Why Is My Cat Drooling After I Put Flea Medication on Her?

By Betty Lewis

You're doing the right thing by your cat when you give her her monthly does of flea preventive. However, you may have second thoughts if she starts to drool profusely after she gets her treatment. Generally, cats don't have a bad reaction to flea treatment medication if they're given the proper product; drooling usually means she got a little taste of this bitter medicine.

The Bitter Taste of Flea Preventives

If you are using a flea preventive on your cat that is specifically meant for cats, chances are she'll be fine. Generally, when a cat gets a bit of flea medication in her mouth it will trigger drooling and some foaming at the mouth, certainly an alarming sight. If you want to save you and her the trauma of such a nasty encounter, take extra care when you apply her medication, keeping it to the area between her shoulder blades or the base of her skull where she can't lick it off. If there are other pets in the house, separate them until the medication has dried and they can't ingest the offending chemicals.

Pyrethroids Require Caution

The secret ingredient in many flea preventives is a synthetic ingredient known as a pyrethroid. Related to pyrethrin, the natural product extracted from the chrysanthemum, many pyrethroids are toxic to cats. Products manufactured for dogs often contain pyrethroids, including permethrin, which is toxic to cats but not to dogs. Pyrethrins, on the other hand, are safe for cats in appropriate quantities. When these ingredients are used in flea preventives, they're used in amounts that are safe for your pet, yet at a level that will attack the parasite's nervous system. When used properly, as directed, they are generally safe for dogs and cats.

Read Labels Carefully

When it comes to flea preventives, it's definitely not one size fits all. The packaging can look very similar across brands and the animal it's intended for. Dr. Arnold Plotnick of Manhattan Cat Specialists points out that there are a number of flea preventive products on the market manufactured to resemble the products dispensed by veterinarians. Many of these products contain permethrin and using them unknowingly on a cat can have dangerous consequences. When you buy flea preventive medication, study the labeling and ensure you're buying a product that's meant for the right pet -- dog for dog and cat for cat -- and verify your cat's preventive does not have permethrin.

Watch for Reactions

When you apply flea treatment to your cat, keep an eye on her to see how she responds. If she doesn't ingest any of the medication yet drools or stumbles or shows any other unusual behavior, call the vet. Your vet can help determine a safe alternative product that will keep her flea-free and safe.