Why do some cats drool?Why do some cats drool?

Dear Tabby,

Our cat, Simba, drools when we pet him. I didn’t know that cats could drool like dogs do! Why is our cat doing this–is he sick?
Drooling Cat in Timbergrove

Dear Drooling Cat,

It can be a little unsettling when you see your normally delicate and clean kitty drooling buckets of saliva. There are a couple of causes for your cat’s drooling behavior and, it could be a sign of good news or bad news. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Sign of illness of stress

Unfortunately, sometimes when cats drool, it is a sign of illness. Cats will often produce excess saliva when they are nauseous and right before they vomit. Sometimes this nausea has relatively benign causes–like when he eats his food too fast–but nausea in cats can also be a symptom of a more serious problem, like liver or kidney problems.

Cats also drool when they’re in a stressful situation. If your cat has repeated stress in his life, you might see him drooling more often. If this is the case, help him to relax by removing or lessening the stressors in his life.

Lastly, cats who are experiencing mouth pain will often drool excessively. A toothache, mouth ulcers, or other oral health problems could be the cause of your cat’s drooling. A trip to the vet would be wise to rule out any of these causes.

Content kitty

The good news is that many cats drool when they’re happy and content. As an observant cat owner, you should be able to tell if Simba is happy (tail up, flopped over on his back, “making biscuits,” etc). If your cat is only drooling when he’s happy, this is simply a sign of a satisfied, loving kitty. Experts still don’t understand why happy cats drool excessively. It has even been proposed that some cats get so content while being petted that they simply forget to swallow their saliva! Awww (and also, ewww)!

So, first thing’s first: Get to the vet to rule out a serious illness. If all checks out well, consider yourself lucky to have such a satisfied kitty! Sure, it can be a little gross to be drooled on while cuddling with your kitty, but it’s the highest form of compliment your pet can give.

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabbyquestions@gmail.com.

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