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Why Is My Cat Drooling? Here Are 5 Purr-fectly Normal Reasons

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. 

So is it normal for cats to drool? Yes, there are five purr-fectly normal reasons why your cat is drooling. But you’ll need to look out for some warning signs, like excessive drooling, that may mean you’ll need to see your veterinarian.

5 Purr-fectly Normal Reasons Why Your Cats Drool

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.

Cat drooling can be on that list, too. Your cat’s drooling may have started in her early life. Cats often link it to the comfort and safety they felt while nursing as kittens. If your cat drools while purring and cuddling in your lap, she likely falls into the “happy cat drooling” 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. Stress or anxiety in your cat can lead to cat drool. 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? It’s the same for our kitties. If you notice your cat drooling after trying new food or treat, she may not have liked it and is drooling as a way to get the taste out of her mouth.

If you see drool from your cat’s mouth while she’s eating,  she could be suffering from a broken tooth or mouth pain, which means you’ll need your veterinarian’s help. 

Her Medications Cause Her to Drool

Some oral medications can make your cat drool because of their bitter taste. This is usually normal and not a cause for concern. Try offering her some water or her favorite treats to wash the bad taste from her mouth. If she’s still drooling after a day, contact your veterinarian.

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When to See Your Veterinarian If Your Cat Is Drooling

There are a few reasons for cat drooling that are dangerous and require a trip to your veterinarian. Excessive cat drooling might even be an indicator of very serious illnesses like some upper respiratory infections or the feline immunodeficiency virus. 

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 

Your cat’s teeth and gums can get gingivitis, gum disease, and mouth ulcers, just like humans. Aside from excessive drooling, this disease can lead to bleeding gums, pain, tooth loss, and more. If these diseases are 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 rotting teeth
  • difficulty eating
  • pawing at the mouth

If you think dental disease may be why your cat is drooling, please speak with your veterinarian immediately. 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, drooling excessively could be a sign that she’s nauseous. There are also other signs you can look for, such as:

  • constant 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 this foreign body 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, she’ll start to drool excessively. Other symptoms may include:

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

If you think some sort of foreign body is stuck in your kitty’s mouth or throat, edible or not, go to your veterinarian immediately. If it’s after regular hours, visit the local veterinary emergency clinic.

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 notice your cat started drooling out of nowhere and think she 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 you notice your cat drooling during very high temperatures on hot days, 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 as cool as possible inside your home during very hot weather and make sure they have access to water. 

Aside from your cat’s drooling, be on the lookout for:

  • 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 working with pets.

Through this blog and her book, Pampered Pets on a Budget, Kristen has helped millions of pet parents solve problems and provide the best care for their dogs and cats.

Working alongside hundreds of pet professionals, including veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers inspired Kristen to become a pet parenting “guide”, providing readers with reliable information about health, wellness and lifestyle for dogs and cats and the people who love them.

A dogged advocate for pet adoption and rescue, Kristen has featured over 1,000 adoptable dogs and cats from the SPCA on live television and radio appearances to get them adopted. Her blog, KristenLevine.com has been featured in over 100 media outlets – including the New York Times, USA Today, FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, Women's Day, Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Pop Sugar and more.

To stay up to date on the latest health and lifestyle trends for pets, Kristen regularly attends the top veterinary and pet product conferences, where she’s often a featured speaker.

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