Cat Licking Lips? Find Out The Reasons Why!

cat smack lips
(Last Updated On: April 17, 2021)

I have a three year old cat who keeps doing this weird thing where he licks or smacks his lips out of the blue. Although I took it lightly when it first happened, as time progressed, I got curious and just a little concerned as to why this was happening.

Also Read: The reasons why your cat licks you

Cat Licking Lips: Why Does My Cat Do It?

I realized from researching that although it may have seemed cute in the beginning, this weird cat keeps licking lips habit wasn’t a laughing matter. I soon learned that lip smacking in cats could actually be symptomatic of some issues, such as:

1. Ptyalism

Pytalism is a physical disorder associated with excessive salivating. Your kitty may be having inordinate amounts of saliva that she can’t manage. Hence, the constant lip smacking.
It’s okay if she just licks her lips every now and then but if she starts doing it more often, it’s not good. Other symptoms associated with pytalism include nausea, loss of appetite and even vomiting.

2. Xerostomia

Another cause for lip smacking in cats could be xerostomia. This is another word for dry mouth syndrome.

Other symptoms of this disease include pushing out of the tongue while your cat is licking their lips. This condition mostly affects older cats who’re experiencing renal failure. It’s often accompanied by extreme drying of the gums, so look out for that as well.

Also Read: What does my cat’s trilling mean?

3. Vomiting

Cats usually lick their lips excessively after a bout of throwing up, and this is often accompanied by increased salivation and constant swallowing.

If your cat is experiencing any of these symptoms in addition to vomiting on an ongoing basis, then ring your vet to identify and solve the problem.

4. Dental problems

Another possible reason for a cat licking lips could be due to dental problems. Such as having a broken tooth, or an object stuck in the mouth or even a troublesome abscessed tooth.


The best way to determine if this is the cause would be to take her to get checked out by the vet.

5. An upset stomach

Your cat may have just eaten something that didn’t agree with her and that’s why your cat keeps licking lips. If this is the case, then your cat will also most likely be experiencing fatigue and have no appetite.

This turned out to be the case for my tabby. After her stomach problems were treated, she went back to being her jolly self again. Now she only licks her lips when she’s grooming herself, or when she’s savoring the aftertaste of her favorite treat.


Other causes for constant cat licking lips and lip-smacking include having an ulcer in the stomach (very serious), pancreatitis and liver disease. Because of these, your cat might start neglecting to groom him/herself, which only worsens the perception of their condition.

The best recourse to take whenever you see unusual behavior in your cat, is to take her in for a checkup at the vet.


Cat keeps licking lips? This will help identify the problem and give you peace of mind at knowing that there is a solution to it, and the sooner the better. All the best in caring for your much loved cat, and here’s to enjoying many more (healthful) memories with them.


  • Dana says:

    Lip smacking is also a common symptom of renal insufficiency. Gastrin stimulates release of stomach acid, and gastrin is normally excreted by the kidneys. If your cat has inadequate kidney function, gastric builds up and it can result in excess stomach acid. This makes the cat feel sick (like heartburn), and it may stop eating. Antacid medication may help, if this is the cause. Get a thorough workup from your vet if your cat is lip smacking.

  • Diane says:

    My cat was just to the vet and had bloodwork done there were no problems. But today she started licking her lips and then swallowed hard after that. What could be wrong?

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