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Home > Cats > My Cat is Drooling When They Purr, Is That Normal? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

My Cat is Drooling When They Purr, Is That Normal? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

cat is drooling out of his mouth

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maja Platisa

Veterinarian, DVM MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Purring is regularly associated with happiness. Most of the time, when humans hear a cat purr, it’s because the cat is happy and content. However, some cats may also drool when they purr. Because drool isn’t something we usually associate with happiness, it can send mixed signals.

Cats can purr and drool for reasons beyond happiness. Purring works both ways. It can make cats feel content, and cats may do it when they are content. Therefore, a cat in pain may purr to soothe themself. Similarly, cats may drool when they are relaxed, or they may drool when they have a dental issue or they’re feeling stressed. 

Sometimes, cats may simply drool when they are in pain. While purring and drooling can be a sign of relaxation and happiness, you should take your cat to the vet if they start showing other unusual signs, or have suddenly started drooling.


About Purring and Drooling

You must look at your cat’s body language to help determine what they’re feeling. You can’t rely on purring or drooling alone. Cats that are generally relaxed and laid back with normal behavior and good appetite likely aren’t in pain. However, cats can also be very good at hiding their illness. The only sign you may notice is a slightly lethargic cat that doesn’t look very relaxed.

Cats may drool because of an illness, especially if it affects their teeth. However, toxin exposure, foreign bodies at the back of the throat or around the tongue, stomach upset, nausea, neurological, systemic disease, and similar things can cause a cat to drool and sometimes even purr simultaneously.

Cats may also exhibit both of these behaviors if they are stressed. Once again, a cat may purr to calm down. An anxious cat may use purring as self-medication to reduce stress. Drooling can also be associated with stress and anxiety.

Tuxedo cat purring on the ground
Image by: Rosy_Photo, Pixabay

Is it Normal for Cats to Drool When Petted?

Cats drooling when being petted can be normal. In many cases, cats associate the affection of their owner’s attention with nursing as a kitten. Therefore, they may drool as their body (subconsciously) prepares for food or contentment. Usually, this is a behavior that cats start exhibiting when they are kittens and keep throughout their lives.

However, less commonly, some cats may exhibit this behavior later in life or stop doing it as they age.

Some indications are that kittens separated from their mothers too early may exhibit kitten-like behaviors more often, including drooling while being petted. However, there haven’t been any studies to determine this, so the link is largely anecdotal.

It’s also unlikely to be a 1:1 cause. Cats separated from their mothers early may be more likely to exhibit kitten.

cat drooling
Image by: Ling Chen, Shutterstock

How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Drooling and Purring?

Mostly, there isn’t a way to get a cat to stop drooling and purring. While cats do have some conscious control over these behaviors, they are habits that are rooted in their subconscious. Cats don’t have to learn to purr or drool—they just do it. Therefore, training or correction will not cause a cat to purr or drool less and should not be attempted.

These behaviors are both parts of your cat’s personality. There isn’t any way to get rid of it.

However, if your cat has an underlying condition, they may drool more. For instance, cats with gum disease or tooth issues may drool. To combat this, you should visit your vet and clean your cat’s teeth regularly. Infections may need to be treated with antibiotics, and many cats will need a thorough cleaning or even teeth extractions by a vet. Not to mention, there are many other conditions that will cause drooling. All of these need veterinary attention.

Your cat should stop drooling after these underlying conditions are dealt with. However, if it is more behavioral, the cat likely won’t stop drooling simply because you want them to.



Cats may drool and purr simply because they are happy but there are other reasons, too. For instance, any pain, discomfort, inflammation or swelling in the mouth, nausea, toxin exposure, and others can cause excess saliva production, and some cats may purr to alleviate some of this pain.

If your cat suddenly starts drooling or looking unwell otherwise, you should take them to the vet. Many cats also purr when they are in pain, as it works as a natural pain reliever. Therefore, purring and drooling aren’t always good things.

However, if your cat has a clear bill of health and doesn’t appear to be stressed or injured, it is likely just behavioral, especially if they have been doing this from a young age. In this case, there isn’t anything to be worried about. Some cats simply drool when they are content.

Featured Image Credit: FLUKY FLUKY, Shutterstock

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