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Why Do Cats Stick Their Tongue Out While Sleeping? 3 Reasons

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

cat sticking tongue out while sleeping

As a cat owner, you’ve probably seen your sweet kitty exhibit many strange behaviors. Today, for example, I witnessed my one-year-old tuxedo cat put his entire paw in the box of clean cat litter and scoop it out by the pawful onto the floor. Why? No one knows.

One thing that I always think is adorably strange is when my cats stick their tongue out, especially when they do it while sleeping. Apparently, the Internet has called this cute and curious behavior “blepping”. But why do cats “blep” when they’re asleep? Read on to learn more.


The 3 Reasons Why Cats Stick Out Their Tongues While Sleeping

There are several reasons your kitty may be sticking out his tongue while he’s catching up on his Zzz’s.

1. He’s Super Relaxed

The most likely reason your cat sticks out his tongue when he’s asleep is that he’s completely and totally relaxed. If you’ve ever woken up in a small puddle of your own drool, you’re basically doing the human equivalent of blepping. When your kitty (and you!) is asleep, the body’s muscles all relax, causing the mouth to open ever so slightly. With the mouth agape, nothing is stopping that cute little tongue from popping out.

kitten sticking tongue out whil sleeping on its back
Image Credit: Soja Som, Shutterstock

2. He Has Mouth Issues

Another possible reason your kitty sticks out his tongue as he snoozes is that he has mouth or dental issues. He could have something stuck in his teeth or have advanced periodontal disease. If it’s been a while since your last check-up, it’s worth getting him in to see the vet for a wellness exam.

3. His Tongue Is Swollen

Your kitty may be sleeping with his tongue out because it is swollen and no longer fitting in his mouth. A swollen tongue can be caused by numerous things, such as infections, wounds, chemicals, diseases, electrical burns, or bug bites. He may also have gotten an object like a thread or string caught under his tongue. This would require a visit to the vet so they can remove any foreign things causing the inflammation.

cat sticking tongue out while sleeping
Image Credit: Warlo Belandres, Shutterstock

Is It Normal for Cats to Sleep With Their Tongues Out?

If your kitty is sleeping peacefully and his mouth appears to be relaxed and still, there really shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Your little guy is just having the best sleep of his life.

If he appears agitated or his sleepy time blepping is accompanied by other unusual behaviors or signs, we recommend a vet visit. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and have your veterinary team further evaluate any concerns.


Final Thoughts

Cats blepping while asleep is typically a totally normal (and completely adorable) thing that is also 150% Instagram-worthy, so keep that smartphone nearby. However, if your cat’s tongue sticking out is accompanied by other signs or changes in behavior, it may be worthwhile contacting your veterinarian. Chances are your kitty is just dreaming about catching birds and bringing you home a beautiful feathered gift, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

Featured Image Credit: Bruno Rodrigues B Silva, Shutterstock

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