Cat Licking Lips A Lot After Eating

Cat licking lips a lot after eating refers to when a cat excessively licks its lips and mouth for an extended period after finishing a meal. This behavior may indicate the cat ate something irritating or has nausea. Cat licking lips a lot after eating can also result from dental disease, oral infections, or a foreign object caught in the mouth.

Cat licking lips a lot after eating – this peculiar post-meal feline behavior of persistent lip smacking and mouth movement seems innocent enough, but could signal an underlying issue requiring veterinary attention. Excessive lip licking and strange mouth behaviors in cats should never be dismissed as just a random quirk.

Cats normally lick their lips and mouths a bit after eating, but cat licking lips a lot after eating means this behavior continues for longer than usual. Possible causes include nausea, food allergies, oral pain from problems like stomatitis or tooth resorption, and obstructions in the mouth irritating the cat.

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Why Does My Cat Lick Its Lips Excessively After Eating Cat Food?

It’s common for cats to groom themselves and lick their lips a bit after eating as part of their normal cleaning routine. However, excessive lip licking that continues well past finishing a meal may signal an underlying issue. Possible causes include nausea, food sensitivities, oral pain from dental problems, and foreign objects caught in the mouth. 

Determining why does my cat drag my clothes around your cat smacks its lips persistently after eating requires assessing other symptoms and getting a veterinary exam to pinpoint the reason. Persistent lip licking and strange mouth movement after your cat eats may seem harmless. 

But this peculiar behavior could indicate nausea, discomfort, or a more serious health problem requiring veterinary attention. It’s important not to dismiss excessive post-meal lip smacking as just a harmless quirk. Paying attention to the context and your cat’s symptoms helps determine whether a vet visit is needed.

Is this normal cat behavior after eating cat food?

It’s perfectly normal for cats to lick their lips and clean their mouths a bit after eating. However, most cats finish grooming themselves within 15-30 minutes after a meal. Excessive lip licking that continues well past this time frame is not normal cat behavior. 

If your cat seems obsessively preoccupied with smacking and licking its lips long after finishing its food, take note of other symptoms and talk to your vet. While a small amount of lip licking after a meal is normal, persistent licking and lip smacking behaviors that last over 30 minutes after eating are not typical. 

Constant lip movement and licking after food likely indicates an underlying issue causing your cat discomfort or nausea. This abnormal behavior warrants paying attention to other symptoms and consulting your veterinarian.

Should I be concerned about excessive lip licking in cats after eating?

Yes, excessive lip licking after a cat eats is a concerning behavior that may indicate an illness or injury. Causes can range from simple food sensitivities to serious conditions like oral cancer. It’s important not to dismiss persistent lip smacking after meals as just an odd quirk. Look for other symptoms suggesting nausea, discomfort, or trouble eating. 

Schedule a vet visit to identify the source of the problem. You should pay close attention to a cat that licks its lips obsessively after meals, as this is not normal behavior. Constant lip smacking likely signals discomfort, nausea, or a food sensitivity. 

It may also result from dental disease, oral ulcers, or foreign objects lodged in the mouth. Excessive post-meal lip licking warrants a trip to the vet for an exam and diagnosis. Catching the underlying cause early improves chances for an easy treatment.

What does post-meal lip smacking indicate in cats?

Frequent lip licking after a cat finishes eating may indicate nausea, food sensitivities, oral pain, or obstructions in the mouth. Nausea can stem from food allergies, toxicity, kidney issues, cancer, and other illnesses causing tummy troubles. Oral pain can signal stomatitis, tooth resorption, or foreign bodies stuck in the mouth. 

Excessive lip movement and licking after meals suggests an underlying issue making the cat uncomfortable. Working with your vet helps accurately diagnose the cause and determine appropriate treatment to relieve symptoms.

Increased lip licking specifically after meals can be the body’s way of responding to discomfort stemming from that food. It may signal nausea from a food allergy or sensitivity. It may also indicate oral pain from dental issues or mouth injuries interfering with normal eating.

Could My Cat Have Nausea After Eating Certain cat foods?

