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Why Does my Cat Drool? 9 Reasons

Dogs are quite well known for their drooling habits. Cats don’t tend to drool very often so when it happens it can be a cause of concern for their owners and they may well think Why Does my Cat Drool?

Cat drool doesn’t look like dog drool. Dog drool tends to be long whisks of saliva. You won’t be surprised to hear that cat drool is much tidier. It tends to take the form of a single or small number of drops of saliva under the cat’s mouth.

Here are 9 reasons why your cat might be drooling. I’ll start with those that are more positive as these are the most likely reasons for your cat’s drool and move down to those that will require the involvement of your vet.

cat nose and mouth up close

Why Does My Cat Drool? 9 Reasons

1. They are relaxed and content

The most common reason for cats drooling is a good one – they are drooling because they are happy. It is quite common for cats to drool when they are kneading or purring. These behaviours tend to take cats back to their childhood.

cat purring while being stroked

Kittens often knead their mothers with their paws when they want milk. This behaviour normally results in the kitten receiving a meal and some love from their mother. Therefore many cats may link kneading to being a young kitten and feeding and thus drool is stimulated.

Like humans, cats may also drool when they are asleep. If it is a small amount this is normally a sign of how relaxed they are when they are asleep. Funnily enough, drooling in cats is most commonly a way that they show their happiness particularly with their owner.

ginger cat asleep in curled up position

2. They Smell Food

We all know about Pavlov’s Dog study and the link between food and salivating. Does this hold true for cats? Not usually but some cats may drool when they smell food.

Closeup of cat eating food from a bowl why does my cat drool

If your cat consistently does this then it is most likely nothing to be concerned about as it is just in their temperament. Perhaps they have a more sensitive sense of smell than your average cat.

3. They are scared or stressed

Fear or stress can stimulate drooling in cats. You may find that when you put your cat in their carrier to take it to the vet there can be some drooling. Or this may happen if you put your cat in the car as it is an unfamiliar environment. Or perhaps it is proximity to another animal.

cat outside mesh cat carrier

If your cat is scared or stressed do try to remove it from the source of stress as quickly as possible. If the source of stress is a necessary evil eg taking your cat to the vet then you may want to break the process down into small steps and slow down the process.

4. They are too hot

Heatstroke in cats in general isn’t common. However, long-haired and flat-faced cat breeds such as Persians are more likely to suffer in the heat.

light coloured cat eating food from its bowl

If you have a particularly furry feline make sure they always have access to water. On very hot days make sure they have access to fresh air and shade.

5. Oral or Dental Health Issues

Gum disease or abscessed teeth can cause a cat to drool as can the build-up of tartar on their teeth. To check this your cat’s cheek back towards its ear. Are their gums swollen or bleeding? Are their teeth a dark shade? Is there any blood in their saliva.

grey and white cat having its teeth checked

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It may be time for a professional cleaning and then regular teeth cleaning on your part. As many as 85% of cats over three years of age experience tooth or gum disease. If you are seeing signs of trauma in your cat’s mouth do check with your vet.

black and white cat with toothbrush

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It can be difficult to see dental and oral health problems in cats until they start suffering. Therefore, it is best to treat concerns in this area seriously as the underlying issue may have been present for some time.

6. They are nauseous

Like humans, cats tend to drool when they are vomiting. There can be many reasons why your cat is vomiting from serious issues to those that are not a cause for concern. As always, you know your cat best and if in any doubt do take your kitty to the vet.

tabby cat mouth open and tongue out in front of food bowl

7. Something is stuck in their mouth or throat

If your cat has something stuck in its mouth or throat that it can’t swallow it will drool. This could be anything from part of a plant to an element from one of their toys. If your cat is pawing at its mouth or trying to vomit these are other signs that this might be the case.

tabby cat with mouth open and drool

If you think this has happened do check in your cat’s mouth. If the item doesn’t come loose with some gentle prodding do see your vet immediately.

Do be careful when trying to extract a foreign body from inside your cat. Firstly, your cat may damage you whilst you are trying to extract the item. Secondly, you may easily damage your cat so it is often best to visit your vet sooner rather than later if this situation arises.

ginger tabby cat with mouth open and paw grabbing finger

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If you see a string coming out of your cat’s mouth do not pull it out. The string may well have gone further inside your cat and be interacting with its organs. Take it to the vet immediately.

8. They have been exposed to a toxin or bad tastes

Generally, but not always, cats exposed to a toxin will vomit it up. But if your cat ingested a very minor amount of a toxin it may result in drool. No matter what the situation, if you think your cat has had contact with a toxin do take it to the vet as soon as possible

ginger cat sniffs house plant why does my cat drool

Some houseplants like tulips and azaleas can cause drooling and make your cat sick if eaten. There is quite a long list of plants toxic to cats on the ASPCA website.

If your cat tastes something they don’t like they may drool to get rid of the taste from their mouth. Cats can also drool when they swallow medicine as they usually don’t like its taste.

cat sniffs pill

9. Trauma

General mouth injuries may also cause cats to drool. If your cat has been in a fight and is injured it may drool. If it has burnt itself through inappropriate contact with household items like the stove it may well drool.

Veterinarian listening to cat's heart

It can often be difficult to see if your cat has suffered from a physical trauma. Unusual drooling without an obvious explanation can be an indicator that this may be the case. If this happens do see your vet as soon as possible.

In Conclusion – Why do Cats Drool

A small amount of drool from your cat from time to time is normally no cause for concern. But if the amount of drooling is more than normal and/or more frequent than normal it is always a good idea to get the opinion of your vet.

tabby cat with mouth open side view

Please Note: This why does my cat drool post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on most of the links and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. This will not affect the price that you pay. I wanted to make sure that you were aware of this.

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