If you notice that your cat is sticking its tongue out of its mouth, you should be vigilant and find out what the reason is. Most of the time, this gesture is harmless and there is no need to worry, but if the animal is breathing heavily, this behavior may indicate heat stroke or an infectious disease accompanied by fever. In fact, there are several reasons for this behavior.
Here are the many explanations for the behavior of a cat sticking out its tongue like a dog.
Why does your cat stick out its tongue?
Before worrying and sounding the alarm, take the time to observe your cat a little more and especially to check if this phenomenon is accompanied by other behaviors.
Your cat may have health problems
By sticking out his tongue, your cat may be suffering from heat stroke that can cause severe paralysis and even death.
Additionally, a protruding tongue in a cat can also be a sign of food poisoning that needs to be watched closely.
Other worrisome health conditions like stomatitis can cause significant discomfort and may cause your cat to stick out its tongue. Sometimes a hanging tongue can also be related to a dementia problem.
Whatever the reason, if you think your cat is behaving unusually, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Only he can do a complete examination of your cat’s mouth and throat. You’ll probably have a general wellness exam afterwards to make sure your cat doesn’t have any other ongoing latent illnesses.
Your cat may have dental problems
In many cases, it is normal for your cat to stick out his tongue a bit. However, it can also be a dental problem such as an abscess, tooth decay, or gum disease. This can be painful for your cat, who sticks out his tongue in response. This is also the case when there is inflammation or infection.
Your cat explores its environment
One of the most common reasons for protruding tongue is that your cat is exploring its environment and body. It’s a phenomenon called the Flehmen response, when your cat leaves her mouth open with her tongue sticking out and accumulates pheromones on her tongue, explains behavior consultant Amy Shojai, an animal and cat specialist. These pheromones provide your cat with important information about other cats, even if they are in heat. Thus, your cat only sticks out his tongue to get more information about his environment and other cats around him.
your cat has no teeth
Some cats that lack canine teeth may hang their tongues out because these teeth help the cat keep the tongue in the mouth. So don’t be alarmed if his tongue occasionally sticks out, it’s probably a sign that he’s missing a canine or two.
Your cat is trying to get your attention.
If you tease your cat, give it a treat, or give it attention when it sticks out its tongue, your cat may infer a positive response to this behavior, she says. Therefore, it is very likely that he will repeat this behavior repeatedly to get a positive reaction from you.
It also happens that when the cat is relaxed, its tongue naturally hangs out. This is explained by his jaw relaxing and his mouth opening wide enough to let his tongue slide out. It is common for this to happen when you pet him or while he is sleeping. But once your cat wakes up, he concentrates on something else and returns his tongue to his mouth to focus his attention on something else.
Your cat has something stuck in its tongue
Cat tongues are dry and rough, unlike human tongues. They also contain thousands of papillae, which are tiny spikes that help cats eat and drink water. But sometimes something can get stuck on his tongue, hence his reflex to stick out his tongue to get rid of it.
Some cats hardly ever stick out their tongues, while others may do so several times a day. That is why it is essential to carefully observe your cat’s behavior to determine exactly what is causing it and ensure its well-being.
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