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Cat Drooling After Medicine

January 1, 2014
After oral liquid amoxicillin, this cat is drooling big stringy thick strands from the corners of her mouth.

I’m offended by your medicine!

Cats Are Not Fans of Oral Medication

Giving medication to a cat is not fun! If you have elected liquid medication for your cat, she may react poorly to the medication, like Sheba, the lovely domestic short-haired brown and white tabby cat in the picture.

“Every veterinarian has gotten the call about cats drooling after medication because it looks like the medication is reacting badly with the cat,” says Doc Truli. “It’s rare for the drool to be bad for your cat.”

The thick, stringy immediate gobs of drool cascading out of the corners of her mouth are not evidence of an allergic reaction. Sheba is no fan of oral medication. It could taste like heavenly raw liver or cheese, or tuna fish and she still drools. Like many cats, she automatically drools when anyone gives her oral medication.

Is My Cat Getting Enough of the Medicine?

Ultimately, this is a question for your veterinarian as every medication is slightly different. Many medications absorb transmucosally – through the mucous membrane lining of the mouth- so time spent touching the insides of the mouth is productive time. The medicine in the drool is usually far less of the total medication than it seems like.

To put the liquid volume of cat medicine in perspective, the “dropperful” or one milliliter or one “cc” that is the volume of most cat medications is one-fifth (1/5) of a teaspoon. Seriously, it is a tiny amount. Your cat will probably act like it is a huge imposition, but it is a tiny, manageable volume of medicine.

What If My Cat Really Does Have a Bad Reaction to the Medicine?

Signs your kitty might actually need help from the veterinarian:

  1. Face swollen
  2. Difficulty breathing (panting is very, very unnatural for a cat)
  3. Collapse
  4. Persistent Vomiting (note: some cats will purposefully vomit up their medication, then they feel better. Persistent vomiting is repeated 2-4 times in 8-12 hours)
  5. Follow your veterinarians personal guidance for your cat, but do call for help if your cat exhibits at least one of the symptoms above. There are other troubling symptoms, so follow your vet’s directions and advice.

Good luck with your cat’s medication, and don;t forget to ask your veterinarian if there are any easier, affordable options for the medication (injections, flavored liquid, flavor treats, pill “guns,” etc)

Read about cat medicine:  How to Tell if a Cat is Dehydrated

Thank you for reading!

All VirtuaVet content is original, written by Doc Truli, and copyrighted 2014 with all rights reserved. Please see the “terms of use” for for more information.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    March 8, 2017 1:43 am

    Do you have a recommendation on how to stop this? I’ve been trying to mix it with some tuna juice – recommended by vet but still happens and I get an apt full of bile

    • March 27, 2017 11:02 pm

      Dear Chris,
      Ask your vet: Is a less bitter medication indicated? Is there an injectable medication option? Is their a transdermal option? Can you put the meds in a capsule to bypass the taste buds?
      I find masking the taste does not work.
      Doc Truli

  2. Kathrin permalink
    February 13, 2017 7:57 pm

    Thanks for this post. My cats has been taking a liquid med for 7 years. He never dools. Now he is on a new med and he drools. I think it is the oil base. Any thoughts? He sick and I hate to torture him.

    • March 27, 2017 11:21 pm

      Dear Kathrin,
      New med tastes bad. His pharmacist is best person to tell you about the chemistry and why this med tastes bad and maybe a compounding pharmacist will have a suggestion how to help the taste.
      Good Luck!
      Doc Truli

  3. Sarah Calvert permalink
    October 14, 2016 3:13 pm

    Thank you so much for this advice!! I just nearly upset the entire house in mad panic that my old boy George was having an allergic reaction to Penicillin!! He was frothing at the mouth and gipping- little did I know that he just didn’t like it, it was like a scene from Day of the Dead!! Well the copious amount of drooling stopped after 5 minutes and he is now sulking in the corner. I wasn’t warned this would happen which if it is quite common maybe it should be written on the box as I really was worried at first until I read this. Thank you again. I am now in the process of removing drool from the walls and ceiling!!

    • October 28, 2016 9:52 am

      Dear Sarah,
      That’s why I wrote it! It was such a common midnight panicked call when I was an emergency room veterinarian. Approximately 80% of medicine for pets in the United States is “of-label” use, meaning there is no FDA-approved product for that species. Penicillin does not have pet FDA-approved versions. Those would have labels for effects in different species. That said, if you are in the United States, most state veterinary practice laws say a veterinarian must be available for your concerns (like drooling ALL OVER) or have an emergency clinic number you can call on their door or on their answering machine so you have support at all times.
      Doc Truli

    • January 31, 2017 2:02 pm

      Yeah. I was confused by the big stringy drool stuck to his mouth. I’ve never seen that before.

  4. Lisa permalink
    August 27, 2016 4:07 pm

    Thank you very much for this. I am both syringe feeding my cat and medicating, and he SEES the syringe and starts drooling. Poor baby knows what is coming.

  5. Love Him To Bits permalink
    July 5, 2016 2:00 am

    I don’t know how to thank you enough! Read this article today, n now i can breathe. Last night was the worst night of my life, when my boy drooled like Sheba, except it was white (well, the pill was white, hehe). I thought he was foaming in the mouth, similar to epilepsy in human. I was frantic, weighing my decisions to either call my husband, my vet, give my boy some water, or honey, or just let him be. I’ve never never ever, saw him like that. And it shattered my heart. Those eyes…. I felt so guilty. I called the vet, n he ensured that it’s normal for cats to drool, when they consumed something bitter. But the thoughts…. Ohhh.. I don’t ever want to see that again… I’ll find other vet, to get a second opinion. Maybe something syrupy n not too bitter. The vet advised me to mix the pill with honey, but it still didn’t work. So yeah, 2nd opinion it is.

  6. Maria permalink
    June 20, 2016 2:29 am

    Thank you soo much for this post. I have the unfortunate task of giving my fur baby oral medication and she drools every time. I have never experienced anything like it and of course I called my vet right away. Somehow this post made more sense to me than the vet tech did. Really…….Thank You.
    Signed a very concerned cat mom

    • July 1, 2016 10:08 pm

      Dear Maria,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I still remember what it feels like to not understand what doctors are getting at…

      -Doc Truli

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