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8 Reasons For Cat Foaming At The Mouth And How To Help

8 Reasons For Cat Foaming At The Mouth And How To Help

Seeing your cat foaming at the mouth is definitely not pretty, and can even be terrifying.

This happens due to excessive salivation in the cat, where her saliva turns into foam while the cat is breathing and chewing. 

Foaming can be seen both in kittens and in adult cats. The most important thing here is to understand that this never happens without a concrete reason.

Therefore, all cat parents should be familiar with the most common causes of cat foaming at the mouth. 

1. When The Anxiety Strikes

A shy black and white Tuxedo cat with dilated pupils hiding inside of a covered cat bed

Since cats are usually independent pets, many of you might not have even thought of the possibility that your felines could be anxious.

Oh, but they do, and this can get to be a serious issue! Cat foaming at mouth is one of the anxiety symptoms, together with excessive grooming, hiding, vocalization, avoiding eye contact, and trembling.

What could cause anxiety in your cat? According to a study by Green Element [1], there are many triggers for this, such as other animals in their household, separation from their owners, new experiences, loud noises, and even heights.

A cat can get so anxious and stressed about certain situations that this might display in foaming.

2. Feeling Nauseous 

cat feeling nausea on the street

Many reasons might cause your cat to feel nauseous, such as eating new food, eating human food, pregnancy, gastritis, motion sickness, etc.

If she is feeling nauseous, she might foam at the mouth, together with loss of appetite and lethargy. 

If a food reaction caused foaming in your cat, this should only be temporary. However, if the foaming doesn’t stop, this might indicate a more serious health issue, such as gastritis.

3. Hunger Foaming

Brown and white striped beautiful feline cat

You noticed foaming at the mouth in your cat?

Consider when was the last she has eaten. A cat might refuse to eat for many different reasons. Maybe she just doesn’t like the food, maybe she has recently been spayed, or, perhaps, she’s feeling ill.

Whatever the cause, if a cat’s stomach is empty for a longer period of time, a larger amount of gastric secretion accumulates in it.

When this happens, a cat’s gastric mucosa is irritated, which leads to all the substance from her stomach coming out through her mouth in the white foam form. 

See Also: How Long Can Kittens Go Without Food (Before It’s Alarming)?

4. Medicines Side Effects 

cat receiving a medicine

A new, bitter medicine might cause foaming in your cat.

Take a look at the video below that shows this kind of side effect right after the owner gave medicine to his cat.

Usually, cats should stop foaming right after their body absorbs the new medicine. 

5. Dental Issues Might Be Involved 

Veterinarian examining teeth of a persian cat

Dental problems, such as a broken tooth, gingivitis, or periodontal disease, might be a reason why your cat is foaming.

Together with this symptom, you might also notice her breath smelling really bad, as well as appetite loss and lethargy. 

Dental problems can be extremely painful for cats; so, the best thing to do here is to prevent their occurrence rather than treat them.

6. Poisoning 

Calico cat sniffing smelling wooden bamboo essential oil diffuser

Foaming at the mouth might appear if your cat has ingested a toxic substance.

A study on poisoning in domestic cats in Brazil [2] showed how pesticides and household cleaning supplies are the most common causes of poisoning in cats.

Human drugs, veterinary drugs (such as tramadol), and plant derivatives are also frequent toxicants for felines. 

Besides foaming, some other signs of poisoning in cats are dehydration, muscular fasciculation, vomiting, and disorientation.

7. Seizures 

cat with a scared expression

Some cats might suffer from seizures which manifest in uncontrollable muscle activity and with foaming at the mouth in some cases.

A seizure can last for a couple of seconds up to a few minutes or longer. No matter how long it lasts – it will freak you out for sure, especially if you’re seeing your cat having a seizure for the first time!

Seizures are caused by a disturbance of the cat brain’s normal functions. 

Results of a study published in the Veterinary Journal [3] showed how the most common causes of cats’ seizures are intoxication, hepatic and renal encephalopathy, hyperthyroidism, hypoglycaemia, and hyperglycaemia.

