3 days out of the week I will wake up with a dry throat. After much deliberation, I came to the conclusion that I’m a mouth breather when I sleep.
And the amount of drool on my pillow when I wake up is also a dead giveaway.
Similar to humans, cats can have many different sleeping patterns. Some sleep with their face buried in the bed while others may sleep on their backs with all limbs spread eagle.
But what if your cat sleeps with its mouth open? Should you be concerned?
There isn’t much of a need to be concerned if your cat sleeps with its mouth open. Your cat could just be feeling very relaxed. Many cats will even snore with their mouth open. However, such a sleeping behavior could also signify a health issue.
In this article, we will be looking at the potential causes that can make cats sleep with their cute mouths open.
Why Is My Cat Sleeping With Its Mouth Open?
As mentioned earlier, having a cat sleep with its mouth open isn’t that much of a deal. It could just be one of your cat’s sleeping habits.
The important thing that you need to be looking out for are signs that it could be due to an underlying health problem.
This is something that we will be touching on later.
Here are some possible reasons that could cause your cat to fall asleep this way.
Rapid Eye Movement
Cats have two different phases of sleep.
The first phase is known as the non-rapid eye moment (NREM) or the light sleep cycle. This is when your cat is having a cat nap or about to fall into a deep sleep.
The next sleep phase is called rapid eye movement or REM. During this cycle, your cat will be sleeping very soundly and dead to the world.
During this time, it might seem like your cat’s eyes are open together with its mouth. But your cat isn’t awake.
Most cats can also be dreaming during REM. I’m curious as to what cats dream about.
Tooth Poking Into Lip
When your cat has all of its canines in place, which are those fang like looking teeth, it creates a perfect pocket for the teeth to align when your cat closes its mouth.
However, if your cat has lost one of its canines, that will cause your cat’s lips to pull in closer to the mouth.
A cat can lose its teeth due to:
- Dental disease
- Trauma to the mouth area
When that happens, the remaining canine will poke into the lip when your cat closes its mouth.
This can make it look like your cat’s mouth is open when it is sleeping.
It is possible for your cat to have asthma which is very similar to the condition in humans.
Asthma in cats is primarily brought about by an allergic reaction to an allergen. This allergen could be anything in the environment such as pollen, dust, cat litter dust, etc.
It could also be something in your cat’s diet that your cat is allergic to.
As the allergens enter your cat’s body, they will trigger the immune system to fight them off.
Besides going into battle with the allergens, the immune cells will also cause inflammation and swelling to the airways which make them constrict.
Your cat will experience difficulty breathing when it is harder for oxygen to enter its lungs via the airways.
Symptoms of feline asthma include:
- Rapid breathing
- Open mouth breathing
The majority of cats will start to wheeze and cough when having an asthma attack.
Don’t you just hate it when you catch a cold out of the blue?
Your head feels like there’s a two-ton elephant sitting on it and your nose leaks more than that broken faucet in your bathroom.
Your cat could be having a cold as well and experience symptoms such as:
- Lack of appetite
- Discharge from the eyes or nose
The good thing is, most cats are able to fight out the feline cold in about a week or two.
There’s also a risk of the feline cold developing into something nastier such as pneumonia which can be really bad for your cat.
If you have more than one cat at home, you need to keep your sick cat away from them as feline cold is very contagious.
There are two common causes of cold in cats.
Feline calicivirus is a virus that affects a cat’s respiratory system. This virus targets young cats and symptoms can be both mild to severe.
This issue is very prevalent in cat shelters and pet stores where the cats are all living in close quarters. The virus can easily spread through an infected cat’s bodily fluids and aerosol droplets.
Feline Herpes is another virus that is very contagious among cats. Similar to the human version, once a cat has herpes, the virus remains in the cat’s body for life.
The virus will usually remain dormant in the cat until there’s an impact on the immune system such as in a stressed cat.
This will cause the cat to have some respiratory distress for a few days until it clears up.
Feline sinus or also known as feline rhinitis is a medical condition that causes the mucous in your cat’s nose to become inflamed.
The common causes of feline sinus include:
- Bacterial or Fungal infections
- Dental disease
- Feline Calicivirus
- Feline Herpesvirus
Symptoms of feline sinus include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Breathing through the mouth
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of appetite
This condition can just last for a few days or be chronic which can damage the nasal passageways over time.
Most of us would think that dogs are notoriously known for eating things that they shouldn’t. There are some cats that do the same thing as well.
There is a possibility that your cat might have something small lodged in its throat. This can restrict the airflow and cause your cat to breathe with its mouth open while sleeping.
Does your cat have a strange habit of eating inedible objects?
There is such a condition called Pica which gives the cat a strong desire to eat stuff like fabric, plastic, wires, glass, soil, etc.
It is a very dangerous problem and could cause some serious health implications.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Pica and the cat parent has to manage the symptoms.
Did you happen to feed your cat any cooked bones?
Cooked bones are very bad for cats as they can become a health hazard very quickly. Bones become very hard and brittle when cooked and can splinter very easily.
These tiny sharp pieces can puncture and lacerate the insides of your cat.
It could have a small piece of bone that is stuck in its throat which makes it difficult to breathe.
Should I Be Worried If My Cat Is Sleeping With Its Mouth Open?
I wouldn’t worry too much about it if your cat’s mouth is open only while it sleeps. That is pretty much just a habit.
My cat does it from time to time.
You need to look out for signs that show your cat has trouble breathing which usually results in an open mouth most of the time.
Any kind of discharge, wheezing or coughing could indicate that your cat is having some kind of respiratory problem.
It would be better to take your cat to the veterinarian immediately than to sit on the problem. It could turn out to be a pulmonary or cardiac disease which can be life-threatening for your cat.