A Cat Sticking Out Tongue Could Mean One Of These

Members of the feline population tend to do a lot of things that are cute and puzzling at the same time – a cat sticking out its tongue is one of them. You may have observed your furry friend staring off into space, completely zoned out with its tongue sticking out. Kitties are curious by nature and it turns out this cute tongue-out position — also known as a “blep” — is in connection with the feline’s innate desire to explore their world.

You’ve most definitely observed this and you probably snapped a quick picture of the moment and shared it on Instagram for friends to appreciate. However, you should also try to know the reasons behind the behavior.

Is It Strange To See A Cat Sticking Out Tongue?

It is not a strange sight to observe your furball stick out its tongue; in fact, it is one of the most common sights for pet parents who keep cats. These cuties can do it while asleep when they are carried away, when excited, or when they are experiencing heatstroke.

However, there are some health issues that can also lead to cats sticking out their tongues. Therefore, the next time you see your cat sticking out tongue, check all the health boxes to be sure they are in good condition.

Possible Reasons Your Cat Is Sticking Out Its Tongue

A cat sticking out tongue is not always an indication of health challenges, thus, pet parents should not constantly worry when such is observed. There are several common reasons why kitties keep their tongues hanging out, one of them is just for the fun of it.

1. Cats Explore The World With Their Senses

When exploring the world, cats involve all their senses, including the sense of taste. With its mouth agape, the cat’s Flehmen response gathers pheromones on its tongue, transferring the same to the roof of its mouth to an internal ‘scent mechanism’ called vomeronasal organ; this detects sexual status or any other information about other cats. A cat that is fascinated or distracted by its discovery may forget to get its tongue back in the mouth afterward.

2. Fiddling With Taste And Texture

When a cat has something it the mouth, it may forget to retract its tongue while fiddling with the taste or texture of what it has in the mouth, it may be hair or even a lingering post taste. The cat may blep repeatedly or just leave the tongue dangling.

3. Loosened Jaw

A loosened jaw Is one of the most common reasons for a cat to stick out their tongues, this can occur while the kitty is asleep or when it is sedated. This also happens in humans, when you are asleep, the body relaxes and the jaw will loosen. At that point, the tongue may stick out without much of your consent.

4. Food Stuck Between The Teeth

A cat that has something like food particles stuck between its teeth is likely to blep. Thus, pet parents should take dental care more seriously to avoid health issues that can emanate from decayed food particles stuck in a cat’s teeth.

5. Missing Teeth

Another good explanation for a cat sticking out its tongue may be due to the feline’s anatomy. One of the functions of a feline’s teeth is to help hold the tongue in the mouth. So, when you find your cat’s tongue always peeking out, it may be due to a loss of teeth, especially when it has to do with the bottom teeth. According to findings, flat-faced cats, in particular, can be prone to repeated bleps. A very good example is the Persians because they lack enough room to tuck it back in.

6. Medication

There are medications that can cause relaxation, especially muscle relaxants that can relieve stress and anxiety. It is likely that the furry fellow doesn’t feel it or even realize it is doing it but the tongue will be out.

7. Heat Stroke

Overheating may cause a cat to pant, and drool, and the color of the tongue may change to red as opposed to pink. At this point, the cat may try cooling off by bleping.


Blep Can Also Be Due To Health Issues

A cat sticking out tongue can be as a result of underlying health issues that are more severe, but never try to self-diagnose your feline friend; the job is entirely for the vet. Some of the possible health explanations for a cat sticking out tongue may include:

  • Dental Issues

This can come in the form of a nasty taste and sores from tooth decay, abscess, gum disease, caries, and many more.

  • .
    Senior Dementia

Just like the human population, felines can indeed have dementia, and one sign of senior dementia in older cats is the inability to keep their tongue inside their mouth.

  • Infections

Several kinds of infection and inflammation can make a kitty stick out its tongue, whether it’s caused by lesions or periodontitis.

  • Stomatitis

Feline stomatitis is a serious health issue among the cat population, though it can be quite rare. Its signs are drooling, painful panting, loss of appetite, and of course, it can lead to a cat sticking out its tongue.

Five Intriguing Cat Tongue Facts

There are several cat tongue facts that every pet parent and potential pet parents need to be aware of.

1. They Have Fewer Taste Buds

The taste buds on the tongue of a cat are fewer than what you get in humans and consequently, kitties cannot taste anything sweet. As obligate carnivores, cats are meant to eat flesh. Thus, their taste bud may not have evolved to detect the taste of that sweet chocolate, so, there is no need to introduce sweet things as treats.

2. Cat Tongues Serve As Grooming Tools

Cat sticking out tongue

A cat licking its body is a form of grooming and a group of cats can engage in allogrooming (grooming each other) as a form of bonding. This can happen within a litter, adult female cats can groom their kittens, and cats can even decide to groom their toys, pet parents, or other animal friends; this can be called social grooming. Cats are also predators and after hunting, they groom to remove any evidence of their recent foray, they wouldn’t want to leave traces for any other lurking predator to trace as cats can also become prey.

Read Also: 4 Cat Breeds With Curly Hair And How To Care For Them

3. The Feline Tongue Is A Hotbed Of Papillae

Have you ever been licked by your cat? You will feel the sensation of some rough sandpaper running across your skin, this is because the cat’s tongue is filled with papillae which are tiny, backward-facing barbs (these are made of keratin), this has some similarities to the stuff in human fingernails. The papillae are used for grooming and removing the meat from the bones of their prey. Now you can imagine the strength in the barbs.

4. A Cat’s Tongue Indicates Whether It Is Getting Sufficient Oxygen Or Not

The color of a cat’s tongue indicates the level of oxygen it is getting, A cat that is not getting sufficient energy may have a white, pale pink, or blue tongue. The gums may equally be affected.

5. The Water Drinking Phenomenon

The rate at which a cat’s tongue flips while ingesting water is nothing short of incredible. It can flip approximately four times per second, creating a flow of water between the furry’s mouth and the source of water; this defies the gravitational law.

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