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Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongues Out? 18 Interesting Reasons

Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongues Out? 18 Interesting Reasons

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Every pet parent has probably noticed their beloved pets sticking their tongue out many times. This is common for dogs when they’re panting, but it’s also noticeable behavior in our cats.

Because of this, many cat parents want to know why do cats stick their tongues out. So, if your feline friend often sticks its tongue out, keep reading to find out interesting reasons for this behavior.

Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongues Out?

When someone sticks their tongue out to you, it indicates bad behavior such as mocking and similar. However, if you notice your cat sticking its tongue out, worry not, as it has no bad intentions, it’s just a common thing cats do for certain reasons.

To me, seeing a cat with its tongue out is one of the most adorable things, along with cats covering their eyes with their paws. However, in some cases, this has to be taken seriously, which we will also discover.

There are many different reasons why do cats stick their tongues out. It’s essential to determine which one it is, as sometimes this behavior may be due to severe health issues that require special care.

So, keep reading and check out 18 interesting reasons for why do cats stick their tongues out, and enjoy the fun facts about cat’s tongues that I have prepared just for you!

Also, find out why do why do cats raise their butts!

18 Reasons For Cats Sticking Their Tongues Out

#1 Your Kitty Is Doing A Blep

Cat languishes in the heat lying on the ground with its tongue out

When cats stick their tongues out, it’s usually referred to as a blep. But first, let me tell you what a blep is.

A blep is usually an act related to when cats stick the tip of their tongues out subconsciously. This happens when cats are relaxed, in some kind of meditative state, or while they’re trying to assess things in their environment, such as smells.

According to the professionals, blepping is completely normal in cats. However, if the cat shows signs of stress or keeps doing it often, then you should consult with your vet.

However, to learn more about this blep, keep reading and find out about the other reasons that may lead to this adorable habit.

#2 Your Cat Enjoys Doing Nothing

A blep, or cat’s tongue sticking out can easily be noticed when your cat is completely relaxed. Cats are relaxed when they feel calm and safe and when their tummy’s full. 

Then they choose a great sunny location to take a nap or just to enjoy the sun. If you notice your cat enjoying the nice weather, especially with the tip of its tongue out, you should know that it’s definitely relaxed, and you shouldn’t disturb it but instead leave it alone to enjoy the moment.

#3 Your Cat Is Dead Asleep

sleeping cat on man with tongue out

Cats spend most of the day sleeping because they’re crepuscular animals, meaning they’re more active at dusk and dawn.

Even when they seem to sleep throughout the day, these are only quick cat naps where they’re resting but are still ready to get up quickly and react if needed. 

Of course, there are situations when our cats fall into a sleep so deep that sometimes we think they’re dead. During that stage, you may even find them in various weird sleeping positions that, to us, don’t seem comfortable at all.

During that deep sleep, cats are completely relaxed, and their muscles are too, which may cause their tongue to stick out slightly, and it may also be accompanied by drooling.

If you see your kitty friend in this state, try not to boop the blep, and let your cat enjoy the moment without being disturbed.

#4 Grooming Time And Blepping Around

Grooming is a very frequent behavior in cats. It’s not a surprise that they’re considered one of the cleanest animals, considering how much time they spend on cleaning themselves.

Cats groom themselves using their tongues. A kitty’s tongue is covered in spiky pieces of keratin called papillae which allows it to pick up the loose hair from its coat and to keep its coat in good, healthy condition. These papillae are the reason why a cat’s tongue feels like sandpaper!

It’s quite common to see your cat’s tongue sticking out of its mouth while grooming. This usually means they have taken a pause from grooming, they have only just finished it, or that they were disturbed by strange sounds in the middle of the grooming process. 

Either way, this is not a cause for concern but rather a perfectly normal cat behavior, as grooming is the most important part of the cat’s routine.

#5 Your Cat Is Too Hot Or Thirsty

Cat smacking her lips tongue out

When it’s too hot, it’s common for dogs to pant; however, it seems that cats may also stick their tongues out when it’s too hot or when they’re thirsty.

Outdoor cats manage to hide somewhere during the hot weather; however, indoor cats may not have a lot of options. So, as a cat parent, it’s your job and obligation to provide your cat with an environment that isn’t too hot or too cold.

Moreover, ensure that your kitty always has fresh water available if you want it to feel okay. 

If this is the cause of the cat’s blep, then you should react quickly as this may lead to heatstroke, especially if you have a long-haired cat breed, which are more prone to heatstroke than some short-haired cats.

#6 Your Cat Has A Hair On Its Tongue

If you notice that your cat is sticking its tongue out repeatedly, accompanied by pulling its head backward, worry not, as it’s nothing serious. 

It is likely that a hair got stuck on your cat’s tongue after a grooming session. This is a frequent behavior, especially during the shedding season. 

So, your kitty will try to remove that hair, but after a few attempts, it will probably rest with the tip of its tongue out.

