Every cat parent has seen this at some point and we often laugh at it. You know, when cats open their mouths when sniffing something intensely? Sometimes it looks like they go into a trance with their mouths open. It’s cute, but we’ve always wondered why they do this.
We asked our online community about this and some believed this to only be when cats smell something stinky. But what is “stinky” to our cats? I mean, come on… our cats love the stinkiest of foods and treats. Most cat parents have wondered why cats open their mouths like this as well.
So, of course, we did some research on the topic so as to bring you some fun knowledge.
As it turns out, cats have a sensory organ on the roof of their mouths called the vomeronasal organ that helps them better identify the scent. This organ is connected to the nasal cavity so, in sense, they can taste the smell. They call this the “flehmen reaction” and it makes a cat’s sense of smell way more intense than a human’s.
Sometimes you see this when your cat is sniffing another one of your pet’s butts. This is likely due to trying to identify a territorial aspect and not because it stinks to them. Our kitties do this sometimes just sniffing the rug intensely. I sure hope our house doesn’t smell bad! Because cats use their smellers as a way to feel more comfortable and secure, the fact that they can smell through their mouths (essentially) is actually a great thing!