Saturday 16 April 2022

Cat drooling with delight is rooted in newborn experiences

Cat drooling is often associated with ill health of some sort. The classic reason is mouth disease due to rotten teeth and inflamed and infected gums - please see cat drooling for full details.

But ill health is not always the reason. Sometimes, the reason is because the cat caretaker is petting their cat. Personally, I have never seen this so it is obviously dependent on the individual cat.

Photo: by emilybean (Flickr)

Petting often takes the form of stroking. When we stroke our cat, it is the equivalent of a mother cat licking her kitten. The argument goes that our cats are kept in a perpetual state of kittenhood by us and we are their surrogate mother.  That is the normal arrangement.

Reason for drooling with delight!

In my opinion, cats might drool when being stroked by us because they link the act of stroking (licking) to the time when they were at their mother's nipple being nursed. At this time the mother and kitten purr to communicate with each other. The kitten is saying, "I am receiving milk". The mother's response it an acknowledgment.

The mother licks her kittens at this time. She certainly licks the bottom of her kittens to stimulate defecation.

When a kitten is feeding on their mother's milk, they will produce saliva to digest the milk. If there is a connection between feeding at their mother's nipple and being stroked then it is plausible to suggest that as domestic cats are kept in a mental state of kittenhood, they will salivate when stroked if so inclined. Although this is not common feline behavior. It must depend on the personal early experiences and character of the individual cat.

Some cats salivate so much (hypersalivate) that the cat caretaker has to keep a cloth handy!

Oral health

If my cat drooled when being petted, I would be relaxed about it but I would also just check to see that his or her mouth was in good health. A routine check of a cat's mouth is easy to do. Just have a peep when they yawn or call out. It is useful to keep an eye the health of a cat's teeth. Poor oral health is a huge problem in elderly domestic cats because of neglect to be honest. 

This is not meant to be a criticism. It is easy to overlook a domestic cats oral health. I am referring to gum disease primarily. The link below takes you to more on the topic.

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