Why Do Maine Coons Stick Their Tongues Out?


If you are the proud owner of an adorable Maine Coon cat, you will likely have noticed their unique behaviors. From headbutting to chasing a bottle lid around the room, their oddest trait has got to be the Maine Coon tongue. Why do Maine Coons stick their tongues out all the time?!

Maine Coon cats stick their tongues out if they are calm; have a bad taste in their mouth; food is trapped in their teeth, or they are suffering from ailments or dental disease. The Flehmen response has also been linked to this unusual feline behavior.

I was fascinated to discover the reason why my male Maine Coon always sticks his tongue out, so decided to investigate further.

Keep reading to learn all about the Maine Coon tongue and why this cat breed likes to stick their tongue out.

Why Do Maine Coons Stick Their Tongues Out?

Have you ever looked over at your Maine Coon cat and noticed that its tongue is half hanging out of its mouth?

Whilst this behavior is usually considered totally natural in cats, it is vital that you are aware that in some circumstances it is not, and your Maine Coon sticking its tongue out might actually need to be investigated further.

Below are the main reasons why your Maine Coon sticks its tongue out (sources 1,2):

1. The Flehmen Response

If you notice your Maine Coons tongue curling back towards their upper lips in such a way that it reveals their lips, then this is likely caused by the Flehmen Response.

During the Flehmen Response, a cat’s nostrils close as it inhales, resulting in the cat sticking its tongue out.

This reaction is caused by pheromones or other odors in the environment.

These odors or pheromones provide information to your cat, for example, the response might help them detect predators or prey in their neighborhood, as well as whether these animals are in heat.

So, the next time you ask yourself the question, ‘Why is my cat sticking its tongue out,’ remind yourself that it may be acquiring vital information about other cats in the area.

2. Calm

When Maine Coon cats are calm, their tongues slip out by default. This is because your cat’s jaw will loosen as they relax, resulting in their mouth opening just wide enough for the tongue to pass through.

Thus, your Maine Coon sticks tongue out because he’s comfortable, often when:

  • You Are Patting Them
  • They Are Sleeping
  • Almost Asleep

You will probably observe your cat pull his tongue back into his mouth, swallow, and divert his attention elsewhere once he wakes up, or focuses on something else.

3. Bad Taste Or Food Trapped In Teeth

You might notice your cat flicking his tongue in and out if he’s trying to get something unpleasant out of his mouth.

This behavior is most commonly displayed straight after your Maine Coon eats food, or plays with a toy.

A cat repeatedly moving in this way usually indicates that they are attempting to remove a taste from their mouth, or that something is stuck between their teeth. Their paws are sadly not much help in this situation.

What does it mean when a Maine Coon kitten sticks out their tongue though? Whilst it might mean they have food trapped in their mouth, a Maine Coon kitten sticking its tongue out also occurs when trying to dislodge or knock out their baby teeth.

4. Ailments Or Dental Disease

Whilst the reasons for a Maine Coon cat tongue sticking out is usually not alarming, there might be medical reasons for this habit that demand further investigation.

Make sure you check your Maine Coon for these health issues:

  • Dental Issues: If your cat has dental problems, he may stick his tongue out as a response. Abscesses, gum disease, and even tooth decay can all be uncomfortable and cause this behaviour. Your cat may potentially stick his tongue out due to inflammation or infection. Learn more about Maine Coon teeth.
  • Other Ailments: Severe health conditions, such as stomatitis, might cause significant discomfort in your cat, prompting them to put their tongue out as a reaction. A slightly extended tongue might also suggest that your cat suffers from a medical condition such as dementia.

Maine Coon Cat Tongue

Have you ever looked at your Maine Coon cat’s tongue? I assume not!

Before purchasing a Maine Coon kitten, many people don’t even consider their cats’ tongues a necessary factor to investigate; since they are more occupied with the cats’ eye color and beauty.

Here are some things about Maine Coon cat tongues that you might not know (source 1,2,3):

Texture

Maine Coons have incredibly rough tongues.

You might feel like your Maine Coon’s tongue is exfoliating your skin when they lick you.

Colour

Maine Coon tongues are a lovely pink color.

Function

Maine Coon cat tongues help them a lot during:

  • Eating
  • Grooming
  • General Wellness

Cat’s tongues have tiny barbs that coat the tongue, called papillae. These are rigid spines that twist backward to catch hair and food scraps.

