Reason 1: Your Cat Could Be Congested
Feline upper respiratory infection is relatively unusual in cats that live in low-stress environments but unfortunately, it can be quite common in shelters. Its commonly compared to a cold in humans and just like the cold causes congestion, sore throats, sneezing, and more. It can also vary greatly in severity.
After spending a decade working in shelters, Ive sadly seen a lot of upper respiratory infections in cats.
In some cases, the congestion can get to the point where cats find it easier to breathe through their mouth instead of their nose. Most cats wont do this for long periods of time and instead its usually done for a few moments.
If your cat has an upper respiratory infection thats leading to open mouth breathing then youll likely know it. Theyll be congested enough that you can hear them breathing but other issues like nasal polyps can cause congestion.
Cats that are breathing through their mouth will open and close their mouth in an almost gulping movement. If youre seeing anything like this, its important to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Never Ignore A Cat Drooling
If your cat that has never drooled before suddenly starts drooling, do not delay seeking veterinary treatment.
Drooling is most often caused by painful conditions. Drooling means your cat may be in pain. Cats do their best to hide their pain and illness. Once drooling is seen, the problem is often quite advanced and painful.
Why Does My Cats Jaw Quiver
Cats will quiver their jaw in response to severe dental pain. This most often occurs during an exam when a particularly painful tooth is evaluated or when something firm like kibble hits the tooth. However, cats may also take on a quivering motion when chattering at birds so its important to pay attention to context.
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Is It Normal For Cats To Drool
In a very small number of cats, drooling may be normal. Some cats drool slightly when very relaxed and content. Drooling like this is often accompanied by purring. Similarly, some cats may drool a little when sleeping. If the drooling stops outside these isolated episodes, and the cat is otherwise eating normally and acting well, drooling might be considered normal for the cat.
My Cat Is Drooling: Frequently Asked Questions
Should I be worried if my cat is drooling?
For the most part, you dont have to worry about your cat drooling. Cats eyes watering and other symptoms in addition to drooling may be cause for concern, but the main thing to consider is what might be causing your cat to drool. Its normal for cats to drool when theyre kneading and purring, but excessive drooling may be a sign that your cat is experiencing an oral problem or some other medical condition. For more information, consult a vet to rule out any serious illnesses.
Why is my cat drooling and opening and closing its mouth?
If your cat is drooling and opening and closing its mouth repeatedly, it may be suffering from dental disease or have a foreign object lodged in its mouth.. Its important to note the amount of drool and how long your cat drools for. If your cat is drooling excessively, you should take them to a vet to make sure theres nothing wrong with their mouth. Drooling can also be a sign of nausea.
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Reason : Is It A Congenital Issue
Just like humans, cats can have overbites and underbites that lead to odd confirmations of their teeth. These genetic conditions can make the mouth a little uncomfortable and lead cats to taking on some strange mouth movements.
This is probably the most unlikely reason but still worth a mention. Since its not something that will suddenly occur overnight, you dont need to worry about this with an adult cat- at least most of the time.
But if your cat is still a kitten or is still growing then an unusual jaw shape could be at play. Again, this is quite rare but still a consideration.
Foreign Objects In Your Cats Mouth
While youre checking your cats teeth, look for anything that might be stuck in their mouth, such as a piece of string or a small object, that could be causing discomfort. Sometimes cats get tumors in their mouths or on their tongues, which can also lead to drooling.
Keep in mind that unlike dogs, cats are usually not keen on having their mouths inspected, so it would be very easy to miss something. If you do find something in your cats teeth or mouth, never try to remove it from your cat’s mouth on your own. For example, pulling on string or yarn stuck in your cats mouth could make the situation much worse. For this reason, it is always good to visit your vet for a more thorough, compete oral evaluation.
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Diagnosis Of Hypersalivation In Cats
When bringing your cat to a veterinarian, be sure to provide the cats full medical history to help sort out potential underlying causes of excessive drooling. The veterinarian will perform a complete physical and oral examination. The cat may need to be sedated for the oral examination to be successful. All signs will be noted to see how they match with possible health problems. The veterinarian will look for obvious injuries, abscesses, foreign objects, or masses within the mouth.
Full blood work will likely be recommended, including a complete blood count to help detect anemia or the presence of cancer, and a biochemical profile to find signs of metabolic disease. Urinalysis can help to assess how well the kidneys are functioning. A bile acid blood test will indicate the function of the liver. Cultures of the urine may identify bacterial infections present in the body. X-rays or ultrasounds may be used to assess organ health or to locate tumors or lesions in the mouth or body. A biopsy may need to be collected from any masses found.
