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Why Do Cats Drool When You Pet Them? 6 Reasons Why

Renee Whitmore
Last Updated on
by Renee Whitmore

While you might expect a bit of slobber from your dog, it often comes as a surprise for cat owners when they find themselves with a drooling cat.

Many pet owners ask the question: why do cats drool when you pet them?

It’s perfectly natural for cats to drool when relaxed and content after a long petting session. Plenty of cats start to salivate when they’re feeling extremely relaxed or happy.

In some cases, however, drooling may signify a health concern such as an infection or illness.

Why Do Cats Drool When You Pet Them?
Why Do Cats Drool When You Pet Them?

A little bit of saliva is rarely a cause of concern in our feline companions. It’s important to be aware of when, where, and how much your cat is drooling to gauge if there might be a problem

6 Reasons Why Cats Drool When Petting Them

1. Contentment

In most cases, a small amount of drooling during petting simply means that your cat is enjoying itself.

Like us, some cats drool when asleep, and petting them can quickly lull them off to dreamland. A cat in such an incredibly calm state is more likely to drool than when they’re awake and alert throughout the day.

In short, your cat drools when happy.

Drooling due to contentment is often accompanied by other signs of relaxation (like sitting in a loaf position). If your cat is also purring, closing its eyes, or exposing its belly, you can rest easy knowing that they are enjoying their petting session.

2. Too Much Catnip

If you let your cat indulge in a little bit of catnip every now and then, you may notice your cat drools when petted during a post-catnip scratch.

A little bit of slobber is a natural reaction in some cats and should be no cause for concern. As long as your cat is rolling around, rubbing its face, and enjoying itself, you don’t need to worry when your cat drools after eating catnip.

Keep in mind that some cats may become overstimulated after exposure to catnip. They may become hyperactive or even aggressive.

If you notice signs of hostility such as a twitching tail, flattened ears, or raised fur, you should leave your cat alone until it has a chance to calm down.

Cat Sniffing Catnip

3. Tooth Decay and Dental Disease

Daily or excessive drooling in cats often has a more serious underlying cause. Dental issues are a common reason for a slobbery cat, as drool can help to soothe mouth discomfort. In cases of gum infection, you may notice blood in the drool.

Dental disease is a common problem in house cats that even the most informed pet owners often overlook. Most of us don’t spend much time looking at our cat’s teeth, so it can be easy to miss obvious signs of infection and disease.

Most vets recommend preventing dental disease with daily brushings and yearly cleanings using efficient cat toothpaste.

4. Respiratory Issues

Some respiratory infections affecting cats can cause lesions or ulcers in the mouth. As with painful teeth, painful ulcers can cause cats to salivate in an effort to ease discomfort.

Even cats with perfect dental health may experience excessive drooling due to respiratory issues. You’re likely to notice drooling all day long, whether you are petting your cat or not.

Respiratory infections can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. If you notice changes in your cat’s eating habits or outright refusal of its favorite foods, it could be due to a painful respiratory condition.

It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your vet for a professional diagnosis.

Cat drooling excessively

5. Foreign Objects

If your cat is drooling excessively as you pet them, it may be because they need help extracting a foreign object from their mouth or esophagus. If cats swallow items such as chicken bones, thumbtacks, needles, and more, they can easily get stuck.

The natural reaction for a cat with a foreign body stuck in its mouth is to try to paw the object out. It may also try to induce vomiting, which can lead to excessive salivation. I

f you notice excessive salivation, irritation, or an inability to swallow, check your cat’s mouth and throat to make sure airways are clear of any obstacles.

If it looks like something is stuck in your cat’s mouth or throat, you need to see your vet immediately. If your vet is unavailable or it’s after business hours, search your area for a 24-hour veterinary clinic.

An object lodged in the throat can quickly become a choking hazard if left unaddressed.

6. Fear or Anxiety

Some cats drool when experiencing extreme stress or anxiety. Fear can lead the digestive system to stop operations, which often leads to nausea and even vomiting.

This nausea is what triggers your cat to salivate. Some cats also drool due to motion sickness when riding in a car.

If you are petting your cat and notice drooling, check for other signs of anxiety such as dilated pupils, fast panting, or tensed muscles.

Cats are often afraid of loud noises or chaotic environments. Change can also lead to an extreme stress response, even during a relaxing petting session.

The best way to ease your cat’s anxiety is to remove whatever is causing it stress. If this isn’t possible, remove your cat from the situation.

Find a safe, cozy, and quiet spot where your four-legged friend will have the chance to calm down. Eventually, you should see anxiety-induced drooling begin to ease up.

Conclusion

In most cases, cats drool when pet because they’re feeling safe, relaxed, and utterly content. However, if you notice excessive saliva or if drooling lasts for longer than a scratching session, you may have a more serious issue on your hand.

If you’re worried about your cat drooling when petted, you should contact your vet as soon as possible to address any potential causes for concern.

About Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore is an American college professor and freelance writer from North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in English Education. When she is not driving her teenage son to wrestling practice or learning the ins and outs of Fortnite from her younger son, she is working on her first book to be published soon.
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