A cat that drools is not a super happy cat like you may think! Some cats may drool a little when they're happy and content but this isn't normal behavior and a drooling cat is almost always an indicator that they're in pain.
I've seen cats at the clinic drool after a certain bitter medication was given orally and this will also happen with dogs. Yet cats don't normally drool and if you're seeing this behavior it typically falls into one of these five categories.
1. Dental disease
Dental or oral disease affects both our cats and dogs.
Dental disease affects approximately 80 percent of dogs and cats over the age of three. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends annual dental cleanings beginning at age one to two. My two dogs have had annual dental exams since they were pups and both are seniors now.
This is by far the most likely reason your cat is drooling.
2. Chronic kidney disease
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Dr. Karen Becker is an expert that I follow and have relied on for advice during my vet tech career. Her site Healthy Pets tells us that if your cat has chronic kidney disease (CKD), it means the kidneys have been gradually and irreversibly deteriorating over a period of months or years.
"Sadly, CKD is extremely common in older domestic cats and is a leading cause of death in kitties. Symptoms of failing kidneys can include increased thirst and urination, leaking urine (especially at night), vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, depression, anemia, and overall body weakness."
Let's call it like it is. Cats don't like to travel. Car rides are stressful and a cat may feel sick to their stomach and drool as a result. This is the number one first sign that your car is nauseous.
If your cat chews on a plant that may be toxic you'll see drooling.
The Spruce Pets shares that if cats that have licked, chewed on, or ingested a poisonous substance they can develop excess salivation.
"This includes poisonous plants, caustic chemicals, and toxic foods. Some topical toxins, such as pesticides or flea and tick preventatives not meant for cats, can cause drooling as well. If you suspect your cat has been exposed to something toxic, go to the nearest open veterinarian right away."
5. Happy and content - nope! Drooling = pain
Pain is most likely why your car is drooling and you should take them to the vet if you see this behavior. We all know how stoic cats are by the time you see this sign that they're in pain you need to make an appointment to make sure they're ok and not suffering from a dental issue or another major medical condition.
Cat's drooling can be subtle or rather dramatic looking. Even if they're purring and you see excessive drooling, assume they're having an issue rather than content and happy. A cat should receive an annual dental exam as gingivitis, bad breath, oral cancer, stomatitis, gum disease, dental problems, mouth ulcers, oral tumor, poor appetite, and hypersalivation are all dental health concerns and some are very serious. Many of these will cause cat drooling.
Heatstroke, foreign body, kidney failure, liver disease, motion sickness, upper respiratory infections, and cancer will all cause a cat to drool as the first sign of illness so be on your toes.
Have you ever needed to rush your cat to the vet for drooling? Please leave us a comment below.