When Your Cat Needs Veterinary Assistance
If your cat has any of these symptoms in addittion to the drooling, more help is needed
- Vomiting frequently
If you can take your cat to the vet, do so right away. The veterinarian might need to examine your cat under anesthesia, do bloodwork to check for organ damage or infection, and may even need to do x-rays or an abdominal ultrasound. None of these tests can be done at home.
When your cat has something stuck in his or her mouth, a broken tooth, or is just salivating a lot because of something they ate, if you have a veterinarian available you should schedule a visit now and help them feel better. This excessive drooling problem might clear up right away or in a few days and your lives can return to normal.
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Cat Drooling While Purring
Drooling is sometimes seen in healthy cats. For instance, some cats drool while very relaxed and receiving positive stimulation like petting. The drooling is often accompanied by purring. Sometimes cats may drool and purr while kneading a blanket or other soft material.
The reason for this is largely unknown, but it appears to be behavioral and not a medical problem. If your cat has always been a drooler when relaxed and purring, but seems fine at other times, its likely not a problem.
Reasons Your Cat Makes Weird Mouth Movements
As I mentioned, most cats that are moving their mouths are chattering. But while cat chattering is normal, there may be other causes for your cats weird mouth movements.
Its important to understand all the possible causes, so you can work out whether your cats behavior is normal or whether they should see a vet. Read the below sections and try to work out which could apply to your cat.
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What Does The Flehmen Reaction In Cats Look Like
A cat comes across an interesting smell. After some intensive sniffing, he or she will usually stop, open his or her mouth a little and take a few seconds to ponder. This is often followed by a distinct facial expression. Some owners read that as Ewwww, whats that smell! and it can be fun to watch
Heres a nice example of a calico cat investigating a special scent on a blanket –
And another cat discovering something invisible yet clearly fascinating on a table –
Inflammatory And Ulcerative Diseases Of The Mouth
Gum disease Gum Disease Many of the dental disorders of cats are similar to those found in people. However, cavities almost never occur in cats. Treatment methods are also similar to those used with people. Proper… read more is the most common oral problem in cats. Other causes of inflammation in the mouth include immune-mediated disease, injuries, chemicals, metabolic disease, burns, tumors, radiation therapy, and infectious diseases. Several viruses can cause inflammation of the mouth in cats, including feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus, feline leukemia virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus. Signs vary widely with the cause and extent of inflammation. Loss of appetite may be seen. Bad breath and drooling are common with inflammation of the mouth or tongue, and saliva may be blood tinged. Pain may cause a cat to paw at its mouth and resist any attempt to examine the affected area. Lymph nodes in the region may be enlarged.
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Reason : Did Your Cat Have A Dental Cleaning
Dental cleanings are a regular and routine part of veterinary care for your feline friend. But they can often include more than just a cleaning and teeth that are too far gone will need to be extracted or removed.
This can change the position of other teeth and lead to some weird mouth movements as cats learn to adjust to the changes.
Of course, you dont need me to tell you that after having teeth removed your cats mouth may feel strange.
But what isnt so commonly discussed is what happens when one of the canines are removed.
While somewhat rare, Ive seen several cases where the upper canine tooth is removed and as a result the lower canine suddenly starts sticking out and rests on the outside of the lip!
Some cats will eventually figure out how to keep these rogue teeth inside their mouth. But others will just let it hang out on the lip or will constantly try to shift the tooth by moving the lips around until it gets in the right spot.
That means cats could be showing strange movements long after their dental cleaning!
Your veterinarian can help you come up with a plan that works best for your cat and unless the stray tooth is causing damage to the upper lip it typically isnt a problem.
What To Do If Your Cat Drools
It can be normal for some cats to drool a little when they are very relaxed and content.
Because drooling is often a sign that the cat is in pain, its important to schedule a visit to the veterinarian as soon as you can to check for health issues.
Your vet will check your cat for any weight or muscle loss and do a thorough physical exam, checking all over your cats bodyespecially your cats mouth and teeth to try to find the cause of the drooling. The vet might recommend further tests like x-rays, bloodwork, or a sedated oral examination to get to the root of the drooling so it can be treated.
Treatment will depend on what the cause is but could include medications for pain or nausea. It may also include dental care and removal of diseased painful teeth or oral surgery to treat tumors.
It can be normal for some cats to drool a little when they are very relaxed and content.
