Why Does My  Cat’s Mouth Hang Open? – If you’re like most people, when you saw your cat or other cat mouth hanging open and thought that mouth hanging open that’s a dog thing right? Yeah! even most longtime cat owners will likely associate mouth hanging open with a dog, and to be honest you’re not too far from the truth.

Cats rarely keep their mouths open for more than mere seconds at a time, this is why the visual of your cat with its mouth hanging wide can be a cause for concern.

In this blog, we’ll discuss this topic Why Does My Cat’s Mouth Hang Open in detail and go through a series of potential causes, some more serious than others.

Well, this is in no way intended to provide a diagnosis or medical advice. We hope this blog can be beneficial in respect to a proper foundation or jumping-off point that can serve to provide you with possible clues, clues that can help you to monitor your cat’s overall behavior and enable you to paint a better picture for your vet, should a professional medical visit be warranted.

Let’s get started and know the reason about why does your cat’s mouth hang open?

Why Does My Cat’s Mouth Hang Open?

Why Does My Cat's Mouth Hang Open?

The first potential cause as to why your cat’s mouth is hanging open is as follows

Unique Sense

More specifically the use of the Jacobson’s organ which is a scent gland on the roof of a cat’s mouth. While cats have an incredible sense of smell and their nose is four times as potent compared to that of a human.

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This only helps a cat win tracking sense that a feline already recognizes. When a cat comes upon something new it needs a little bit of extra help this is where the Jacobson’s organ comes into play and the hanging of the open mouth, this is known as the flaming response.

From an observational standpoint, your cat could appear to be grimacing or even in pain. However, if a unique scent is the reason for the open mouth in the reality is that your cat is simply checking out a new scent.

The overall process works as follows

New scent detected Cattleman’s mouth and sticks out its tongue, the tongue makes a flickering motion. Tongue slides back into the mouth where the scent on the tongue reaches of the Jacobson’s organ.

The cat will then make a mental note thus determining whether the new scent is good, bad, friend, foe etc.

Do you have a cat that does this often? Some cats come across new smells several times a day, therefore triggering this response. You know your cat and its natural environment. Have you brought in some new furniture, new plants, new objects etc?

If the answer is yes then your cats hanging mouth could be a natural response to environmental changes that you have made in and around your home.

Dental Pain

Why Does My Cat's Mouth Hang Open?

One of the more notable reasons as to why a cat will hang its mouth open is dental pain. This is not unlike human behavior and in many respects. If you have a problematic and painful tooth the last thing you want to do is touch it and if that means taking a nod mouth posture then so be it.

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From under bite to over by to specific tooth and gum issues, dental pain can cause a cat’s and not only hang its mouth wide but to also take on uncommon behaviors.

Refusal to drink, refusal to eat, crying out, constant meowing, difficulty sleeping, pawing at the mouth and hiding away in unusual areas of the home all our common issues that can be triggered.

If your cat’s open mouth issue is pointing to something painful within the teeth and organs. Check your felines mouth for the following issues black gums, yellow teeth, swelling around the mouth and bad breath.

Dental issues are not only extremely painful they will only get worse if left untreated and they are also incredibly dangerous.

Bacterial infections can rage within the mouth thus impacting your cat’s body as a whole. Seek professional medical attention if your cat’s open-mouth behavior is coupled with any of the symptoms we’ve noted within this specific section.

Also read Why It Is Important To Remove Plaque From Your Feline Teeth?

Trouble Breathing

As noted in our introduction it’s rare to see a cat breathing through its mouth especially for a long period of time and by long no more than probably 20 seconds this is because cats aren’t nasal breathers.

Heavy breathing through the mouth could be one of the aforementioned issues but it could also be a direct breathing issue .

let’s take a look at a couple of possibilities


Dyspnea is the act of heavy breathing most notably through the mouth. Dyspnea is not a condition but rather a symptom of a larger issue. This means that if your cats hanging mouth is due to a breathing issue your felines should be monitored closely they have to spend your persist for a long period of time and becomes obvious that your feline is having issues catching his breath.

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Some core causes can include nasal blockage misuse with the trachea or windpipe asthma, bloated stomach chest injury pneumonia and liver problems if you’re concerned that your cat is suffering from a major ailment please seek the attention of your vet as soon as possible don’t wait weeks or months for the issue to clear by itself.

Time is precious and heavy mouth breathing should never be taken lightly. Make note of all of your cat’s symptoms and behavioral patterns. The information you provide can lead to a faster diagnosis and more timely treatment .


Why Does My Cat's Mouth Hang Open?

The next breathing concern is panting. while most associated with dogs cats will sometimes pant if they’re in pain or if their body temperature is too high.

It’s important to know that cats do not and will not pant unless it is absolutely necessary. It is used as a last resort. If your cat is outdoors bring your pet inside us and it’s possible in place you feel on in a cool environment.

Final Words For You

Encourage proper hydration, water or chipped up ice cubes. Monitor your cat closely take immediate action if panting fails to subside or your cat becomes extremely lethargic.

If you live in a hot weather climate where brutal summer conditions are the norm make sure that your pet stays inside, just do not let them out. Anything north of 90 plus degrees Fahrenheit for hours at a time can be problematic especially for a cat of senior status.


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