Pet Tips

Tip 61 – Drooling cats – kneading cats – Cats that drool and knead

Occasionally adult cats will drool while they are being petted, massaged or while nuzzling into fabrics. This drooling is usually accompanied with the kneading of the cat’s paws. This paw kneading action is identical to that performed by nursing kittens and it is this behaviour that the cat is reproducing involuntarily in adulthood. Those adult cats that do drool/knead, often choose sweaters, coats or other clothing reminiscent of their original suckling environments. There, the nursing kittens kneaded their paws on their mothers, to stimulate milk flow from their teats. The anticipation and smell of the milk caused the kitten to salivate and drool.

Even though the reason cats drool and knead is in response to the warmth and good feeling they’re getting off of the petter or sweater, some people find that this is a behaviour that they’d like to correct. This is difficult since it is so primal and involuntary. It would be like trying to correct a human being for salivating at a summer barbeque. If the cat drools on you, get or wear older clothing or place a dishtowel on your lap. It would be best in this situation, to keep valuable/cherished clothing items AND/OR the materials that the cat finds ‘droolable’ locked away safely.

If your cat is not a drooler/kneader as described above, then sudden drooling normally indicates a problem. The problem can range from to a chipped/cracked tooth or gum infection (the more common reasons), to poisoning or a foreign object lodged in the throat. Try gently checking your cat’s mouth and look to see if you can spot the problem. Maybe there is a splinter or foreign object you can see and easily remove it without hurting the animal. If not, then it’s time to visit the vet and diagnose the severity of the condition.

7 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar Alan Colgrove says:

    Thank you so much for this information and being upfront. I found that other information was confusing and misleading making me wonder if my cat had a serious problem and that I might have to bring them in for diagnosis. My cat always drooled when given affection and never drooled at any other time. It seems that she could not pur and swallow at the same time. She was a rescue kitten with kittens herslef. I don’t know if this makes a difference or not; maybe she was to young to learn proper handling…

    Thanx again for the tip…;>)

  2. Avatar Naga Ramalingam says:

    My cat is 20 years old. She loves canned food (salmon, cod & sole) which is soft. She also eats temptations dry food but does not like much. She has lost most of the teeth excepring two in the front on either jaws. This is the case for the last one year. Recently she started to drool, and after eating rubs her face and make the face dirty. Half of what she eats dribbles back into the bowl. I took to the vet, and she thinks it’s because of the age and loss of teeth. Her recent blood work and kidney functions were ok. She has lost some weight over the last few years due to age and less eating. As otherwise her physical ability to walk up the stairs and run about the house (when I go to grab her to wash her face) are fairly ok. My wife and I are feeding her with a plastic spoon twice a day to avoid her dabbing her face with salmon.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Thanks for writing this comment Naga. It is GREAT to see such devotion to an older cat. I wish there were a billion cat owners that also shared your devotion.
      My cat is only 6 but also has terrible teeth and has only 4 left (the same 4 as you). She mostly eats wet but still likes the occasional kibble treat.
      Like your cat, mine gets her face all dirty – likely for similar reasons. Let’s just say that we go through bunches of baby wipes each day :)

      Thanks again for your devotion and for taking the time to comment!
      Best! Marko

  3. Avatar Naga Ramalingam says:

    Thanks Marko for your encouragement, and sharing your experience. Hope your cat is improving.
    My cat is now getting used to her face wash every two days, and loves wiping and dabbing. Feeding is also improving without much resistance. With such a loving caregiver as you, your cat will definitely do well.

  4. Avatar Elva says:


    My dog had many teeth pulled and now she salivates a lot,, and I do not know if this is normal,, she drools , where it is hanging from her mouth,, I am worried they pulled 16 teeth, she has the front and some lower one on one side,,,Please help


    • Avatar Marko says:

      With 16 teeth pulled…seems reasonable that the dog can have a new drooling problem, as teeth help keep the drool in as far as I know. I’m not a vet though.
      I would definitely ask my vet about this by phone though just to confirm. Good luck!

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