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Why Do Cats Drool When They Purr? 6 Typical Reasons

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

yawning and purring british shorthair kitten_Dmitry Kalinovsky_shutterstock

Why Do Cats Drool When They Purr? 6 Typical Reasons

Generally, we all know that a cat’s purring is a sign of happiness. However, what about drooling? Usually, drooling is associated with certain breeds of dogs—not cats. Yet, many cats will and do drool on certain occasions. Drooling can be associated with medical conditions. For instance, if a cat consumes something toxic, they may drool as their body tries to flush the toxin out of their mouth. However, drooling isn’t always a bad thing.

There are many reasons why cats may drool. However, some of these are good, and others are not. Keep reading to help you figure out why your cat is drooling while they purr.


The 6 Reasons Your Cat Drools When They Purr

1. Happiness

Cats may drool for the same reason they purr: contentment. When a cat is happy for one reason or another, they may drool. This is usually most common when the cat is also kneading. However, it can occur at other times, as well. Often, drooling is a sign of relaxation. When a cat is extremely relaxed, they are more likely to drool than one that isn’t.

This behavior goes back to kittenhood. When cats are young, they knead while drinking milk from their mother to stimulate milk release. As adults, they may still associate kneading and contentment with drinking milk, which may result in drooling.

If your cat is otherwise healthy and drooling while purring, there probably isn’t anything to worry about. Some carts are more prone to this behavior than others. Therefore, if your cat has simply always drooled while purring, there probably isn’t any underlying problem.

cat meow
Image By: Pixabay

2. Stress

Surprisingly, cats can purr and drool because of stress. Purring is often comforting for cats and can be used as pain relief. Therefore, many cats will also purr when they are in pain or stressed.

However, your cat’s behavior will be quite different between drooling because they are stressed and drooling when they are happy. If your cat is content, they should be relaxed and even act a bit sleepy. Alternatively, if your cat is rigid and not responding to affection, they may be stressed out.

Cats can become stressed for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, cats are stressed because of big events, like visiting a vet or having visitors over. However, even slight, minor changes can result in stress.

For instance, if you move your furniture around, your cat may exhibit stress-induced behavior. Changes in schedules can also result in stress. If you have children, their return to school every fall can lead to stress in cats.

Usually, there isn’t much you can do but wait it out. If your cat is severely stressed to the point of not eating or enjoying life, then you may want to speak to your vet about possible stress-relieving solutions.

3. Dental Disease

Cats may drool because of dental and oral issues. Just like us, cats may produce excessive spit because of these underlying problems. Often, these issues go undetected because we cannot see them. If your cat tends to purr when spending time with you, then you may only notice the drooling when your cat is purring—even if they aren’t really connected.

Ulcers, injuries, and gum disease can all result in drooling.

With that said, we don’t necessarily recommend that you try to look at your cat’s mouth. If they have an injury, you may make the problem worse. Alternatively, you may also get bit or injured by trying to forcefully look at a cat’s injured mouth. Therefore, the best option is to visit the vet if you believe your cat may be experiencing some issues.

abyssinian cat teeth check by vet
Image By: Nataly Mayak, Shutterstock

4. Pain

Cats may purr and drool if they are in pain. Purring is actually quite comforting to cats, so they may purr when they aren’t feeling well. Usually, purring is a sign of contentment, but not always. For this reason, it is important to look at your cat’s whole-body language when determining if they are in pain or not.

Cats are very good at hiding their discomfort. Therefore, you may not notice many issues beyond them just not acting normal. In the wild, it was useful for cats to hide their discomfort. Otherwise, they may end up being attacked by a predator. Remember, cats typically aren’t at the top of the food chain.

Of course, cats don’t have to worry about this in our home, but they still instinctually hide their pain and discomfort. For this reason, if you believe your cat may be drooling and purring because of pain, we recommend seeing a vet—even if you don’t notice any other symptoms. In this way, you can hopefully catch any potential illness early.

5. Something Stuck

Cats may also drool if they have something stuck in their mouth. For cats, the most common foreign body stuck is a string, which they usually tear off of their toys. Toy parts and basically anything small can end up stuck. Your cat may drool excessively as their body tries to dislodge the stuck instrument.

However, these things don’t always bother the cat—they may just continue to go about their normal day, which usually includes purring.

If you see a string hanging out of your cat’s mouth, you should not pull it. The string may be down in the cat’s stomach or intestines. Pulling may damage the esophagus or other internal organs. Therefore, you should visit the nearest vet’s office instead.

veterinarian checks teeth of the maine coon cat
Image By: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

6. Toxins

If your cat is exposed to edible toxins, they will usually drool excessively. Often, this is because the body is trying to flush the toxin away. Usually, cats will not purr after being exposed to toxins, however.

Still, it is possible for the cat to purr either because the toxin hasn’t kicked in yet, they didn’t consume enough of it, or they are in pain. While it isn’t terribly common, purring and toxin exposure can sometimes go together.

Therefore, if your cat begins to exhibit any other strange symptoms or they don’t usually purr, we recommend visiting the vet to ensure that they haven’t been poisoned.

Just about anything can trigger drooling in cats if it is toxic. Plants, chemicals, and foods are the most common, though, as cats are most likely to consume these toxins.

divider-catclaw1 Conclusion

Cats may begin drooling for all sorts of reasons. When it is paired with purring, cats usually drool because they are happy. Just like in some dog breeds, drooling in cats is usually a sign of happiness and contentment. Therefore, if your cat typically drools, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.

However, because drooling and purring are associated with pain and some underlying health problems, sudden drooling or drooling paired with other symptoms should be checked out by a vet. Toxin exposure, dental problems, and foreign objects are the most common conditions associated with drooling.

With that said, there are several other conditions, too. Seeing your vet is the best option for determining the cause of your cat’s drooling.

Featured Image Credit: Jolanta Jd, Shutterstock

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