A cat yawning and stretching is also called pandiculation. It is an involuntary behavior that allows your cat to communicate with other animals and humans. It combines stretching, contraction, and breathing, which humans also tend to do. Cats do it as part of their daily ritual upon waking up to prepare for the day.
Cat yawning and stretching: What does it mean?
Here are the probable meanings of a cat yawning and stretching:
1. Cats do it to remove the excess carbon dioxide from their system.
One of the theories given by scientists is that cats yawn and stretch to rid their bodies of carbon dioxide. It is a sign that they are craving more oxygen, which is replenished by pandiculation.
2. Cats do it to remove tiredness and fatigue.
According to Dr. Hugh Matthews of Cambridge University, yawning and stretching have little to do with breathing, but they have other functions, like diminishing tiredness and fatigue. His research shows that the flexing of the body while boosting oxygen intake keeps the cat alert and awakens the body.
3. Cats do it to communicate with other cats.
Cat experts agree that cats communicate with other felines through yawning and stretching. Showing their teeth as they yawn could mean “These are sharp teeth, do not mess with me!” Cats also flex and stretch their bodies to signify that they are in control of a situation and that they are relaxed.
4. Cats do it to express boredom.
Another theory as to why cats yawn and stretch is that they are bored, just as humans tend to yawn when watching a boring movie.
5. Cats do it to prepare for action.
Cats twist and extend their muscles by yawning and stretching. They do this before going from inactivity to hyperactivity, like going on a fast run. They loosen their bodies to allow for fluid activity, which is similar to how humans stretch before a workout.
Why do cats stretch?
Cats stretch because of the following reasons:
It increases blood pressure.
A cat’s blood pressure drops if a cat is inactive for a long time or while she sleeps. Stretching escalates the blood pressure to a normal level. It increases the amount of blood flowing to the brain and muscles. The increased blood flow allows the cat to wake up and become alert.
It helps to flush out toxins from a cat’s body.
Cat experts believe that stretching flushes out the toxins and waste products that have built up in a cat’s body. These toxins include carbon dioxide and lactic acid. When a cat stretches, it increases blood and lymph circulation, which helps flush out toxins.
It helps the muscles to stay limber.
Stretching the joints and muscles allows a cat to spring into action and hunt for prey. A cat with stiff muscles cannot chase or hunt efficiently. Stretching elongates muscle fibers which makes her more agile.
It feels good.
Cats sleep for 12 to 16 hours a day, with periods of both light and deep sleep. Having a good stretch upon waking makes them feel good, just as humans relish a nice, long stretch after waking up in the morning.
What does it mean when your cat stretches in front of you?
When a cat stretches in front of you, it means that you make her content; she is comfortable and relaxed. She is showing how secure she feels in your presence. It could also mean that your cat is trying to catch your attention. Some cats will stretch out their feet and extend their claws so that they come in contact with the part of their owner’s body closest to them. This often elicits a response or reaction from their owners.
What does it mean when a cat yawns a lot?
Cats may yawn a lot to expel excess carbon dioxide. Too much carbon dioxide indicates that a cat’s body is craving more oxygen. This can be remedied when a cat takes a big, deep yawn. Cat experts believe that felines yawn to communicate and to keep from nodding off.
Here are probable reasons why cats yawn:
- They yawn due to tiredness.
- They yawn to regulate their temperature since they do not sweat through their skin.
- They yawn as a show of dominance.
- They yawn as a sign of boredom.
Is yawning a sign of stress in cats?
There are no recent studies to support the theory that yawning is a sign of stress in cats. Felines experience stress and anxiety but they manifest it by peeing outside the litter box, losing their appetites, hiding, and excessive grooming.
Cats yawn and stretch upon waking up. They do this to remove the tiredness and fatigue. Cat experts believe that felines also do it to remove the excess carbon dioxide in their system. They may also do it to express boredom, to prepare for action, or to communicate with other cats and humans.
Image: istockphoto.com / Erfun SH