This is quite a common question. The causes are listed here – there are many. This means you’ll more or less have to take her to a vet because diagnosing the medical causes of drooling requires skill and knowledge. Alternative but similar questions are:
- Why does my cat have a lot of saliva all of a sudden?
- Why does my cat dribble when I stroke her?
- Why does my cat drool?
- Dribbling without purring?
I’ll cover all the reasons for drooling or dribbling below. In medical parlance, drooling is hypersalivation.
Healthy cats don’t drool except perhaps under these conditions:
- When about to be given a nasty medicine or injection (psychological).
- When purring and relaxed. Is this a kitten reflex response? Cats will purr when stroked. Stroking is like being licked by mother cat. This happens when newborns are suckling. This may stimulate salivation.
These are the medical reasons. Some will be rare:
- Electric shock causing burns to the lips and mouth.
- Heat stress and heat stroke.
- Drug poisoning (wrong drugs administered or an excess of the correct drugs).
- Poisoning from substances such as strychnine. There may be accompanying seizures. See a complete list of page about toxicity and cats.
- Poisoning from toads. There are poisonous toads in the USA: Colorado River toad (Southwest and Hawaii) and the marine toad (Florida).
- Salamander poisoning. This is the California newt (California).
- A sting or bite. Insects sting and snakes bite. There are four poisonous snakes in the USA – see cat snake bites.
- Poisoned by a toxic plant.
- Respiratory infection due to calicivirus leading to mouth ulcers (called stomatitis).
- Insecticides for flea control as these are toxic.
- Foreign object in the mouth, tongue or throat.
- Gum disease (periodontal disease). See Oriental cats and gum disease.
- Severe inflammation of mouth and gums due to feline gingivitis stomatitis.
- Growth on the gums and mouth (cancer).
- Inflammation of the tongue due to underlying infection or injury.
- Stomatitis – means inflamed and sore mouth.
- Disease of the esophagus (the gullet).
- Sore throat or tonsillitis.
- Motion sickness due to travelling.
- Liver failure. Another sign is jaundice (yellowing of membranes and skin).
- Nutrients not processed by liver caused by a “portosystemic shunt”. Effect is similar to liver failure.
- Paralysis of facial muscles due to a disorder involving the facial nerves.
- Milk fever (eclampsia) in nursing mother cat. This is due to low calcium levels in blood serum.
- Aspirin. One aspirin per day for a few days can cause salivation and staggered walking plus vomiting. Feline pain relief.
- Intestinal parasites (with nausea).
- Inflammatory bowel disease.
The most common cause is probably mouth disease.
It almost goes without saying that if your cat is drooling for no apparent reason, the best course of action is to book a veterinary appointment as soon as possible.