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Is your cat drooling a lot? Here’s what to do about it

“My cat is drooling a lot — what’s wrong with him?” It’s a question that many cat owners have asked. While drooling in moderation can be a normal habit for your cat, it’s also important to stay aware of what’s normal and what isn’t. Drooling may be inconvenient and a bit gross, but in some instances, it can also alert you that something is wrong with your cat.

Knowing the right actions to take can help you uncover potential health issues, and being able to differentiate normal drooling from excessive drooling can help you monitor your cat’s health. There are a few potential causes behind increased drooling.

Tiger cat yawning into the camera
Pitsch/Pixabay

Why is my cat drooling?

Something’s stuck

Sometimes, understanding the cause of your cat’s excessive drooling is as simple as looking in his mouth. An object stuck in the mouth or throat can cause irritation and make it difficult for your cat to swallow entirely. This can be a piece of grass, a bit of a stick, or just about any other object. As a result, your cat will naturally start to drool, and you might notice him trying to gag or actively licking his lips.

If your cat is suddenly drooling more for no apparent reason, try to take a look in his mouth to see if you can find anything amiss. You may be able to remove an object stuck in your cat’s mouth with a swipe of the finger. If you can’t find or remove the object, then give your vet a call. Your vet may need to examine your cat and might sedate him so they can remove whatever object has gotten stuck.

Stress

Drooling can be driven by your cat’s emotions, too. If your cat is stressed, he may start to drool in response. You might notice that your cat drools more while he’s in the car or on the way to the vet. Other stressful situations, like fireworks or introducing a new pet to the house, can also prompt this drooling response. Your cat’s drooling should subside as his stress is reduced and he becomes more comfortable.

Happiness

Cats may also drool more when they’re happy. Often, this is paired with kneading. Your cat might come over to greet you, knead your thighs as he climbs in your lap, and start to drool. It’s just a natural behavior, and your cat is showing how happy he is to be spending time with you. If it bothers you, keep a towel or washcloth handy.

A state of relaxation

You might also notice that your cat drools more when he’s relaxed. A cat drooling while sleeping is a perfect example of this. If your cat is happy, feels safe, and is a bit sleepy, it’s only natural that he’ll drool a bit. After all, it happens to humans as well! If you’re worried about your cat getting drool on the furniture, you can encourage him to sleep on a fleece blanket that you can easily wash and swap out.

Cat sleeping on a wooden board outdoors
Nennieinszweidrei/Pixabay

Health issues

Pain can also cause your cat to drool and can indicate that your cat is injured or sick. There are potentially endless issues that can cause this response, including injured teeth, gum issues, and just about any other pain-related condition. Toxins and poisoning can also cause cats to drool.

If your cat is drooling because of a health issue, you may have seen a sudden change in his drooling habits. He might also exhibit other signs, like lethargy, lack of appetite, and unusually standoffish behavior. If you see any of these signs in your cat, get him to a vet right away for a full evaluation.

Like all of your cat’s habits and behaviors, drooling can help you monitor your cat’s health. If you notice big, sudden, and unexplained changes, there may be something amiss and your cat may need some veterinary care. But if your cat just tends to drool a little bit more than others, and he does that consistently in situations that can explain it, then chances are it’s just normal for him. If you have any questions, always consult your vet for advice and an assessment of your individual cat’s habits and health. And keep a washcloth or tissue nearby for quick cleanups after your cat.

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Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
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