We’ve all seen our kitties smack their lips after they’ve just done eating or after a big sleepy yawn. Although it looks super adorable, a cat smacking lips and foaming could have a serious reason behind it, and you shouldn’t ignore it.
Whether it’s stress-related or it’s a sign of an underlying medical issue, it’s definitely something you should pay closer attention to. If it happens often, seeking professional advice is the best thing you can do.
If you see your cat foaming at her mouth don’t panic. Your first thought should be that she licked something because that’s usually the case. Her mouth will create excess saliva to wash it out, just like our mouths do when we eat something sour.
So don’t worry, smacking lips and foaming doesn’t have to be anything serious. It could be that your feline just ate something funny and she’s being all dramatic about it. This is a common occurrence among cats and it typically doesn’t have any serious cause to it.
However, if smacking is combined with foaming and it goes on for some time, it could be a cause for concern. To understand this behavioral change better, we’ve listed the most common reasons why it happens so you can see if your fur friend suffers from any of them.
11 potential causes of your cat smacking lips and foaming
Lip-smacking and foaming can be normal in some instances, so don’t let your first reaction be panic. Your cat can feel your energy and sense a change in your behavior, and it can only worsen whatever she’s already dealing with.
To avoid panic, it’s important to know what are the possible reasons behind your cat smacking her lips and foaming. It could be anything, from funny tastes to medical issues. To act accordingly, it’s essential to find out what is it that your kitty’s reacting to, so let’s see what are the potential causes.
1. Your kitty just had some food
The best case scenario: your kitty just ate a delicious meal, her stomach is full, and she’s smacking her lips, happy with her meal. After all, that’s what humans do after a delightful lunch as well, don’t we?
This is probably the most common reason behind your cat smacking her lips and having excessive saliva. She’s getting all the food stuck in her teeth out, smacking every last bit of her meal before she takes a long, happy nap.
Cats are known for being notoriously clean, and this is just another way for them to clean themselves up after eating. There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. It’s a normal reaction, and your kitty’s perfectly fine and happy.
2. She’s feeling nauseous
Another common reason behind foaming and lip-smacking in cats is the feeling of nausea. Cats don’t vomit easily. When they’re feeling the urge to do so, lip-smacking usually helps them calm down.
Just like our mouths create excessive saliva when we’re feeling nauseous, our feline’s mouths do the same, which is why they foam. Your kitty will also show other signs if she’s feeling this way.
If she’s less active, going back and forth from her litter box, and meowing, it means she’s probably just nauseous. Make sure you stay close to her for a feeling of safety and protection, give her enough water, and a nice cool place to rest. In no time, she’ll be her happy self again.
Although it shouldn’t always be a cause of concern, there could be many reasons behind nausea. If your cat vomits and she continues to do so for some time, it’s essential that you pay a visit to the vet.
3. There’s a bad taste in her mouth
Our feline friends can be a bit dramatic from time to time, we all know that. It’s in their nature. If their mouth is salivating excessively and they’re smacking their lips, it could be that they simply tasted something bad. Maybe she started licking your arm and got a taste of your perfume, who knows!
Whether it’s something sour, rancid, or she just hates the taste of it, your kitty’s mouth will start to drool. It’s not our fault they want to lick everything, so don’t beat yourself up over it. If you left your dishes to soak a bit, it could be that your kitty just wanted a taste of that soapy water…
Another thing to pay attention to is essential oils. Your cat doesn’t even have to taste it to react. Sometimes, simply breathing in some essential oils can cause your kitty to smack her lips or her mouth to foam. Citronella and peppermint oils are definitely the ones that you want to avoid.
If your cat is anything like mine, then she probably licks pretty much everything you put on her. Lip-smacking and foaming could be a reaction to the grooming product you’ve used. Make sure to always rinse your cat thoroughly after giving her a bath. And maybe skip on any additional fur-care products.
4. Reaction to your household cleaning products
No matter how hard you try to make your house cat-proof, there’s always something that your kitty might pick up. Maybe you just got a new cleaning product with a delightful smell and you were so excited to use it, but your kitty got a taste of it off her paws and now won’t stop smacking her lips.
Our felines always have to make sure they’re clean, and their perfectionist side might turn on them. If your kitty’s just walked over damp floors, she’ll have the urge to lick her paws until they’re perfectly clean.
You can’t avoid it, and your feline probably didn’t expect to taste your new cleaning agent. And so the foaming beings.
5. Your plants are not cat-friendly
If you’re a plant person as much as a cat one, it’s important that you find the ones that are cat-friendly. Some plants can be extremely toxic and poisonous for our feline friends, so doing the right research is crucial for a happy plant-cat relationship.
