• Home
  • /
  • Cat Care
  • /
  • Cats Under Blankets (Why Do Cats Like Going Under Covers and Blankets)

Cats Under Blankets (Why Do Cats Like Going Under Covers and Blankets)

Posted in: Cat Care - Last Updated: January 9, 2024 - Author: Dexter Jones
Posted in Cat Care 
Last Updated: November 28, 2022  
Author:  Dexter Jones

There are many weird places cats like to spend time. One of their preferences is under the covers and blankets. 

While it may seem like a randomly chosen place, there are several logical reasons why cats love crawling under blankets, including warmth, stress relief, and a desire to play. Let's take a look at other reasons for this unusual burrower kitty habit.

So why do cats like sleeping under blankets? There are a variety of reasons.

cats under blankets

Cats Under Blankets - What Are They Doing?

Hiding is a part of their lifestyle. It's a skill embedded in their DNA that hasn't disappeared even after their domestication from wild cats. In fact, domestic cats preserved many of their wild cousins' instincts and skills.

Reasons Cats Burrow Under Blankets

Hiding Instinct

If you live with a cat for a long time you will notice that it adores squeezing itself into small places. 

Hiding is a part of their lifestyle. It's a skill embedded in their DNA that hasn't disappeared even after their domestication from wild cats. In fact, domestic cats preserved many of their wild cousins' instincts and skills. 

Most of them are related to prey hunting. It's highly important to be able to hide so you get a good position for attacking.

While home kitties became less combative and aggressive in time, their wild instinct of hiding and stalking remained in place.

Some cats burrow into all sorts of types of environments when they feel bored. It may be behind furniture, around a radiator, in an Amazon box, or under a warm blanket. Then, they may suddenly jump from their hiding place to playfully attack you.

Warmth & Shelter

Cats love blankets and a cozy cat bed because they are soft, warm, and safe. If your kitty is crawling under the blanket, it likely feels cold. 

The enclosed space under the covers traps its body heat, providing a warm and comfortable body temperature. You can tell your feline is feeling cold when it's shaking, hunching down or puffing up. 

If you notice these signs, consider bringing it into a warm place or covering it with a blanket that prevents body heat from escaping.

Stress or Anxiety

Besides offering warmth, blankets offer intimacy. Cats may seek intimacy when they are stressed or nervous. They seek to isolate themselves from the whole world and get some alone time. Being under the covers for a while may help the feline calm down. 

Sometimes, cats get stressed from a change in their routine, like moving to a new house or having to share a room with a new pet

Going under the covers helps your furball to detach itself from the stressor and imagine that nothing changed in its life.

The blanket may also serve as a shield the cat uses to protect itself from the new pet whom it sees as a life threat. Still, one cannot stay under the covers all day and night, and sooner or later your feline will have to face the change.

Try to create a smooth transition into the new reality so your kitty gets used to it fast and easily.


Cats love cuddling under a soft blanket. The pleasant feel provided by the smooth fabric attracts felines like a magnet. Moreover, the slight pressure applied by the blanket onto the cat's body is said to reduce anxiety.

A similar calming effect is provided by a cat pressure wrap. This is essentially a clothing item that wraps around a young kittens body, lowering stress.

cat under blanket

Natural Instinct

The theory of the behaviorist Jackson Galaxy says there are three types of cat behavior manifested in the wilderness, which can also be applied to an indoor environment. 

If your cat is an innate tree dweller, it likes spending time up in the trees and on high platforms, like tables or bookshelves, that offer great views of the surroundings. Such positioning makes your cat feel safe and gives it more control of the area.

The beach dweller prefers to stay out in the open. You will know your cat is a beach dweller if they like to stay in open spaces and watch the flow of life. 

These cats seem to have no strategy for stalking or hunting, they don't think of potential threats, they just enjoy each moment of the day to the fullest.

Finally, the bush dweller prefers to stay on the ground in a hidden place and stalk the prey. If your feline likes to bunker down under the blanket, chair or table, it's most probably a bush dweller. 

