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Do you ever look at your cat while it’s sleeping and wonder why it’s smacking its lips? It’s cute, but is it something to worry about?

We’ll be looking into why cats smack their lips while sleeping by learning about lip-smacking and the reasons behind it. Next, we’ll learn when it’s considered normal for cats to lip-smack and when to worry. Finally, we’ll guide you on what to do as a pet parent with a lip-smacking cat.

Cat Smacking Lips While Sleeping

Cats smacking their lips while sleeping is a common behavior. It could simply mean that they’re dreaming! However, if they do smack their lips repetitively when awake, it could be a sign of an underlying condition.

Monitoring your pet for any behavioral or physical changes is the key to knowing why cats smack their lips while sleeping.

What is Lip Smacking?

Cats communicate through different means. For example, hissing, tail shaking, surface licking, or licking the pet parents has an underlying message they’re trying to convey. Similarly, cats smacking their lips can mean various things.

Cats smacking their lips is normal behavior. It’s when a cat simply licks its lips and smacks them together. This act can be normal with no need for concern. It might also indicate an underlying health issue, depending on the cat’s behavior and the accompanying symptoms.

Why Is My Cat Smacking Its Lips While Sleeping?

As mentioned earlier, cat lip-smacking could denote various underlying issues and causes. However, if your cat only lip-smacks while sleeping, then it’s probably dreaming! You heard right, cats can dream!

They can hiss, twitch, snore, move their paws, or smack their lips in their dreaming state. Amazing, isn’t it?

But, if a cat is smacking its lips excessively when it’s awake, you should keep an eye on it and monitor any other behavioral changes. If you notice any changes, a visit to the vet is necessary. Happy dreaming, Kitty!

Why Do Cats Smack Their Lips?

To reveal the reason behind cat-smacking lips while sleeping, we’ll need to unwrap the causes of lip-smacking in cats. As mentioned earlier, it’s considered normal behavior for cats to lip-smack if it’s not excessive or accompanied by other behavioral changes. However, it can also imply a serious health problem.

The following are causes of cat’s lip-smacking:

1. Compulsive Disorders

Compulsive disorders in cats are when a cat engages in a series of repetitive and exaggerated acts with no apparent purpose. It could range from repetitive meowing, scratching, pacing, or lip-smacking. It can be a coping mechanism, or it can connote an underlying medical condition.

2. Displacement Behavior

Displacement behavior occurs when a cat feels conflicted between two unrelated or irrelevant behaviors or desires. For instance, a cat might want to do a certain action that it’s fearful of, such as approaching an object or another animal. But it resorts to lip-smacking or grooming instead.

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3. Stress and anxiety

Excessive lip-smacking could be due to your cat experiencing these emotions along with other symptoms. Noticing these symptoms along with new excessive behavior, like lip-smacking, is the first step towards a stress-free kitty.

You can try using calming cat pheromones with your anxious cat, an example is Feliway Diffuser.

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4. Ptyalism

Ptyalism, also known as hypersalivation, is the excessive production of saliva. There are various causes of hypersalivation, and it can be an indication of a much more serious problem. Usually, cats resort to lip-smacking to get rid of the extra drool. Ptyalism can cause nausea, vomiting, and kidney diseases.

5. Xerostomia

Xerostomia, which is also known as dry mouth syndrome, is when the production of saliva decreases. Keep watch of your cat’s gums, as this causes the cat to smack its lips and push its tongue out, to create any sort of moisture. It can be due to renal diseases or hairballs!

6. Oral and Dental Diseases

Many oral and dental diseases cause lip-smacking in cats. Examples of oral diseases are stomatitis and oral ulcers. Dental issues could entail something stuck in the cat’s teeth, plaque that later turns to tartar, gingivitis, a broken tooth, or tooth abscess.

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7. Nausea and Stomach Illness

Nausea, upset stomach, or vomiting can be the reason behind excessive lip-smacking. A visit to the vet is needed for correct treatment.

8. Feline Upper Respiratory Infection

Feline upper respiratory infection is cold for cats. It can be a bacterial or viral infection. If you notice cold-like symptoms on your cat, along with excessive salivation and lip-smacking, make a trip to the vet.

9. Allergies

Cats’ allergies can be triggered by the microorganisms that enter their bodies. This can cause the cat to groom or lick and smack its lips more than usual.

10. Intoxication

Chemical poisoning could be the cause of cat lip-smacking. That could occur when a cat comes in contact with toxic chemicals or toxic plants. Make sure to put away any toxic materials to keep your furbaby safe.

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How Can I help My Lip-Smacking Furbaby?

If you notice your cat smacking its lips, you might want to follow the following tips:

1. Monitor and Observe

Being aware of your pet’s behavior and habits is important, as it’d allow you to notice any occurring changes. You’d be able to notice its lip-smacking and whether it lip-smacks only during its sleep or when awake as well.

It will help you connect the behavior, if it’s recent, to other affecting factors in the cat’s life. This could include an environmental change that would arouse stress or anxiety. It could also include other symptoms, such as vomiting, drooling, or dry gums.

If the cat’s been smacking its lips when sleeping only, then you most probably have nothing to worry about, unless other symptoms accompany it. If it’s smacking its lips excessively when awake and asleep while showcasing other behavioral changes, then a visit to the vet is needed.

2. A Visit to the Vet

Once you reach the conclusion that the lip-smacking is excessive and doesn’t only occur while the cat is sleeping, you’ll need to make a trip to the vet for reassurance and diagnosis.

The vet might ask you questions regarding your furbaby’s behavior. They’ll ask if the lip-smacking is recent, and whether it occurs when it’s asleep or when it’s awake as well. They’ll enquire if the lip-smacking is connected to other actions, like eating, for instance.

They will also ask about its sleep pattern, food pattern, exposure to toxins and trash, and its medical history. The vet will also check the cat’s mouth and teeth for any oral or dental problems.

Then they will determine the reason behind the lip-smacking and prescribe medication if needed. Your kitty will be healthy in no time!


Your cat is continuously communicating with you through its behavior and body language. You only have to observe and take note of any changes. Cat smacking lips while sleeping could mean that your cat is dreaming about its next meal. It could denote other health problems depending on the accompanying symptoms if any. We wish your kitty a lip-smackingly, blissful sleep!