Sploot 101: 13 Animal Slang Words Every Pet Parent Should Know

The internet has given us all kinds of delightful slang terms for what our cats and dogs do, from ‘blep’ and ‘bork’ to ‘smol’ and ‘sploot.’

This cat is a floof.
This cat is a floof. / Westend61/Getty Images

For centuries, dogs were dogs and cats were cats. They did things like bark and drink water and lay down—actions that pet parents didn’t need a translator to understand.

Then the internet arrived. Scroll through the countless Facebook groups and Twitter accounts dedicated to sharing cute animal pictures and you’ll quickly see that dogs don’t have snouts, they have snoots. Cats, meanwhile, come in a colorful assortment of shapes and sizes ranging from smol to floof.

Pet meme language has been around long enough to start leaking into everyday conversation. If you're a pet owner (or lover) who doesn’t want to be out of the loop, here are the terms you need to know.

1. Sploot

View of the back legs of a a corgi puppy lying down
This corgi puppy is splooting. / Paul Park/Moment Open/Getty Images

You know your pet is fully relaxed when they’re doing a sploot. Like a split but for the whole body, a sploot occurs when a dog or cat stretches so their bellies are flat on the ground and their back legs are pointing behind them. The amusing pose may be a way for them to take advantage of the cool ground on a hot day, or just to feel a satisfying stretch in their hip flexors. (That said, according to Animal Wellness Magazine, “it’s not a normal position. Sometimes, dogs who ‘sploot’ their legs do so because they’re in pain. If your dog frequently lies this way, and his breed (or mix of breeds) is predisposed to hip dysplasia, visit the vet to rule out the condition, along with any associated secondary arthritis.”) Corgis are famous for the sploot, but any quadruped can do it if they’re flexible enough.

2. Blep

Gray cat with tongue sticking out
This cat is blepping. / Stefan Kellner / 500px Plus/Getty Images

If you’ve ever caught a cat or dog poking the tip of its tongue past its front teeth, you’ve seen a blep in action. A blep is subtle and often gone as quickly as it appears. Animal experts aren’t entirely sure why pets blep, but it’s been suggested that in cats it may have something to do with the Flehmen response, in which they use their tongues to “smell” the air.

3. Mlem

Mlems and bleps, though very closely related, aren’t exactly the same. While blep is a passive state of being, mlem is active. It’s what happens when a pet flicks its tongue in and out of its mouth, whether to slurp up water, taste food, or just lick the air in a derpy fashion. Dogs and cats do it, of course, but reptiles have also been known to mlem.

4. Floof

Pomeranian sitting in a field of yellow flowers
This dog is a certified floof. / Milda Ulpyt/500px/Getty Images

Some pets barely have any fur; others have coats so voluminous that hair appears to make up the bulk of their bodyweight. Dogs and cats in the latter group are known as floofs. Floofy animals will famously leave a wake of fur wherever they sit and can squeeze through tight spaces despite their enormous mass. Samoyeds, Pomeranians, and Persian cats are all prime examples of floofs.

5. Bork

Burmese Mountain Dog barking
This dog is borking. / Jill Lehmann Photography/Moment/Getty Images

According to some corners of the internet, dogs don’t bark—they bork. Listen carefully next time you’re around a vocal doggo and you won’t be able to unhear it.

6. Doggo

Speaking of doggos: This word isn’t hard to decode. Every dog—regardless of size, floofiness, or derpiness—can be a doggo. If you’re willing to get creative, the word can even be applied to non-dog animals like fennec foxes (a.k.a. special doggos) or seals (otherwise known as water doggos). The usage of doggo saw a spike in 2016 thanks to the internet and by the end of 2017 it was listed as one of Merriam-Webster’s “Words We’re Watching.”

7. Smol

Fluffy orange and white kitten walking
This kitten is very smol. / Elena Zaretskaya/Moment/Getty Images

Some pets are so adorably, unbearably tiny that using proper English to describe them just doesn’t cut it. Not every small pet is smol: To earn the label, a cat or dog (or kitten or puppy) must excel in both the tiny and cute departments. A pet that’s truly smol is likely to induce excited squees from everyone around it.

8. Pupper

Like the word doggo, pupper is self-explanatory: It can be used in place of the word puppy, but if you want to use it to describe a fully-grown doggo who’s particularly smol and cute, you can probably get away with it.

9. Boof

We’ve already established that doggos go bork, but that’s not the only sound they make. A low, deep bark—perhaps from a dog that can’t decide if it wants to expend its energy on a full bark—is best described as a boof. Consider a boof a warning bark before the real thing.

10. Snoot

Snoot was already a dictionary-official synonym for nose by the time dog meme culture took the internet by storm. But while snoot is rarely used to describe human faces today, it’s quickly becoming the preferred term for pet snouts. There was even a wholesome viral challenge dedicated to dogs poking their snoots through their owners’ hands.

11. Boop

Have you ever seen a dog snoot so cute you just had to reach out and tap it? And when you did, was your action accompanied by an involuntary “boop” sound? This urge is so universal that boop is now its own verb. Humans aren’t the only ones who can boop: Search the word on YouTube and treat yourself to hours of dogs, cats, and other animals exchanging the love tap.

12. Beans (or Toe Beans)

the paw pads of a black and white cat
Those are some very cute toe beans. / Catalin Tanasescu/Moment/Getty Images

The internet loves to refer to the paw pads of cats and dogs using the terms beans or toe beans. The latter phrase has more than 700,000 tags on Instagram.

13. Zoomies

If your dog goes absolutely wild, zinging all over the place, after they’ve pooped or had a bath, you’ve experienced the zoomies—or, if you want to use the actual scientific term, a Frenetic Random Activity Period (FRAP). “There is no known specific cause of FRAPs in dogs,” veterinarian Dr. Pamela J. Perry told Cornell’s Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center. “However, they appear to be a way to release pent-up energy, or perhaps, to alleviate stress. ... FRAPs also can occur whenever a dog becomes very excited (e.g., when an owner returns after a long absence).” Zoomies aren’t limited to dogs, either: Cats—even big cats—also experience them, as do elephants, horses, ferrets, rabbits, and more.

A version of this story ran in 2018; it has been updated for 2023.