Some cats can develop nausea after eating certain cat foods. Cats have sensitive stomachs and may experience nausea if a cat food ingredient disagrees with them or triggers an allergy. For example, some cats have difficulty digesting proteins like chicken, beef, or fish. 

A cat food with an ingredient that irritates the stomach lining or causes inflammation can lead to feelings of nausea. Contaminants or spoilage in cat food may cause nausea. If your cat ate a new food recently before displaying signs of nausea like lip licking or lack of appetite, the cat food could be suspect.

It’s possible the cat food itself contains something that is causing your cat’s nausea. Check the ingredients and look for anything new that your cat hasn’t eaten before. Also examine the food for signs of spoilage like an odd smell, texture changes, or mold. 

If the food seems spoiled, it could definitely be causing tummy troubles. Try transitioning your cat to a bland diet like boiled chicken and rice then gradually reintroduce their normal food later. If nausea persists, see your vet.

Does my cat have food allergies causing nausea from cat food?

Food allergies in cats can definitely manifest with nausea symptoms after eating trigger ingredients. Cats with food allergies develop inflammation in their gastrointestinal tract when they eat certain proteins, additives, or other components that don’t agree with them. 

This inflammation then leads to a feeling of nausea. Some cats may also experience vomiting along with nausea due to food allergies. If your cat displays signs of nausea like excessive lip licking, swallowing, or loss of appetite after eating certain cat foods, but not others, they may have a food allergy. For example, your cat may feel fine after eating a turkey-based food, but become nauseous after consuming chicken or fish varieties. 

Identifying the trigger is key. If your cat repeatedly develops nausea after eating the same cat food or type of protein, consult your vet about possible food allergies. They can help you identify the offending ingredient and recommend an elimination diet to confirm diagnosis. Then your cat can transition to a hypoallergenic cat food that avoids their nausea and allergy triggers.

Is there something wrong with the cat food causing stomach upset?

It’s possible for your cat’s cat food itself to cause stomach upset leading to nausea. First, examine if the cat food has spoiled – contamination and spoilage like mold can definitely cause nausea. Also, a diet change or new food can trigger nausea. 

Transition changes slowly over a week. Additionally, lower quality cat foods with more fillers, byproducts, and additives tend to be harder to digest. And difficulty digesting ingredients can result in nausea. Any of these cat food issues could be causing your cat’s signs of nausea.

If your cat displays nausea every time they eat a certain cat food, the food is likely problematic. 

Try transitioning your cat to a bland diet like boiled chicken and rice to give their stomach a rest. Then gradually switch them to a high quality cat food with simpler, easy to digest ingredients. Avoid cheap fillers, byproducts, and artificial additives which are more likely to cause stomach upset.

Is frequent lip licking a sign of nausea in cats?

Excessive lip licking and smacking is one of the most common outward signs of nausea in cats. Cats experiencing nausea may drool and repeatedly lick their lips and mouth. This is similar behavior to a human feeling queasy. Along with excessive lip licking, other possible signs of nausea in cats include lethargy, swallowing frequently, enlarged pupils, salivating more than normal, and lack of appetite. 

If your cat starts displaying any of these symptoms frequently, especially the lip smacking, they likely have a nauseous stomach. Frequent lip licking on its own may not definitively diagnose nausea, but combined with changes in appetite or behavior, it is highly suggestive. If you notice your cat licking their lips often and acting differently after meals, monitor them closely. 

Look for signs of distress like hiding, vocalizing, or changes in litter box habits. Persistent nausea can indicate an underlying health issue. Contact your vet if nausea symptoms persist beyond 24 hours or cause lethargy. Getting to the source of the tummy trouble is important.

Does my cat have stomatitis causing lip smacking after eating cat food?

Stomatitis is a common inflammatory condition affecting a cat’s mouth that causes significant discomfort. The inflammation often extends to the gums and tongue. Cats with stomatitis frequently exhibit excessive lip licking and strange mouth behaviors like lip smacking due to the oral pain, especially after irritating the inflamed tissue by eating cat food. 

Determining if stomatitis is the cause requires a veterinary oral exam to visualize the inflammation and rule out other dental issues. Stomatitis typically requires long-term treatment to manage as there is no cure.

