways to keep your kitty cool and hydrated during the hot summer months.

We love our cats and want what’s best for them. So, when your cat is drooling, it’s always a good idea to look a little closer at your cat’s actions and symptoms so you’ll know if your kitty needs expert assistance or if it’s just a normal sign of a purr-fectly happy pet.

Want more tips and tricks for keeping your cat healthy today, tomorrow, and always? Download my free monthly cat health checklist.

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Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience in the industry. She's helped millions of pet parents provide the best care at every stage of their pet’s life.

Her blog, Pet Living with Kristen Levine has been featured in Pop Sugar, Good Housekeeping, New York Times, USA Today, and more.

She's also the founder of FWV Fetching, the first marketing agency exclusively serving pet and animal health companies.

Her early work with the SPCA led her to a lifelong career in the pet industry, advocating for pet adoption and rescue as well as for pets and their parents here on her blog and in the media.

She’s frequently booked on satellite media tours and national shows, like FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, and Daytime, to talk about pet trends and new products.

Insanely passionate about pets since she was a little girl, Kristen has had more than 30 pets in her lifetime — including dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, a horse, a gerbil, mice, and chickens!

In 2022, she launched to help pet parents keep pet homes clean -- to love more, stress less.

Kristen is married and lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her dog Tulip.

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