Cats tend to do strange things and one of those things is sticking their tongues out. As a cat owner, you may have witnessed this strange behavior yourself firsthand and wondered what could be the cause. There are many reasons why your cat could be sticking its tongue out, including: dental issues, “blepping,” fur sticking to it, stomach upset or it is just really relaxed. Read on to learn more.
Your Cat Could Have Loose Fur on Its Tongue
One of the reasons why a cat may leave its tongue out is if it has pieces of fur sticking to it. As we know, cats lick themselves quite often as a way of grooming and keeping clean. Their roughly textured tongues can pick up a lot of fur in the process and some of that fur may get stuck there. If this is the case, then it would make sense that your cat would leave its tongue hanging out since it is uncomfortable.
If your cat is shedding a lot this may be part of the reason why its sticking its tongue out. Since a cat’s tongue is much smaller than ours, multiple pieces of fur would take up quite a bit of space on its tongue (Imagine the level of discomfort this could bring). Usually, the cat will have already tried several ways to remove the loose fur from its tongue and failed. If the cat is unable to get the extra fur off, sometimes they will simply relax their tongue and hope that the stray furs will fall off on their own. Use a good-quality de-shedding brush to help your kitty deal with excess fur. This will also help if your cat suffers from hairballs.
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Your Cat Could Have Gotten a Bad Taste in Its Mouth
If your cat has eaten some food or had a taste of a treat that it wasn’t particularly fond of, it may react by sticking its tongue out. Sometimes this behavior is seen after a cat has tried to nibble on something that it probably shouldn’t have—like your house plant. If a cat doesn’t like the flavor or texture of something that its had a taste of, it will try to stick its tongue out as a way to get rid of the bad flavor. You might also notice this same behavior after giving cats certain types of oral medications. If the medicine tastes bad, your cat it may hang its tongue out as a way to rid itself of the poor taste.
Your Cat Is Feeling Relaxed
When a cat feels very relaxed and at ease you may catch its tongue hanging out. Sometimes when a cat is on its way to sleep or was falling asleep while grooming itself, it may become so relaxed that it looses consciousness as its tongue is still out. Not only is this normal, but sometimes very adorable.
Your Cat May Have a Small Mouth
Believe it or not, there are some breeds of cats that don’t have very much room in their mouths. This is particularly common with flat-faced cat breeds like Persian cats. With this type of cat, it’s a lot more common to find its tongue sticking out. This is because since it has a flatter face than most cats, it has less room in its mouth. Less room in the mouth means less space to fit its entire tongue so you’ll frequently find it with its tongue out.
A cat having its tongue out often isn’t an issue on its own, but it can make it harder for your cat to do things like eat. If you notice that your cat is showing signs of difficulty while eating, be sure to bring this up with your vet. If your vet feels like it is presenting a large enough issue for your cat, they will arrange to have some of the cat’s teeth removed.
Your Cat Could Have Dental Issues
Keeping in line with problems of the mouth, your cat could be sticking its tongue out due to other dental issues, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. If your cat has bad breath or is not eating as much as they normally do, it may be suffering from dental problems. The only way to determine this for certain is to have your veterinarian check its mouth. A cat hanging its tongue out can also be a sign the cat is in pain. This can be due to tooth pain or pain in the cat’s gums. Having them checked by a vet can help determine the exact cause.
If your cat has lost its front teeth due to dental disease or tooth decay, it may stick its tongue through the gap where the teeth once were. Tooth loss is not common in cats and it is not normal for a cat to lose its teeth with age. However, some underlying health conditions and dental issues can lead to the loss of teeth. This can create a space for your cat’s tongue to hang more freely and you might find that it hangs outside its mouth.
Your Cat Could Be Thirsty or Hot
If it’s a warm day and you notice your cat has its tongue hanging out, you may want to check to see if it has access to fresh clean water. On hot days your cat may appear as though it is panting with its tongue out. In the case of warm weather, this can be a sign of dehydration or heatstroke. Some other signs to look out for include disorientation and vomiting. If your cat displays this behavior get them some water right away and take them to the vet for further examination. This is especially important if you have a long-haired cat as they are more prone to heatstroke than their short-haired counterparts.
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Your Cat Could Have Stomatitis
Stomatitis can happen at any age for your cat. It can present itself as ulcers, inflammation, painful gums, and a sore tongue. The causes for this condition varies widely ranging from a common virus, to a compromised immune system, to bad teeth. Thankfully this disease isn’t common, but if your cat does have it, it can be quite painful.
The pain in their mouth is what causes them to allow their tongue to hang out as a way of getting relief. Some other symptoms to look out for that point to this condition include drooling, weight loss, and pawing at its face. If you notice any of these other symptoms be sure to get your cat to the vet so that they can begin treatment with medication.
Your Cat Could Have Been Poisoned
This reason is uncommon but it is possible and something to consider. If your cat gets its paws on rat poison or if it eats a mouse that has already been poisoned, it may cause side effects for your cat. If this is the case, the cat could be sticking its tongue out as a way of trying to get rid of whatever has caused the irritation and discomfort on its tongue.
Some flowers can be toxic to cats as well so its very important to know which ones are safe enough to keep in your home and around your garden. If you suspect that your cat has ingested poison or has eaten a toxic plant, be sure to get them to the vet immediately so that they can begin a treatment.
Your Cat May Be About to Vomit
Sometimes a cat will stick its tongue out right before it is about to vomit. This will mainly happen right after your cat has eaten a meal and could either be because they ate their food too fast or because they’re trying a new food and aren’t used to the flavor or it gave them an upset stomach.
In a similar instance, if you notice that your cat has its tongue out but its is also wagging it back and forth, this could be a sign of motion sickness. If you have your cat in the car with you and you notice this behavior, stop the car for a little while and allow it to have some fresh air. The fresh air should allow them to reset and recover from the motion sickness and prevent you from having a mess to clean up in the car. Always be sure to have your cat in a secure cat carrier while traveling in order to keep your cat safe while you drive and reduce the chances of them becoming motion sick.
Your Cat Became Distracted While Grooming
This reason is more on the lighter side and is actually pretty common. Sometimes your cat can get distracted by something while in the middle of grooming and actually forget to put its tongue back in its mouth. This behavior has fascinated people all across the Internet and the term has actually been dubbed as “blepping”. This can happen when you catch your cat in the middle of grooming itself and it stops mid-groom with its tongue hanging out. It may leave it like this for a few moments until the distraction goes away. After which it will return to where it left off in its grooming. This can be quite funny and adorable and is not a cause for concern at all. It’s simply your cat being a cat and behaving strangely.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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