Drooling in Cats: Causes, Concerns, and When to Seek Veterinary Care

Drooling in cats, while not as common as in other pets, can be a sign of various health issues. In this blog, we delve into the different reasons that might cause your cat to drool, from dental problems to emotional stress. Understanding these causes helps you better care for your feline companion. If you’re in the Matthews, Stallings, Indian Trail, or Mint Hill areas and you’re concerned about your cat’s drooling or have questions, Caring Hearts Animal Hospital is here to help. Contact us at 704-893-2799 for expert guidance or to schedule an appointment. 

drooling in cats in matthews nc

Understanding the Causes of Cat Drooling

Before we get started, it’s important to remember that occasional drooling in cats isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. Some cats may drool when they’re extremely relaxed or happy, especially during petting sessions. However, understanding when drooling is a sign of something more serious is crucial. Below, we examine common causes of cat drooling, ranging from simple comfort to health concerns.

Dental Issues

Dental health plays a significant role in your cat’s overall well-being. Conditions like gingivitis, tooth abscesses, or tartar buildup can cause significant discomfort, leading to drooling. These dental issues may also be accompanied by bad breath, difficulty eating, or visible plaque on the teeth. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings at your veterinarian can prevent these problems, keeping your cat’s mouth healthy and pain-free.

Illness and Infection

Various illnesses, particularly those affecting the upper respiratory system, can lead to drooling in cats. Conditions such as feline calicivirus, bacterial infections, or even more serious diseases like rabies can present with drooling as a symptom. Gastrointestinal problems, including inflammatory bowel disease or liver disorders, can also cause drooling. These conditions may be accompanied by other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, lethargy, or vomiting, indicating the need for veterinary care.

Ingesting Toxins or Unpleasant Tastes

Cats might drool in response to ingesting something they find distasteful or mildly toxic, like certain plants (e.g., lilies, which are particularly toxic to cats), household cleaners, or medications. This type of drooling is often a protective mechanism to avoid swallowing harmful substances. If you suspect your cat has ingested a toxic substance, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary care.

Emotional Stress

Just like humans, cats can experience emotional stress, which can manifest in physical symptoms like drooling. Stressful situations such as moving to a new home, the arrival of a new pet, or loud noises (like fireworks or thunderstorms) can trigger this response. Providing a safe and comforting environment and paying attention to the signs of stress can help mitigate these reactions.


Nausea in cats, often resulting from dietary indiscretion, changes in diet, or motion sickness, can lead to drooling. This is usually a reflex to the sensation of feeling sick and can be accompanied by other signs like lethargy, lip licking, or decreased appetite. Monitoring your cat’s eating habits and being mindful of any dietary changes is important for managing this issue.

Trauma or Injury

Injury to the mouth or facial area, whether from a fall, a fight with another animal, or an accident, can cause drooling. Such injuries may not always be immediately visible, so it’s important to watch for other signs of pain or distress. In the case of any suspected injury, a prompt veterinary examination is essential to rule out serious conditions and provide appropriate treatment.

When to Worry: Signs of Concern in Drooling Cats

While drooling isn’t always a cause for concern, certain signs accompanying it should prompt a visit to the veterinarian. These include changes in appetite, difficulty breathing, or altered behavior. Understanding these signs is key to determining when drooling is just a harmless quirk and when it’s a symptom of a larger issue.

Veterinary Diagnosis and Treatment of Excessive Drooling

When it comes to addressing excessive drooling in cats, our approach at Caring Hearts Animal Hospital is thorough and tailored to each individual cat’s needs. Here’s how our team handles the diagnosis and treatment:

Veterinary Diagnosis

Detailed History and Physical Examination: Our veterinarians start with a detailed history of your cat’s health, behavior, and environment, followed by a thorough physical examination. This includes checking your pet’s mouth for dental issues, signs of injury, or any foreign objects.

Diagnostic Tests: Depending on the initial findings, we may recommend diagnostic tests. These can include blood tests to check for infections or organ function, X-rays or ultrasounds for a closer look at internal organs, and specific tests for infectious diseases.

Dental Examination: Since dental issues are a common cause of drooling in cats, we may also perform a detailed dental examination. This may require sedation or anesthesia to allow for a complete evaluation of the teeth and gums.

Treatment Options

Addressing Dental Issues: If dental problems are the cause of your cat’s drooling, treatment might involve dental cleaning, tooth extractions, or medication for infections or pain relief.

Managing Illnesses and Infections: For systemic illnesses or infections, the treatment plan may include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, or other specific therapies depending on the diagnosis.

Treating Ingested Toxins: If drooling is due to ingesting toxins, treatment will focus on removing the toxin from the body, which might involve inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, or providing supportive care like IV fluids.

Stress Management: For stress-induced drooling, we may suggest environmental modifications, pheromone therapy, or in some cases, mild sedatives or anti-anxiety medications.

Care for Trauma or Injury: In cases of trauma or injury, treatment can range from pain management to surgery, depending on the severity of the injury.

Nausea Treatment: If nausea is the underlying cause, dietary changes, anti-nausea medication, or other supportive care may be recommended.

Ongoing Care and Monitoring

Post-treatment, regular follow-ups are essential to ensure the effectiveness of your pet’s treatment and overall health. Our team at Caring Hearts Animal Hospital will guide you through the recovery process and provide advice on preventive care to avoid future incidents of excessive drooling. Remember, early detection and intervention are key to managing health issues in cats. If you notice any changes in your cat’s drooling patterns or other signs of discomfort, don’t hesitate to contact Caring Hearts Animal Hospital at at 704-893-2799.