February 17, 2023

Why dogs and cats yawn when they see us!

Why dogs and cats yawn when they see us!
Dr. Chris Brown

Ever wondered why dogs and cats yawn in your face when they see you?! It might look like we’re boring them but it’s far from the case.

Oh and you might also discover if they can catch yawns like we do…

In a day that’s packed full of naps, I’ve always felt like the gesture most associated with sleepiness is the oddest of greetings when the most exciting person in their life (that’s you!) arrives home. But it’s not just homecomings when the yawn comes out. Just before a w-a-l-k is another yawny moment along with just before you pat them. Any cat parent will know this one all too well…

And while both dogs and cats will yawn when their bed time is approaching, that’s not why they’re doing it here.

Instead, this yawn serves a really unique function. It’s an appeasement gesture. Essentially, your furry family member is so overwhelmed with feelings of excitement (and even a little bit of stress) over what’s about to happen, that the yawn essentially buys them some time and makes them look relaxed to anyone that’s watching them.

Interestingly, the big intake of oxygen also helps their brain to focus and remain calm. So it’s also a self-soothing technique…

But maybe this ‘stress-yawn’ shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Us humans are compulsive yawners before a big speech, sports event or life milestone. It’s essentially the same thing.

Oh and in case you were wondering dogs and cats can catch yawns from each other and from us. Of course, the most empathetic little people in the world can do this. Just look at Buzzy and Cricket in my Valentine's Day video...

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