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5 Explanations For Why Is Your Cat Sleeping With Mouth Open

5 Explanations For Why Is Your Cat Sleeping With Mouth Open

You’ve probably seen your cat sleeping in different positions, such as curled up in a ball, on her back, in a loaf shape, etc.

You might also find your furry friend sleeping in all kinds of places – from your own bed to the bathtub.

But, seeing your cat sleeping with its mouth open might seem especially odd. You certainly have seen people sleep like this before, but not your cat.

What’s going on? What could this mean?

There are a couple of explanations for your cat to sleep like this. Let’s check them out!

1. A Totally Relaxed Cat

the cat sleeps with its mouth open

Sleeping with its mouth open could simply mean that your kitten is totally relaxed, without a care in the world.

There is nothing wrong with her – she’s just enjoying a good night’s sleep after a long day of playing and running around!

Therefore, if you haven’t noticed any additional symptoms, your kitten is probably just completely tired out, and is getting her strength back for the next day.

Sometimes your cat can be so relaxed that you might hear loud snoring coming from her. Take a look at the video below that shows a furry snorer with quite a volume!

2. Feline Cold

Cats might also get cold, just like humans, and sleeping with their mouth open could be one of the symptoms.

Your cat is probably sleeping like this because she’s congested, and she’s having trouble breathing normally while resting.

Some of the other symptoms that might appear if your cat has a cold are sneezing and watery eyes, coughing, lethargy, and even fever.

PetMD explains how these symptoms usually disappear in about 7-10 years in most cats. However, in some cases, a cold might lead to complications, such as pneumonia or secondary bacterial infection.

Viral infections – the Feline Herpesvirus and Feline calicivirus – are the most common causes of cat colds.

If you suspect your cat has a cold, you should take her to the vet for him to perform a thorough examination.

A simple cold will usually not require any kind of treatment, but you can do some things to help your kitten get well soon.

For example, using a humidifier if the air in your home is dry would be beneficial. Also, you should do your best for your cat to get all the rest and privacy in this period. So, you might want to isolate her in a quiet room where she’ll have all the things she needs.

If your vet estimates that your cat has a severe type of cold, he might prescribe antibiotics.

3. Allergies

Gray cat sleeps with raised paws and open mouth

Cats with some type of allergies might also sleep with their mouth open.

Felines can be allergic to various things that they can breathe in, touch, or eat, according to WebMD.

If you noticed your cat sleeping with her mouth open, she could have some type of environmental allergy, such as fungi, dust, or mold. 

Also, if you or any of your guests were smoking inside the house, cigarette smoke can cause allergy symptoms in your cat. Perfume and cleaning products are also potential allergens.

Some other signs that might be seen in a cat with allergic reactions are runny eyes, sneezing, coughing, swollen paws, and excessive licking.

For a veterinarian to confirm an allergy in your cat, he’ll need to perform a skin or blood test. 

If your cat has an environmental allergy, this should be the easiest one to treat – you should just make sure your cat avoids all allergens that could cause an allergic reaction in her, such as cleaning products, cigarette smoke, or strong perfumes.

If necessary, the vet will prescribe some kind of medication for your cat, such as ointments, cortisone pills, or antihistamines.

4. Dental Problems

Any kind of dental problem could also cause your cat to sleep with her mouth open.

According to the cat teeth age chart, many cats aged 5 to 10 years will experience some type of dental disease. Cats older than 10 years might also have one or more teeth missing.

In addition to sleeping with her mouth open, a cat with dental issues might also have bad breath and could refuse to eat or even experience bleeding from her mouth cavity.

If you notice these symptoms, you should take your cat to a vet for him to estimate what is the exact dental issue in your cat, and what is the best way to help her.

5. Feline Asthma

red cat sweetly sleeps

Feline asthma is also a potential cause for a cat to sleep with her mouth open. Julie Trzil [1] points out how this lower-airway disease affects approximately 1% to 5% of the cat population.

This condition limits the ability of air to move through the cat’s airways and causes her to experience difficulty breathing, as explained by the Cornell Feline Health Center.

Difficulty breathing can cause your cat to sleep with her mouth open. Some other signs that might appear are rapid breathing, wheezing, coughing, and even vomiting.

A veterinarian will need to review your cat’s medical history, as well as undertake blood and allergy testing to diagnose feline asthma. Furthermore, he will need to use an X-ray or CT to evaluate your cat’s condition completely. 

Feline asthma treatment includes corticosteroids and bronchodilators that can be given to a cat in inhaled, injectable, or oral form.

Asthma isn’t a completely curable condition, but sick cats might still live a long and happy life, provided that their owners give them their medications regularly, and monitor them for any clinical signs.

Final Thoughts

So, why is my cat sleeping with mouth open?

As we could have seen, there are several reasons for this occurrence. Your furry companion might just be super relaxed and enjoying her deserved sleep!

However, this could also be a sign of health issues, such as allergies, dental problems, feline cold, or even asthma.

You should consult your veterinarian in any case, especially if you notice any additional symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing.

It could be nothing, and your kitten might go back to her old sleeping position very soon. But, it might be a certain health problem, and you’ll be happy knowing you sought help at the right moment.


[1] Trzil JE. Feline Asthma: Diagnostic and Treatment Update. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2020 Mar;50(2):375-391. DOI, Retrieved July 19, 2023.

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