What Does It Mean When a Cat Yawns at You?

Have you ever looked at your feline friends and caught them yawning? It’s quite an amusing sight, especially when accompanied by a big stretch. However, have you ever wondered what it could mean when your cat yawns at you? Is it an indication of boredom, anger, or simply a way for them to communicate with you? In this blog, we explore the possible reasons behind your cat’s yawns and what it could mean for your relationship with them.

It’s a Sign of Relaxation

Just like humans, cats often yawn when they’re in a relaxed state. If you catch your cat yawning while lounging on their favorite spot or after a satisfying meal, then it could mean they’re simply feeling content. They could be indicating their comfort and trust in their surroundings and in your presence as their owner.

It’s a Way to Communicate

Cats are known for their non-verbal communication and yawns could be a part of it. When they yawn, they’re not only stretching their jaw muscles but also releasing pheromones. These pheromones can send messages to other cats or even to their owners. It could be their way of telling you they’re in the mood for some cuddles or they’re feeling relaxed and happy.

It Could Mean They’re Bored or Anxious

While yawning could indicate relaxation, it could also indicate boredom or anxiety. If your cat yawns frequently during playtime or when in a stressful situation, it could be a sign of boredom or anxiety. In such cases, you might want to create a more stimulating environment for them or consult your veterinarian for possible anxiety treatments.

It Could Indicate a Health Issue

Sometimes, excessive yawning could indicate a health issue in your cat. For example, they could be experiencing respiratory or heart problems that make them tired and short of breath. If you notice excessive yawning, accompanied by lethargy, difficulty breathing, or any other unusual symptoms, it’s best to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

It Could Mean They’re Tired

Lastly, yawning could simply mean your cat is tired or sleepy. Just like humans, cats yawn when they’re feeling drowsy or preparing to sleep. If your cat yawns at you during bedtime, then it’s a sign they’re ready to call it a day and retire to their favorite snoozing spot.

Cat Yawning is Innate Behaviour

Cats, like most animals, have innate behaviors that they instinctively perform. Yawning is one of these behaviors, and it’s something that they do from the time they are kittens. It’s not something that they learn from their environment or their owners, but a natural act that is part of their biological makeup.

Yawning Helps Oxygenation

Yawning serves a physiological function in cats. It helps to bring more oxygen into the blood when the carbon dioxide levels are too high. This is similar to why humans yawn. When your cat yawns, it’s often because they need an extra boost of oxygen to help them stay alert and active.

Cat Yawns are Contagious to Humans

Interestingly, some studies suggest that cat yawns might be contagious to humans, much like human yawns can be contagious to other humans. Seeing your cat yawn could trigger a yawn in you, thanks to our empathetic nature and close bond with our pets. So next time you find yourself yawning after your cat, you know why!

Yawning Indicates Satiety

After a good meal, cats often yawn as a sign of satisfaction and repletion. This is another instance where yawning is similar between cats and humans. If you see your cat yawning after finishing their food, it’s a good sign that they’re full and satisfied.

Frequency of Yawning

Cats don’t yawn as frequently as humans do. On average, a cat may yawn a few times throughout the day, generally when they’re transitioning from one state (like sleeping or resting) to another (like active play or feeding). If your cat is yawning more frequently than this, it could be a sign of an underlying issue.

Yawning During Play

Cats may yawn during play as a way to signal that they’re enjoying themselves. However, excessive yawning during play could be a sign of fatigue or overstimulation. If your cat seems to be yawning a lot during play, it might be time to give them a break.

Yawning and Stretching

Cats often combine yawning with stretching, especially when they’re waking up from a nap. This combination of yawning and stretching helps to wake up the body and get the blood flowing, preparing the cat for the activities ahead.

Yawning is Not Always a Yawn

Sometimes what looks like a yawn may actually be a cat opening its mouth wide due to a dental issue or other oral discomfort. If your cat seems to be ‘yawning’ excessively or the ‘yawns’ seem to be causing distress, it’s worth getting a vet’s evaluation.

Yawning and Age

As cats age, they may yawn more frequently. This could be due to a variety of factors, including changes in sleep patterns, decreased activity levels, or underlying health issues. If your older cat has started yawning more than usual, it’s a good idea to mention it to your vet.

Yawning Can Be a Stress Signal

In some cases, frequent yawning could be a sign that your cat is stressed or anxious. If you notice your cat yawning a lot in a new or stressful environment, it could be their way of trying to calm themselves down.

Understanding Your Cat’s Yawn

Ultimately, understanding your cat’s yawns comes down to knowing your cat and observing their normal behavior. If your cat’s yawning habits suddenly change or they seem distressed, it’s best to consult with a vet. Remember, every cat is unique, and what is normal for one cat may not be normal for another.



In conclusion, the next time you catch your cat yawning, take a moment to decipher what they could be communicating. Whether it’s relaxation, communication, boredom, anxiety, or tiredness, their yawns could reveal a lot about their mood, emotions, and health. Understanding your cat’s non-verbal cues, including yawning, can strengthen your bond and lead to a happier and healthier relationship.