Does Your Cat Drool When Pet? Our Vet Explains Why and What to Do

Cats aren’t known for drooling in the same way as dogs. However, it’s possible that your feline friend will dribble a little saliva while you’re rubbing her chin or giving her a pet. Is this normal?

Let’s examine why cats drool and how a person can help their cat with this condition.

Never ignore a cat drooling

While minimal drooling can be normal for some cats, you shouldn’t ignore it when your kitty drools a lot or won’t stop salivating. Constant or excessive slobber can indicate that your cat has an underlying medical condition and should have a veterinary checkup.

Why do cats drool when being pet – is this normal?

For some cats, it’s perfectly normal to dribble a small amount of drool when being petted. Felines that drool often start as kittens. They may salivate while nursing their mama cat because they feel secure and content. It’s also a sign of complete relaxation.

When kittens grow up and become household pets, some will continue to drip saliva. If your cat’s chin gets wet while you’re petting her, you should take it as a compliment. It’s a sign that she enjoys close contact and feels safe with you.

 

Does my cat’s drooling when I pet her mean there’s something wrong with my cat?

If your cat drools when you pet her, it’s most likely a normal emotional response to your touch and affection. Some cats dribble saliva when they’re content and relaxed. As long as the drooling is minimal and stops after your cuddle time, there should be nothing to worry about.

When is drooling considered abnormal?

Drooling is abnormal when

  • Your cat hasn’t drooled in the past
  • Your cat drools nonstop
  • The drooling is copious or excessive

If you have any concerns about your cat’s dribbling, it’s best to contact your veterinarian. Additionally, it’s abnormal any time that kitty drool is accompanied by 

  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Difficulty eating
  • Weight loss
  • Facial swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Increased drinking and urination
  • eye/nasal discharge

These symptoms point to an underlying disease or condition that requires veterinary attention to safely extract the material.

What are the reasons that cats drool excessively?

 

 

Cats can exhibit abnormal, excessive drooling for various reasons. Below, we’ll briefly discuss the top causes of hyper-salivation in felines.

  • Foreign body – Foreign bodies that lodge in the soft tissues of the mouth or throat can cause excessive salivation, attempting to vomit/gagging, and pawing at the face. If you suspect a foreign body, take your cat to the vet.
  • Oral/dental disease – Problems with the mouth, gums, or teeth trigger heavy drooling. Other signs include
  • Blood-streaked saliva
    • Difficulty eating or chewing
    • Dropping pieces of food
    • Bad breath
    • Weight loss
    • Inflamed gums

Cats with oral or dental disease may need dental cleaning or antibiotic treatments.

  • Upper respiratory infection – Kitty colds can cause heavy slobbering. When cats have an upper respiratory infection, you may also notice
    • Sneezing
    • nasal/eye discharge
    • Unusual breathing sounds

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you think he has a cold.

  • Toxin exposure – When cats eat a toxic substance, they may drool a lot. Different toxins can cause
    • Mouth ulcers
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea

If you think your cat ingested something toxic, immediately contact your veterinarian.

  • Trauma/injury – hypersalivation may be the only sign you see if your cat suffered trauma or an injury to the mouth or jaw. If your feline is pouring drool, but you can’t find a cause, take her to the vet.
  • Organ disease – Cats with liver or kidney disease can exhibit drooling from nausea. Other signs include
    • Bad breath
    • Inappetance
    • Lethargy
    • Weight loss
    • Increased thirst and urination

Cats with suspected organ disease should see a vet for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Heatstroke – While it’s not common, cats can suffer heatstroke. Kitties with this condition may drool heavily and also have 
    • Rapid breathing
    • Listlessness
    • Vomiting
    • Ataxia

If your cat has heatstroke, move her to a cool place and call your vet immediately.

Is there anything you should do to help your cat at home now?

If you notice your cat is suddenly pouring drool, scan her mouth for signs of foreign bodies or injury. Don’t put your fingers in her oral cavity to prevent a cat bite.

If you can’t find anything, observe your furbaby. You can offer her some water as long as she’s not gagging or vomiting. The symptoms may resolve in a few hours, but if they don’t you should schedule an exam with your veterinarian. If the drooling stops, still call the doctor and report the symptoms.

When should you call the vet and what will the vet do?

Any time your kitty has abnormal drooling, you should report the symptoms to your vet. When drooling persists for more than several hours, call the doctor immediately to schedule a visit to the clinic. You should also set up an appointment if you notice

  • Bad breath
  • Facial swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inability to eat, drink, or swallow
  • Lethargy or weakness

 

When you take your cat to the clinic, the vet will probably learn a lot from a thorough physical exam. Depending on his findings, he may also 

  • Run blood tests 
  • Run a urine test
  • Do a fecal exam 
  • Take an x-ray or ultrasound  

Treatment will depend on the exam and test findings.

Author

  • Dr. Liz Guise, Veterinarian

    Dr. Elizabeth Guise (DVM) graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She worked as a veterinarian in private practice for over two years before going to work with the USDA as a veterinary medical officer for 14 years.