If your precious kitty seems to sleep much of her day away, yet still manages to yawn all the time, don't assume her yawning is related to her level of liveliness and energy. Yawning in cats can point to a variety of conditions, notably serious oral discomfort and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, sweet serenity.
Excessive yawning sometimes signifies mouth ailments in cats -- think feline stomatitis, for instance. This condition involves inflammation of the oral region, from the mouth to the throat. When cats experience excessive mouth pain, they sometimes try to deal with it by yawning -- a lot. With these types of oral conditions, moving the mouth can be frustrating and uncomfortable. A cat with a mouth disorder may cry out and leap into the air every time she attempts to open up wide and yawn -- ouch.
If your cat yawns a little too much for your comfort, be attentive to other telling hints of the state of her mouth. Cats suffering from mouth problems, apart from yawning a lot, often pound their teeth together, drool too much and exhibit markedly unpleasant breath. It also may not be easy for them to swallow their food during meals. If your cat seems to react unusually to eating, take note, as it is definitely time to call the veterinarian for an appointment.
Yawning in cats often denotes comfort and peace. If your cat is totally at ease with her surroundings, she may express that by stretching out her full body and giving off a long, luxurious yawn. Cats who do this are happy and don't feel any risks in their vicinity -- in other words, everything is wonderful and nothing is scary. If your cat yawns excessively, however, it may not be a sign of serenity but rather a symptom of a health problem, so take her to the vet to be sure.
No "Copycats" Here
Although people may usually involuntarily yawn as a result of seeing another individual yawning first, the process doesn't work that way in the feline world. If one cat yawns excessively, it won't result in another feline yawning more, too. Yawning isn't a reminder of upcoming nap time for our feline friends.
- The Merck Manual for Pet Health: Disorders of the Mouth in Cats
- Merck Veterinary Manual: Oral Inflammatory and Ulcerative Disease in Small Animals
- CatChannel.com: Top 10 Signs Your Cat Has Oral Pain
- PETA: Feline Body Language Tips
- Cats Protection: A Cat's Body Language
- Desert Animal Companions: Animal Body Language