Any cat owner has probably noticed that their cat sticks their tongue out from time to time. In fact, any cat owner probably has about 500 photos in their camera roll of it happening - it is seriously cuteness overload to see.
And hey, hundred and thousands of people must agree, #TongueOutTuesday doesn’t trend on Instagram each and every week for no apparent reason.
However, most cat owners still wonder exactly why it happens. Are they just sticking their tongue out at you playfully? Is it just a harmless thing, or is it a sign of an issue? I think every cat mom and dad instantly worry whenever they see something they may not understand.
Those pawrental instincts are pretty strong - after all our pets are family. I know that I class my kitties as my babies, and I’m sure you feel the exact same way.
So in this article, we’ll have a look at some of the main reasons that your feline friend may be popping their tongue out of their mouth.
WHY YOUR CAT STICKS OUT THERE TONGUE
There are actually lots of reasons why your cat can stick their tongue out. So we’ll take a look at some of the more common reasons now.
Reason 1: Blepping
What in the world is a blep? A blep is when your cat has stuck their tongue out for whatever reason, be it eating or grooming, or something else, and has just forgotten to pop it back where it belongs. How adorable.
Blepping is generally no cause for concern, so you can just revel in its absolute adorableness guilt-free.
The only time to really worry about your cat blepping is if they seem in immediate distress, or if it never really used to happen but has started to happen 24/7.
Blepping is literally just a case of your cat not realizing that their tongue is still out.
They may forget to pop that tongue back into their mouth because they’ve been startled, or their mind has wondered while eating or smelling something.
However, if your cat is particularly old, it can be a sign of cat dementia.
If the behavior is new and fairly excessive, though, you may want to get it double-checked at the vets.
Reason 2: They Are Sleeping Or Relaxed
You know how sometimes when you’re really chilled out and having a snooze you can wake up with your mouth gaping wide open, drooling a little, with your tongue hanging out your mouth? Well, kitties can have this deep relaxed, and drooly sleep too.
When your kitty is asleep her muscles will relax and this can cause their mouths to open agar slightly and when that happens their tongues can roll out too.
If you’re really lucky you might even get to witness them dreaming and making adorable little sleepy sounds while their tongue is out.
This is very rarely a cause for concern, so you can get that camera out and record the cuteness unveiled before your eyes should you wish.
Reason 3: Something Is Stuck To Their Tongue
I have two long-haired very fluffy cats, so finding hair in every crevice possible isn’t something uncommon for me. And it won’t be for them either.
Cats have this tiny hook-like structure on their tongue so getting a bit of their hair stuck on their tongue happens fairly frequently.
So your feline friend may be popping out their tongue trying to get rid of the hair. We’ve all had hair in our mouths at some point, and I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly a pleasant experience.
Reason 4: Your Cat’s Breed Is Predisposed To It
Certain cat breeds are more prone to a poking-out tongue than others. Most brachycephalic (short-nosed or flat-faced) cats will poke their tongues out more than others.
Breeds such as Persian kitties, Himalayan cats, and Burmese felines will often be seen with their tongue hanging out their mouths.
Basically, what this means is that their anatomy isn’t quite right for keeping their tongue inside their mouths all the time.
You’ll find cats with malformed jaws or a few missing teethies will also roll their tongue out of their mouths.
Reason 5: Your Cat Has Motion Sickness, Is Stressed, Or Is Anxious
If you notice your cat's tongue comes out more when they are traveling in the car, perhaps to go to the vets, for example, it could be because they are feeling a little motion sick.
Unlike dogs, cats don’t tend to be too keen on traveling in a car and it can make them feel pretty anxious and stressed which can cause motion sickness.
Reason 6: Your Cat Is Nauseous
Cats are more like us than you probably even realize. And yes, they can get nauseous too. Sometimes when your cat is feeling sick they’ll flicker their tongue or lick their lips excessively.
There are lots of different reasons why your cat may be feeling nauseous. If you’ve changed their diet recently, this could be the reason.
They may have overeaten or eaten too quickly. They may have licked something they don’t like the taste of, they could have hairballs, or they may just have allergies.
You’ll probably be best checking with your vet if they get nauseous quite often.
Reason 7: They’re Hot
If you notice your cat panting, you may think that it’s normal, since dogs pant all the time. But a cat panting isn’t normal.
If they’re sticking out their tongue and panting heavily then you’ll need to find them a cool place and some water immediately.
If this continues and they become distressed, or collapse, take them to the vet immediately as these are signs of heatstroke.
For the most part, a cat occasionally sticking out their tongue is no real cause for concern. Most of the time, they’ve just become distracted and forgotten that it’s not back inside their mouth.
However, when it happens all the time, it can be a sign of an issue or problem, so I would advise speaking to your vet if it continues or if you are concerned.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.