Drooling isn’t a normal physiological response in cats. Occasionally, a cat might drool a little if they’re particularly excited or hungry for food, but sudden, excessive drooling is almost always cause for concern.
Here’s what to know if your cat is suddenly salivating more than usual.
0-30 minutes in: Assess the Drool
There are a couple of things to think about before you rush to the emergency vet. Some cats salivate more than others, so if you know your cat to be a bit of a slobberer, it might be best to watch and wait. Likewise, if you can pinpoint a specific environmental factor that could be causing the drool (high temperatures; the tasty smell of salmon wafting through the air; etc.) it’s likely fine to go the observation route as long as your cat’s showing no other concerning symptoms.
Either way, make some observations. How much drool is actually coming from your cat’s mouth? Is it foamy? Is she showing any other symptoms, such as lethargy or vomiting? The presence of additional symptoms or any signs of distress from your cat mean you should get her to the closest emergency vet as quickly as possible.
Hypersalivation – a decidedly excessive amount of drool – and/or foaming drool are indicative of life-threatening conditions such as Ptaylism, a neurological disorder, and require immediately professional intervention.
30 minutes – 1 hour in: Check With Your Vet
Once you’re sure your cat’s drooling isn’t an emergency, you can try and determine what’s causing it. Try your best to examine your cat so you can give as much information to your veterinarian as possible. Here are a few of the things to consider:
Oral disorders commonly cause drooling. An infection of the mouth, an abscessed tooth, and severe gingivitis can all lead to drooling, trouble eating, and pain. If your cat is shy about having her face examined, there’s a good chance something’s going on inside her mouth.
Accidental poisoning is a common cause of drooling in cats. If you think there’s any chance your cat may have consumed something toxic, get her to the emergency veterinary clinic. Better safe than sorry.
Serious conditions such as cancer and chronic conditions such as kidney disease can also lead to drooling. If the drooling comes and goes but is happening more frequently than it used to, it’s definitely time to call the vet.
1 hour – 2 hours in: Talk to Your Veterinarian
Because drooling is unusual for cats, it’s always best to put in a call to your veterinarian for advice. Your cat’s medical history will give your vet a lot of insight into whether the drooling is a one-off or something to take more seriously.
Odds are, if the drooling doesn’t seem indicative of an emergency issue, your veterinarian will simply tell you to keep a close eye on your cat over the coming days and weeks. If the drooling happens again or if any accompanying symptoms pop up, you’ll definitely want to schedule a visit.
Has your cat started drooling?