Why are My Cats Tongue out:12 Things We Need to Know

As the owner of a cat, you may have noticed your cat’s tongue sticking out. Cats may stick out their tongues occasionally, but this behavior usually doesn’t point to a problem. If you go online, you will find numerous pictures of cats sticking out their tongues. Other unpleasant factors may cause your cat to stick out its tongue. 

So, why is my cat’s tongue out? Here are some of those reasons.

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Cats’ curiosity is legendary, and your kitty friend may stick out its tongue for exploration. When the cat leaves its tongue out, pheromones will accumulate on its tongue. Cats will use the pheromones to analyze the surroundings and other nearby cats. For example, the cats may identify whether the nearby cat is ready to mate.

cat with open mouth

(cat with open mouth)

Missing Teeth

If your cat has lost one or two canine teeth, it may stick out its tongue. Cat’s canine teeth help keep the tongue inside the mouth. So, when the teeth are lost, the tongue sticks out without the cat noticing. 

A cat licking its teeth

(A cat licking its teeth)

Attention Seeking

Your actions may encourage your feline friend to occasionally let its tongue slip out. For example, if you give your cat attention, laugh, or give treats to the cat when they stick out their tongues, that behavior will become more frequent. The cat will know that a positive reward is coming their way if they stick out their tongue.

brown cat

(brown cat)

Relaxing and Sleeping

Have you ever woken up and realized that your mouth was open the whole time? Well, cats also do the same when relaxing or sleeping. During sleep, the cat’s muscles relax and cause the mouth to open. As a result, the tongue may stick out, especially if the kitty dreams and produces click sounds.

cats relaxing

(cats relaxing)

Something Stuck to the Tongue

Cats like personal grooming and always use their tongue to clean themselves. However, tiny substances may stick to the cat’s tongue during cleaning. The small substances are papillae and naturally appear on the cat’s fur. 

Once the papillae attach to the cat’s tongue, The cat will stick the tongue out in the hope that the substance will fall off.

The cat with its tongue out

(The cat with its tongue out)

Cat’s Breed

 A common breed of cats is the flat-faced or short-nosed breed. The breed includes Burmese, Himalayan, and Persian cats with smooshy-faced traits. The anatomies of these breeds are not ideal for the cat to keep the tongue inside the mouth at all times. Hence, the cat will try to stick out the tongue for comfort.

(A Persian cat) 

Thirsty or Too Hot

When temperatures increase, your cat may get too hot and thirsty. If the cat doesn’t have immediate access to fresh water, it will stick its tongue out. 

You may also notice the cat looking disoriented and may even start vomiting due to heatstroke. This problem is more common among long-haired cats than short-haired breeds.

cats under a shade

(cats under a shade)

Dental Issues

Your cat can stick out its tongue if it has sores from gum disease and abscess. Also, tooth decay and caries can cause the behavior. Most of these dental issues are due to poor dental hygiene.

A sick cat The vet is examining the cat's teeth

(A sick cat. The vet is examining the cat’s teeth)


Cats, too, suffer from dementia, just like people. One sign of dementia in cats is frequent sticking out of the tongue.

The cat with its tongue out

(The cat with its tongue out)


Multiple factors can cause infections, forcing the cat to stick out its tongue. Common infections include lesions and inflammation.


The condition is rare but can be debilitating for your cat. The cat will lose appetite, drool, pant painfully, and stick out its tongue.

Respiratory Infection

A respiratory infection may be the most common condition that causes cats to stick out their tongues. Respiratory infections prevent the cat from breathing correctly. The cat may then stick out its tongue to try and breathe better and faster. 

In this case, the cat may lose balance and coordination.

A sick cat

(A sick cat)


Cats are wonderful pets that are often joyful and playful. If the cat is in a good mood, it can stick out its tongue. However, the cats may also stick out their tongue due to certain conditions. Hence, you must seek help from a vet when your cat starts sticking out its tongue.