6 Reasons for Cat Drooling, from Sickness to Stress

In the 1993 movie Homeward Bound, Sassy famously proclaimed, "cats rule, dogs drool." While it is true that dogs often drool for various reasons such as hunger, fear, or illness, cats are not typically known for their drooling tendencies. However, it does happen occasionally, albeit less messily than with dogs. Cats may display a single droplet of saliva below their mouth, as their drooling is usually less apparent. But why do cats drool in the first place?

There can be several reasons behind a cat's drooling. Some of these causes may require immediate veterinary attention, while others may not be as serious and will resolve once the underlying issue is resolved. Here we will break down some common explanations for cat drooling:

1. Your Cat is Sick: Dr. Ethan Nunnally, a veterinarian from the Animal Health Center of Albia, Iowa, explains that cats may drool when they are in pain or suffering from conditions like stomatitis—an inflammation of the mouth and lips. Drooling can also be a sign of gum disease or abscessed teeth. Consulting with your veterinarian is advisable in such cases.

2. Your Cat Has Something Stuck in Its Throat or Esophagus: If your cat has access to plants or spends time outdoors, it may have ingested a plant leaf, blade of grass, or other object that could become lodged in its mouth or esophagus. This can lead to difficulty in swallowing and subsequent drooling. If you suspect this has occurred, it is best to seek veterinary advice.

3. Your Cat Has Consumed Something Unpleasant: Cats may also drool if they ingest something with a bad taste. While poisoning usually causes vomiting in cats, ingestion of unappetizing substances can result in drooling as a mechanism to eliminate the distasteful flavor. If your cat is drooling unexpectedly, it's wise to consult your vet.

4. Your Cat is Anxious: Car rides to the vet can be stressful for cats, and their anxiety can manifest as drooling. Cats are generally averse to change, and abnormal situations like car rides can escalate their anxiety levels, thereby triggering increased saliva production. In such instances, it's best to wait for the anxiety-inducing event to pass, at which point the drooling should subside.

5. Your Cat is Afraid: Excessive drooling can occur when a cat feels threatened or fearful. If possible, remove your cat from the stressful environment and allow them to retreat to a safe space. Once the cat feels secure again, the drooling should cease.

6. Your Cat is Happy and Relaxed: According to Marilyn Krieger, a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and author, some cats drool when they are content. In these cases, they may also engage in kneading behaviors. Drooling can be a sign of their happiness. If you find the drooling bothersome, Krieger suggests placing a towel or washcloth under your cat while petting them to avoid any direct contact. It is important not to be dismayed or attempt to change this behavior, as some cats are naturally prone to drooling.

In conclusion, although cats are not notorious droolers like dogs, there are various reasons why a cat may drool. Some causes may require prompt veterinary attention, while others are less serious and will dissipate once the underlying issue is resolved. Understanding the reason behind your cat's drooling can help ensure their well-being and provide appropriate care when needed.

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