It seems strange that your cat would yawn when he sees you, but it often happens when you walk over to your pet. You’d think that your feline would be pleased to see you after being gone for hours, but he appears to be indifferent or disinterested in your presence for some reason.
Table of Contents:
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. He 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.
1/ Feeling Relaxed
If your cat greets you with a yawn when he sees you, it would be easy to take offense. After all, it’s hardly a ringing endorsement that suggests that he considers 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 that he’s comfortable and confident around you.
A cat could also be announcing that he is feeling sleepy. If a feline feels vulnerable, he would never take such a risk. Yawning also floods a cat’s brain with oxygen. This means that he’ll become more alert, even if just for a short period of time.
A cat that yawns upon your arrival is calm and wants to spend time with you. He wants to stay awake for a little longer so that he can enjoy your company.
2/ Before and After Sleep
Cats will also yawn immediately before going to sleep and as soon as he wakes up. If it looks like he’s 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 other 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 a little longer. In addition, yawning can burn off excess energy. It may be your cat’s last action for a few hours before curling up for a doze.
Yawning is a universal sign of tiredness and boredom among humans. The same also applies for felines. Your cat may yawn when he sees you in order to announce that he lacks mental stimulation.
This isn’t as insulting as it sounds. Your cat is not yawning because he finds you dull. It’s not a case of, “oh great, this person again.” Instead, he yawns because he deems you a source of amusement. The action translates more as, “great! You’re here! Entertain me, please.”
Also, cats yawn when 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, he will need to yawn to kickstart his brain.
This behavior is most likely to manifest itself when a cat has his sleep disturbed. Your pet is also likely to yawn if you interrupt him while grooming or eating. These activities are very important to cats.
A cat yawns to demonstrate annoyance. How does yawning show annoyance? It means that he opens his mouth wide. When he does this, he shows you his many very sharp teeth.
Your cat is sending a reminder. Essentially, he is asking if you really want to mess with him. A particularly frustrated and angry cat will even swipe with a paw while yawning.
Don’t disturb his most cherished activities (sleeping, eating, etc), and you and your pet will get along just fine. Remember, your cat will come to find you when he wants something.
If your cat follows up his yawn with a meow, you are likely to be late with his dinner. You may not have noticed this, but your cat certainly has. He’s just bringing it to your attention.
When your cat starts getting tired, he’ll realize that it’s almost time for his snooze. He won’t want to close his eyes while hungry, though. As a result, he’ll remind you that dinner is past due. It’s likely that the yawning will stop once you open a tin of wet cat food and put it in his bowl.
Your cat will likely rub against you. This is because your cat is satisfied that you mean him no harm, but he still wants your attention. This rubbing is a reminder that your cat is around. Again, meeting his needs will see your cat scurry off.
If food is not the reason for the yawning, it will be boredom. Your cat’s yawn may be a subtle cue that he wants to be entertained. If you don’t respond to the yawn, then a meow will follow.
A meow is always your cat’s way of gaining your attention. He may just be saying hello, but it’s more likely that he wants something else. Meowing accompanied by a yawn usually means that the need is urgent. Your cat is either bored or tired. Once his needs are met, he’ll just move on.
6/ 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 he’ll do the same. This partly down to the fact that cats are natural imitators. He’ll watch his owner do something and do it himself.
Some felines do everything that their owners do. They’ll even eliminate in their litter tray when their owner goes to the bathroom. There is also a psychology behind infectious yawning, though. Whenever a yawn is released, it triggers a cautious response in the brain of a 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? Survival instinct will kick in and a cat will enjoy a big yawn too.
It’s possible that the other cat 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. He’s always poised to hunt prey that crosses his path or is ready to escape potential predators.
If another cat is yawning, it suggests that all is calm. This will also encourage your cat to relax.
7/ Medical Issue
Yawning 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. Does he also have shortness of breath?
This is a problem that will not rectify itself. Some cats struggle to breathe due to allergies, and others due to medical ailments. Either way, a vet will provide answers and the right treatment.
If your cat is otherwise breathing normally, there will be another explanation for his yawning. If he allows you to do so, take a look at his teeth while he yawns.
Your cat may be experiencing dental pain and is yawning to keep his 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 his teeth, or pawing at his mouth. A cat with oral pain will also be uncharacteristically reluctant to eat. Naturally, if he won’t let you anywhere near his mouth, that’s another reason to suspect toothache.
You should also consider whether your cat is stressed. Yawning signifies contentment and relaxation. It also sends a message, mainly to other cats, that their company isn’t causing any consternation.
If he’s in a multi-cat household, a pet may constantly yawn to appear brave and confident. In reality, he is likely to be worried about bullying from a more dominant cat.
Equally, being stressed and anxious is exhausting for a cat. He may be yawning because remaining awake is a constant effort. However, he’s too fretful to sleep. Spend some time alone with your cat. Take them to another room and engage in some one-on-one playtime.
Yawning among cats serves many purposes. More often than not, it’s a compliment. If your cat yawns when he encounters you, he’s likely sending a message of trust and contentment. If it’s accompanied by a stretch, he’s 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.