Why Does My Cat Drool? · The Wildest

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Why Does My Cat Drool?

Dogs rule, cats drool. Like, that’s normal, right?

by Dr. Alycia Washington, DVM, MS
Updated May 1, 2024
Cat sticking its tongue out in motion
Alexander Oganezov / Adobe Stock

We expect some level of drooling from dogs — especially the jowly ones. In fact, it’s actually kinda cute sometimes, in a gross way. But a cat with ropes of saliva dangling from their face? That doesn’t quite fit with the sophisticated aesthetic cats have worked so hard to develop. And you’re right to be a little concerned: Although cat drooling has some benign causes, it may also indicate a more serious health issue.

Why is my cat drooling?

Here are seven reasons why your cat may be drooling (most of which warrant a trip to the vet).

Oral irritation

Curious cats will often investigate their environment with their mouths. This exploration can lead to tasting different house plants, insects, liquids, and household items. Some common toxic indoor plants, such as elephant ears, fiddle-leaf figs, and dieffenbachia (aka dumb cane plants), contain oxalates, which are small crystals that cause oral irritation on contact.

Licking caustic substances like household cleaners and chemicals can produce painful ulcers on a cat’s gums and tongue. And chewing on electrical cords can cause electrical shock, but drooling due to burns in the mouth may be the only sign that all is not well. Unless you catch your cat chewing cords chronically, here are some other potential causes.

Periodontal disease or stomatitis

Your cat’s mouth is teeming with bacteria. When bacteria get under the gum line, they can cause mild to severe gingivitis. As dental disease progresses, those bacteria travel deeper and closer to the tooth root, causing periodontitis, a condition that affects the health and stability of the structures that support and surround the teeth.

Some cats, especially those exposed to viral diseases like herpesvirus and calicivirus, can develop stomatitis. Cats with stomatitis experience inflammation and ulceration of the gums, tongue, and cheeks. As you can imagine, kitties with periodontal disease and/or stomatitis experience oral pain that can lead to drooling and difficulty eating.


Esophagitis can develop when material gets stuck in a cat’s esophagus or causes irritation on the way down to the stomach. This esophageal irritation can also occur with acid reflux or after repeated vomiting. Inflammation of the esophagus can make swallowing painful and can cause cats to stop eating to avoid this pain. Even with normal saliva production, cats may opt to let the saliva fall out of their mouths rather than deal with the discomfort of swallowing.


Medicating cats can involve a lot of drama — chasing them around the house, pulling them from under the bed, avoiding claws and teeth. It’s no fun for you or your cat. For some medications, no amount of tuna flavoring will cover the bitter taste completely, and your cat will be more than happy to show their displeasure by foaming, drooling, and trying to spit it out in the most dramatic way possible. Certain eyedrops may cause drooling, too, because tear ducts drain to the back of the throat.


Signs of nausea in both dogs and cats include poor appetite, lip smacking, drooling, and vocalization. Cats can become nauseated from eating something they shouldn’t have, intestinal obstruction, organ dysfunction, hairballs, car rides to the vet... the list goes on. Kitties experiencing motion sickness may start to hypersalivate before losing their lunch.

Salivary gland disease

Although more commonly diagnosed in dogs, salivary gland disease can lead to hypersalivation in cats, too. Cats have multiple salivary glands located near the jawline, in the cheeks, and under the tongue. Salivary gland disease can cause swelling, painful swallowing, difficulty eating, retching, gagging, or wheezing. These kitties can hypersalivate either from discomfort or an inability to swallow properly.


Cats may drool when they are in total bliss, like when they “make biscuits” with their paws. Kitties who are really enjoying cuddle time, sunbathing, or catnip euphoria may purr, drool, and relish how sweet it is to be a cat. It could indicate that they’re as happy as can be, but if your cat is drooling and lethargic or indicates discomfort, they may require a trip to the vet.

Home remedies for cat drooling

There aren’t many ways to truly prevent cat drooling at home — without cruelly restricting their catnip supply, anyway. If the drool is bothering you (I get it — it’s not pretty), you can put down a napkin on your lap before cuddle time with your cat.

Since nausea can cause drooling, preventing nausea — for example, by reducing the amount of time your cat spends in a car, if they’re prone to motion sickness — can lessen drooling. If your cat’s drooling after taking medication, encouraging them to hydrate can help.

If the drooling is excessive or your cat seems uncomfortable, don’t try to fix it at home. Get them to the vet. Treatment for pain or nausea can be administered by your vet to stop the cat drooling.

FAQs (People Also Ask)

Why is my cat drooling all of a sudden?

There are several reasons your cat may be drooling, including oral irritation, dental disease, esophagitis, medication, and nausea. They also could be feeling total bliss or a nice catnip high. If your cat drools while kneading, they’re probably just happy.

What are home remedies for cat drooling?

Cat drooling may be unavoidable if your cat’s simply cozy. If the drooling is a problem and your cat is showing other signs of discomfort, a vet can get to the bottom of the issue.

Why does my cat drool when I pet him?

Cats sometimes drool when they’re super happy — like while cuddling or napping in the sun. If your cat’s drooling while you pet them, it could be because they’re feeling cozy and relaxed.


alycia washington, dvm

Dr. Alycia Washington, DVM, MS

Alycia Washington, DVM, is a small animal emergency veterinarian based in North Carolina. She works as a relief veterinarian and provides services to numerous emergency and specialty hospitals. Dr. Washington is also a children’s book author and freelance writer with a focus on veterinary medicine. She has a special fondness for turtles, honey bees, and penguins — none of which she treats. In her free time, Dr. Washington enjoys travel, good food, and good enough coffee. 

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