If my cat smacks her lips repeatedly after eating cat food, she may have underlying stomatitis causing her discomfort. The vet will check for inflamed gums and mouth ulcers to diagnose stomatitis. Managing this oral disease will be key to stopping my cat’s painful lip smacking after she eats.

Is tooth resorption the culprit behind strange mouth behaviors post-meal?

Tooth resorption, a common dental disease in cats, can cause significant oral pain leading to strange mouth behaviors like excessive lip licking after irritating the damaged teeth by eating cat food. 

Resorption breaks down the tooth structure, exposing sensitive nerve tissue and making eating uncomfortable. Diagnosing resorption requires full dental X-rays to see below the gumline where the damage occurs. Depending on the severity, treatment may involve antibiotics, pain medication, or tooth extraction.

My cat may have undiagnosed tooth resorption, and eating cat food could be irritating her damaged teeth and making her lick her lips excessively afterwards due to oral pain. My vet needs to thoroughly examine her mouth and take dental X-rays to check for hidden resorption under the gums as a possible cause.

Can foreign objects lodged in the mouth lead to excessive lip licking in cats?

A foreign object lodged in a cat’s mouth, like a grass awn, can cause irritation, inflammation, and potential infection. Having something stuck or poking the soft mouth tissues is very uncomfortable for a cat. The pain may cause a cat to paw at its mouth then repeatedly lick its lips after further irritating the area by eating cat food. 

Diagnosing a foreign object requires a veterinarian to fully examine the mouth. Treatment involves removing the object and managing any resulting infection or inflammation.

If my cat has a foreign object like a foxtail stuck in her lip, it would hurt when she eats cat food. 

She may lick her lips excessively afterwards trying to soothe the irritated area. My vet needs to thoroughly check my cat’s mouth to find and remove anything lodged that might be causing persistent lip licking after she eats.

Should I switch my cat to a different cat food?

Switching cat food may help stop excessive post-meal lip licking if your cat has a food allergy or sensitivity to an ingredient in their current food. Try a limited ingredient cat food with a novel protein and carbohydrate source. For example, switch from chicken and rice-based cat food to salmon and sweet potato. 

Transition slowly over 5-7 days, mixing more of the new food each day. If lip smacking persists on the new diet, your cat likely doesn’t have a food allergy causing this behavior.

Cats can develop intolerances to ingredients they’ve eaten for years. An elimination diet trial is the only way to definitively diagnose food allergies in cats. 

Work with your vet to choose an appropriate limited ingredient diet and determine if it resolves your cat’s problematic lip licking after meals. If the behavior stops, you’ve identified the culprit. Then reintroduce ingredients one at a time to pinpoint the exact triggers.

Does my cat need medications for nausea or allergies?

If your cat’s excessive lip licking stems from nausea or allergies, medications may provide relief. For nausea, your vet can prescribe anti-nausea drugs like Cerenia to control vomiting and settle your cat’s stomach. If diagnosed with food allergies or environmental allergies causing gastric distress, steroids help reduce inflammation and subsequent nausea.

Allergy medications also directly target itchy skin, respiratory issues, and other symptoms prompting post-meal lip licking. Cats with proven environmental allergies benefit greatly from Apoquel or Cytopoint injections which interrupt the allergy pathway. These meds provide sustained relief between doses.

Does my cat require veterinary dental treatment?

If oral health issues like stomatitis, tooth resorption, or foreign objects lodged in the mouth cause your cat’s excessive post-meal lip licking, professional dental care is likely needed. Your vet will perform a complete oral exam, dental x-rays, and possibly an oral surgery to treat disease and remove problematic teeth. 

Extractions provide lasting relief from dental pain prompting lip licking. Cats won’t show obvious signs of dental problems. Persistent lip smacking after eating can indicate hidden mouth pain. Schedule a veterinary dental cleaning and evaluation even if your cat’s teeth look healthy. 

Addressing underlying oral disease and inflammation is key to stopping this irritating lip licking behavior. Your cat will feel much better after treatment. Expect the lip smacking to resolve once their mouth no longer hurts.

When Should I See the Vet About My Cat’s Lip Smacking and Licking After Consuming Cat Food?