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Kidney And Liver Disease
With kidney and liver disease toxins build up causing nausea. Other signs may include: behavioral changes, poor appetite, weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, vomiting and diarrhoea. Cats with liver disease may have yellow tinged gums or skin. With kidney disease toxins can cause ulcers in the mouth. These are often painful and cause drool that is foul smelling.
Your Cat Is Happy And Relaxed
According to , Certified Cat Behavior Consultant in San Francisco and author ofNaughty No More: Change Unwanted Behaviors Through Positive Reinforcement, some cats drool when they are content. They may also be kneading as well, she notes. In some cats, drooling is part of happy behavior. Think of it as a reaction to the bliss of being around you, but if you dont like the drool, Krieger suggests placing a towel or washcloth under your cat while you are petting her so you arent drooled on. Dont try to change the behavior or be upset by it, she says. Some cats are just droolers.
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What Is Hypersalivation
Cats in general are not prone to drooling. Because it is uncommon, getting a veterinary assessment is the best course of action, to determine whether the hypersalivation is harmless or serious. The earlier that a health issue is detected, the more likely it can be successfully treated. Secondary bacterial infections can develop if mouth injuries are left too long.
A cat may salivate or drool for many different reasons. While drooling is a normal body function, excessive drooling, or hypersalivation, can be cause for concern. Normal drooling is usually accompanied by excitement or pleasure in the cat. Abnormal drooling appears suddenly, and can last for hours. A cat who has overheated may begin to hypersalivate. Certain diseases, injuries, and viruses can also cause a cat to drool excessively.
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Why Is My Cat Drooling
Sometimes its difficult to tell if what your kitty is doing is normal cat behavior. For instance, you may wonder if your cats drooling is normal or something to be concerned about. Here are some reasons why cats drool and some signs to look for so you know when your cats drooling requires a vet visit.
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Staring With Their Mouths Open
Have you ever seen your cat gaping with his mouth partly open, looking a bit like he has smelled something bad? It might also be described as grimacing or appearing to pant. He is probably showing what is called a Flehmen response, sometimes shortened to flehming.
The term comes from a German word referring to curling of the lips. The cat opens his mouth to allow scent to reach the vomeronasal organ in the roof of his mouth. That organ provides more information about certain scents than smelling them through the nasal passages alone. The resulting facial expression could also have you thinking your cat is chuckling about something! And who can say that isnt true?
Reason : Dental Disease
Dental disease is extremely common in cats and according to Cornell University, Studies report that between 50 and 90% of cats older than four years of age suffer from some form of dental disease.
Dental disease is a big catch-all term that includes a variety of minor and major conditions all of which can cause unusual mouth movements if theyre left untreated for too long.
But the folks at Cornell go on to explain that, fortunately the most common forms of these diseases are largely preventable or treatable with appropriate preventive dental care and monitoring.
That means not only visits to your veterinarian but also regular brushing at home.
So what does dental disease look like?
The overall severity is typically graded between one to four with category 4 being the most severe. You can see dental disease graded at each level in this image:
Notice all the brown stuff on the teeth that gets worse with each grade?
Thats called tartar and its the hardened form of plaque and bacteria. Youll also notice that as more tartar is built up, the gums become more red, inflamed, and irritated. That inflammation is called gingivitis.
While some folks will often describe these are two different things, and they technically are, they still fall under the same big umbrella of dental disease. However, this is the kind of dental disease that is mostly preventable, or at least manageable, with regular brushing and trips to the veterinarian.
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Something Is Stuck In Their Mouth
Many of us have had food stuck in our back teeth, and no matter how much floss or how many toothpicks we use, we cant seem to dislodge whatever is stuck. This can also be a common issue for your cat.
In fact, it happens a lot more often than you might think! When you consider your cats diet and its habits, theyll likely have something stuck in their teeth every once in a while. If your cat is an outdoor cat, it may have caught a mouse or a bird. Feathers or small pieces of bone might get stuck inside the mouth and cause irritation.
Alternatively, your cat might have pieces of kibble stuck in between their teeth from eating. Or perhaps, your cat has a piece of string from a toy wrapped around a tooth or a piece of hair from self-grooming. Even splinters or thorns, could get their way inside your cats mouth and become lodged between the teeth or embedded in the gums.
While indoor cats may have this problem less, it can happen to any cat. If your cat is opening its jaw, trying to move it around, and is rubbing its paws over its mouth, it could be a sign that it does have something stuck in its teeth or mouth.
If you are at all concerned, seek veterinary assistance immediately. Your vet will be able to remove the foreign object from the teeth or mouth, preventing any complications from arising.