The papillae accumulate all the particles of food and loose hair while grooming.

What Is A Maine Coon Blep?

Do you know the meaning of cat blep?

A Maine Coon blep is the act of your Maine Coon cat placing the tip of its tongue outside the mouth and leaving it there.

This made-up word isn’t in the dictionaries, so don’t worry if you didn’t know what a cat blep was!

The term blep is frequently linked with cats; however, it has been observed in various species (source 1).

Cat Sticking Its Tongue Out Repeatedly

Whilst cat blepping is an adorably cute trait, it can indicate something more dangerous.

So why does my cat blep so much?

Here are some common reasons why a cat sticks its tongue out repeatedly:

  • Tasting a new flavour
  • Distracted
  • Cat is relaxing
  • Picking up new scents
  • Cat may have something stuck in its teeth
  • Dental disease
  • Medical condition
  • Overheating
  • Respiratory issue
  • Food poisoning

Let’s investigate these points in a little more detail:

1. Tasting A New Flavor

You might notice your Maine Coon sticking its tongue out repeatedly because it is experiencing a new taste.

For example, if you have recently switched to a different brand of cat food, this transition in its taste buds might cause your Maine Coon to stick its tongue out repeatedly.

2. Distracted

Cats are probably the silliest creatures around. You can find them playing with a furball one moment and asleep the very next.

If your Maine Coon gets over-indulged in something, the chances are that it will stick its tongue out.

3. Cat Is Relaxing

Cats’ jaws drop when they relax, which can cause a Maine Coons cat’s tongue to fall out the side of their mouth.

4. Picking Up New Scents

The most common assumption is that cats pick up scents with their nose. While this is correct in some cases, other cats use their mouths to pick up odors.

Thus, if you find your cat standing still with its tongue sticking out, it is probably picking up a new scent.

5. Cat Might Have Something Stuck In Its Teeth

If your Maine Coon cat is blepping and feeling restless and agitated, after having enjoyed freshly cooked chicken, a stingy piece of meat might be stuck to its teeth.

6. Dental Disease

One of the most common reasons domestic cats stick their tongues out is dental disease, often known as periodontal disease. Here’s my complete guide to periodontal disease in Maine Coon cats.

In short, the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your cat’s teeth can cause:

  • Severe Inflammation
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Gum Disease

If your Maine Coon has dental issues, they may stick their tongues out and drool more than usual.

7. Medical Condition

If your Maine Coon has grown older, it is possible that it might have developed a medical disorder.

Medical problems can damage a cat’s short-term memory. Some cats have been known to forget what they’re doing in the middle of a task!

For example, a Maine Coon might be grooming themselves when they lose track of what they’re doing and end up with their tongue protruding, with a puzzled expression on their face.

8. Overheating

Your cat may be overheated if they’re blepping and panting at the same time.

Cats sweat through their paws, and if they become overheated, they stick their tongue out to cool themselves.

9. Respiratory Issues

Asthma and other respiratory issues can make it difficult for your cat to breathe.

If your cat’s blep is accompanied by a loss of balance, a loss of appetite, or an increased rate of respiration, we recommend contacting your veterinarian.

10. Food Poisoning

It’s a sad notion, but blepping can occasionally indicate that your cat has eaten something they shouldn’t have, and is attempting to get rid of the taste.

Household cleaners, insecticides, and certain food types such as these can be lethal to a Maine Coon cat, leading to food poisoning.

Make sure you visit your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your Maine Coon has eaten something it shouldn’t have.

Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongue Out When Sleeping?

Some cats have a habit of sleeping with their tongues out. This is nothing to worry about because your cat is simply feeling relaxed.

However, if this behavior occurs whilst accompanied by the following issues, make sure you seek urgent veterinary assistance as your cat might have a respiratory issue:

  • Lack of balance
  • Inconsistent panting
  • Increased respiration rate

Why Does My Cat Stick His Tongue Out When I Pet Him?

As a cat owner, you might have noticed that your cat occasionally sticks its tongue out when you pet him. But why do cats stick their tongues out when you scratch them?

