Why Do Cats Dribble?

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Cats don’t dribble or drool as much as dogs, but some cats love to drool. It can be a common reaction if they’re kneading or purring, though the reason for this is not clear. Some causes of dribbling, though, should be assessed by a vet.

We’ll take a look at some of the more common reasons why cats dribble and also find out when you should be concerned.

When cats dribble

  • In cats, dribbling often means they are happy and content. You may see them drooling when they are purring or kneading. This kneading action takes them back to their childhood when they were being nursed and so fills them with a feeling of relaxation. You may find that sometimes they only dribble a little while other times they dribble a lot. If they only do this when they are relaxed, then you have nothing to worry about. The only problem you may have with this cause of dribbling, is they may cause a puddle. If you have a happy cat on your lap, keep a towel handy to put underneath them.
  • While relaxation can make them drool, the same is true of stress. If they dribble when you put them in their carrier to go to the vet, or when fireworks are being let off, this is probably down to stress. If the drooling stops when they are settled again, then you don’t need to worry but it won’t hurt to consult your vet. Trying to comfort your cat may help to stop it but if you consult your vet they may suggest ways to keep your cat relaxed.
  • Cats are a little more restrained around food than dogs, but that doesn’t stop them from dribbling. If your cat sees you preparing food and you notice it’s dribbling, then it is probably hungry. If you don’t notice it drooling at any other time, then you know your cat just likes his food.

Causes for concern

There may be other reasons for your cat’s dribbling and if your cat is dribbling all the time, then they may need to be checked out by a vet.

  • Dental problems

Cats can’t tell us if they have toothache so the first sign of decay may be dribbling. Dental disease and mouth ulcers cause excess saliva and if you notice there is blood in it or that it has a strong odour, this is a clear sign that something is wrong.

  • Nausea

If your cat has been vomiting, this can cause drooling. You should always consult your vet if your cat shows any signs of nausea.

  • Something lodged in its mouth / throat

Cats love to explore and forage and this can often result in things getting stuck in their mouth. If you have children then toys are a common cause for blockage, as is string or fishbones. If this is the case then the cat will also show its discomfort in other ways such as retching or trying to paw their mouth. If you notice something stuck, don’t try to pull it out yourself. You may do your cat more harm than good.

  • Other illnesses

Certain illnesses can also cause dribbling. Respiratory infections and liver disease are just two conditions which can cause this. If your cat shows any signs of discomfort while dribbling, then always consult your vet as soon as you can.

If you notice your cat only drools occasionally and you can identify the cause of it then it is usually nothing to worry about if they appear otherwise healthy. If you’re unsure about the cause, it’s always best to check with a vet.