#7 Getting Rid Of A Bad Taste From The Mouth

British Short hair cat with bright yellow eyes licking with tongue

Cats have a brilliant sense of smell, which allows them to recognize smells that they hate, or things that they shouldn’t eat. 

However, that doesn’t always prevent our curious furry friend from eating a specific meal, plant, or similar things. 

When they realize that they don’t like the taste, they’ll stick their tongue out in order to try to reduce that bad taste in their mouth.

This can also happen as a result of different medications that cats need to use but don’t like the taste of.

#8 Something Got Stuck Between Your Cat’s Teeth

One of the possible causes why cats stick their tongues out may be because something has become stuck between their teeth. As it may bother them, they may have a hard time trying to get that thing out of their mouth. 

So, they try to do that by using their tongue, which they stick out of their mouths most of the time, or they can use their paws.

#9 It’s Characteristic For Specific Cat Breeds

persian cat sticking tongue out

The kitty’s tongue out, or so-called blep, is characteristic for flat-faced cat breeds such as Persians, Burmese, or Himalayan cats.

The main reason why these kitties stick their tongues out often is because of the malformation of their jaws which don’t allow them to keep their tongues inside all the time.

So, if you have such a breed who can’t keep their tongue inside, you can post them on Instagram with the hashtag #tongueoutTuesday and share some adorable pics of your funny feline friend with the rest of the world.

#10 It’s A Flehman Response

Have you ever heard of the Flehman response? If not, don’t worry, as I will explain it to you.

Cats have a strong sense of smell which allows them to recognize many different smells. However, they’re also able to smell certain things due to the Jacobson Organ

It’s located on the roof of the cat’s mouth, so when they open their mouth, they’re able to pass a scent to the Jacobson organ, which allows them to collect the pheromones and recognize different scents from the environment. 

Well, that face and act when cats open their mouths is called the Flehman Response, which may be one of the reasons why do cats stick their tongues out.

You may also want to know why do cats lick each other!

#11 Your Cat Has No Front Teeth

cat with bright yellow eyes sits on the beige sofa licking with tongue

The absence of front teeth may also be one of the reasons for cats sticking their tongues out, as they simply cannot hold it in. This is more common in senior cats due to tooth decay or other dental issues.

When I was younger, there was a stray cat that was constantly coming to my house. He was lovely and friendly, but he was also funny because his tongue was sticking out of his mouth all the time. 

At first, it was very funny and adorable at the same time, but only after a month or two I found out that he was missing teeth which was the reason for his tongue sticking out, and then I felt so sorry for him.

Later I adopted him, and we had a really nice time until my toothless friend passed away.

#12 Your Cat Has Dental Problems

Dental problems in cats may often lead to many different types of cat behavior. Dental issues may be the cause of a cat’s tongue sticking out of its mouth.

If your cat has dental problems, you’ll be able to notice it because of the following things:

• Your cat will stop eating normally

• Your cat will have bad breath

• Your cat will be weak and lethargic

The most common dental diseases that cats may have are:

Gingivitis – this condition causes inflammation of the gums around the cat’s teeth, which is the result of plaque or infectious and systemic diseases. If not treated on time, it may lead to periodontal disease.

Periodontitis – this condition develops if the gingivitis isn’t treated properly. It affects and weakens the oral tissue that attaches the tooth to the gums and bones.

A broken tooth – if your kitty has broken its tooth, it may also result in its tongue sticking out as it’s usually very painful for them, and they require special veterinarian help.

#13 Your Furry Friend Has A Loosened Jaw

Lovely cat looking somewhere and showing its tongue

Some cats become so relaxed that their jaw loosens. This usually happens when your kitty is asleep or when it’s so relaxed and calm, enjoying a certain activity such as being petted.

Usually, you shouldn’t worry about your cat’s loosened jaw as it’s often not a big deal. However, if you notice that your cat is doing it often, and if that is followed by symptoms such as loss of appetite, weakness, lethargy, and similar, it would be best to consult with your vet to see if everything’s alright.

#14 Blep As A Pre-Vomiting Act

A cat sticking its tongue out may be a pre-vomiting act. If it appears rarely, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern as cats may vomit after eating due to overeating or eating too fast. 

It may also happen if your cat tries something new for the first time or if it eats something that it doesn’t usually like.

If you notice that your cat’s tongue is wagging, it can be a sign of motion sickness. If that happens, you should provide your cat with water or fresh air. 

However, if this behavior repeats constantly, then you should consult with your vet as the issue may require special care.

#15 Your Cat May Have Been Poisoned

A cat that feels sick and seems to vomit

If your cat is sticking its tongue out of its mouth repeatedly, it may also be a sign that your cat has been poisoned. That doesn’t necessarily mean that someone poisoned your cat, but maybe your cat ate something from your household that is toxic for it.

