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Health & Wellness

8 situations where your cat might drool

If your cat is drooling excessively, it’s time for a vet visit.

When thinking about pets that drool, floppy-faced dogs with droopy jowls (like Bull Mastiffs!) may come to mind — but even our feline friends are capable of a little extra saliva now and then.

Let's explore what it means when your cat is drooling and when you should call your vet.

Is it normal for cats to drool?

Although it’s not as common for cats to drool compared to dogs, you might occasionally notice some slobber. However, the amount and the circumstances are important to consider when determining if it’s normal. 

A cat who always drools on their chin while being pet isn't doing anything out of the ordinary, but sudden slobber might warrant a vet visit.

Why do cats drool?

There are some common scenarios where you might notice your cat drooling. Here's what Dr. Elizabeth Devitt, DVM, general practice veterinarian and veterinary consultant for Fetch, believes the slobber might mean:

Purring

A purring, drooling cat is a relaxed, happy cat. It’s nothing to worry about.

Sleeping

Like people, cats may drool a bit in their sleep because they’re so relaxed. Attractive? Not really, but most likely harmless.

Traveling 

If your cat drools during transport, they’re probably anxious. Consider taking them to the vet for some Cerenia to make travel easier.

After taking medication

Sometimes drooling is a stress response, or the drug is bitter tasting. If you give a capsule, make sure to provide liquids so the medicine doesn’t get stuck in their throat. Or if they’re drooling after a topical solution, like flea prevention, call your vet to ensure you gave the correct treatment.

Sneezing

This could indicate dental disease, upper respiratory or viral infection or even a foreign body stuck in their nose or back of their throat. Check in with your vet as soon as possible.

Dilated pupils

Dilated pupils and drool could mean your cat ingested something toxic. Take them to the veterinarian right away.

Lethargy

A combination of drooling and lethargy can be a sign of sickness, fever, systemic disease or the ingestion of something toxic – often a plant. It's time to call your vet.

Decreased appetite

This is another general sickness sign. A cat drooling and not eating could be dealing with a systemic illness, kidney disease, a foreign body or string under the tongue, an oral tumor or a tongue laceration. A vet visit will rule out any serious issues.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about cat hairballs

Why does my cat drool when I pet them?

Your cat drools when you pet them because they’re relaxed, happy and love you dearly. Your physical affections are positive forms of stimulation. Take it as a slightly weird, wet compliment.

What about excessive drooling?

Excessive drooling could be a sign of a serious issue, and your cat should go to the veterinarian for an exam to determine the cause. 

According to Dr. Devitt, some reasons behind excessive slobber include dental issues (think: inflamed gums, a broken tooth, abscess or ulcers on the tongue and mouth roof), nausea (which could be caused by kidney or urinary tract disease or a gastrointestinal issue) or ingesting a foreign body, toxic plant or bug. 

Are there home remedies for cat drooling?

We know you want what is best for your cat — in this case, it's taking them in for a veterinary evaluation.

“String, ribbons and yarn are often tempting to use as play toys for cats. All too often, your pet swallows them, and they get stuck part way through the intestinal tract or partly wrapped under the tongue,” Dr. Devitt says. “Never pull on the end of the string. Get to a veterinarian for removal.”

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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