Why do cats stick their tongues out? The phenomenon is probably caused by a strange reaction

Hangai Lilla, 2023. March 18 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

One of the sweetest phenomenon when it comes to cats, although it is not easy to choose. But have you ever wondered what goes on in the body and mind of cats when they forget their tongue out?


This post is also available in: Magyar

In fact, there can be many reasons for this behavior. Here they are!

1. They forgot about it

As we learn more about cats through science, we have a better insight into what might be going through their minds. No doubt, the cat brain is complex. So if you catch your pet sticking out his tongue for something and then forgetting to pull it back, just enjoy the view. Once he thought through all the things to think about, and he also wrestled in his head with the existential difficulties of being a cat, he’ll pull it back.

2. Relaxed

You must have also noticed that your cat often forgets about this part of its body when petting or scratching. Just think about it! If you enjoy something or the activity is very busy, maybe even if you forget about your tongue. It is exactly the same with cats. Moreover, many times even while sleeping, they are not as classy as they would like us to believe, and their mouths remain open, their saliva flows and their tongues hang out. Napping 18 hours a day is not a small job.

3. Something stuck on their tongue

Thanks to the tiny hooks on their tongues, they are very effective at keeping their fur tidy, but this has a downside. Anything sticks to it very easily, and it’s a little harder for them to get rid of it. Because you know, the lack of an inward-facing thumb. However, there is no cause for worry, your pet will solve it.

4. He has a genetic predisposition to it

Just like dogs, there are brachycephalic cats, also known as short-nosed or flat-faced cats. The Persian and the Himalayan also share this trait, so in their case the sticked out tongue may be even more common in order to facilitate breathing. In addition, missing teeth and a bad jaw can also result in a protruding tongue.

5. Stress, anxiety, nausea

If you experience this phenomenon while traveling or carrying it, it may be because the kitten has motion sickness, i.e. it will feel nauseous in a moving vehicle, or it may be stressed and anxious as a result.

If the kitty licks its lips too often, you can prepare for something less pleasant surprise. Pheromone spray or catnip can help them relax before traveling, so you probably won’t have these problems.

However, nausea can be caused not only by movement, but also by changes in diet, eating indigestible food, gobbling, allergies, hairballs, and others. If it happens regularly or you know for sure that the cat has eaten something that could make it sick, go to the vet immediately!

6. Neurological problem

The regulation of the tongue also affects the neurological system. Some more complex and less common neurological or neuromuscular diseases can also lead to abnormal movement of the tongue. If you experience other abnormal and strange movements in your cat, be sure to visit the vet.

Burmese cats are usually affected by a rare disease, orofacial pain syndrome. If you see your pet sticking out its tongue with a licking motion, chewing on its paws, tongue and mouth, definitely take it to the vet!

7. Feels hot

It is completely natural for dogs to pant, but if a cat does the same, it can be a serious problem. Whatever you do, for example, drying its fur with a hair dryer after bathing, you must stop immediately! Overheating could even cost its life.

When you experience the same thing in the summer heat, you should immediately find a cool place for the animal. If the problem is already there and the kitty has collapsed, go to the vet, every minute counts!

8. Periodontal disease

If your kitten sticks out its tongue, drools and is not interested in food, and has bad breath, there may be a problem with its teeth. If you suspect this, we definitely recommend that you make an appointment with the veterinarian and pay attention to regular dental care at home. Plaque removal is very important because it prevents the formation of tartar, which can lead to further problems.

9. Flehmen response

After the kitty has sniffed the air and stuck out its tongue, its face freezes into wrinkles and, excuse me, all sense disappears from its eyes and even its lips curl back, then it is not sick, but you are witnessing the fantastic Flehmen response.

Opening their mouths allows them to gain information based on the smells and pheromones in their environment. They perceive this data with their vomeronasal organ. This bizarre grin opens the airways, allowing the scent to pass through to the Jacobson’s organ at the top of their mouth. In this way, the prey, the predator and the possible romance become identifiable.

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