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Why do cats stick their tongue out? Blep

Have you noticed the millions of photos of cats with their tongues sticking out? The truth is that it’s not so difficult to understand why they became a trend and even earned their hashtag #tongueoutTuesday on social networks. A cat sticking its tongue out looks so cute and funny at the same time, and for some reason, most of us could scroll through these photos for hours without getting bored. But why do cats stick their tongue out?

Everyone knows why dogs tend to stick out their tongues, but what about cats? Is it for the same reason? Could it be that they make fun of us by showing us their tongue just like a kindergartner would?

Cat sticking tongue out – 9 reasons

Let’s find out. Here are nine reasons why your cat leaves its tongue hanging out.

Your cat is relaxed

Like with humans, the body muscles, including the facial ones, of cats relax during sleep, and for this reason, some cats sleep with their mouths a bit open, allowing their tongues to poke out.

It is also expected that when your cat does something that it enjoys, for example, receiving cuddles, its tongue sticks out as a sign of complete relaxation. If your kitty does this, you can be sure that it has a great time with you.

Your cat is blepping

Although some cats may look silly with their tongues sticking out, they gather information from their surroundings. Yes, just as you read it, while they stick their tongue out, they pick up pheromones from the cats around them, and with that information, they can know their sexual status, for example, know which kitten is in heat. This behavior is called the Flehmen response.

Amazing, right?

why do cats stick their tongue out - blepping

Sometimes the cat gets distracted by this new information, and it simply forgets to retract the tongue, which is known as blep, basically the act of unconsciously leaving the tip of the tongue outside of the mouth. Blep!

Your cat has something stuck in its tongue

Okay, this is an obvious one. Who has not inexplicably found cat hair in your mouth? Imagine being a furry cat if it’s almost unavoidable for us as pet owners.

Cats use their rough tongues to groom themselves, and studies show that they do this so often that easily they spend a third of their lives doing this. Because their tongues have tiny keratin hooks, sometimes, after a grooming session, their tongues keep a bit of that fur stuck on them. Therefore, your cat might be sticking its tongue out trying to get rid of that annoying old fur.

why do cats stick their tongue out - something stuck

Your cat has nausea

Maybe your kitty ate very fast, or the food was rotten, who knows, but if you see your friend excessively licking its lips, licking the floor, or sticking its tongue out weirdly, it may be about to throw up.

Remember to keep an eye on your cat. If the vomiting is recurrent, it is better to go to the vet.

Your cat is overheated

Cats have a hard time self-regulating their body temperature. Be careful if it’s a scorching day and you notice your cat is being a little lazy, with its tongue sticking out or panting. It may be suffering from heat stroke. To avoid this situation, make sure your cat is always well hydrated and has a fresh, shaded space to rest. Heat strokes can be fatal if not treated early.

Your cat has a neurological issue

Many neurological conditions can affect a cat’s expected movement, including the tongue. It may be a simple problem, but if you notice that your cat has some strange behavior, it is always advisable to go to the vet to attack the problem from the beginning.

Your Cat Has Stomatitis

Stomatitis causes small mouth ulcers that are usually very painful. If your kitty suffers from this, you will likely see it with the tongue hanging out, drooling, having bad breath, and not wanting to eat to avoid pain. This condition has multiple causes, including bacteria, a weak immune system, or stress.

Your cat is missing teeth

If your cat is missing its front teeth, it likely sticks the tongue out from time to time, and this is because they have nothing to stop it and hold it in place.

The same thing can happen due to the cat’s skull structure. It is prevalent in cat breeds with very flat faces, known as brachycephalic breeds, because their anatomy prevents them from keeping their tongue inside all the time. For example, it may be that their jaws are malformed, leaving them without enough room to keep the tongue inside.

Your cat has dementia

Little is known about dementia in animals, but it’s something completely natural in older animals, and lately, it’s happening more often. If your cat is older, you will see how it will begin to change its habits.

cat sticking tongue out - dementia

It may be difficult for it to sleep at night, or you will see it a little disoriented from time to time. It’s also not uncommon to see older cats with their tongue out, probably because they forgot to put them back inside.

If your cat has dementia, be kind and understand that it is no longer the same young cat as before, don’t scold your buddy for acting differently.

Cat sticking tongue out – The bottom line

As you see, there are many reasons why a cat may stick out its tongue. It is best to check if the blep is accompanied by any other behavior or symptom to rule out that there is a problem.

If there isn’t, enjoy your kitty and take lots of photos to share! As always, let us know in the comments below if your cat also sticks out its tongue and what you think the reason may be.

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