Pet Talk: Drooling May Be Sign of Happiness

Q. Our cat sometimes drools when he is sitting on one of our laps and being petted. He will be very relaxed, purring away and then the drool starts. Sometimes it’s a little and other times if we don’t stop petting him he gets soaked. Is this normal and we can stop it?

A. The most common reason for excessive drooling is to express contentment. If your cat is purring as you pet him he is probably enjoying the touch and attention. If your feline is drooling and purring at the same time he is feeling very relaxed in your presence. The relaxation may be so intense that his muscles relax and thoughts of swallowing go out the door and so the drool begins.

This sounds like it may be the case with your kitty and there’s a good chance you have a very happy furry friend.

As far as stopping the drooling you can choose not to pet your cat, and that’s no fun, or try to find out which areas may trigger your feline to drool. Experiment by petting his head, chin and neck and see how he reacts. If you can locate the trigger spot you can avoid petting those areas. Drooling can be difficult to avoid, so best to keep a towel within reach.

This drooling behavior is still a mystery and there are also some other things that can cause a cat to drool.

Some cats drool when they encounter catnip, which provides euphoria.

The sight or smell of certain food can prompt salivation.

If a cat drools when food is placed in front of it and does not consume it, nausea should be considered.

Certain prescription medication can cause feline drooling due to the bitter taste.

Consuming certain plants may cause increased salivation.

Cats can also develop mouth ulcers, tooth damage or periodontal disease that prompts drooling. However, that would usually take place during meals or at times other than petting sessions.

So don’t assume all drooling is a happy sign especially if it is not normal for your cat and it suddenly occurs.

Hope this helps.

Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].