Cats rarely drool like our canine companions do. A little saliva isn’t cause for worry, but if you notice your cat drooling excessively, it is most likely a sign of an underlying medical problem. As a rule, if your cat is drooling or foaming at the mouth for no obvious reason, drooling persists for more than half an hour, or there are other signs of illness simultaneously, it’s time to call the vet.

Some causes that might be behavioral or fairly benign include:

  • Salivation from fear or excitement
  • Car sickness, caused by motion or fear
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting a hairball
  • Sometimes a cat will drool with pleasure while being petted – the drool of happiness!

Some of the worrying causes of drools:

  • Dental disease—more than 80% of adult cats will develop periodontal, gum or other oral diseases that cause pain and may induce drooling.
  • Poison ingestion (or of a foul-tasting substance)—common plants like tulips, lilies, azaleas, and chrysanthemums can make your cat drool, as well as make her sick.
  • Oral cancers—these can be very aggressive in cats and cause a large amount of drool.
  • Respiratory infection—drooling can signal an infection of the nose, throat, or sinuses.
  • Organ disease—as cats age, they’re more likely to get sick. Liver and kidney diseases can cause drooling. Annual checkups can help diagnose and treat these diseases early.
  • Foreign object or tumor in the mouth—some common objects that may get stuck in cats’ mouths include string, sticks, bones or fish hooks.
  • Rabies—it is a rare diagnosis, but if the cat has not been vaccinated against rabies and begins drooling and behaving unusually, it must be considered.

When in doubt, check with your veterinarian for an examination to rule out underlying causes for excessive drool. While normal for most dogs, our elegant feline friends aren’t fond of drool.