Drooling in cats


  • Drooling in cats can be completely normal, and some cats do it as a response to being happy and relaxed.
  • However, excessive drooling, or a sudden change in drooling habits can be a sign of an underlying health problem such as dental disease, mouth pain, nausea (feeling sick), or poisoning.
  • If you’re concerned about your cat’s drooling habits contact your vet.

Why is my cat drooling?

Although cats don’t typically drool much, a certain amount can be normal – especially when they are content, relaxed and purring.  However, if you find your cat drooling more than usual, or you notice a sudden change in their drool, it could indicate an underlying health issue such as:

A problem inside the mouth:

  • Dental disease: this is a common cause of drooling in cats, and is usually accompanied by bad breath and discomfort while eating and grooming.
  • Something stuck: If something becomes lodged in your cat's mouth, such as a bone, cat biscuit, or foreign object, it is likely to cause them to drool excessively, paw at their mouth and show signs of distress.
  • Mouth pain: anything else that causes pain inside your cat’s mouth (for example an ulcer, or an illness such as cat flu) can cause excessive drooling.

Nausea (feeling sick):
It’s very common for cats to drool and lick their lips a lot if they are feeling sick.

Excessive drooling can be caused by coming into contact with a toxin or poison such as certain plants, chemicals, and medications. Contact your vet immediately if you think your cat has come into contact with something toxic.

Gastrointestinal (stomach and gut) problems:
Stomach upsets, such as gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) can cause drooling, vomiting and a reduced appetite.

Difficulty swallowing:
If your cat is struggling to swallow, they might experience a build-up of saliva in their mouth, causing them to drool.

It’s common for cats to drool before, during and after a seizure.  

A cat that is overheating is likely to drool excessively and might even start foaming at the mouth.

Rabies (not currently present in the UK): rabies is a deadly viral disease that can cause excessive drooling, aggression, and neurological symptoms in infected cats.


To diagnose why your cat is drooling excessively, your vet is likely to:

  • Ask about their drooling habits, medical history, and any other symptoms you have noticed.
  • Examine them, which will include checking inside their mouth.
  • If necessary, run further investigations, such as blood tests.

This will help determine the cause of your cat’s drooling, and enable your vet to recommend an appropriate treatment.


The treatment your cat needs will depend on the cause of their drooling. For example, if they have a problem with their teeth, they will require dental treatment. However, if their drooling is caused by nausea, the cause may need to be investigated further.

When to contact your vet

It’s important to contact your vet for advice if you notice your cat drooling more than usual.

Contact your vet immediately if:

You know your cat best, always contact your vet if you’re concerned.

Published: October 2023

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only. Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst.