Why do Cats Smack Their Lips?

Does your cat smack their lips? If it’s a new behavior for your cats, you might be wondering why cats smack their lips. As feline behavior specialists and veterinarians say, smacking one’s lips can have several different causes. In this post, we will talk about the various reasons cats smack their lips and when they need veterinary attention.

Why do Cats Smack Their Lips?

Cats have the propensity to lick their lips quite regularly, but this isn’t always a sign of contentment. Cats can smack their lips as a way of signaling anxiety or stress as part of a grooming process. In turn, this could be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or behavioral issue. Cats also make lip-smacking noises as part of establishing.

Stomach Problem

Cats smack their lips when they experience a bout of nausea and vomiting. Cats eat everything they can get into their mouths, so they end up eating something that causes stomach upset. In this case, the cat smacks his lips after throwing up to help remove food from its mouth. 

Compulsive Disorders

Cats can smack their lips when they suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Cats in this case display compulsive behaviors that can include tail-chasing, excessive grooming or licking, and meowing. Cats may also experience stomach upset along with these symptoms.


If you notice your cat is licking their lips, lightly scratching at it, and shaking their head, you may suspect allergies. Cats who are allergic to something will lick their lips as a way to soothe the irritation caused by whatever is causing them discomfort. Cats can be allergic to dust, pollen, other cats/cats dander, medication, or anything else.


Your cats saliva builds up in its mouth and is too much for the cat to handle, which causes your cat to keep licking their lips. Cats who suffer from ptyalism may also drool excessively because of it. These disorders can develop over time or be triggered by other health issues since cats are born with a predisposition for these diseases.

Dental problems

It’s not clear how cats smack their lips, but if your cat is doing it, there is a good chance that she has a dental problem. Cats instinctively try to clean and groom themselves, and teeth and gums are hard to reach places that they tend to avoid. Cats will sometimes develop sores, broken teeth, or even loose teeth, which can lead to infections.


If your cat is licking its lips and drooling excessively, it could be a sign that she is feeling nauseous. Cats’ mouths tend to produce an excess of saliva when they are feeling sick, and the lip-smacking that comes with this may lead to drooling as well. Cats often try to clean off excess saliva, which can sometimes mean licking their lips. 


It’s not uncommon for cats to throw up once or twice a week, and if your cat is doing it more than this, there may be an issue. Cats often lick their lips after they have finished throwing up, and this could be because the taste of the vomit causes nausea and makes them want to clean off any remaining traces. 


Cats with the condition xerostomia, also known as dry mouth syndrome, may smack their lips. Cats that have been previously been diagnosed with renal failure are more likely to develop this condition which can lead to bacteria building up in their mouths and causing infections.

How to Help your cats Stop Smacking their Lips

How to Help your cats Stop Smacking their Lips

When your cat smacks their lips, they might be hungry. Cats smack their lips after eating, but also when they see you preparing food. Cats show affection by licking and grooming those that are near them as well as those that have just been groomed themselves. Cats purr for a variety of reasons, from being happy to being upset or ill.


Watch your cat’s behavior and determine if their smacking lips is normal for them or not. Cats that normally smack their lips in an exaggerated manner may be getting ready to pounce on prey, whether it be a toy or actual food (more common when cats eat). Cats will also smack their lips when they approach other animals in the household. 

Evaluate your cat’s behavior

You may need to know the following questions:

– Is my cat’s smacking behavior becoming more frequent?

– Is there a specific situation in which they are doing it? 

If your answer is “yes” to both of these questions, you may want to determine what your cat is trying to communicate. Cats may smack their lips in order to communicate with you or other cats in your household. This may be a sign that they are not comfortable in the situation that they are currently in. Cats may also smack their lips when greeting new people or animals in the house.

Determine whether it is a medical problem

The best solution to your cat smacking its lips is to bring them to the veterinarian. Cats may smack their lips as a response to pain or discomfort, so it is important that you take note of how often and when they do this behavior and then discuss this with your veterinarian.

Why does your cat lick its lips when it looks at me?

Lip licking on a regular basis might indicate that your cat is frightened. If you detect other body language, such as a tail curled around their body or crouching, you can add to the evidence of worry. There are a variety of reasons that might cause a cat to get anxious, including returning to your normal regimen.

Are cats nervous when they lick their lips?

“When pets are agitated, frightened, or anxious, they will lick their noses or lips. Stress-licking is a common habit in both cats and dogs, so it’s easy to miss or misinterpret it, “Johnson stated.

Why do cats show their lips?

Does your cat have a strange scornful expression on occasion? To scent cat pheromones, cats elevate their lips after a particularly lengthy sniff and hold their mouth slightly open. Flehmen, which is a German word that means “lip curl,” is a totally natural and tranquil cat activity.

Why do cats lick their lips before vomiting?

Your Cat Isn’t Feeling Well.

This behavior might be caused by an upset stomach in your cat. When a cat isn’t feeling well, it may frequently lick its lips as an indication of discomfort and agony. If this frequently occurs as a result of nausea, there is very always an underlying reason.

Why do cats smack their lips when being petted?

Cats who are sick or dehydrated may lick or slap their lips excessively. Cats frequently drool and vomit after engaging in lip smacking activity. Learn more about Cat Nausea.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Lick Me Then Bite Me?

Why do cats lick their lips when you talk to them?

Depending on what is going on around you, licking your lips might signal anxiousness or eagerness. Lip licking, for example, might suggest that food is being prepared, but it can also indicate that the cat is nervous and worried, or, in my experience, that it is going to produce a furball or be ill.

Why do cats smack their lips When sleeping?

Cats who are sick or dehydrated may lick or slap their lips excessively. Cats with dental illness and/or oral infections may lick or slap their lips excessively.

Why does my cat lick his lips after I kiss him?

A close link between the feline and owner is required for a cat to express this level of affection. Your cat will imitate human behavior by kissing you on the lips. Your cat has most likely witnessed you kissing your partner, children, or another animal licking your face.

Why does your cat lick my lips and nose?

It want to show Affection

Cats will only lick the faces of those with whom they have a true bond. If your cat licks your nose, it’s an indication that he or she adores you and feels comfortable and secure with you. If your cat is licking your nose for love, it is probable that it would want some affection in return.

Cat smacking lips at other cats?

Cats who are sick or dehydrated may lick or slap their lips excessively. Learn more about Cat Nausea. Dental disease is a common ailment. Cats with dental illness and/or oral infections may lick or slap their lips excessively.

Why do cats lick their lips when angry?

Although dogs frequently use their tongues to wet their noses or investigate their surroundings, Johnson cautioned that excessive nose or lip licking might indicate unhappiness. “When pets are agitated, frightened, or anxious, they will lick their noses or lips.

Do cats lick their lips when stressed?

When cats are anxious, they do lick their lips. Displacement behavior is what this is called. It is necessary when the cat is scared, stressed, or concerned in a scenario and licks its lips or grooms itself to calm down.


If you’ve adopted a new pet or your family has had any major changes, it might be causing excessive lip-smacking in your cat. Your first step should be to assess the situation at home and see what other stressors may have come into play that is making your best friend unhappy about their living environment. 

You can also talk to the expert for cats called a “cat behaviorist,” who will give you more information on how they can help you figure out if this is just an issue of change or something else entirely. They’ll also provide tips for removing all those pesky stressors, so your precious kitty doesn’t feel compelled to lick his lips excessively!