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Why does my cat stick out his tongue?

 by yunus on 30 Mar 2017 |
5 Comment(s)
Most cat owners have a funny photo of their feline friend totally relaxed, tongue dangling from his mouth. While an outstretched tongue is normally a harmless—and adorable—feline quirk, any pet that’s taken to sticking out his tongue constantly is likely suffering from an injury or breathing issue that’s preventing him from closing his mouth.
 
Cats spend up to one-third of their lives bathing, so it’s no surprise they often have their tongues out. Cats’ tongues have stiff, backward-facing spines known as papillae that form a rough surface ideal for removing loose hair. Though most cats groom with laser-sharp focus, it’s not uncommon for felines to get distracted mid-lick. This leaves Kitty in a compromised position with his tongue dangling for several seconds. Likewise, cats can get so relaxed while resting or sleeping that their mouths hang open slightly, allowing your pet’s tongue to dangle in a comical, but completely healthy, way.
 
Problems arise when cats leave their tongues out constantly. This can signal a medical issue, as it’s likely your pet is sticking out his tongue due to an injury, breathing issue or other ailment that’s preventing him from closing his mouth. Feline periodontal disease, including inflammatory conditions such as gingivitis, is more common than many pet owners realize, and these mouth and gum conditions can cause your pet to stick out his tongue in an effort to relieve pain. Drooling and red, swollen or bleeding gums are common symptoms of an oral ailment. Oral tumors or fractured teeth can also cause Kitty to dangle his tongue, as can kidney failure, which can lead to painful ulcers on your cat’s gums. If you notice your pet sticking his tongue out more often than normal, or see any other symptoms of physical distress, take him to the veterinarian to check for gum disease, oral abscesses, tooth decay and other medical problems.
 
Remember, while dogs pant to cool off, this behavior is not normal in healthy cats. While chances are your cat’s tongue dangling is simply an endearing quirk and not a medical emergency, watch for sudden and unusual changes in your pet’s behavior. If he is sticking his tongue out more often than normal or constantly, or is showing other signs of physical distress, have your veterinarian examine him to rule out ulcers, abscesses and other medical conditions that can cause cats to leave their mouths hanging open.

Comment(s)5

lou goines - Comment
lou goines30 Mar 2017Reply
Hi, My 6-yr-old large Yorkie sleeps with her tongue about 1/2 in. or more sticking out--she's done this since a puppy. She also has something the vet calls reverse sneezing--in human terms, I would say she has allergies. Vet doesn't think any obstruction. Any comments? Thanks!
Nancy Holloway  - Comment
Nancy Holloway 30 Mar 2017Reply
I think Yorkies stick their tongues out as a characteristic of the breed. Over the years I have owned six and all but one did this. Although Yorkies are known for having teeth problems, this is something they did from tiny puppies to small adults. Maybe they are just always prepared to give kisses.
Kimberly lewis - Comment
Kimberly lewis13 Jul 2017Reply
My cats tounge hangs out all the time won't eat throwing up weight loss and sneezing coughing
Lisa - Comment
Lisa13 Jul 2017Reply
My cats tongue was sticking out here and there and he ended up having kidney disease. With all those other syptoms would definitely have a vet check her out.
Julieann byres  - Comment
Julieann byres 22 Aug 2017Reply
My cat has her tongue sticking out all the time but she is eating fine and drinking fine
Jen - Comment
Jen22 Aug 2017Reply
Mine too. She's just a half grown kitten though. She seems fine but her tongue is out a lot of the time.
Clare - Comment
Clare14 Oct 2017Reply
My male cat peanut he's only about 2 nearly 3, he has recently started hanging his tongue out constantly, it's very rare I see him without it out, and I have noticed in the past although not recently that his gums have been bleeding because there was blood in his drool, and he drools all the time, more so when he's sleeping. And his breath smells really bad but it always has done. He still eats (all the time) he has a very big appetite, and he's happy and hypo all the time always chasing and playing with my other cat, he's totally fine within himself.
Could this be something wrong with his help and I haven't realises until now?
Taylor  - Comment
Taylor 14 Oct 2017Reply
Hi Clare, if you haven’t already, I would get your kitty into the vet right away. Each of those symptoms on their own are concerning — all together sounds like it could be serious. Healty cats’ breath should not smell terrible. Bleeding mouth sounds like he’s likely in pain and may be sticking his tongue out for this reason. It could be gum disease or any number of other serious ailments. As a survival tactic, cats try to not act sick or injured even when they’re suffering. It’s up to their owners to look for subtle clues. Good luck!

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