Excessive Yawning in Cats

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Yawning in cats can point to a variety of conditions.
Image Credit: Aleksandr Zubkov/Moment/GettyImages

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. If your cat keeps yawning and licking lips, it could be a cause for concern. Keep an eye on your cat and check out the following suggestions to determine the reasons behind your cat's yawning.

Look for mouth ailments

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!

Excessively yawning cats

If your cat yawns a little too much for your comfort, be on the lookout for other telltale hints regarding the state of her mouth.
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If your cat yawns a little too much for your comfort, be on the lookout for other telltale hints regarding 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.

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Is kitty comfortable?

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.

Cats love their people, and the feeling is mutual. One way cats show their love and affection is by yawning when she sees you. Your cat trusts you and is happy to have your companionship. When you get home from a long day, your cat gets up and greets you with a big, long yawn. It's as if she is trying to wake up so she can enjoy your togetherness with alertness and high energy.

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No "copycats" here

If one cat yawns it won't result in another feline yawning more.
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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.

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The bottom line with a cat that keeps yawning and licking lips is that it's probably something more serious if the cat is also not eating, or experiencing any obvious signs of discomfort that could make eating unappealing. The best course of action for a cat yawning a lot is to take careful note of everything else that is happening in her surroundings, and take her to the vet before any perceived medical conditions become too serious.

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