The Drooling Mystery. Can Allergies Cause Your Cat to Drool?

What is drooling?

Drooling, also known as excessive salivation or ptyalism, refers to when a cat has an excessive amount of saliva pooling in their mouth and dripping out. A small amount of drooling is normal for cats and can occur when they are very relaxed and content. However, excessive drooling can indicate an underlying health issue 1.

Normal drooling occurs when cats are sleeping, purring, or engaging in kneading or suckling behaviors. A small amount of saliva may pool at the corners of their mouth. This is a natural response and not a cause for concern 2.

Excessive drooling refers to a larger amount of drool dripping or streaming out of a cat’s mouth consistently. If the drooling is frequent and excessive, it may signify nausea, oral pain, or an imbalance in the cat’s system 3. Potential causes can include:

  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Oral inflammation, ulcers, or dental issues
  • Neurological problems
  • Toxins or poisoning
  • Metabolic disorders like kidney failure

Excessive drooling requires veterinary attention to diagnose and treat the underlying condition properly. It is not normal for a cat to have consistent streams of drool flowing from their mouth. This symptom should never be ignored.


Common cat allergies

Cats can develop allergic reactions to a variety of allergens. Some of the most common cat allergies include:

  • Flea allergy dermatitis – caused by an allergic reaction to flea saliva. Symptoms include excessive scratching and skin irritation. Treatment involves flea control and anti-itch medication (source).
  • Food allergies – caused by an allergic reaction to a certain protein or carbohydrate in cat food. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and skin irritation. Treatment involves identifying and removing the allergen from the diet (source).
  • Atopy – allergic reaction to environmental allergens like dust mites, pollen, and mold. Symptoms are similar to human allergy symptoms. Treatment involves reducing exposure to allergens and medication (source).

If your cat is exhibiting allergy symptoms like excessive scratching, sneezing, or skin irritation, see your veterinarian. They can help diagnose the underlying cause and recommend treatment options like anti-itch medication, hypoallergenic diets, or immunotherapy.

Link between allergies and drooling

Allergies can often lead to excessive drooling in cats. When a cat has an allergic reaction, it causes inflammation in the mouth and throat. This inflammation can cause excessive saliva production and drooling (Source).

Allergies may also cause nausea and upset stomach in cats. This nausea can stimulate excessive saliva production and drooling as well (Source).

So in summary, allergies can cause drooling through two main mechanisms – inflammation in the mouth/throat, and nausea leading to excessive salivation. Controlling allergies is key to reducing excessive drooling in cats prone to allergic reactions.

Other allergy symptoms

In addition to drooling, cats with allergies can experience a variety of other symptoms. These can include:

  • Itchy skin or recurring skin infections
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive licking, scratching, or grooming
  • Respiratory issues like sneezing, coughing, wheezing
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Watery eyes
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Skin irritation is one of the most common signs of allergies in cats. Cats may excessively lick or scratch at their skin, leading to bald patches, open sores, and other damage. Allergies can also cause respiratory troubles like sneezing, coughing, and wheezing. In some cases, cats may vomit frequently due to food allergies. Recurrent ear infections are also a potential sign of allergies.

If a cat is displaying any combination of these symptoms, allergies may be the underlying cause. It’s important to have the cat examined by a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Left untreated, allergy symptoms can impact a cat’s quality of life and lead to secondary infections.

Diagnosing allergies

Determining if a cat allergy is causing drooling and other symptoms involves a process of elimination. The first step is often an elimination diet trial, removing all sources of allergens like cat hair and dander from the home environment for 2-3 weeks to see if symptoms improve. Skin prick testing is another diagnostic method, applying small amounts of potential allergens like cat dander extract on the skin to check for a reaction. Blood tests measuring allergen-specific IgE antibodies can also help identify cat allergies.

It’s important to consult your veterinarian if you suspect your cat’s drooling and other symptoms are allergy-related. Through methods like intradermal skin testing and serum allergy testing, vets can pinpoint specific allergens causing your cat discomfort. This allows vets to provide a proper allergy treatment plan which may include immunotherapy, antihistamines, omega-3 fatty acids, or dietary changes. Don’t attempt to self-diagnose or treat your cat’s potential allergies, as some over-the-counter human allergy medications can be toxic for cats if used incorrectly.

