If you’ve noticed your cat experiencing hypersalivation every now and then, it’s probably not something to be worried about. But sometimes, drooling in cats can be a sign of poisoning or disease, so if your pet doesn’t ever show this behavior, you should take them to the vet.
In today’s article, we’re looking at everything you should know about drooling in cats – from its possible causes to how it is treated and if you can do something to prevent it.
What causes hypersalivation in cats?
Drooling doesn’t necessarily have to be produced by something negative, something that can affect your pet’s well-being and even life. It can happen in dangerous situations, of course, but the truth is that cats are incredibly stressed animals, especially when they are taken out of their typical environments.
Physiologically, cats can experience hypersalivation under the following circumstances:
- When being taken to the vet
- When they’re forced to engage in contact with another human or animal
- When they’re hungry, and they’re offered food
- Whenever they feel nervous or anxious for any other reason
But there are other causes that are pathological, and that can actually lead to the cat feeling very sick. Here are a few examples:
- Insect stings
- Poisoning through the ingestion of toxic substances or plants
- Oral injuries
- Side effects of medications
- Nausea as a result of having a gastrointestinal infection or digestive upset
- Infectious diseases such as FIV, FeLV, or Feline Herpesvirus
- Upper respiratory infections
- Liver or kidney failure
- Oral cancer
Other symptoms to look out for in a cat that’s drooling
Drooling could be the only clinical sign that you notice in your feline friend, in which case it could be physiological. It is not uncommon for cats to have been extremely attached to their mothers when they were kittens, for example, so they would drool whenever they substituted their human to their mothers and knead on their lap.
Cats that are extremely stressed might also yowl, and their pupils might dilate because of the way their nervous system is affected.
If a pathological cause is at the root of this behavior, there might be additional symptoms that become discernible to the pet owner, such as the following:
- The presence of blood in the drool
- Respiratory distress
- The absence of any appetite for food or water
- Swollen local lymph nodes
- Abdominal pain
Diagnosis of hypersalivation in cats
Hypersalivation is considered a symptom and not a disease per se. If the cat is not experiencing it due to anxiety or nervousness, the veterinarian’s main purpose will be to discover the exact cause that has led to this outcome.
The reason for that is in the absence of a correct diagnosis, the veterinarian will not be able to administer a specific treatment – they might be able to somewhat stabilize the cat at first, especially if their condition is not very bad. But symptomatic therapy can only do so much – the cause needs to be identified as soon as possible.
A physical examination is what will be performed when you bring your cat to the animal hospital first. The vet will test your pet’s blood with exams such as a complete blood count or blood biochemistry.
If there is any type of respiratory or cardiac distress, they will use a combination of diagnostic methods, whether that be imaging techniques and a physical examination or something different.
For any type of abdominal pain that could be suspicious in the sense of cancer or whatever other kinds of inflammation in the cat’s internal organs, an ultrasound or an x-ray could be used for the diagnosis. If the case seems to be complicated, a CT scan or an MRI might be necessary.
If there seems to be fluid inside the abdominal cavity, a cytology test will be performed to try and discover the types of cells present in that fluid. There are many diagnostic methods available these days at most veterinary practices, so you shouldn’t feel too worried about having your cat properly diagnosed.
Can drooling in cats be treated?
The answer to this question is that it actually depends on every medical condition in part. In severe poisoning cases, time is of the essence. If the cat does not get the appropriate treatment as early as possible and also depending on how aggressive the toxic substance is, they could end up losing their life.
Anything else, whether that be a digestive issue that doesn’t stem from an infectious disease, could be treated – while also taking into account the animal’s age and their health status in general.
Viral infectious diseases are very challenging to treat and the survival rate in most of these cases is not too good, which is why we urge you to get your feline friend vaccinated as early as possible.
Is there any way to prevent hypersalivation in cats?
It depends on the cause of the drooling in the first place. If you know for a fact that your cat is easily stressed, you could at least make a bit of effort to soothe them.
Although less popular nowadays, there is always the possibility of your vet doing a house call if there really is no other option. Cats are much more comfortable when they are not taken out of their environment, especially when it comes to vet visits.
If your pet is generally anxious, you could try a few supplements for that or even diffusers. Catnip might be an option depending on whether your specific pet responds to it or not. Worse comes to worst, your vet could prescribe some anxiety medication.
Most importantly, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Making sure you keep up with your cat’s normal vet visits and taking them to the clinic for a check-up once every six months or so can prevent a lot of conditions, especially in their senior years.