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Chewing on nothing

Pickerz

Savannah Super Cat
#1
Thunder, our F2, likes to 'chew' on nothing. At first I thought he picked up something off of the floor and was really chewing on it, but observing him carefully the past couple of months, he will actually just start 'chewing' on nothing. Last vet visit they looked at his teeth and in his mouth but didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Does anyone else have a cat that likes to chew on air?
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#2
I have an F1 that has always done this, she's over 6 years old now. I don't know why, and I've taken her to the vet and they don't see any reason for the behavior either. It's usually when she's settling down for a nap or cuddle though, not when moving about or doing something else. Not sure why she has the habit, but she does and it doesn't seem to do her any harm...
 

Marissa

Savannah Super Cat
#3
Tegra does it also, she also does a grinding thing with her teeth when you have a finger close to or touching the side of her mouth. It's pretty funny
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
#5
The fake chewing thing is just how they stimulate the smell glands in their mouth. Definitely a bit weird to watch and my wife and I refer to it as the nom noms. Our big boy did it all the time and according to our vet it's the sense of smell through their mouth which is more acute than through the nose. In other words just taking the big sniff.
 
#7
Cats actually have an organ in their mouth that assists their sense of smell... (Just to follow up on the other post up there...) I'm not sure if that's why they'd be chewing though? Usually, when cats do this- they get that strange open mouth face. Who knows, though? Cats are silly!

" In addition to being able to smell with their nose, cats also have a special sensory organ called the vomeronasal organ or Jacobson's organ. Located in the roof of the cat's mouth behind the teeth, the Jacobson's organ consists of two fluid-filled sacs that connect to the cat's nasal cavity."

http://www.pet-tails.com/LPMArticle.asp?ID=351
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
#8
Cats actually have an organ in their mouth that assists their sense of smell... (Just to follow up on the other post up there...) I'm not sure if that's why they'd be chewing though? Usually, when cats do this- they get that strange open mouth face. Who knows, though? Cats are silly!

"In addition to being able to smell with their nose, cats also have a special sensory organ called the vomeronasal organ or Jacobson's organ. Located in the roof of the cat's mouth behind the teeth, the Jacobson's organ consists of two fluid-filled sacs that connect to the cat's nasal cavity."

http://www.pet-tails.com/LPMArticle.asp?ID=351
Yep Trish, that's it the Jacobson organ!

Just a guess, is that the chewing motion makes air move over the gland stimulating that more acute sense of smell and of course the cat has no idea why they are doing it. When their is actually something there to smell then the Dracula pose and as we all know there isn't much mistaking the odor that brings that on.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#9
Cats actually have an organ in their mouth that assists their sense of smell... (Just to follow up on the other post up there...) I'm not sure if that's why they'd be chewing though? Usually, when cats do this- they get that strange open mouth face. Who knows, though? Cats are silly!

"In addition to being able to smell with their nose, cats also have a special sensory organ called the vomeronasal organ or Jacobson's organ. Located in the roof of the cat's mouth behind the teeth, the Jacobson's organ consists of two fluid-filled sacs that connect to the cat's nasal cavity."

http://www.pet-tails.com/LPMArticle.asp?ID=351
Yes, I see all the cats do that, when they are smelling something that is obviously really "good" they do the open-mouthed smelling... but when Missy does the chewing thing she is usually curled up for a nap, not smelling anywhere special. I think the two things are separate...
 

Ashley

Savannah Super Cat
#10
The fake chewing thing is just how they stimulate the smell glands in their mouth. Definitely a bit weird to watch and my wife and I refer to it as the nom noms. Our big boy did it all the time and according to our vet it's the sense of smell through their mouth which is more acute than through the nose. In other words just taking the big sniff.
I love the nom noms. lol Thats what we call Kovu's food. "You ready for some nom nomz?" :D