Why Do Cats Open Their Mouth When They Smell.

Why Do Cats Open Their Mouth When They Smell. Cats have many mysterious behaviors that are not always clear why they do them.

Many cat owners notice their pets sometimes leaving their mouths partially open after smelling something.

This can cause a lot of confusion in those who own cats, wondering if it could be because the cat is sick or struggling to breathe. These are possibilities, but it doesn’t help diminish the confusion in owners as to why this behavior occurs.

Why Do Cats Open Their Mouth When They Smell

The flehmen response, sometimes known as “stinky face,” is what it’s called. This is how a kitten named Tsavo exhibits his excitement about a novel scent with which he normally plays and chews, telling him that it is not hazardous and teaching him what he may expect to discover inside as well as in general.


Cats have the ability to smell better than any animal on earth.

That’s why a curious cat can find anything that catches her attention, whether that be something seemingly empty like a bowl or something having to do with some other scents as well such as prey hiding on the other side of the wall.

These initial stages will involve the distinctive lip curl while exposed teeth are expected during which one often sees what is known as a flehmen.


Using an open mouth to sniff another cat helps distinguish scents. This is because no two cats’ pheromones smell the same, therefore this response aids them in recognizing others based on smell.

A mother cat’s tongue can also be used to smell her kittens while they are still protected in their nest. She can keep track of all of them and make sure she knows where they are by smelling what they smell like.

Strenuous Activity

The breath of a cat is also known as buccal ventilation and it refers to the variation in the amount of air that cats take into their lungs.

For example, when cats are just taking a normal breath, they tend to breathe through their nose and don’t use their mouth at all.

The other type of breathing they do is called nasal escape where they move both the soft palate and the tongue to push air out of the nose. Lastly, there is the “open-mouth” breath which we mentioned above.

Tongue Flicking

Cats are taking a lot in as they stare at something who-knows-what. They flicker their tongue right and left running it up and down to feel out the surroundings, getting a better grasp of what they’re seeing.

Their little pink fleshy organ dangles backward just above their teeth, that’s where they gather all their sense of smell. This information leads them to decipher the strange thing in front of them.

Final Words

Now that you learn why your cat opens its mouth while sniffing out its environment, it’s time to address some of the possible reasons behind your cat’s behavior. If we consider panting from the heat or making a funny twisted face while smelling as normal, we can start off with a more positive perception. We also now have something else in common with our four-legged furry friends when it comes to their perception of smell which is quite an interesting factor to discover.


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