Orange kitten with its tongue out

Spitty kitty? What it Means When Your Cat Drools

Sassy the Himalayan cat from “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” claimed her place in cinematic history with a bold statement about feline empowerment: “It’s like I’ve said all along poopsie: Cats rule and dogs drool.” Sally Fields’ character makes an excellent point, but experienced cat parents might notice one small problem with her observation … cats sometimes drool, too. Here’s what it can mean if your cat is drooling.

Why is my cat drooling? 

Occasional drooling typically is not cause for concern. However, you should talk to your veterinarian immediately if it’s accompanied by other symptoms.

Common causes:

Happy drooling

A small but significant percentage of cats will drool when they receive positive and pleasurable stimulation. It just means they like you.

Nervous drooling

It can be normal for cats to drool when they’re stressed out or afraid. For instance, some cats only drool in the car or during a visit to the vet.

Dental disease

As much as 85% of adult cats have some sort of dental disease. Gingivitis and later-stage periodontitis can both cause drooling.

Meds, toxins and unpleasant tastes

Anything that tastes unpleasant or causes nausea (e.g., houseplants, medication, etc.) can also cause drooling. Some medications can also cause drooling as a side effect.

Less common causes:

Physical issues with the mouth

Broken teeth, tumors in the mouth, trauma and other physical issues may lead to pain and drooling. Foreign bodies lodged in the mouth could also be the cause.

Underlying disease

Kidney and liver disease lead to a buildup of toxins that can cause nausea and drooling. Neurological disease can also be responsible for drooling in rare cases. Only your vet can diagnose these issues. 

When to see your vet

According to, “Your cat definitely needs to see a vet if they suddenly start drooling, drool constantly, have other symptoms such as lack of appetite, vomiting or pawing at the mouth, have blood in the saliva or are acting differently to normal.”

But if your kitty has been happily drooling on you or nervously drooling on your vet for years, there’s probably not an issue. Just don’t forget to keep a towel handy!

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Posted in Feline Care.