Skip to content

Why is my Cat Sticking his Tongue Out Like a Dog

cat licking

Dogs are known for being heavy-breathers and they don’t do this on purpose. Most of them have very small windpipes and t’s pretty normal unless they show symptoms of difficulties in breathing.

In some cases, to the point of not being able to breathe at all. If this happens, the most common reason could be a collapsed trachea. This will require immediate attention and assistance from the nearest vet doctor in your area. This is definitely a RED FLAG.

On the other hand, cats are known for purring and it is a complete opposite in meaning. Cats’ purring is their way of telling people around them that they are happy, that they feel loved and that they are healing. However, there are some instances wherein we see them sticking their tongues out and breathing a bit heavier than usual. Yes, it is a cute and rare sighting but in reality, it could also be a sign of underlying serious sickness.

I know we all did it at least once or twice in our life whenever they stick their tongue out. We tried to pet them and touch their tongue just to check if they are feeling okay. If you did this too, you’d know that they will just pull their tongue back in if they’re feeling normal. For some, it could be a fun and happy memory but for some unfortunate cat parents, cats sticking their tongues out meant something very serious.

We don’t want those unfortunate events to happen to your family so we prepared a simple guideline you can check to determine if it’s time to take your little one to the vet. Otherwise, you can just let them be and wait for them to complete their nap. We’d never know, they might just be playing and running around in their dreams.

NOTE: Reasons may vary from time to time so we built the list based on scenarios and levels of seriousness.

Worry not! I’m just posing for a selfie (in a British accent).



If your cat sticks its tongue out at random situations there’s nothing to worry about. Sometimes, cats are like hoomans, they think of something and gets lost in between their thoughts.

They also stick out their tongue out to clean their mouth and they simply pull it back inside when we are not looking (like they actually planned on scaring us). This also happens when they are too curious about something and they forget about everything else or their last movement, yes, they even forget that they just wiped up their mouth and that their tongue is sticking out – HILARIOUS!).

This is also a funny, goofy behavior called the flehmen response. It’s a part of cats’ social behavior that not only helps them feel secure but also to analyze or pick up chemical signals in the air or objects around them.


If you get a super cute ‘blep’ while they are sleeping, the best possible explanation is that they are just comfortable and enjoying a good shut-eye. You can compare this to when we are in a deep sleep and we wake up remembering nothing.

In cats, this usually happens when they are so tired from running or playing all day, they are happy with the food or when they feel secure. This is something you don’t need to worry about.

It is also normal if your cat’s facial features mostly are flat especially in the nose and mouth area. It means they have a small space in their nose and mouth where they can breathe normally and where their tongue can relax so instead of keeping it firm inside they just stick it out, LIKE A PRO.



Cats drool a lot so this could be nothing, again, “COULD BE”. Just to explain why drooling is not normal for cats. It is one sign you should watch out for, it can be a symptom of an issue related to their body temperature.

This is normal if they are cleaning their self up, it’s normal to drool because they need their saliva to assist their tongues on cleaning.

If they are drooling while licking you it’s because they are trying to clean you, as a sign of kinship. It could be a sign that they are very hungry (We do that too! Who doesn’t drool over a beautiful pizza?). It is advisable to observe them within 24 hours just to make sure you are no panicking for no reason.

if it doesn’t stop and gets worse over time, the best next move is to take them to the vet for a check-up.

I don’t feel well, mom…



This usually happens with heavy panting. They are sticking their tongues out to help them cool their body temperature a bit. You’d know it’s serious when this happens and they also lose balance, they vomit, seldom eat and collapses eventually. 

Your cat may be suffering from heatstroke. If you feel like they are already going through it, or it’s the direction they are heading to never miss a minute more and rush your cat to the vet. Heatstroke can lead to death or serious paralysis.

DID YOU KNOW? Cats are more sensitive to temperature than dogs? It will only take 12 minutes inside a hot car for a cat to die of heatstroke. – kidsandcarorg


If your cat just ate and is sticking its tongue out with a hint of weakness, it could be a clear sign of food poisoning. There’s no DIY medicine you can mix up for cats suffering from this. It is important that you don’t hesitate to take them to the vet immediately and fast.


If your cat is sticking its tongue out for more than 24 hours with fever, tearing eyes, a watery nose, hoarse voice, and poor interest in grooming it could be a respiratory syndrome. Take your cat to the vet immediately, this is contagious for other cats and eventually can lead to death.

There are a lot of other reasons why your cat may be sticking their tongue out. We recommend maintaining a close relationship with your pet family to know more about them. If they are comfortable living with you, they’d surely find a way to let you know if they are not feeling okay.

If you love this article, you’d love our other stories even more! Follow our channels to stay updated. Thank you!