Why Does My Cat Stick Their Tongue Out?

why does my cat stick their tongue out

If you have ever been licked by a cat, you know how rough that tongue is. You couldn’t tell by looking at it, but it feels like a moist piece of sandpaper. Something you may notice your cat doing is sticking their tongue out, and while this may appear to be a random occurrence, there is usually a good reason for it. So, why does my cat stick their tongue out?

Tastes and Textures

Cats seem to really enjoy experimenting with tastes and textures which they have in their mouths. If your cat is sticking their tongue out, there could be a hair or something else on its tongue which is bothering or irritating it.

This could also be due having recently eaten something and now the taste is lingering in its mouth. If this is the case, it may stick its tongue and leave it there or stick its tongue out repeatedly. They really like to play around with tastes and textures in their mouths.

Stuck Food

One of the biggest reasons why cats stick their tongues out is if they have food stuck in their teeth. It could be that the stuck food bothers their tongue, it could be painful for the teeth and gums, or the taste and texture of the stuck food could also be intriguing the cat.

It is important to note that the majority of cat owners neglect oral hygiene in their cats. Most never brush a cat’s teeth.

This is of course not a good thing, because it can quickly lead to serious oral hygiene and health issues down the road. Be sure to brush your cat’s teeth or to engage in some other kind of cleaning method on a fairly regular basis.

A Loose Jaw

You may also notice that a cat often sticks its tongue out when it is relaxed or sleeping. When they are out cold in any way, their jaws will loosen a bit, and when their jaw loosens, their tongues might pop out a little bit. This is nothing out of the ordinary and it happens to most cats at some point in time. During sleep, the body is just so relaxed that the jaw loosens and causes the tongue to hang out.

Health Conditions

There are also a variety of fairly severe health conditions which may cause your cat to stick their tongue out. Some of these are more serious than others, but they all need to be kept under control.


Just like human beings, older cats can also suffer from dementia. In other words, as they age, some cats may begin to lose their minds. When this happens, a cat may forget to or simply lose the ability to keep their tongues in their mouths.

Oral Hygiene Issues

We did warn you that good oral hygiene is important. If you neglect cleaning your cat’s teeth, it can start to take its toll, especially after a couple of years.

Cats can suffer from plaque and tartar buildup, they can get cavities, they can get abscess and gum disease, and more.

Simply put, they can suffer from all of the same oral hygiene issues as humans. Eventually, any of these issues can develop into infections, and yes, they can all cause a cat to stick out its tongue.


Stomatitis is a serious condition characterized by heavy and painful panting, sticking out the tongue, drooling, and losing its appetite. This is a serious condition which requires immediate medical attention.


Whatever the case may be, for the most part, a cat sticking its tongue out is completely normal. However, you will want to play close attention to their teeth. If you notice this behavior occurring at a high frequency, you cat may need a trip to the canine dentist or vet.

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