If you have ever seen your cat’s tongue peeking beneath its muzzle whilst they sleep, then you will probably want to know why do Maine Coon cats sleep with their tongue out?
This behavior is not usually a cause for concern, but it can sometimes indicate underlying medical problems.
Cats sleep with their tongues out if they are feeling relaxed, which causes their muscles to loosen. This can cause their tongue to stick out or even cause drooling. However, it could also indicate that your cat is overheated or dealing with an underlying medical problem such as periodontal disease.
Usually, a cat sticking its tongue out is pretty adorable, but in some cases, you may need to see the vet.
So, is your cat sticking its tongue out just a quirky behavior, or perhaps a sign that something more serious is going on?
Read on to find out!
Why Do Cats Sleep With Their Tongue Out?
The Maine Coon is an adorable cat breed that is known for being incredibly snuggly, loving, and gentle.
This breed also has all sorts of quirks, including a love of water and an odd chirping voice.
If you have seen your Maine Coon’s tongue out while sleeping, you might think this is just another quirk. While this is usually the case, it can sometimes point to a more serious problem.
So, why do cats sleep with their tongue out?
1. They Are Relaxed
If you want to know why do cats blep when sleeping, you will be relieved to know that the most common reason for a cat to sleep with its tongue out is that it is relaxed.
When a cat is resting peacefully, its jaw will relax, causing its mouth to open slightly.
As a result, its tongue may slip out just a little bit, as well.
Another harmless cause of cats’ tongues sticking out during sleep can be dreaming.
If your cat is twitching in its sleep and flicking its tongue or making soft eating noises, it probably just means your cat’s dreaming about its favorite treat!
3. Periodontal Disease
Cats are often prone to tooth and gum disease, particularly if their teeth are not brushed regularly.
When periodontal disease advances, it can lead to serious pain and swelling in the mouth. As a result, your cat may be unable to fully close its mouth without experiencing pain.
While it is natural for dogs to pant as a means of thermoregulation, it is not normal for cats.
Cats thermoregulate through their:
- Paw Pads
- Their Fur
If your cat is panting, this is a sign of your cat’s body’s last-ditch effort to keep cool.
5. Respiratory Problems
Sometimes, a cat’s tongue sticking out during sleep could point to some kind of respiratory problem.
This is most commonly seen in cats with brachycephaly, which means their skull is flattened in a way that shortens or obstructs their nasal cavities.
Some cat breeds with brachycephaly include:
- Exotic Shorthairs
A cat sleeping with its tongue out could also be suffering from obstruction or injury.
If your cat’s mouth is in pain, it could be difficult for it to sleep with its mouth fully closed.
If there is something stuck in your cat’s mouth or throat, it might not be able to keep its mouth shut.
Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongue Out? (When Awake)
Cats blepping during sleep is a common occurrence due to how relaxed some cats get while they rest.
If you want to know why is my cat sticking his tongue out like a dog, even when awake, then there could be other underlying reasons.
The most common reason for a cat to stick its tongue out is due to feeling relaxed or peaceful.
For example, if your cat sticks its tongue out as soon as you start petting it, it probably means your cat is enjoying the cuddles and has relaxed its jaw as a result.
Sometimes, cats open their mouths to smell, bite, or lick something, and simply forget to put their tongue back in their mouth for a little while.
However, senior cats with dementia may do this more often due to increased forgetfulness.
3. Smelling And Tasting
Cats can smell not only through their noses but through their mouths as well!
The Jacobson’s organ, located on the roof of the mouth, is a sensitive olfactory gland that cats use to learn more about the world around them.
Since cats are so sensitive to smell, they tend to make some pretty funny faces when smelling something strong, and they may scrunch up their face with their tongue out.
Sometimes, cats will flick their tongues out of their mouth after tasting something they like or dislike, too.
4. Periodontal Disease
If you notice your cat sticking tongue out repeatedly, it could be a sign that your cat is in pain due to periodontal disease.
Cavities, gingivitis, stomatitis, and other tooth or gum-related disease can all lead to swelling or serious pain in the mouth, making it difficult for your cat to keep its mouth closed all the way.
5. Breed-Related Issues
Certain breeds are more likely to stick out their tongues than others.
Cats with brachycephaly, a skull deformity that leads to a shortened head and squashed nasal cavities, are much more likely to stick out their tongues due to respiratory problems or malformed jaws.
Sadly, brachycephaly is still considered a desirable trait in the following cat breeds, despite the numerous consequences to their health:
- Exotic Shorthair
The Burmese breed is also more likely to suffer from a neurological condition known as Feline Orofacial Pain Syndrome, although this can occur in any cat regardless of breed.
6. Missing Teeth
If your cat is missing some of its front teeth, its tongue may fall out on its own.
Even though the cat cannot help it, many owners consider this an adorable quirk.
If your cat is panting like a dog, it means it is overheated.
Cats usually regulate their temperature with their fur, paw pads, and nose.
If even these methods are not enough to keep cool, then your cat might pant.
If you notice your cat panting, get it somewhere cool and shady with lots of water right away.
8. Respiratory Problems
Cats typically breathe through their noses, but respiratory problems can cause them to breathe through their mouths, as well.
This can cause them to leave their tongues out.
When a cat feels nauseous or is experiencing motion sickness, it may leave its tongue hanging out or rapidly flick its tongue along its lips.
If this is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, you should visit your vet as soon as possible.
What Is A Cat Blep?
People on the Internet have come up with all sorts of phrases to describe adorable or quirky cat behaviors.
For example, the term loafing was coined to refer to when cats sit with all of their limbs tucked beneath their body because they resemble a loaf of bread.
Cat blepping, or a blep, is the affectionate term that describes when cats leave their tongues out.
Most of the time, this behavior is completely unintentional, but that does not stop it from being cute!
When To Visit The Vet
In many cases, a cat blepping is no cause for concern.
Usually, cats do this when they are relaxed, smelling or tasting something, or they simply forget to put their tongue back in their mouths.
However, since this can sometimes indicate underlying medical problems, you may need to visit the vet if symptoms persist.
Here are some signs that indicate you should visit the vet:
Loss Of Appetite
If your cat sticks its tongue out a lot and is eating less or not at all, it is time to visit the vet straight away.
This is often a sign that your cat is suffering from serious periodontal disease.
Pale Or Blue Gums
If your cat’s gums seem pale or blue, or if your cat seems to have trouble breathing, then take your cat to the emergency vet as soon as possible.
Sudden Constant Blepping
If your cat has rarely or never blepped before, but has suddenly started blepping a lot, then you should visit the vet, as it likely indicates some underlying problem.
Other Concerning Symptoms
If your cat’s blepping is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing, or any other concerning symptoms, take your cat to the vet straight away!
If you want to know why do Maine Coon cats sleep with their tongue out, you will probably be happy to learn that it is not usually a problem.
Generally, cats stick their tongues out when they are relaxed or smelling.
If your cat appears to have trouble breathing or eating, however, then you should go to the vet as soon as you can.
Why Do Cats Tongues Stick Out When They Die?
When cats die, the muscles in their body relax, which can cause their tongue to stick out of their mouth.
Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongue Out When You Pet Them?
When a cat is enjoying being petted it might relax its mouth, causing its tongue to stick out.
Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongue Out While Playing?
If your cat is playing and biting, it might forget to put its tongue back in its mouth for a little while.