Why is My Cat Drooling in the Car and What To Do About It?

Cat Drooling in Car

Seeing dogs drool is normal. But for cats, drooling is not considered as common. Drooling may be harmless but being uncommon for cats, it’s easy to wonder what could be the reasons why they drool. 

What causes a cat to drool in the car?

Cats drool in the car mostly because of motion sickness, which is a common problem for cats. Motion sickness can be associated with a super sensitive inner ear apparatus that regulates equilibrium and balance. 

For cats that are not used to car rides, the jostling and bouncing off the car, strong and unusual scents within the vehicle, and unfamiliar and frightening noises outside the car can be terrifying and trigger motion sickness. 

Most motion sickness in cats are caused primarily by the stress and anxiety which can be the result of infrequency of riding in cars, being an indoor cat not used to leaving home or experiencing car rides in connection with a stressful event such as a visit to the vet or groomer.

Remember that even though drooling in itself is harmless, in case your cat becomes withdrawn and inactive, visit the vet immediately. 

What are the signs of motion sickness?

When cats experience motion sickness, they may vocalize excessively by meowing our howling loudly. They may pace and become restless. They may also urinate or defecate. Vomiting is, of course, the tell-tale sign of motion sickness. This is often preceded by excessive lip licking, drooling and panting. 

There are some cats that don’t show any other signs of distress in the car even when they feel sick. They may become repressed and draw back in their crates when they experience motion sickness. 

How can I prevent my cat from drooling in the car?

If your cat experiences motion sickness, you can follow suggestions below to ease your pet’s discomfort. 

1. Get your cat comfortable to the carrier before the trip

Instead of sneaking up on your cat and forcing it into the carrier, it is your responsibility as a pet parent to make the carrier a more positive experience. You can bring out the carrier a few days ahead so it can get used to it. Leave the door of the crate open so your pet can explore as he pleases. Make the carrier inviting by placing a cozy blanket and your cat’s favorite toys inside. 

2. Position the carrier facing forward

How you position the carrier in the car matters. Facing it forward, rather than sideways, may help in preventing motion sickness. Don’t cover the carrier windows to block your cat’s view to avoid feeling suffocated. 

3. Take short car rides with your cat first

Start by sitting in the car with your cat in his carrier for just a few minutes, then go back inside and reward your cat with a treat. It might take a while for your cat to associate with the crate and the car with treats and toys. So, be patient until you can go on short trips. Later, your cat will get used to the sights, sounds and smell in the car. 

4. Travel when your cat has an empty stomach

This means skipping a meal or timing your travel according to your cat’s feeding schedule. Having a full tummy can cause drooling and vomiting for some cats. So, make sure to plan your travel time.

5. Avoid loud music during car rides

A joyride isn’t a good one without music. But for cats, they may feel stressed by hearing loud noise. Many cats enjoy quiet music because it makes them calm. Some cats might be bothered by music. 

6. Try pheromone products

Pheromones, called calming or appeasing pheromones, can sometimes help relieve stressed pets. Pet pheromone products such as Feliway and Comfort Zone are known to copy natural cat pheromones and come in various forms such as sprays, plug-in diffusers, wipes and collars. Before using them, get a recommendation first from your vet. 

7. Use home remedies or medication

Remedies or medications that reduce anxiety may provide help. Before using them on your cat, talk with your vet first. Be sure to give the product a test run at home before using it for a car ride as your cat may have allergies or side effects from it. 

By doing these suggestions and adjusting to your cat’s comfortability, you can make car rides a more positive experience for your feline. 

Why do cats drool?

There are many reasons why cats drool. Some cats may drool when they are extremely relaxed and enjoying being petted or cuddled. This is common and typically indicates a physiologic response to happiness. Some cats may drool when they are asleep, probably because they are so relaxed. 

It’s also common for some cats to drool while they are kneading or purring. This can be traced back to their kittenhood where they often knead their paws on their mothers to stimulate milk release while being nursed. 

However, sometimes drooling is also a sign of serious conditions such as:

Oral pain

Excess saliva flows out of the mouth if the cat has the difficulty to swallow. It can be the result of anything from dental disease and mouth sores, to a tumor caused by oral cancer or problems with the tongue. Some types of oral pain are caused by injury. 

Ingestion of Foul-Tasting Item or Toxins

When a cat eats something it shouldn’t and it tastes really bad, the cat may start drooling. Toxins can also cause oral erosions which also lead to drooling.

Stress or Fear

Some cats drool when they are upset or fearful. Nausea and the apprehension that precedes vomiting often result in drooling. If the drooling and stress are short-lived and stop on their own, then there is nothing much to worry about. 

Gastrointestinal, Liver or Kidney Disease

When a cat experiences this, there isn’t usually much excess saliva. There could be a little bit around the gums or the cat is blowing bubbles. It’s much more subtle than drooling.