Ask A Vet With Dr. Suze – Why Does My Cat Drool?

Cats can drool for many reasons, some benign but some may be cause for further investigation.

Drooling or hyper-salivation can be a sign of contentment and relaxation, particularly if this occurs whilst your pet is kneading or purring. In kittens, kneading with paws stimulates milk let down during nursing and thus reinforces feelings of comfort, satiety and contentment. This behavioural association can carry forward into adulthood and are signs of a happy cat. Cats don’t typically salivate at the sight or smell of food but for some particularly food motivated cats this may occur.

Stressful and fearful situations can also trigger excessive salivation in some cats; car journeys and trips to the veterinarian can be classic triggers. The aforementioned are all perfectly normal feline responses to their environment, they are short lived, self-limiting and require no specific treatment.

Hyper-salivation may also be a sign of underlying illness or disease process, especially if it is in combination with other clinical signs. For example, bad breath, a preference for soft foods/reduced appetite, reduced grooming and sensitivity around the face may indicate dental disease or other oral issues. Like people increased salivation can be a sign of nausea or exposure to a toxin or an irritant.

If your cat is drooling and displaying other abnormal clinical signs, then it is best to get it checked out by your local veterinarian.

Dr. Susanna Gamage BVSc MRCVS CVA (IVAS) has over a decade of international veterinary experience and is the founding director of Dr. Suze – My Visiting Vet. If you have a general pet question you would like answered by Dr. Suze please email susanna@drsuzemyvisitingvet.com.au. Please note the information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice. If you have specific concerns about your pet, you should always seek advice directly from your veterinary healthcare practitioner.

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