Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Why Do Cats Drool?

Some cats drool when they are happy.

There are two main types of drooling in cats: cool drools and not-so-cool drools.

Cool Drools

You may be familiar with the following scene: you're gently petting your cat and telling her how wonderful she is. She is purring up a storm, rhythmically kneading with her front paws, and . . . drooling. She's displaying multiple types of unabashed kitty contentment and affection. Though you may want a washcloth or napkin to protect yourself from the dribbling, consider yourself lucky.

When cats are feeling totally secure, relaxed, and lovey, they may totally immerse themselves in the moment and "let go." In this trance-like state, sometimes they'll drool. It's the drool of happiness.

It isn't known with certainty why some cats drool when they are feeling relaxed and happy but there is one idea that seems to be pretty logical. Kittens knead their mother's abdomen just prior to and sometimes while nursing. This stimulates milk let-down. It may be that the drooling is a leftover remembrance of nursing. The kitten, when kneading the mother, may have begun drooling in anticipation of a lovely milk meal. Feelings of calmness, relaxation, and happiness would have accompanied nursing. It may be that, as adults, some cats associate happy feelings with the long-ago experience of nursing and begin to knead and drool.

Placing a towel or Muffin Blanket on your lap before you invite your cat to cuddle will protect you from happy drool and the stray claw that may make its way through your clothes during kneading.

Not-So-Cool Drools

If your cat's drooling is not associated with an otherwise-relaxed state, is excessive, or goes on for an extended period of time, call your veterinarian. In these instances, it may be that the drooling signals one of these serious conditions:

  • Dental disease
  • Poison ingestion
  • Liver disease
  • Respiratory infection
  • Malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth)
  • Ingestion of a foul-tasting substance
  • Nerves or stress
  • Foreign object or tumor in the mouth
  • Nausea

Click here to read more about the Not-So-Cool Drools.

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