Why Does My Cat Drool?

Cats aren’t big droolers. While a little drool is nothing to worry about, a waterfall can be a sign your kitty is sick.

Here are some reasons your cat might drool too much, along with suggested treatments.

Mouth disease and tooth decay. Tartar buildup can rub on the inside of your cat’s lip, causing her to slobber. To check, pull her lip back toward her ear. Do her teeth look like concrete? Are they brown? Are the gums red, swollen, or even bleeding?

Try a professional cleaning first, and then brush her teeth daily. Have your vet check for gingivitis, mouth ulcers, and tumors.

Trouble swallowing: While playing, a string or a toy might get stuck in your cat’s mouth or wrapped around her tongue. Try to remove the object yourself, or call your vet for help.

Then again, your cat might want to resist swallowing just because she has a bad taste in her mouth. Maybe she didn’t quite swallow her medicine, or she licked or ate something gross. 

Heatstroke: Pets with flat faces, such as Persian cats, are more likely to have heatstroke. It isn’t as common in cats as it is in other animals, though. Still, if your cat's had too much sun or not enough water, that's dangerous for her.

Always have fresh, clean water available. Make sure your cat has shady places to cool off, too. On very hot days, keep her indoors, limit her exercise, and never leave her in a parked car. Call your vet right way if you suspect heatstroke.

Motion sickness: Cats don’t usually take car rides -- unless they’re going to the vet for shots. Those trips could be bad memories for her, making her nervous or nauseated.

Open-mouth panting and breathing, signs of anxiety, can cause your cat to drool. To make her more comfortable, you can try putting her in her carrier in the back seat without driving anywhere. Then, slowly work up to backing out of the driveway and driving around the block. Gradually repeat the routine as needed to ease carsickness.

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You can also drape a breathable cloth over the carrier before heading out, so she doesn’t panic.

Organ disease: As pets age, they're more likely to get sick. Liver and kidney diseases can cause drooling, too. Vets suggest annual checkups to diagnose and treat such diseases early.

Poisonous plants: Common plants like tulips, azaleas, and chrysanthemums can make your cat drool, as well as make her sick, so don't let your feline friend eat them. For a list of poisonous plants, check with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Upper respiratory infections: Drooling can signal an infection of the nose, throat, or sinuses. Cats that live in homes or shelters with other pets have a higher risk. Stress is another factor.

Only your vet should treat an infection. But you can take steps to protect your cat from getting one: Keep her up to date on vaccines, indoors, and away from other pets, and wash your hands between handling different animals.

Only you know your cat’s normal behavior. If it changes for more than a day, she seems stressed, or she isn't eating and playing as usual, let your vet know.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on July 15, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty: “Aging,” “Cats Who Suckle and Lick People,” “Heat Wave Alert: Prevent Heat Stroke in Pets,” “Hot Weather Tips,” “Ten Steps to Dental Health,”  “Upper Respiratory Infections,” “17 Poisonous Plants.”

Bernadine Cruz, MD, companion animal veterinarian, Laguna Hills, CA.

Mary Burch, PhD, animal behaviorist, spokeswoman, American Kennel Club.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: “Travel by Car with Your Animal Companion.”

The Anti-Cruelty Society: “Acclimating Your Cat to Car Travel.”

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