Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongues Out

icon July 7, 2023

People are likely to be familiar with the scenario that dogs are sticking out their tongues and will not be surprised by this scenario. But if some people see cats sticking out their tongues, they will wonder if something is wrong with cats. So are cats‘ sticking-out tongues really signs of health issues? Following this article, you will learn more about cats' sticking-out tongues and explore the mystery behind their sticking-out tongues.  

Functions Of Cat Tongues:

The cat's tongue serves several important functions that contribute to its overall well-being. Here are some key functions of a cat's tongue:

1. Grooming:
One of the primary functions of a cat's tongue is grooming. The surface of a cat's tongue is covered in tiny, backward-facing barbs called papillae. These papillae help to remove dirt, debris, and loose hair from the cat's fur as they lick themselves. The grooming process helps keep their coat clean, removes tangles, stimulates blood flow to the skin, and spreads natural oils for a healthy coat.

2. Drinking:
Cats use their tongues to drink water. Unlike humans, cats do not use their lips to create suction while drinking. Instead, they lap up water by rapidly flicking their tongue against the surface of the water. The backward-facing papillae on their tongue help to scoop and collect the water into their mouth.

3. Sensory Perception:
A cat's tongue is highly sensitive and allows them to gather information about their environment. The taste buds on their tongue enable them to distinguish different flavors and textures of food. Additionally, their tongue's sensitivity helps them detect changes in temperature, textures of objects they encounter, and even helps them sense prey during hunting.

4. Feeding:
In addition to drinking water, a cat's tongue assists in feeding. When eating, cats use their tongue to manipulate and position food in their mouths. Their rough tongue surface helps them strip the meat from bones and clean their prey.

5. Bonding and Social Interaction:
Cats may use their tongue as a form of social interaction. They may lick or groom their littermates, other cats, or even their human companions as a way to show affection or establish social bonds.

Overall, a cat's tongue plays a crucial role in its grooming, feeding, drinking, sensory perception, and social behaviors. It is a versatile and specialized organ that contributes to their overall health and well-being.

Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongues Out?

There can be various reasons why a cat may stick its tongue out. Here are a few possible explanations:

1. Grooming: Cats groom themselves by licking their fur, and occasionally, they may get their tongues stuck momentarily. If you observe your cat sticking its tongue out during grooming sessions and there are no other concerning symptoms, it's likely just a temporary and harmless occurrence.

2. Relaxation: When a cat is in a deeply relaxed state, such as during sleep or while lounging, their tongue may protrude slightly. This is typically harmless and often a sign of contentment.

3. Heat regulation: Cats don't typically pant like dogs to cool down, but if they are excessively hot or overheated, they may stick their tongues out slightly as a way to dissipate heat. This is more common in warmer environments or during physical exertion.

4. Dental Issues: Dental problems, such as gum disease or tooth pain, can cause a cat to stick its tongue out. If your cat is experiencing dental discomfort, it may exhibit other signs like drooling, decreased appetite, or pawing at the mouth. A dental examination by a veterinarian can help diagnose and address any oral health issues.
   Common Dental Issues:
*Periodontal Disease
*Tooth Decay
*Dental Plaque
*Dental Resorption
*Gingivitis and Stomatitis
*Nausea or Discomfort
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5. Respiratory distress:
In rare cases, if a cat is experiencing respiratory distress or difficulty breathing, it may stick its tongue out as a way to increase airflow. Signs of respiratory distress can include open-mouth breathing, labored breathing, or wheezing. If you observe these symptoms, immediate veterinary attention is necessary.

Should I Prevent It?

In most cases, there is no need to actively prevent your cat from sticking its tongue out unless it is related to a specific health issue. Some cats naturally stick their tongues out occasionally during grooming or when they are relaxed, and it is usually not a cause for concern.

However, if your cat is frequently sticking its tongue out and exhibiting other concerning symptoms such as difficulty breathing, drooling excessively, or displaying signs of distress, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. These symptoms could be indicative of an underlying health problem that requires attention and treatment.

In general, it is essential to monitor your cat's overall behavior and well-being. If you notice any changes in their behavior, appetite, or other concerning symptoms, it is best to seek professional veterinary advice. The veterinarian will be able to assess your cat's specific situation, perform necessary examinations or tests, and provide appropriate guidance and treatment if needed.



After finishing the reading, it is believed that you will grasp some useful information to understand your cat more easily. And since our cat is always our adorable friends, we should keep in mind that we should cherish their lives and protect them from diseases and dangers forever.

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