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Why Do Cats Drool When You Pet Them? 7 Reasons for this Behavior

orange cat touched by mans hand

Cats are probably the last animal that comes to mind when you think of a drooling pet. Although they don’t drool very often, there are times when simply petting your cat can trigger a reaction that has saliva dripping from their mouths. It doesn’t seem like normal cat behavior, but cats have been known to drool from time to time.

A little bit of kitty spit could be either a physiological or emotional response to the stimulation that they are receiving. It could also mean that they have a health problem. Regardless, we know it’s crucial to figure out why they’re doing this.

hepper cat paw divider

1. They’re Happy

Dogs are the droolers of the pet world. They drool when happy, sad, hungry, or just about any other reason you could imagine. Cats, on the other hand, aren’t known for this sort of behavior. Believe it or not, some kitty spittle is to be expected when they’re feeling extra happy. The stimulation from your touch feels good to them. It’s often accompanied by purring, rolling around, and rubbing their face on you. Even though drooling feels like a cause for concern, sometimes they’re simply content with life.

kitten playing
Image Credit: Piqsels

2. Dental Disease

Dental issues or other types of oral irritation are a significant cause of drooling in cats. Drooling is the body’s way of soothing oral discomfort. Although many people don’t worry about dental issues with cats, they are still common. Therefore, yearly checkups at the vet are so important to their well-being. If not taken care of, they could develop gum disease, tooth disease, or oral cancer.

vet checking cat's teeth_PRESSLAB, Shutterstock
Image Credit: PRESSLAB, Shutterstock

3. They’re Scared

Feeling overwhelmed and scared could trigger a drooling response from your cat. This is a normal thing that cat’s bodies do to react to different situations. If you think your cat is feeling particularly stressed, try to put them into a room by themselves where they can feel safe and comfortable to help calm them down.

orange cat lying on its back
Image Credit: Piqsels

4. Respiratory Problems

It’s not uncommon for viral infections to cause a cat to start drooling. Saliva is sometimes caused by ulcerations in the mouth that are common when they have a viral respiratory condition.

cat's mouth
Image Credit: Piqsels

5. Nauseous

What’s the first thing that happens when you start to feel sick to your stomach? Your mouth fills with saliva to coat the inside of your mouth. Cats do the same thing when they don’t feel well. Again, this is their body’s way of protecting them.

cat lying on cat tree
Image Credit: Sven Schmidt, Pixabay

6. High on Catnip

Not all felines are affected in the same way by catnip, but the cats who love it, really love it. Catnip is a common side effect that takes place in a small number of felines. Don’t worry. She’s probably enjoying herself more than anything else.

Gray Cat Enjoying Fresh Catnip
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

7. A Foreign Substance

Cats have funny ways of communicating with us. Since they can’t tell us something is wrong, drooling could be her way of trying to get your attention. Sometimes drooling takes place when they have something in their mouths or esophagus that doesn’t belong there. This could be several different items. Check out their mouths first. If you don’t see anything, take them to the vet to determine if anything is lodged in their throat.

nebelung cat in vet clinic
Image Credit: Juice Flair, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts on Cat Drool

We may not be able to get a person drooling all over us, but sometimes our cats will when we pet her in the right way. More often than not, cats are drooling just because they’re feeling happy, but there are some other reasons that may not be as endearing. Whenever you suspect that something is a little off, it’s better to just check with the vet and rule out any major concerns.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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