Why Do Cats Drool?

When it comes to drooling, most people only think of dogs. However, if you can get your little fur-baby relaxed and happy enough, you might hear a lot of purring and see a bit of drooling going on. But there are other times when cats drooling is not such a good thing, even if it is accompanied by purring. Here are some of the reasons why cats drool and what you should do about it.

Tooth Decay and Mouth Disease

When tartar builds up on the sides of your cat’s teeth, it can rub against the inside of her lips which will cause her to start to drool.

To check your cat’s teeth, gently pull her lip upwards and back. Look at both her teeth and gums to determine the health of her teeth. If her teeth are yellow, brown, or have obvious tartar build-up or if her gums are swollen, red, or bleeding, it’s time to take her to the vet for a teeth cleaning. The vet can also give you advice on brushing her teeth every day to make sure that they stay clean and healthy.

Difficulty Swallowing

If your cat isn’t able to swallow, then the saliva has to go somewhere which usually means coming out as drool. This can be caused by strings, toys, or other objects getting wrapped around your cat’s tongue or stuck in her mouth.

To check the inside of your cat’s mouth for foreign objects, hold the top of her head with one hand and then use a finger on the other hand to gentle pull her lower jaw downward. If you can’t get the object out yourself or can’t see anything, but your cat is still drooling excessively, then it’s time to take her to the vet to make sure that everything is ok.


Flat-faced cats like Persians are particularly susceptible to the heat, but any cat can experience over-heating or heatstroke when exposed to too much heat or sun and not enough water. During the summer, if you see your cat panting or drooling, it could be because of the heat.

The first thing you want to do is make sure she is in a cool place, so turn on the air or fans, or take her down into the basement. Then, make sure that she has access to cool water. Cats should be kept inside during particularly hot days and should never be left in a parked car. If your cat is particularly active even in the hot months, you may need to limit their exercise during the warmer parts of the day. If at any time your cat’s behavior changes and you suspect heatstroke, take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Motion Sickness

Cats have pretty good memories, and since car trips usually end in shots at the vet, most cats create strong connections between riding in the car and pain, which can cause them to get extremely nervous.

To help limit your cat’s anxiety while travelling, you can cover her carrier with a light cloth which can help her feel safer and be less aware of what is going on around her. You can also get your cat used to riding in the car by beginning with simply sitting her in the backseat for a few minutes, then slowly working up to driving around the block and then to longer trips. This will teach her that riding in the car isn’t as terrifying as she presumed.

Kidney Disease

This is one of the biggest killers of cats, and drooling is one of the symptoms. This is because as your cat’s kidneys chronically fail, waste that is usually removed from the body stays and causes a number of problems, including ulcers along the stomach, oesophagus, and mouth which leads to drooling.

Other symptoms of kidney disease include weight loss, bad breath, increased urination, and increased thirst. If you suspect that your cat is having kidney problems, get them to the vet as soon as possible. Although it is not curable, kidney disease that is caught early and treated can allow a cat to live comfortably for quite a while.

Poisonous Plants

There are a surprising number of plants that you may have around your house and in your yard that can cause your cat to drool because they are toxic to cats. Some of these will only cause drooling, but others can make them very sick or even kill them, so if you’re not sure why your cat is drooling, check any outside area that your cat frequents to see if any of these plants are present:

  • Peace lily
  • Calla lily
  • Tulips
  • Diffenbachia
  • Azaleas
  • Umbrella plants
  • Elephant ear plants
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Poinsettias

Upper Respiratory Infections

When a cat has a respiratory infection in their sinuses, nose, and/or throat, they will have trouble breathing normally which can lead to them breathing more through their mouths, which then can lead to drooling. Cats that are stressed out or living with a number of other pets are at a higher risk for developing upper respiratory infections.

Your vet can check your cat and properly diagnose and treat an upper respiratory infection. It’s also important to make sure to limit stress as much as possible, and keep them from interacting with other animals that may be sick. If you work with other animals regularly, make sure to wash your hands in between handling them.


Whenever you aren’t sure about why your cat is drooling, it’s best to take them to your vet to work out the root cause as quickly as possible since many of the reasons for cats drooling can be hazardous to your cat’s health, and the sooner you figure out what the problem is, the sooner your feline friend can be back to normal.