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Why Do Cats Sleep With Their Tongues Out?

Cats are fascinating creatures, endowed with a range of behaviors that often leave us both amused and perplexed. One particularly endearing habit is when a cat falls asleep with its tongue poking out. This adorable sight prompts many cat owners to wonder why their feline friends display this quirky trait. Sometimes referred to as blepping, let’s dive into the reasons behind this charming behavior and what it tells us about our cats.

1. Deep Relaxation

When cats enter a state of deep relaxation or sleep, their muscles become fully relaxed, including those in their face and mouth. This muscle relaxation can cause their tongue to slip out slightly.

Just as humans might sleep with their mouths open or drool when they are in a deep sleep, cats’ tongues may protrude because they are completely at ease and comfortable. It’s a sign that your cat feels safe and secure in its environment.

2. Post-Grooming Drowsiness

Cats are meticulous groomers, spending a significant portion of their day cleaning their fur. Sometimes, after an intense grooming session, they may drift off to sleep before their tongue has had a chance to fully retract. The result is a tongue blep that makes a cat that looks like it nodded off mid-lick. This post-grooming drowsiness is a common cause of the tongue-out sleeping pose.

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3. Dental Issues

Dental health can also play a role in why a cat might sleep with its tongue out. Missing teeth or dental discomfort can make it easier for the tongue to slip out while the cat is at rest.

If you notice this behavior frequently or if it is accompanied by signs of discomfort, it might be worth consulting your veterinarian to check for dental issues. A healthy mouth is crucial for a cat’s overall well-being.

4. Temperature Regulation

Cats don’t sweat through their skin like humans. Instead, they regulate their body temperature through their paw pads and by panting. On particularly warm days, you might notice your cat sleeping with its tongue out as a way to cool down.

This behavior helps them to manage heat more effectively and is another ingenious way cats stay comfortable in varying temperatures.

5. Dreaming and REM Sleep

Cats, like humans, experience different stages of sleep, including REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, where dreaming occurs. During this phase, cats may twitch, move their paws, or make noises. Sometimes, their tongues stick out during these dream states.

This behavior suggests that your cat is in a deep, restorative phase of sleep, possibly dreaming about chasing mice or playing with their favorite toy.

6. The Cuteness Factor

Finally, it’s possible that cats sleep with their tongues out simply because they can. This behavior adds to their repertoire of endearing actions that make them so lovable.

While it might not serve a significant purpose beyond making us smile and take numerous photos, it’s one of those quirky traits that make living with cats so delightful.

Do Ragdoll cats Drool? Tongue out


Seeing a cat sleep with its tongue out is one of those small joys of pet ownership. Whether it’s due to deep relaxation, a grooming-induced nap, dental health, thermoregulation, dream adventures, or just an extra dose of cuteness, this behavior adds to the charm and mystery of our feline friends.

Understanding these reasons can help us better appreciate and care for our cats, ensuring they remain healthy, happy, and utterly adorable. So the next time you catch your kitty in this precious pose, know that it’s a sign of their contentment and well-being, and enjoy the moment of pure feline charm.

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