Why do cats shake their head when they eat?

In this brief discussion, we will answer the question “Why do cats shake their head when they eat?” We will also talk about whether it is normal for cats to shake their head while eating and the possible health concerns that may be causing the increased frequency of such behaviour.

Why do cats shake their head when they eat?

Cats occasionally toss their head and shake off any extra food after chewing too much. One reason for doing this is that the cat wants to rip the food apart while eating. 

Another reason is because the tongue is too stiff to allow the cat to move the food into a good position for eating, thus it can only do it by shaking its head.

Your cat will typically show that she is enjoying her meal by giving a slight head shake. But it can also mean they’re having trouble chewing, perhaps because of dental problems. Hypoglycemia is a more likely cause if your cat shakes more violently and trembles when eating.

Is it normal for cats to shake their head while eating?

Yes, it is normal. Keep in mind that only recurrent head shaking is abnormal; the occasional shaking is completely natural. Some obvious reasons why your cat is shaking its head while eating are as follows:

  • Your cat may occasionally shake its head while diving its head into the food bowl. This is because it is trying to grab smaller food pieces that are simpler and quicker to chew.
  • When eating, your cat may shake its head to indicate that the meal is exquisite and to express their gratitude.They are showing you their appreciation and letting you know how much they appreciate the food you gave them!

Do cats shake their heads while eating because of health issues?

Yes, there could be a serious underlying health issue that is making your cat behave like this. Your cat might be experiencing:

  • Dental issues: 

Additionally, it’s possible that your cat is having trouble eating because they have a dental condition like gingivitis, uncomfortable swollen gums, or teeth cavities. All of these ailments are rather typical in cats, and 28% to 68% of all adult cats will experience tooth loss due to resorption lesions.

All dental problems result in mouth pain of some description, which can make eating quite difficult. Along with weight reduction, this may also result in a decrease in appetite and a resistance to eating. 

When your cat does eat, they could shake their heads to indicate pain and to aid in breaking up their mouthful into smaller pieces without exerting as much force on their teeth and gums.

  • Hypoglycemia:

A condition known as hypoglycemia is typically indicated by a cat trembling while eating. Your cat will experience a dangerously low blood sugar level at this point, making them feel dizzy and trembling. Other symptoms brought on by these low blood sugar levels include agitation, confusion, and seizures.

Since hypoglycemia frequently results from prolonged fasting, it is crucial to never go more than 12 hours without eating. Similar to humans, a cat’s glucose reserves can be depleted by prolonged, intense exercise, which results in hypoglycemia.

Why else do cats shake their heads?

If your cat is shaking its head even while not eating, one of the following explanations might be causing it:

Parasites living inside your cat’s ears

The most frequent cause of cats shaking their heads is mites. Your cat has these little parasites living inside its ears, which makes it scratch and itch. Your cat will shake their head a lot as a result of the itching and an attempt to flick the mites off. 

Your cat twitches while sleeping? This may also be a mite symptom!

Your cat probably has an ear infection

While there are no apparent mites on your cat’s head, ear infections may be the cause of its constant head shaking. Again, the redness and itching of the infected ear causes cats to shake their heads more frequently than usual.

There might be a foreign body troubling your cat

It’s possible that your cat managed to trap a foreign object in its ear. This might be a leaf, a bug, or even a piece of one of their cat toys. They will shake their head to try to move the object if it is lodged in the ear canal.

What to do if a cat is shaking its head a lot?

First of all, do not attempt to look inside your cat’s ears or push anything inside it if you observe that it is shaking its head frequently or if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Doing so could lead to an even greater issue.

To make sure your cat is secure and healthy, take it to the vet and request a number of tests. Be a responsible pet owner, always.


We answered the question “Why do cats shake their head when they eat?” We also talked about whether it is normal for cats to shake their head while eating and the possible health concerns that may be causing the increased frequency of such behaviour.



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