This is something all cat parents avoid to think of, but, the truth is harsh; many owners of cats suffering from seizures will eventually need to think of when to euthanize their pets.

8. Rabies Issue

Homeless cat is lying on the fence

All of us get afraid every time we think something might be wrong with our cats’ health. But, one thing we all pray will not be the issue is definitely the rabies – a viral infection that affects the cat’s nervous system. 

Unfortunately, a cat foaming at the mouth might have rabies. Other common symptoms are loss of muscle control, aggression and difficulty swallowing.

If left untreated, rabies can even be fatal for cats, but they are preventable with vaccines. As the study on feline and canine rabies in New York State [4] showed, a large percentage of felines submitted for rabies testing were not vaccinated. 

So, I am reminding all of you to be responsible cat parents and to vaccinate your pets. This is the only way to protect both your cat and other animals in her surroundings!

What Should You Do?

vet holding an orange cat

If you notice your cat foaming at the mouth the only thing I advise you to do is to consult your veterinarian.

This could be a symptom of a severe health issue, so, you shouldn’t take your chances, or try to figure things out on your own.

Let your vet know when you first noticed this occurrence in your cat and whether she has had any other clinical signs.

This is the only way to do things right for your kitten’s health.

Prevention Is Always Better Than Cure

woman feeding calico cat

Of course, if you have already noticed your cat foaming, it is clearly late for prevention.

However, I believe many of you are reading this to be better informed about this potentially happening to your cats.

So, there are some steps you should take to prevent such symptoms in your pets.

1. Taking Good Care Of Your Cat’s Diet

Balanced diet is one of the most essential things when it comes to a cat’s health.

Giving your cat high-quality food means you might prevent nausea and food reactions in her – therefore, less opportunity for her foaming!

Also, if you think it’s not too bad if your cat has a sausage every once in a while, you might want to reconsider. I suggest you better skip sharing your meals with your kitty, since human food is likely to cause stomach distress in felines.

You are tired of buying different types of cat food, but your cat doesn’t seem to be enjoying any of them? Try finding your new favorite on our list of best tasting food for picky eaters!

2. Dental Care Is Equally Important 

Taking good care of your cat’s dental health will improve her quality of life in general.

Regular brushing her teeth will mean less probability of dental plaque, tartar buildup, and dental disease. 

Just make sure you use one of the cat toothpastes, and not the one made for humans!

3. Keeping Toxins Out Of A Cat’s Reach

My cat often surprises me with her ability to get to the weirdest places in the house. This experience has taught me to always keep the things I don’t want her to touch in a safe place she won’t be able to reach.

Therefore, I suggest you put all of the soaps, cleaning supplies, bleaches, medications, and other items that might potentially be dangerous to a place your cat doesn’t have access to.

See Also: Does Bleach Stop Cats’ Pooping In Garden?

4. Don’t Forget Regular Vet Visits

No matter how good you are at all the previously mentioned steps, an additional essential thing to do is to regularly visit the vet.

This is the best way to keep up with your cat’s health, and to notice changes on time, if there’ll be any. 

Also, always remember the importance of regular vaccinations, because prevention is indeed, always a better choice than cure.


[1] Study: Prevalence of pet anxiety in the US, 2022. DOI, Retrieved March 30, 2023.

[2] Jardim, MP, Poisoning in domestic cats in Brazil: toxicants, clinical signs, and therapeutic approaches. Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec. 73 (01), Jan-Feb 2021, DOI, Retrieved March 30, 2023. 

[3] Kwiatkowska, Reactive seizures in cats: A retrospective study of 64 cases. The Veterinary Journal, Volume 244, February 2019, Pages 1-6. DOI, Retrieved March 30, 2023. 
[4] Brunt, S., Feline and Canine Rabies in New York State, USA. Viruses. 2021 Mar; 13(3): 450. DOI, Retrieved March 30, 2023.