Why Do Cats Open Their Mouth When They Smell? [2022 Guide]

Have you ever noticed that cats open their mouth when they smell something? We don’t know exactly why this happens, but there are several possibilities behind this behavior. Here are 8 reasons why cats open their mouth when they smell something.

Why Do Cats Open Their Mouth When They Smell?

Cats open their mouths when they smell strong odors in order to increase the number of odor particles that are able to reach the olfactory (smell) receptors, which are located just inside the nostrils.

These receptors detect smells by sending chemical signals to the brain, which is how we perceive the smells. The mouth-opening behavior is called “flehmen” and is a response that many animals exhibit when they encounter particularly strong or unusual smells.

8 Reasons Why Cats Open Their Mouths To Smell

1. Aggressive Behavior

Not all cats open their mouths when they smell, but if your cat does, and it’s accompanied by aggressive behavior, he could be giving you a warning.

In these cases, it’s best to take him seriously and back away slowly. While some situations will be unavoidable in cat-dog households-like trips to a vet-keep in mind that you don’t want your kitty feeling threatened or cornered.

If you must handle him when he opens his mouth, speak softly and calmly; try petting him with one hand while making slow movements with another.

2. Hungry and Desperate for Food

Most of us have seen videos and images of cats sniffing each other’s butts. It is funny, to be sure, but it turns out that these kitties are taking in a lot more than just small talk when they get up close and personal with their friends.

They are actually smelling for information about how recently their friend has eaten, where he was hunting or looking for food, and if there are any females nearby in heat!

Research suggests that when cats open their mouths as part of stretch-sniffing behavior, they may even be able to smell pheromones left by potential mates.

3. Communicating with Other Cats

What other animals get better than cats? It’s like they have an entire secret language just for them. And, honestly, if it’s to be believed that some people can actually understand what their kitty cat is saying when it meows, then why should we say no to our feline friends?

But there are more ways cats communicate with each other than simple body language and vocalizations.

The next time you see your cat doing one of these weird things, pay attention: It could be telling you exactly what’s on its mind.

It may look bizarre or even uncomfortable, but in reality, it allows a scent sample to travel through their mouth before being sent up into the nasal cavity where pheromones will trigger something inside them (mood-wise).

Perhaps it looks strange because we’re so used to seeing dogs sniffing out scents as well; when dogs do it, they’re sniffing out prey or danger -not pheromones, unless you’re at a cat colony!

4. Protecting Territory

If your cat sniffs at you when you come home, he’s likely just marking his territory. By getting up close, your cat wants to make sure you know where his turf ends and yours begins.

It can be a bit overwhelming when your kitty starts rubbing against your leg or face, but remember: It’s all part of being a good cat owner. Plus, it smells funny!

So what do cats smell like anyway? The answer is; A lot like cat food. Your feline companion has extremely well-developed senses that allow him to detect faint traces of odors in order to hunt down prey and identify others in his environment-including you.

In other words, don’t let a few sniffles get in the way of your relationship with Fluffy. He needs that extra attention occasionally if he’s going to love you unconditionally for years (and years) on end.

5. Pregnant Cat Odor Detection

One of my cats is pregnant, and my other cat has become obsessed with smelling her. Is there something she can smell that we can’t? It’s almost like she’s saying, I know you’re pregnant!

You may as well confess because I already know! If a cat becomes fixated on one particular odor, it could be because they are trying to determine if an area is safe, such as a food source or litter box.

Your kitty might also be bored or feeling territorial. In that case, invite another animal into your household, so they will have someone else to sniff around and fight with instead of your hungry-to-be-pregnant cat.

6. Safety in Numbers

One reason cats open their mouths when they smell is to get a sense of other cats in their territory.

Since cats are territorial, it’s important for them to know if another cat is invading their area or just left.

This allows them to gauge whether it’s safe for them to proceed on their way.

If there are already several other cats present, odds are good that your cat will stay away-and opening its mouth can help your kitty detect even more presence with its nose! It might sound strange, but it makes perfect sense when you think about it.

7. Feeling Anxious or Nervous

It’s common for cats to open their mouths when they sense an environment is unsafe.

If a cat smells something they don’t like, such as a smell that could come from another animal (including humans) or from a potentially dangerous location, opening its mouth helps them evaluate and process information faster.

This allows them to decide whether it’s worth taking action and what action to take. You might notice your cat does it more in certain situations, such as near other animals or outdoors.

8. Displeasure in General

One of your cat’s primary senses is the smell. In fact, he can smell odors that are so subtle that you don’t even register them. A wide variety of smells trigger all kinds of responses from cats.

An upset cat opens his mouth to tell you something isn’t right, or maybe to make a funny face to let you know it’s time for a treat.

Knowing how your cat communicates through scent is important because when your furry friend shows displeasure in general by opening his mouth, there could be several reasons why – and each reason requires a unique approach to remedy problems or resolve issues.

Final Thoughts

Why do cats open their mouth when they smell? There are many reasons why cats open their mouths when they smell something. It is important to realize that every cat reacts differently to various stimuli.

That said, we’ve listed a few of the most common reasons why cats open their mouths when they smell something. We hope you found our list helpful!

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