Drooling and eye discharge in cats


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Our question this week was:

I noticed some mucus on my cat's eye then the next day, he has been drooling excessively from his mouth. He stays outside mostly, and comes inside to eat and take a nap. I have other pets and I am concerned about them being around him until I find out what could be wrong. He is has not been neutered and is about 1 1/2 years old. I have not really noticed any changes in his eating habits. He seems to eating and drinking normally. Could it possibly be a common cold or something more serious?

Thank you,



Hi – thanks for your email. Well, there are a variety of possible causes for your cat's symptoms. It sounds like the primary problems are the "mucous" by or around the eye and his excessive drooling. I'm very glad to hear that he is eating and drinking normally.

It's difficult to answer this question without actually seeing your cat and examining his eye and mouth. There may be one problem causing the signs or two separate problems. I've seen this combination of symptoms in cats with some viral disease such as Herpes or virus. The problems may also be unrelated. Other possible causes include trauma, a bite wound, a bad tooth or oral trauma, licking a toxin of some sort among other things.

Bite wounds are much more common in intact male cats. You may want to consider getting him neutered.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our Petplace.com is Eye Discharge in Cats. Another article that might be helpful is on drooling and is called Ptyalism (Hypersalivation) in Cats. These articles will take you through the most common causes for these symptoms and may help you figure out the problem.

The safest thing to do is to have him examined by your veterinarian to help you figure out the problem.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for PetPlace.com, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.