Cat purring in owner’s lap

Key takeaway

Your cat is likely drooling when purring because it's happy. Drooling and purring are both indicators that your pet is happy and relaxed. However, there are some situations when drooling can indicate a health concern.

Your cat can drool for a variety of reasons, but if your cat is purring while drooling, it likely means they're relaxed because many cats drool and purr when they're happy.This article will discuss cat drooling when purring and why cats do it. 

Is It Normal For Cats To Drool When Purring?

It's perfectly normal for cats to drool when purring. As we've already mentioned, cats drool when they're happy, but they may also drool to self-soothe themselves. When they're drooling while purring, it likely means they are content.1 Cats may also drool while they're kneading, but it's always best to consult your vet if you believe your cat is drooling more often than usual or drooling excessively. Additionally, if you're hearing excessive meowing, it could be a sign that your cat is in pain, although both meowing and purring can indicate overall happiness. 

Why do cats purr? While cats use purring to communicate, if your cat is healthy, purring can indicate that they're happy and relaxed, but you might also see some drooling, too. Cats might slobber slightly when they're happy because the muscles in their mouth relax along with the muscles across their entire bodies. If your cat's mouth is hanging open slightly, some saliva can come out, and your cat will drool. Additionally, happiness and pleasure release certain hormones in your cat's brain, including serotonin, which can stimulate saliva production. If your cat has more saliva than usual, a little bit might drip out of their mouth.

Additionally, purring is completely normal for healthy cats who are happy, and it's one of the ways your cat communicates happiness. When you combine the fact that cats can drool and purr when they're happy, every now and then, they might do both at the same time. 

Cats drool when purring anytime, anywhere. While you might have noticed it when you were petting your cat, if your cat is drooling when purring at any time, it likely indicates that they're enjoying themselves. For example, if your cat was relaxing in the sun on top of their cat tree, you shouldn't be surprised if your cat started drooling when purring. 

Signs your cat is content

Cats can also drool when purring when they're sleeping because they're totally relaxed and content. Since the mouth and jaw will be more relaxed while they're sleeping, saliva can dribble out. If you want to ensure your cat is drooling when purring because they're content, you can look for these other signs that your cat is happy:

  • Kneading: Your cat will knead when they're happy because it's something they learned as kittens with their mother to stimulate the release of milk. Kneading is associated with feelings of happiness, so if your cat is kneading on top of you while drooling and purring, you can bet they're having a great time. 
  • Head nudging: Cats like to push their heads against you while they're being pet to signal that they're happy with what's happening to them. 
  • Comfortable body language: Your cat's body language can also tell you if they're content. If they are in a relaxed position and their tail is curled or moving gently, it’s a good indication that they're happy. If your cat is tense, they might be stressed. Additionally, when stressed, your cat might start having behavioral problems, such as scratching at you to tell you to leave them alone so they can relax. 
  • Facial expressions: When your cat is relaxed, you can often see it on their face. Your cat might soften their stare or blink slowly to signal that they're relaxed. 

How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Drooling And Purring?

If your cat is drooling and purring at the same time, it's likely not a cause for concern, so there's no reason to stop it unless it becomes messy. If you're concerned about your cat's drooling, it's always best to speak to a vet who can tell you whether or not the drooling is caused by a health condition. However, if your cat only drools when they're purring and their body language is relaxed, and they appear content, it's always best to let your cat stay happy rather than trying to get them to stop drooling and purring. 

While you can't prevent your cat's mouth from relaxing and letting out a few dribbles of drool when they're happy, you can be prepared to clean it up. Cat drool is easy to clean up with a wet towel, and it doesn't stain, so there's no reason not to let your cat drool when they're content.

Other potential causes of drooling

When To See A Vet

If your cat is otherwise healthy and drooling while purring and they're content, there's no reason to panic. However, drooling throughout the day or frequently can indicate that there is a health concern with your cat that should be diagnosed by a vet. Potential causes of drooling in cats that require a trip to the vet include:

Oral Health Conditions

Oral health problems are a common cause of cat drooling. Your cat could have a variety of health issues going on in their mouth, which causes them to drool more frequently. If your cat has poor oral health, you might also notice bad breath, difficulty eating, and tooth discoloration.2

Foreign Material

Cats can drool after swallowing something they shouldn't have, like a piece of a toy. If your cat has swallowed a foreign object, they may also be lethargic or have a lack of appetite.2

Trauma

Cats can drool because of an injury, especially one that affects their mouth or face. Most injuries require treatment from a vet, so if your cat is experiencing pain, excessively meowing, or drooling a lot, it's time to visit a doctor. 

Toxins

If your cat consumes something poisonous, they may experience lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and excessive drooling. If you believe your cat has been poisoned, take them to the nearest emergency vet as soon as possible to get them treated as toxins can be fatal.

Anxiety

If your cat has anxiety, they might drool. Any type of anxious situation, including car rides, strangers in the home, and vet visits, can trigger anxiety and cause your cat to start drooling. If your cat's drooling is a result of anxiety, it will subside once the anxiety is gone. However, if your cat has general anxiety, they may feel anxious throughout the day, which can cause frequent drooling. 

If you're unsure whether your cat is anxious, check their body language. Cats who are stressed will have stiffer body posture and may try to stay away from stressful situations. While anxiety isn't a medical emergency, it is something you might want to get treated by a vet behaviorist to ensure your cat is able to live a happy life. 

Cat Drooling When Purring: FAQs

Why do my cats drool when I pet them?

Cats will sometimes drool when they're relaxed or happy because their mouth muscles are more relaxed, allowing them to drool. Additionally, happy cats may drool more because of the elevated levels of happy hormones, which can create more saliva in their mouths. 

Why is my cat dripping drool?

When your cat is happy and relaxed, they might dribble drool, but if your cat is dripping drool and it's become constant or frequent, it's time to take your cat to the vet. In many cases, if your cat is dripping drool, they could have a dental problem, such as periodontal disease, which can cause extreme pain and illness. Other types of oral problems that cause drooling in cats include tooth injuries, lesions, and infections. 

When should I worry about my cat drooling?

Drooling can be expected when your cat is happy or relaxed, but if they're drooling while doing other activities, it could indicate an underlying health issue. If you're worried about your cat drooling, it's always best to discuss your concerns with your vet. 

Cat being pet by owner

Final Notes

If your cat is drooling when purring, it likely indicates that they're happy and content, especially if it's happening while they're sleeping or you're petting them. There are some situations when drooling can indicate a health concern, including oral disease. Additionally, drooling can indicate an anxiety issue, especially if you have an anxious cat that doesn't like seeing the vet. If you notice your cat is dribbling drool in the car or on the way to the vet, they might benefit from anxiety medication to help them cope with their fears. 

Dutch helps pets cope with anxiety by allowing pet parents to talk to a licensed veterinarian online from the comfort of their own home. If you notice your cat is drooling when at the vet or during stressful situations, Dutch can help you buy cat medication online and schedule regular check-ins to ensure your cat's anxiety doesn't affect their quality of life. Even an anxious cat can be a happy cat.

References

  1. “Cat Purring: Why Do Cats Purr?” Dutch, https://www.dutch.com/blogs/cats/cat-purring.

  2. “Why Is My Cat Drooling?” Dutch, https://www.dutch.com/blogs/cats/why-is-my-cat-drooling.