Cats love to explore and nibble on just about anything, especially plants. Even if your greenery is nonpoisonous, it can still irritate your kitty or simply taste bad. If your fur friend takes a small bite of your beautiful green buddy, she might start foaming and smacking her lips because she hates how it tastes.
Some of the plants that are safe to have in a feline-ruled household are spider plants, sunflowers, hibiscus, money trees, calathea, roses, venus flytraps, and more.
Something you probably didn’t want to think about is the possibility that your kitty might have some medical issues you weren’t aware of. A common cause for lip-smacking and mouth foaming is dental and mouth-related diseases.
Dental diseases are pretty common in cats. With age, these diseases can worsen, and they’re hard to avoid if your kitty’s getting old. Some of the first indicators of dental disease are the calculus on their teeth and red gums. They’re easily noticeable when you lift your feline’s lip.
However, even if you can’t see it at first, your cat might be having issues under the gum line. Because of that, it’s important that a vet examines your feline and rules out any possible dental issues.
Salivary gland problems, stomatitis, and oral tumors are just some of the diseases that affect the mouth and can cause foaming and lip-smacking in cats. If you’re suspecting of these, it’s essential that a vet examines your kitty as soon as possible.
7. She’s having tummy troubles
If the vet examines your feline and rules out dental issues, it could be that excess drooling and lip-smacking are due to some tummy troubles. Foaming can be caused by pretty much any issue related to your kitty’s gut.
Some of the most common stomach issues related to lips smacking and excess saliva are esophageal difficulties, inflammatory bowel disease, and pancreatitis. Just like it’s the case with dental difficulties, it’s essential that a vet examines your cat and prescribes proper medication.
8. Insect bites
Our fur friends are natural hunters and they can never ignore that side of them. If your kitty is an indoor cat, you’ll notice her preying and hunting on just about any insect that enters your home. If you’re like me and you have a huge fear of bugs, you and your feline are a perfect duo. Your little hunter is a life-saver.
However, this instinct can often lead them into a trap. Toxic venom produced by certain bugs can cause excessive drooling, which is why you may notice your cat’s mouth foaming after her small hunting session. If her prey bit her lip, your cat will start smacking to relieve pain and discomfort.
This behavior can occur if your cat’s been bitten by horse flies, spiders, and mosquitos or stung by a bee or a wasp. Next time you notice your little predator preying on any of these insects, try distracting her with toys. Or put on your big boy pants and go face that bug on your own. We believe in you!
9. Her mouth is dry or she has excess saliva
Another pretty common cause of lip-smacking in cats is dry mouth syndrome. If this is the case, you’ll notice your furbaby frequently licking her lips and having trouble swallowing. It’s usually nothing serious, so don’t worry.
The main cause of dry mouth in felines is the build-up of fur and particles on their tongue, which contributes to the development of hairballs. Other common causes are fever and dehydration. This is usually a temporary issue that can be treated to return your kitty’s saliva to normal.
On the other hand, your cat might be dealing with hypersalivation (creating excess saliva). In that case, your furball’s mouth might start foaming or she could start smacking her lips to eliminate the drool. This could be an indicator of some underlying medical issues, so it’s best to let a professional examine your feline.
10. Feelings of anxiety or excitement
Any major emotional change can contribute to your kitty smacking her lips or drooling. If she’s super anxious about your visit to the vet, she might start licking her lips to comfort herself. On the other hand, if she’s really happy and excited about something, it could also result in the same type of behavior.
If your small fluff ball of stress is often anxious, noticing these signs can help you find a way to comfort your kitty and help her live a worry-free life. Scents like lavender, frankincense, and helichrysum all have a calming effect on cats and will reduce the chance of your cat smacking lips and foaming.
Before you try using these essential oils, make sure you talk to your vet first. They’ll tell you if it’s a good idea or not. If they give you the green light, see if these gifts of nature have any influence on your feline.
11. Something stuck in her teeth
If your cat’s been eating dry food, there’s a pretty high possibility that she got some of it stuck in her mouth. To get some of it out, you’ll probably notice your cat smacking lips and foaming. We all know our kitties; every time they eat, it’s like they haven’t been fed in days, so this comes as no surprise.
Just like us, our feline friends can’t move their tongues around their mouths too much, which is why they rely on lip-smacking and drooling. It’s perfectly normal behavior and you should just let your kitty do her thing. There’s nothing to worry about.
Your cat smacking her lips and foaming is a common thing and it can happen for various reasons. Although it’s perfectly normal most of the time, this act can also be an indicator of a more serious issue. The most important thing is not to panic, as it can stress out your fluff even more.
If you notice it’s out of the ordinary for your feline, it’s best to pay a visit to the vet and rule out any serious issues. That way, you’ll be able to help your furbaby on time or sleep better knowing she’s just being her weird little self and there’s nothing to worry about.