It seems strange that your cat would yawn when they see you, but it often happens when you walk over to your cat. You’d think that your feline would be pleased to see you after being gone for hours, but they appear to be indifferent or disinterested in your presence.
- 1 Why Does My Cat Yawn At Me?
- 2 Cats Yawn Because They’re Relaxed
- 3 Cats Yawn Before and After Sleep
- 4 Cats Yawn Because They are Bored
- 5 Cats Yawn Because They are Irritated
- 6 Cat Yawning and Meowing for Attention
- 7 Other Cats Are Yawning
- 8 Cat Yawning Excessively Due to Medical Issue
Why Does My Cat Yawn At Me?
- Expressing relaxation and contentment
- Trying to stay awake (release of oxygen)
- Notifying you that they’re tired
- Another cat is yawning
- Display of affection
- Boredom and disinterest
- Stress and irritation
- Showing off their sharp teeth
There are many reasons why a cat yawns, and context is pivotal for understanding why your cat greets you with a yawn. They may be acting through instinct, or it could be a conscious communication. It’s vital to do your best to understand what your cat is trying to tell you.
Cats Yawn Because They’re Relaxed
If your cat greets you with a yawn when they see you, it would be easy to take offense. After all, it’s hardly a ringing endorsement that suggests they consider you to be fun.
In truth, a cat’s yawn should be deemed a compliment. If your cat yawns in front of you, it means they’re comfortable and confident around you.
A cat could also be announcing that they are sleepy. If a feline feels vulnerable, they would never take such a chance. Yawning also floods a cat’s brain with oxygen. This means that they’ll become more alert, even if just for a short time.
A cat that yawns upon your arrival is calm, and wants to spend time with you. They want to stay awake for just a little longer so they can enjoy your company.
Cats Yawn Before and After Sleep
Cats will also yawn immediately before going to sleep, and as soon as they wake up. If it looks like they’re yawning at you, it may just be a coincidence.
Cats love to yawn and stretch when they first wake up. A yawn is a way of taking in a substantial amount of oxygen in one hit.
That will perk your cat up in the aftermath of a nap. Felines can’t drink coffee, so they need more natural ways of waking themselves up.
Similarly, a cat will yawn just before falling asleep. This may seem counter-productive, as we have just said that yawning wakes cat up.
That may be your pet’s plan, though. Often, cats yawn to keep themselves awake just a little longer. In addition, however, yawning can burn excess energy. It may be your cat’s last action for a few hours before curling up for a doze.
Cats Yawn Because They are Bored
Yawning is a universal sign of boredom among humans. The same also applies for felines. Your cat may yawn when they see you to announce that they lack mental stimulation.
This isn’t intended to be as insulting as it sounds. Your cat is not yawning because they find you dull. It’s not a case of, “oh great, this person again.” Instead, they yawn because they deem you a source of amusement.
The action translates more as, “great! You’re here! Entertain me, please.”
Also, cats yawn while bored due to a change in breathing patterns. When not mentally engaged, a cat’s breathing is slower and shallower than usual.
As a result, bored cats breathe in less oxygen. Every now and again, they will need to yawn to kickstart their brain.
Cats Yawn Because They are Irritated
One thing to be cautious of is that cats yawn when annoyed. This behavior is most likely to manifest when a cat has their sleep disturbed. Your pet is also likely to yawn if you interrupt them while grooming or eating, though.
A cat yawns to demonstrate annoyance for one reason – it means they open their mouth wide. When they do this, it shows many very sharp teeth.
Your cat is sending a reminder of these. Essentially, there are asking if you want to mess with them. A particularly frustrated cat may even swipe with a paw while yawning.
This behavior is undesirable, but it’s also easily avoided. Grooming, eating, and sleeping are sacred to felines.
Don’t disturb these activities, and you and your pet will get along famously. Remember, your cat will come to find you when they want something.
Cat Yawning and Meowing for Attention
If your cat follows up their yawn with a meow, check your watch. Are you running behind schedule with your pet’s dinner? You may not have noticed this, but your cat certainly has. They’re now bringing it to your attention.
The action can be broken down into two pivotal steps. Your cat is yawning because they’re tired. Felines run a very tight schedule, and they notice when things are out of whack. They like to know that they’ll eat at the same time each day, then nap.