Below are several reasons why a cat sticks their tongue out whilst being scratched:

  • A sensation of relaxation and happiness
  • Scratching releases positive hormones
  • Cat might be exploring a new scent while being scratched
  • Loose fur might be detaching when you pet him.

Let us investigate these points further, so you have a better understanding of what they mean (sources 1,2):

Sensation Of Relaxation and Happiness

Most cats like being petted on their heads or beneath their chins, as it relaxes them.

When cats are calm, their muscles relax, and their tongues naturally come out of their mouths.

Cats’ tongues are relaxed when they feel happy and comfortable.

Scratching Releases Positive Hormones

Scratching your cat releases feel-good hormones that make them happy. Cats will occasionally put out their tongue in response to these hormones.

Cat Exploring A New Scent While Being Scratched

The human hand can take up a variety of scents. Whilst petting your Maine Coon, your cat is exposed to a wealth of new odors from your hand.

Cats inhale with their mouth open and tongue out because of the Jacobsen organ, a device in the cat’s nose that allows more fragrance and information to enter when they open their mouth. This behavior allows your Maine Coon cat to detect what the smell is, and behave accordingly.

When you pet or scratch your cat, they may stretch out their tongue, indicating that they detect certain odours on you, or them.

Loose Fur Might Be Detaching When You Pet Him

Scratching your Maine Coon will help to release loose fur that has accumulated on the surface.

Some of this loose fur will land on your cat’s nose or mouth whilst your pet them, causing your Maine Coon cat to extend their tongue out and back multiple times to clear the fur away.

It’s nothing to be concerned about because cats groom themselves and get fur on their tongues all the time. They swallow the hair and chop it up into a ball after they’re done grooming.

Why Does My Cat Stick His Tongue Out When Playing

Why does my cat stick his tongue out like a dog when playing? This popular query is often made by owners who observe their cats playing.

The primary reason for your cat sticking its tongue out like a dog is because he is happy!

Cats, in their playful mode, feel relaxed, which leads to them sticking their tongues out.

Why Is My Cat Sticking Its Tongue Out and Panting?

The respiratory rhythm of a cat should be regular and calm. Panting is typically a symptom that your cat isn’t feeling well.

Maine Coon cats only breathe deeply with their mouths open when they are:

  • Stressed
  • Extremely Hot
  • Suffering From A Disease

Some primary medical conditions for your Maine Coon cat sticking its tongue out and panting might include (source 1):

  • Heatstroke
  • Heart failure
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Fluid accumulation in the lungs
  • Bronchitis
  • Tumour

If you suspect your Maine Coon to have an issue, call your veterinary professional immediately.

Some additional things an owner can do to manage the situation, are:

  • Stay calm to keep your cat calm
  • If you fear your Maine Coon has overheated, moisten their feet and ears with a cool, wet towel.
  • Do not feed your cat anything, not even water by mouth.

Cat Sticking Its Tongue Out and Shaking Head

If you are concerned about why your Maine Coon cat is sticking its tongue out and shaking its head, keep reading.

The first reason to consider is that your Maine Coon could have eaten something that it didn’t like, and wants to get rid of the taste.

Secondly, your Maine Coon might stick its tongue out whilst shaking its head if it has swallowed a string, or, if it has an object wrapped around its tongue.

The most concerning reason for your Maine Coon sticking its tongue out while shaking its head might be an ear infection. If you notice this trait occurring commonly, you should get your cat checked by a vet to be on the safe side (source 1)

Cat Sticking Tongue Out and Drooling

There may be several reasons for your cat sticking its tongue out and drooling.

Firstly, a drooling cat may be reacting to odors in the environment, like in the case of the Flehmen reaction. It may even be interested in a particular scent.

Excessive drooling with the tongue out, on the other hand, can suggest dental disease or other mouth problems.

A cat sticking its tongue out while drooling can indicate severe oral issues, such as:

  • Periodontal Disease.
  • Gingivitis
  • Stomatitis (inflammation of the entire mouth).

When your cat is in pain, it will paw at its mouth, refuse to eat, drool a lot, and stick out its tongues.

This oral condition is excruciating and necessitates rapid treatment, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and, in extreme cases, tooth extraction.

Maine Coon Cat Sticking Tongue Out After Eating

If you are concerned about your cat sticking its tongue out after eating, don’t worry because it is probably just brushing its teeth!

