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Drooling cat: why?
Drooling cat: why?

Unlike dogs, cats do not have a strong tendency to drool, to the point that sometimes this phenomenon goes unnoticed unless we stroke them under the chin, or notice a small wet area on a surface where they have just placed their snouts; other times it is quite evident. But why does a cat drool?

kitten drooling slightly
kitten drooling slightly

When cats make pasta or purr, you may see them drool a little: in these cases it is a sign that they are relaxed and happy, which refers to when they were little. At that age, in fact, the kittens knead their paws on the mother's body to stimulate milk production and the result is almost always a comfortable and satisfying meal. When cats reach adulthood they can experience moments of happiness and comfort which stimulate excessive salivation because they are instinctively connected to the moment of nutrition and to the natural bond with the mother.

Cats don't often drool at the sight of food, but it can still happen and in that case there is nothing to worry about. Even moments particularly stressful (car trips, visits to the vet or sudden noises in the house) can produce this result, but in this case we speak of a isolated phenomenon that resolves itself.

cat mouth drooling
cat mouth drooling

If, on the other hand, your cat finds himself drooling very often on occasions that may not necessarily be associated with the sight of food or particular happiness / stress, there may be a ongoing health problem and it is necessary to go to the vet for a visit. Your doctor will likely be able to pinpoint the disorder before other clinical signs appear.

Problems with throat, mouth, teeth

Cats can develop a variety of mouth and tooth disorders that often go unnoticed until they cause pain in the animal, whose body produces more saliva in an attempt to relieve irritation. Mouth ulcerations, trauma to the teeth, gingivitis (possibly hidden by tartar) and infections of various types, as well as dental resorption lesions or FORL (from Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions), are the most common problems that make the cat drool; the resulting saliva may be bloody or foul-smelling.


If a cat vomits or is nauseous it will drool frequently. These are symptoms that have their own causes, and it is possible to trace them based on the presence of other clinical signs.

two cats on a blanket
two cats on a blanket

Kidney failure

One of the most common causes of death for felines is kidney failure. Chronic can cause weight loss, excessive thirst, excessive urination, bad breath and excessive salivation. Spotting the symptoms in time is critical to saving your cat's life.

Corrosive substances

Due to their particular metabolism, cats are unable to assimilate drugs or chemicals like dogs do. Certain household products such as laundry detergents, perfumed essences and other cleaners can be corrosive in cats: this causes injuries to the mouth, tongue, esophagus and stomach.

cat close-up
cat close-up

Poisonous plants

Even accidental poisoning can make the cat drool. It can be caused by some toxic plants which cause intense burning in the mouth if chewed or ingested by the animal. Among these plants we remember the lilies of the Lilium or Hemerocallis families, ivy, oleander and poinsettia.


Car accidents, fights with other animals or bad falls can cause trauma such as fractures to the jaw or dislocations of the temporomandibular joint, which lead the cat to drool due to the inability to close the mouth.


Cats run the risk of developing a very aggressive malignancy called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Although it can manifest itself in any part of the body, the most frequent areas are eyes, mouth and ears. The clinical signs of this disorder are:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Halitosis
  • Lack of appetite
  • Tendency to drop food from the mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Inability to close the mouth.
cat stroked on the head
cat stroked on the head

Foreign bodies

Some foreign bodies (grass, food residues, can get caught in the cat's tongue or palate, as well as in the throat. This causes pain in the cat and causes it to drool excessively, and often also prevents it from closing its mouth. string dangling from your cat's mouth, resist the temptation to extract it immediately: you do not know how long it is and where it may have gotten stuck (perhaps in the stomach or intestines), so it is best to leave it to a doctor to avoid worsening the situation.

Heat stroke

A Persian or other flat-nosed cat is particularly prone to heatstroke. Always make sure they have fresh, clean water available and a shady place to shelter from the sun; limit their physical activity in the summer months and in the hottest hours of the day, and don't leave them NEVER drive alone.