Why Does My Cat Drool When Kneading?

Why Does My Cat Drool When Kneading?

Your cat drools when kneading because she feels relaxed, comfortable, and secure. She may also be behaving that way as a remembrance of her kittenhood. Abnormal drooling in cats may occur when they have health issues like oral and dental disease, liver infection, toxin exposure, or ingestion of a foreign body.

Why does my cat drool when kneading?

Cats express happiness, anxiety, and sadness through varying body language and behavior. Kneading, for instance, is a common cat behavior that people often find amusing. When a cat kneads, she pushes her front paws in and out, alternating the left and right paws. 

This behavior is also called “kneading dough” or “making biscuits” and cats usually do this on things with soft textures like pillows and blankets. However, they may also knead animals and people. According to cat experts, it is a leftover behavior of kittenhood wherein kittens knead their mother’s abdomen to promote milk flow during nursing. 

Another reason why cats knead is rooted in their ancient instincts. It is believed that before they were domesticated, cats patted or smoothened foliage in the wild to prepare a place for sleeping or giving birth. It may also be a cat’s way to mark a territory through its scent. 

Kneading may be accompanied by drooling which is characterized by an uncontrollable flow of saliva from the mouth. Here are the probable reasons why cats drool when kneading:

Cats drool when they knead because they are in a relaxed, secure, and happy state. 

A cat may drool when kneading because she feels relaxed, comfortable, and secured. She may become absorbed with the moment that it becomes a “trance-like” experience for her, making her drool, often described as the drool of happiness. 

Cats may drool when kneading as a leftover remembrance of nursing during their kittenhood. 

Your cat may drool when kneading because it brings back memories of nursing during their kittenhood. Kittens drool while kneading their mother in anticipation of milk and naturally, feelings of calmness and happiness are associated with nursing. This may explain why a cat tends to drool when she kneads you, her pillow, or another cat she is bonded to. 

Other reasons why cats may drool

A cat drooling other than when kneading may have quite different reasons compared to when it happens when kneading:

1. Your cat is stressed. 

Your cat may be excessively drooling due to stress and anxiety.  Cats may get stressed during vet visits, car rides, loud noises, or sudden changes in the household. Consult your vet at once for a thorough assessment. 

2. She may have oral and dental disease.

Issues with their oral and dental health may be the culprit why your cat is drooling excessively. These may include tooth injuries, misaligned teeth, lesions, gum disease, and mouth ulcers. A prompt examination by your vet is in order and he may recommend dental procedures like tooth cleaning and extraction. 

3, She may be nauseous or vomiting due to certain health problems.

If a cat feels nauseous or vomiting, she may also be drooling excessively. She may also throw up food but act normal otherwise while she drools. Nausea and vomiting in cats may happen due to certain health conditions like kidney and liver disease, gastrointestinal inflammation, or parasite infestation. A prompt consultation should be done with the vet. He may recommend the necessary laboratory tests so that you can get the cat proper treatment and medication. 

4. Due to toxin exposure

Cats may drool excessively if they are exposed to toxins or poisonous substances. These may include chemicals, poisonous plants, and pesticides. If you suspect that the cat’s drooling is due to toxins, bring her to the vet right away for prompt examination. 

These are some of the things that are toxic to cats:

  • human medication like acetaminophen and antidepressants 
  • house plants like lilies, azaleas, tulips, and sago palms 
  • insecticides for the home and garden
  • household cleaners like bleach and laundry detergent 
  • rat and mouse poison 
  • many pet medications 
  • chemicals like antifreeze and paint thinners 
  • lead that is found in batteries and paint
  • onions, garlic, and chives 

5. Due to trauma and injuries in the mouth

Cats may drool excessively because of mouth injuries and trauma. This may include oral burns due to electrical cords that cats chew. A broken jaw due to a car accident or catfight may also cause excessive drooling. You should bring your cat to the vet at once if she is drooling due to these reasons even if she is acting normal.

6. Due to foreign object ingestion 

Your cat may be drooling because she accidentally ingested a foreign object such as toy parts, pieces of plastic, or a string. If you see a string dangling from your cat’s mouth do not attempt to pull or remove it as the other end may already be embedded in the intestines or stomach. Bring your cat to the vet at once for the proper treatment. 

Other symptoms of foreign body ingestion in cats:

  • loose stools
  • diarrhea 
  • lethargy or weakness 

Final thoughts 

A cat may drool when kneading as an expression of happiness, security, and comfort.  She may also drool when kneading as a remembrance of nursing when she was still a kitten. However, abnormal drooling in cats should be a cause for concern and you should consult the vet right away as it may indicate a serious health condition like an oral and dental disease. 

Image: istockphoto.com / Ukususha