If your cat has been poisoned you’ll easily notice it because it’s usually followed by symptoms such as:

Foaming at the mouth

Excessive drooling

• Vomiting

• Diarrhea

• Respiratory issues

• Fever

• Loss of appetite

Drinking water excessively

• Weakness

If your cat starts showing some of these symptoms and its tongue is sticking out constantly, it’s actually trying to get rid of that thing that poisoned it.

In case of a poisoning issue, you have to call your vet immediately and take the cat for an examination in order to be provided with the appropriate treatment.

#16 Your Cat May Suffer From Stomatitis

Feline stomatitis is a health issue that may also result in cats sticking their tongues out. This is severe oral inflammation, affecting more than the gingiva. However, it may appear in the form of ulcers, gum disease, and similar.

This condition may be very painful for cats leading to loss of appetite and overall weakness. Luckily, this condition is treatable. 

So, if you notice your cat sticking its tongue out often, accompanied by symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, drooling, and weakness, it would be best to take your feline friend to the vet, who will examine the cat properly and provide it with necessary medications to treat stomatitis.

This issue may be caused by several things, such as viruses, dental issues, or even a poor immune system.

#17 Your Cat May Have Respiratory Infections

Funny portrait of a ginger cat with tongue out

Cats are prone to respiratory infections or blockages, which may often be the reason for cats sticking their tongues out. 

If your cat suffers from a respiratory infection, it will have breathing difficulties which may be obvious due to coughing, lack of grooming, weakness, lethargy, gasping for air, and similar.

If you suspect that your kitty has a respiratory infection, it will have a blue tongue or gums, which is a sign that you should take your kitty to the vet for an examination in order to be treated properly.

#18 Your Cat May Have Dementia Or Other Neurological Issues

Unfortunately, the sweet act of cats sticking their tongues out may sometimes be a sign of more serious health issues. Therefore, this can also be a sign of dementia and other neurological problems that cats may have.

Cat dementia, or feline cognitive dysfunction, is a condition that is common for older cats, and one of the signs of dementia is when cats stick their tongue out often.

This condition happens in cats due to certain changes in their brain, which may result in changes in the cat’s memory. The most common signs of dementia in cats, besides blepping are:

• Decreased activity level

• Excessive meowing

• Disorientation

• Excessive licking

• Lack of grooming

So, cats with dementia may sometimes be doing something and, in the middle of that activity, stop and stare at something and stick their tongues out as though they forgot what they need to do. 

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for this condition; however, you can consult with your vet or an animal behaviorist to learn how to help your kitty deal with this condition.

Also, check out the reason for cats carrying toys and meowing!

Interesting Facts About A Cat’s Tongue

Red cat licking face

After this educational part on why do cats stick their tongues out, relax a little by enjoying these interesting facts about a cat’s tongue that I’ve prepared for you. Check them out and learn something new and fascinating about our feline friends!

With their tongues, cats are able to show many things. For example, they groom themselves, but when they lick their owners or other pets and similar, it’s actually their way of showing affection and love. This interesting behavior derives from kittenhood, as that is how the mother cat takes care of her kittens and shows them affection.

• If your kitty has ever licked you, you may have wondered why they have rough tongues. The reason for that is because a cat’s tongue is covered with a sharp keratin sheath which helps them with many different things and activities.

• Thanks to these sharp papillae, or barbs, that are found on the cat’s tongue, they’re able to remove the meat from the bones of their prey and thus survive outdoors.

Cats don’t have the opportunity to enjoy any sweet food as we do, as they don’t have taste buds for experiencing sweetness. However, that may also be because their immune system isn’t built for sweets, so you shouldn’t feed your cat cakes, chocolate, and similar treats as they can be highly toxic for them.

• Probably, one of the most interesting things about cats’ tongues is how they use them to drink water. You have probably seen different slow-motion videos of cats drinking water. It’s fascinating, don’t you agree?

When cats drink water, they flip their tongues as many as 4 times per second, which is amazing. The swift tongue transfers the water to their mouth, and that is how they drink it.

In case you haven’t seen it before, here’s a great example of how cats drink water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp2CpCHEPlc

Cats are experts in hiding evidence, and that actually helps them survive in the wild. You have probably noticed your cat grooming after each meal. Well, that is their natural instinct because when eating prey, they groom themselves after the meal in order to get rid of the scents or evidence that they have been in a certain place.

All In All

Hopefully, this article helped you by answering the question why do cats stick their tongues out. 

The act of their tongue slightly sticking out is referred to as a blep, and this is probably one of the sweetest things you have ever seen, which is why most cat parents cannot resist booping the blep.

However, this act may be a symptom of many different things, from normal or funny cat behavior, to severe health issues.

It’s important to monitor your cat and to recognize any alarming symptoms so that you can react immediately if you suspect that the blep may be a sign of severe health issues that need appropriate care.

A cat’s tongue is a remarkable part of their body which is very essential for them, so I hope that you also enjoyed these interesting facts I prepared for you and that you have learned something new!

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