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Pet Bucket Blog

Why does my cat stick out his tongue?

 by yunus on 30 Mar 2017 |
13 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.


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.
Amber - Comment
Amber22 Aug 2017Reply
My kitty was sticking out her tongue, eating and drinking like no other, but just found out she does have inflammation and needs to have some teeth pulled. Glad I took her in for a check.
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!
Vania - Comment
Vania14 Oct 2017Reply
Take him to the vet. Bleeding means it is late gum disease or other disease. He is probably in a lot of pain but since he is a kitten (energy) you do not think he is.
Vania  - Comment
Vania 21 Dec 2017Reply
Please!!! All of you take your cats to the vet before it is too late. My one year old cat used to stick her tongue out, had really bad breath. She had stomatitis (gum diseases) and it cannot be cured it can only be treated. Doctor said it is really painful for them but since they are cats your night think it is not painful. I have to clean her mouth everyday ( simple stuff ) but before that they had to take out some of her teeth .. sometimes when it is too late they have to take all the teeth and this is fine they will continue to have a normal but happier life. Most people do not pay attention to their pet mouth health. Sometimes it is so painful that they stop eating and then die. Please always be aware of your pets health and if you can't take care of a pet just don't get one.
Nick - Comment
Nick20 Feb 2018Reply
Hi all I've lived with cats my whole life rescue them had to put some down basically my knowledge runs pretty deep and have an insight into a lot of cat behavior. We tend to humanize them and apply Human Nature 2 our furry feline loved ones. This is often a mistake we make in trying to determine what is going on in their mind or body. You have to go online or get some books on the behaviors of cats every owner should had at least one or two books about the stuff. From kittens to adulthood there are many different ailments and injuries that could befall them. My advice is simple take your time take the time to notice and observe their behavior. Of course yearly or biannual vet checks is recommended highly. Those who know me call me the Cat Whisperer only because 99% of the time when I'm dealing with either a Feral, lost displaced or domesticated cat that someone has for lack of better words kicked out other home which to me is just cruel. So also had the chance to nurture Foster and Rescue trap and release after getting them fixed. I have dealt with everything from ringworm a skin disease that's curable to stuff as serious as cancer diabetes Strokes and gamut runs through everything in between. I would not wish any of these on anyone's beloved pet but they do happen. I basically mentioned just the physical stuff that can befall them but there are also mental things to. Some of these behaviors include suckling, going to the bathroom outside the litter box, running from you or anyone and hiding for long periods of time. Also if they are domesticated and are living with one or more cats or other animals and they are constantly lashing out with their paw and hissing, that cat may be dealing with a past trauma anxiety and fearfulness. If you see this happen one thing to look for is if their ears are pointed backwards and if they are snarling showing their front teeth and whether they are declawed in the front or not the claws are out that is not a good sign. Also be aware other eating habits and drinking. If they seem to never be satisfied while eating this may have to do with either worms or something having to do with their digestive system. The same could be said if they are not eating or eating very little. Also look out for drinking water almost constantly this is a sure sign that diabetes maybe present. Now I'm not talking about a hot day and they are just trying to stay hydrated I'm talking constantly drinking filed with periods of lethargy. Like someone commented already that due to their instincts and preservation they will hide their pain as to not seem weak. Of course this is good in the wild but not good at home. Also be in tune to your energy because they can read that and sometimes react to it anyways we don't fully understand. I wish you all good luck with your pets and I'll try to keep up with some of the posts from time to time. Thank you
hannah smith  - Comment
hannah smith 20 Feb 2018Reply
please help
my cat had all her teeth removed 20 months ago to severe stomaitis she has now got bad ear infection and the worst cold ive ever seen a cat get shes indoors huge amount of grreen phlegm comeing from moutj eyes nose shes ahd thos cold 3 weeks onyl been severe a week shes beem vets 3 times in 3 weeks
shes 2 week antibitoc injection on ears drop sporumune and loxicom ive fed her via spoon for 19 months she very sick and im tryong evrything to save her she is 11 years old and i bred her shes struggling to breath and tongue sticks out all the time very comgested matted coat does not grrom or eat dronk on her own i do it for her via spoon and syringe i put her in the litter box or she wont go only this week shes had 3 acciddents of wee and poop not like her at all i want to save her as i love her to bits 3 vets have told me to put her to sleep i domt think i can i lost a cat in april to lymphoma this cat is my life she looks so ill the antibiotic injection not worked how can a cat cold be this bad vet thinks its calicvirus she has another check up tonight can you help im giving her 24 7 care all hours
rose - Comment
rose29 Mar 2018Reply
Hi my cat is five years old and a couple days ago I noticed him not being himself like he can barely move and he kind of grunts when he breathes and I haven't seen him eat or drink water and now today his tongue is sticking out his gums are fine there is no drooling of bleeding and I recently had a hernia removed from his stomach I'm just wondering if that could be the reason why he is like this and also losing weight he is my baby please help
Jennifer - Comment
Jennifer13 Apr 2018Reply
My 4 year old cat has started hanging his tongue out cannot close his mouth all the way and has long Trails of sticky saliva or drool that hangs out and gets on everything his breath smells like death he had a blood transfusion this past July and his organs head almost shut down completely right before the transfusion any and all help is appreciated
Jazmene - Comment
Jazmene01 May 2018Reply
We got my cat Ben when he was 5 and a stray in our neiborhood. He has had many problems. He has a annul glands disease and he has also had to have a extra toe that had appeared removed. He is 8 now and a healthy kitty. (At least I think) but he does stick his tongue out just the tip. He ussally does it when he is starting to lay down while needing. While he needs his noise drips. I think he is congested. But the vet says he is fine. Help!!!
Lily - Comment
Lily01 May 2018Reply
I would look for a better and well recommended vet (don't forget to bring all past tests/documents). There could be several things going on that if caught early can either be cured or treated to reduce any suffering in your cat. If you feel something is wrong, but the vet tells you it's nothing, you have a better feeling and intuition about your cat.
Diane - Comment
Diane23 Nov 2020Reply
I took my beloved 16 y/o tuxedo cat molly to the vet because she was limping and mostly keeping her back paw off the ground and she had a lump there on top of her paw and the vet said if she is jumping still and acting normal then maybe she sprained it,he charged me $50 , did not take X-ray , I was only there a few minutes , went back 2 or 3 weeks later because she was still not putting her paw on ground, this time he took X-ray and he took me back to the X-ray room and showed me an invasive tumor in her leg. She needed surgery right away and he initially said she needed small toe amputation but he had to take her leg off below the knee to save her life. Just because you take your poor animal to the vet you alone are your pets only advocate. There are thousands of heartless lazy dangerous doctors out there( but they still want their money) so be on high alert for this.
Jessica Clark - Comment
Jessica Clark06 Jun 2021Reply
Please help! My cat is very aggressive and the vet prescribed him fluexetine. An hour after taking his 3rd dose, he started excessively drooling, keeps his mouth open and won’t eat or drink! Is he overdosing or have some kind of failure?
Cece - Comment
Cece13 Mar 2022Reply
My cat had all his teeth pulled because of stomatitus about 3 months ago. Now his tongue sticks out all the time and he has begun to seem like he doesn't feel well again, doesn't want to eat and he his tongue looks very red and actually maybe sores are on it are on it. what happens to their tongue when it's out like that or is it coming from inside his mouth?

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