Treating cat allergies

There are several treatment options available for people with cat allergies. The most common medications prescribed are:

  • Antihistamines like cetirizine (Zyrtec) or loratadine (Claritin) to reduce allergy symptoms. They work by blocking the effects of histamine, which the body releases during an allergic reaction.
  • Nasal corticosteroids like fluticasone (Flonase) or triamcinolone (Nasacort) to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. They can help relieve sneezing, itchy nose and congestion.
  • Leukotriene inhibitors like montelukast (Singulair) are sometimes used in combination with antihistamines. They block leukotrienes, immune system chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms.

For people with severe cat allergies, allergy shots or immunotherapy may be recommended. This involves getting injections of small amounts of cat allergens over time to desensitize the immune system. The treatment takes about 3-5 years but can significantly reduce allergy symptoms long-term (source).

Making dietary changes like taking omega-3 supplements or avoiding inflammation-triggering foods may also help manage symptoms.

Preventing Allergies

There are several things cat owners can do to help prevent or reduce allergic reactions:

  • Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your home to remove allergens from the air. Vacuum regularly using a HEPA filter vacuum as well. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, this can reduce airborne allergens by 50-90% (
  • Wash your cat’s bedding at least once a week in hot water to remove allergens. Any fabric items your cat lays on should be washed regularly.
  • Bathe your cat weekly using cat-safe shampoo. Frequent bathing can significantly reduce the amount of allergen on your cat’s fur. According to Ohio State University, all cat shampoos tested performed equally well at reducing allergens (
  • Carefully monitor your cat’s diet and environment to identify any food or other allergies causing increased shedding or skin irritation.

Making a few simple changes can go a long way in decreasing allergen levels. However, severe allergies may require keeping cats entirely out of bedrooms or restricted to a single room. Consulting an allergist can provide personalized advice on managing cat allergies.

Non-allergy causes

While allergies are a common cause of cat drooling, there are other potential causes like dental disease, acid reflux, and poisoning that can also lead to excessive drooling:

Dental disease such as gum disease, abscesses, and tooth resorption can cause significant pain in a cat’s mouth leading to increased saliva production and drooling (Source). Dental issues should be evaluated by a veterinarian and treated as needed.

Acid reflux where stomach acid comes up into the esophagus can cause irritation and inflammation in the throat and lead to drooling as well. This may occur from eating inappropriate foods, eating too rapidly, or other underlying conditions. Acid reflux can often be managed through diet and medication prescribed by a vet.

Ingesting toxic substances like certain plants, chemicals, or human medications can cause drooling too. This is the body’s attempt to expel the toxin. Immediate veterinary care is required if poisoning is suspected.

While drooling on its own may not seem concerning, if there is a new onset of excessive drooling, it is important to have your cat examined by a vet to determine the underlying cause and provide any necessary treatment.

When to see a vet

In most cases, cat drooling is normal and harmless. However, excessive drooling or drooling combined with other symptoms can indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention.

Signs that warrant a trip to the vet include lethargy, weight loss, and excessive or persistent drooling beyond the normal context of purring or kneading. Drooling accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or other concerning symptoms should also prompt a veterinary visit.

According to Festival Animal Clinic, emergency symptoms that require immediate veterinary care include drooling combined with breathing difficulties, inability to swallow, seizures, or unresponsiveness. Left untreated, some of the potential causes of excessive drooling like poisoning, oral injury, or obstructions can become life threatening.

While occasional drooling is usually nothing to worry about, it’s important to monitor your cat’s behavior and watch for any abnormalities. If in doubt, consult your veterinarian to identify the cause and rule out any serious conditions requiring treatment.


In summary, allergies can cause cats to drool excessively due to irritation and inflammation in the mouth. Common allergies in cats include food allergies, flea allergies, environmental allergies, and seasonal allergies. Other allergy symptoms to look out for include itchy skin, ear infections, sneezing, and wheezing. If you suspect your cat has allergies, take them to the vet for proper diagnosis through skin tests or elimination diets. Once the allergen is identified, treatment typically involves avoiding the allergen, medications, and immunotherapy. It’s important to identify and treat allergies in cats to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms like excessive drooling. With proper management of allergies, cats can live healthy and happy lives.

Scroll to Top