Can Dehydration Cause Drooling in Cats?

Can Dehydration Cause Drooling in Cats?

When it comes to our feline friends, we often see them as mysterious and enigmatic creatures. One of the perplexing behaviors that cat owners may observe is excessive drooling. While it may seem counterintuitive, some pet owners wonder if dehydration, typically associated with a lack of fluid, can cause drooling in cats. This blog post will delve into the relationship between dehydration and drooling and what you should know as a cat parent.

Understanding Dehydration in Cats

Before we make the connection between dehydration and drooling, let's understand what dehydration is. Dehydration occurs when a cat loses more fluids than it takes in, leading to an insufficient amount of water in the body to function correctly. Signs of dehydration in cats include:

  • Dry mouth and gums
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken eyes
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Loss of skin elasticity

Drooling in Cats: The Common Causes

Drooling, or ptyalism, is the excessive flow of saliva. While it's relatively rare for cats to drool excessively, several reasons can cause this:

  1. Dental and Oral Diseases: Dental issues such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, or oral tumors can lead to discomfort and drooling in cats.
  2. Foreign Objects: If a cat has something stuck in its mouth or throat, it may drool excessively.
  3. Toxins or Chemicals: Exposure to certain plants, chemicals, or toxins can lead to drooling. For instance, many cats drool after chewing on plants like poinsettias or after coming into contact with certain chemicals or medications.
  4. Stress or Excitement: Some cats may drool when they are anxious or overly excited.
  5. Other Medical Conditions: Conditions such as upper respiratory infections, nausea, or even some neurological disorders can cause drooling.

Can Dehydration Lead to Drooling?

Dehydration itself doesn't directly cause drooling. However, there's an indirect link. When a cat is dehydrated, its mouth and gums can become dry. The discomfort from this dryness could lead a cat to drool if it's trying to lubricate its mouth. Additionally, if a dehydrated cat tries to drink water but is too weak or feels nauseous, it might drool.

It's also worth noting that some causes of dehydration can also lead to drooling. For example, if a cat ingests a toxin that causes both dehydration and oral irritation, you might see symptoms of both conditions.

What Should You Do?

If your cat is drooling excessively:

  1. Examine Its Mouth: Check for any visible signs of dental disease, foreign objects, or injuries.
  2. Recall Recent Activities: Has your cat been exposed to any potential toxins, new foods, or chemicals?
  3. Check for Dehydration: Pinch the skin at the back of your cat's neck. If it doesn't quickly snap back into place, your cat might be dehydrated.
  4. Visit the Vet: If your cat's drooling is combined with other symptoms or if it persists, it's crucial to visit a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.


While dehydration in itself is not a primary cause of drooling in cats, there can be scenarios where the two symptoms coexist due to an underlying reason. It's always essential to be observant and take any sudden or excessive drooling seriously. Keeping your cat hydrated and ensuring it has a safe environment will help reduce the risk of many potential health issues. If in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian.