Kitty FAQs: Why Do Cats Blep?

July 23, 2018

Kitty FAQs: Why Do Cats Blep?

We can all agree that cats look cute as anything when they blep, right?


The cartoonish expression and a cute blep is amazing for photos---especially if you want to share photos with your friends on social media---and downright bizarre.


But, have you ever wondered why your kitty is doing that?


In this blog post, I will answer the question, “Why do cats blep?”in as much detail as I possibly can.


Let’s jump right in, shall we?

What Exactly is a Blep and, Why Do Cats Blep?

Don’t know what a blep is?


Well, I’ll explain it.


A blep is when a cat or dog has a part of their tongue out while their mouth is closed. These house pets usually have a cartoonish expression which goes with it---that’s why bleps have gone viral on the internet.

Why Do Cats Blep?

No one knows why cats blep but, professionals have been sharing their theories about this bizarre behavior.


In this section of the blog post, I will share a few reasons why cats blep.


Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Flehmen Response

Amy Shojai, a cat consultant shared that she thinks that the infamous blep may be related to the Flehmen response which basically means that your kitty is basically smelling her environment via her tongue.


As a cat breathes with her mouth open, the pheromones are collected and passed along to the vomeronasal organ on the roof of their mouth.


However, the Flehmen response isn’t the only one responsible.

Medication

According to cat behaviorist Ingrid Johnson, cats may not even realize that they’re doing the blep! Other reasons of the behavior could include the cat being on certain medications or relaxants for stress or anxiety.

Anatomic Causes

In some cases, the blep may even be breed-specific.


For example, Persian cats blep and dangle their tongue out because there’s simply no room in their mouth to put it back in!

Accidental Conditioning

Yet another cause for your cat blepping is when you reinforce an incidental blep with cooing, petting, etc. Cats are intelligent animals and are quick to learn things and pick them up.


So, if something is followed by a favorable response, chances are that your kitty will pick it up.


Final Words: Why Do Cats Blep?

No one’s really sure why cats blep but, there are various theories about the cute and adorable behavior.


  • Flehmen Response: Cats blep to ‘smell’ their environment via their mouths
  • Medication: Certain medications such as relaxants can make a cat blep because of their effects
  • Anatomic Reasons: Some cats just don’t have enough room in their mouths to put their tongue back in!
  • Accidental Conditioning: An incidental blep can be reinforced by attention and your cat will repeat the behavior for your attention

Do you have any theories of your own to share with us as to why cats blep? Leave them in the comments, and we will love to go through them!




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