If your cat continues licking its lips excessively after meals, especially accompanied by signs like gagging, trouble swallowing, or loss of appetite, schedule a veterinary visit. Persistent post-meal lip smacking in cats can indicate nausea, oral pain, or other issues requiring attention. 

It’s important to have your vet evaluate your cat sooner rather than later when this behavior persists. Don’t wait to bring your cat to the vet if lip licking after eating continues for more than a day or two. The longer the issue goes on, the more likely your cat may become dehydrated or the underlying cause could worsen. 

What diagnostics help identify the cause of increased lip licking in cats?

Diagnostic tests like blood work, urinalysis, allergy testing, and imaging help find the root cause of a cat’s increased lip licking. Blood panels check for conditions causing nausea and oral inflammation. Urinalysis detects urinary tract infections potentially connected to the behavior. 

Allergy testing determines if food or environmental allergens play a role. Dental x-rays identify hidden oral disease. In addition to standard diagnostics, your vet may also analyze the ingredients in your cat’s food or perform an oral exam to inspect for foreign objects stuck in the mouth. Exploring all possible reasons through testing is key to stopping post-meal lip smacking. 

How can my vet determine if an oral health issue causes my cat’s lip licking?

Veterinarians use visual oral exams, dental probes, dental x-rays, and lab tests to pinpoint whether dental disease contributes to a cat’s lip licking. The oral exam checks for red inflamed gums, mouth ulcers, and loose painful teeth pointing to stomatitis, gingivitis or resorption. Dental radiographs spot abscesses and bone loss. Blood work helps diagnose infection.

If the vet discovers no clear dental issues from a standard exam, further exploration like full mouth x-rays under anesthesia may be warranted. Getting to the bottom of potential mouth pain leading to lip licking is imperative. Determining oral health’s role guides treatment to provide your cat relief and comfort.

What is the treatment for post-meal lip licking and mouth behavior issues in cats?

Treatment targets the specific underlying cause of a cat’s bothersome lip licking after eating. Anti-nausea medication, changing to a hypoallergenic diet, antibiotics for infection, steroids to reduce inflammation, and dental cleaning or tooth extraction all represent potential treatment options.

Solving the root problem through tailored treatment is vital to stopping the troubling lip smacking behavior. For example, a cat with severe stomatitis requires tooth removal for the inflammation and pain leading to excessive lip licking to resolve. Follow your vet’s treatment plan closely to successfully ease your cat’s discomfort and address post-meal lip licking.


Is it normal for my cat to lick its lips after eating?

Yes, cats often lick their lips to groom themselves after eating, but excessive lip licking may signal a health issue.

What does it mean if my cat won’t stop licking its lips after a meal?

Frequent lip licking after eating can indicate nausea, dental pain, oral irritation, or other problems requiring veterinary attention.

Could my cat’s non stop lip licking be caused by its food or allergies?

Excessive post-meal lip licking may result from food allergies, intolerances, or something unpalatable in your cat’s diet causing nausea.

How can I tell if my cat’s constant lip smacking is from mouth pain?

Signs like drooling, pawing at the mouth, bad breath, and decreased appetite alongside excessive lip licking can mean oral pain or infection.

When should I take my cat to the vet for persistent lip licking after meals?

Schedule a veterinary visit promptly if lip licking persists for over a day or two to determine and address the underlying cause.


Excessive cat licking lips a lot after eating can indicate an underlying health issue requires veterinary attention. Causes range from nausea and food sensitivity to oral pain from conditions like stomatitis. Getting to the root cause via exams and diagnostics is key to tailored treatment. 

Anti-nausea medication, diet change, antibiotics, steroids, or dental care may resolve the bothersome post-meal lip smacking. Bring your cat to the vet if lip licking persists after meals to pinpoint the reason and remedy their discomfort promptly.

While some post-meal lip licking is normal feline behavior, cat licking lips a lot after eating continues frequently long after your cat finishes eating. It signals a problem making them uncomfortable. 

Working with your veterinarian to determine if nausea, allergies, infection, inflammation, or dental disease leads to excessive lip smacking allows problems to be solved through proper care. Getting the right treatment relieves the cat’s irritation and stops the constant lip licking.

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