Hiding is its style that makes it feel comfortable and safe.


Cats are playful creatures. You may have noticed!  

Sometimes they play alone with their toys, other times they crave playing with their owners. Even if you are lying in bed, they will still find a way to tease you and invite you join the game. Hiding under the blanket and suddenly attacking your hands or legs might be a great way for your kitten to entertain itself. 

Curious felines may also plunge under the blanket to see what is going on there and look for new adventures.


Cats may go under the covers if they feel ill. This is an instinct they borrowed from their wild relatives that had to hide so other animals didn't notice their vulnerability. 

If a predator noticed the cat felt bad, it would attack it because there would be low chance for it to defend itself. Domestic cats behave in the same way, although the threat is practically inexistent. 

They retreat under the covers to recover safely.

It's important to understand that just because you feline stays under the blanket it doesn't mean it feels ill. You especially don't have to worry if your pet is an introvert. However, if a normally sociable and outgoing cat starts all of a sudden to hide under blankets, it should alarm you.

Also, look for other signs that indicate a disease, like lethargy, lack of appetite and specific symptoms. If you got enough reasons to think that your kitty is sick, go immediately to the veterinarian.


Felines see their owners as a source of safety and affection. If your furry friend is getting under the blanket when you are lying in bed, it probably seeks these two things.

 It's not the blanket they are interested in, it's you. If so, why cats go under the covers when their owner isn't in bed? 

Aside from many other reasons, a possible answer is that they look for his smell, which gives them a sense of safety, calm and happiness.

They Like Dark Places

Another instinct of cats that traces back to their wild ancestors is to hide in small and dark places. Small shelters make sure big predators will not attack while the feline is sleeping or recovering from an injury.

Dark spots also lower the chance of an enemy assault.

can cats breathe under blankets

Cats Under Blankets: Safety

Can cats breath under blankets? When you see your cat going completely under the covers, you probably wonder how it will breathe, will it suffer oxygen deprivation, and whether it can suffocate if it falls asleep there.

For starters, let's make it clear that it is safe for your kitty to spend short periods of time under the blanket. It gets trickier with longer periods. 

Luckily, if the cat senses a shortage of oxygen, it will immediately get out of the blanket.

But the main concern is related to breathing the same air for long periods of time. If the blanket is not breathable, it will restrict the inflow of fresh air. 

The cat will have to smell dust and breathe an air that gets poorer in oxygen with each inhalation.

That being said, it's better to monitor your feline when it's crawling under the covers. Make sure there is a ventilation space allowing for the outside air to enter under the blanket. 

You can also consider giving your kitty a breathable blanket. Another wise decision would be to remove access to the thick blankets when you are not home

Can Small Kittens be Covered with a Blanket?

You can cover kittens with a blanket but not completely. Leave the nose and eyes uncovered so they can breathe and see what happens around them. Kitten's body is not developed well so they may suffocate if covered by a blanket. 

Also, they may quickly get overwhelmed by panic and fear if left alone in a dark and unknown place. Cover kittens only with thin and breathable blankets. 

Thick blankets are heavy and can put too much pressure on their fragile bodies.

cat sleeping under blankets

Cats Under Blankets: Summary

There are many possible reasons why cats hide under a blanket. Regardless of the real reason behind this, you should make sure your feline is safe.

Since you can't monitor it all the time, your best bet is to allow access only to thin blankets that make it easy for the air to circulate.

Sometimes, hiding under blankets comes as a result of stress, fear or disease.

Try to find out what concerns your cat and, if needed, ask a specialist for advice.

Get 30% off and FREE shipping on cat supplies!

U.S.A only

To Find out why we recommend chewy.com, click here

About the author

Dexter Jones has been a solid member of the ‘Mad Cat Dad’ club since time began! Dexter has been a keen cat writer for many years and lives in Croatia. He lives with his two tabby cats, Milly & Marly, who also flew in from the UK to start their new Adriatic island life together.