Maine Coons are incredibly hygienic creatures. When their mouths get dirty after eating, they use their tongues to pull off the dirt. This results in their tongue getting dirty. Your cat will then protrude their tongue to keep it separate from their clean mouth (source 1,2).

Cat Sticking Tongue Out Not Eating

There could be a cut or blister on your cat’s tongue if it sticks its tongue out and refuses to eat.

This is a problem that owners should be aware of since a severe tongue injury can cause your cat to lose weight quickly, becoming malnourished.

While most cuts and blisters will heal on their own, make sure you keep an eye on the situation. Intervene if your Maine Coon does not resume its regular eating patterns within a few days. Take the cat to the veterinarian to get the condition diagnosed.

Cat Tongue Sticking Out Side Of Mouth

Below are the main reasons why your cat sits around with its tongue sticking out the side of its mouth:

  • Periodontal diseases
  • Stomatitis
  • Oral Tumor
  • Kidney failure

Keep reading to learn what these Maine Coon health problems are:

1. Periodontal Diseases

If your Maine Coon cat is sticking their tongue out, this can indicate a severe oral illness.

Teeth and gum problems should be considered as a possible cause of a protruding tongue.

In Maine Coon cats, periodontal disease is relatively common. Learn more about it here.

Periodontal disease is easily identified during a dental examination, but the full degree of the periodontal illness frequently demands the use of oral X-rays.

2. Stomatitis

Some cats have such severe gingivitis or stomatitis (mouth inflammation) that they:

  • Stick their tongues out
  • Paw at their mouths
  • Refuse to chew hard food
  • Drool excessively

Severe infiltration of inflammatory cells may be discovered in examinations of the gums or other impacted oral tissues.

This type of gingivitis or stomatitis, known as “lymphocytic/plasmacytic gingivitis or stomatitis,” is frequently highly unpleasant.

Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and, in severe situations, tooth extraction, are used to treat the infection.

3. Oral Tumor

Oral tumours can cause misalignment of the teeth or jaw, resulting in incorrect mouth closure and the tongue sticking out.

Tongue difficulties can be caused by oral trauma and the pain and discomfort that comes with it.

Traumatic injuries such as broken teeth with nerve exposure, a fractured jaw, and temporomandibular joint abnormalities can cause pain, inability to seal the mouth properly, and tongue protrusion.

4. Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is a common ailment in cats, especially the old ones.

Uremia (meaning “urine in the blood”) can be severe in Maine Coons with severe kidney failure. Ulcers on the gums, tongue, and corners of the lips are common in uremic cats. These ulcers are uncomfortable, and some cats with oral ulcers thrust their tongues out.

On oral examination, these sores are quickly evident.

Tongue ulcers can also be caused by feline immunodeficiency virus and calicivirus infections (source 1).

Diabetic Cat Sticking Its Tongue Out

If your cat is diabetic and is sticking its tongue out, then they are likely suffering from a medical condition.

Some of the most common reasons for a diabetic Maine Coon to stick their tongues out include:

  • Nasopharyngeal Polyps
  • Dental or oral masses
  • Abscesses
  • Oral tumours
  • Allergies and irritants

Is My Diabetic Cat Sticking Its Tongue Out an Issue?

While your diabetic cat sticking its tongue out may not be a significant issue, a minor medical ailment can lead to something massive. This is because diabetes is claimed to be the root cause of major health conditions in patients.

So, if your diabetic cat sticks his tongue out, you should book the first appointment with the vet you get.

Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongues Out When They Die?

It is common for people to notice their Maine Coon cats’ tongues sticking out when they die. This is because whenever a species dies, it loses muscle control.

Muscle control is required to keep the mouth shut, and thus, people experience their cats sticking their tongues out with their eyes open even when they die (source 1).

Conclusion

Have you ever wondered why do Maine Coons stick their tongues out?

Thankfully this behaviour is usually harmless, but it can occasionally suggest an underlying health problem that requires attention.

Whilst some Maine Coons rarely stick their tongues out, others might display this cat behavior multiple times a day.

Since there are various possible causes for a Maine Coon to stick its tongue out, you’ll need to pay close attention to your cat to determine the root cause.

If your cat puts his tongue out an unusual amount, or if you see it accompanied by significant drool or blood, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a self-confessed CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 9 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend!

Recent Posts