When your cat starts getting tired, they’ll realize that it’s almost time for their snooze. They won’t want to close their eyes while hungry, though. As a result, they’ll remind you that dinner is past due. It’s likely that the yawning will stop once you open a tin.
In such situations, your cat will likely rub against you too. It’s far from unusual for a cat to yawn while attaching themselves to their owner’s ankles.
This is because the feline is perfectly comfortable that you mean them no harm – but they still want your attention. This rubbing is a gentle reminder that your cat is around. Again, meeting their needs will see your cat scurry off
If food is not at the root of the yawning, boredom likely will be. Your cat’s yawn may be a subtle cue that they want to be entertained. If you don’t respond to the yawn, then a meow will follow. There is typically no mistaking that! Enjoy playtime with your pet, or give them a stroke if that’s preference.
Remember, a meow is always your cat’s way of gaining your attention. They may just be saying hello, but it’s more likely that they want something.
Meowing accompanied by a yawn usually means that the need is urgent. Your cat is either bored or tired. The sooner their needs are met, the faster they can move on.
Other Cats Are Yawning
Put a group of people in a room, and let one of them yawn. You’ll soon find that a chain of yawning follows. Will the same happen with cats?
The answer is yes. If you yawn, and your cat notices, it’s likely that that’ll follow suit. This partly down to the fact that cats are natural imitators. They’ll watch their owners do something, and decide to do it themselves.
Some felines do everything their owners do. They’ll even eliminate in their litter tray when their human uses the bathroom. There is also psychology behind infectious yawning. Whenever a yawn is released, it triggers a cautious response in the brain of watching feline.
The cat will notice that somebody else is taking in more oxygen, and wonder why. Is there likely to be a shortage of air soon? Something is happening. Survival instinct will kick in, and a cat will enjoy a big yawn too.
It’s possible that the other cat or human is relaxed. Spending time in the company of tranquil felines can do wonders for a cat’s mental state. Your pet lives in an almost constant state of high alert. They’re always poised to hunt prey that crosses their path, or escape potential predators.
If another cat is yawning, it suggests that all is calm. This will encourage your cat to relax too.
Cat Yawning Excessively Due to Medical Issue
While yawning is a perfectly natural behavior among cats, it shouldn’t occur all day, every day. Don’t be alarmed as regular yawning is not excessive yawning. According to Mercola, the average cat yawns around once an hour.
If your cat cannot stop yawning, it often denotes a lack of oxygen to the brain. Observe your cat during the yawning behavior.
Do they also demonstrate shortness of breath? This is a problem that will not rectify itself. Some cats struggle to breathe due to allergies, and others through medical ailments. Either way, a vet will provide answers and treatment.
If your cat is otherwise breathing normally, there will be another explanation for their yawning. If they allow you to do so, take a look at their teeth while they yawn.
Your cat may be experiencing dental pain, and is yawning to keep their mouth open. Bad breath, stained teeth or discolored gums are all signs of poor oral hygiene in cats.
Your pet may also be drooling, grinding their teeth, or pawing at the mouth. A cat with oral pain will also be uncharacteristically reluctant to eat. Naturally, if they won’t let you anywhere near their mouth, that’s another reason to suspect toothache.
You should also consider whether your cat is stressed or anxious. Yawning signifies contentment and relaxation. It also sends a message – mainly to other cats – that their company isn’t causing any consternation.
If they’re in a multi-cat household, a pet may constantly yawn to appear brave and confident. In reality, however, they are worried about bullying from a more dominant cat.
Equally, being stressed and anxious is exhausting for a cat. They may be yawning because remaining awake is a constant effort.
However, they’re too fretful to sleep. It’s an unpleasant Catch-22 for your unfortunate pet. In such a situation, spend some time alone with the cat in question. Take them to another room, and engage in some one-on-one playtime.
If the yawning stops during this activity, you have your answer. Observe the interaction between felines in the future, nipping any dominant behaviors in the bud.
Yawning among cats serves many purposes. More often than not, it’s a compliment. If your cat yawns they encounter you, they’re likely sending a message of trust and contentment. If it’s accompanied by a stretch, they’re saying that you’re a source of pleasure.
Once you understand why your cat is yawning, you open another line of communication. This can be invaluable for understanding your pet’s physical and mental state.