Can Cats Breathe Under Blankets?

kitten laying under a white blanket

There’s nothing nicer than snuggling up under a warm set of blankets on a cold winter’s night. But, when your cat joins you, they often insist on putting their entire body (including their heads) firmly underneath the blankets.

This is a perfectly safe behavior for an adult cat, as the blanket will permeate enough oxygen to allow them to breathe comfortably. Plus, if they get too hot or uncomfortable, they can always crawl out by themselves. But the same is not always true for kittens.

Many of us want to let our cat babies snuggle up beside us on a cold evening, but we don’t want to lie awake worrying that they’ll suffocate. Continue reading to discover whether or not it’s safe for your cat to snuggle under the blanket.

Why Do Cats Love Blankets?

There are many reasons cats love blankets, including the feelings of warmth and safety that it gives to them. Particularly through the winter months, you may find that your fur baby wants to snuggle up beside you in a warm bed.

Not only do the blankets provide a soft, snuggly place to hide, but it also allows your fur baby to spend some quality time with you. Cats may have a reputation for being aloof, but they actually form close bonds with their humans and express their affection in numerous ways.

Other reasons why cats love blankets include:

  • To keep themselves warm. This is particularly prominent in older cats who may find it difficult to stabilize their body temperature on cold evenings.
  • It provides them with a feeling of relaxation, which helps them fall asleep more quickly.
  • It’s an excellent tool for stress relief and provides quality time with their human companions.
  • It provides them with a space to hide and feel safe.

Why Do Cats Love To Burrow Under The Blankets?

While cuddling up to sleep next to you is as good a reason as any for your cat to burrow under the blankets, there are many other motives for you cat to do this.

Imagine that you are a fluffy little ball of energy, and you’re presented with a big soft area filled with fluffy blankets and pillows that you can jump around on and hide underneath. Your bed is an adventure playground for your cat.

They will love playing hide-and-seek, whether with you or by themselves, and they can chase and hide from imaginary prey. 

Your cat may also bury under the covers to satisfy its denning instincts. While domesticated cats may not face many predators, their wild ancestors would have played the role of both predator and prey.

So for cats, the instinct to hide is natural. Whether discreetly lying in wait for their prey or hiding away from a predator, burrowing under your blankets allows them to satisfy several of their natural instincts.

And cats are crepuscular, so they enjoy the limited light supply under the blankets, which simulates their dawn and dusk hunting environments.

Why Don’t Cats Suffocate Under Blankets?

It’s pretty much impossible for a cat to suffocate under a regular blanket, as most fabrics are porous and allow oxygen to circulate. Plus, if your cat starts to overheat or experiences discomfort, they can simply crawl out from underneath.

If we try to sleep with our heads underneath a blanket, we quickly experience a sense of discomfort and feel like we’re struggling to breathe. However, this sensation is not caused by a lack of oxygen – instead, it’s caused by the fact that the air is warm and we’re not used to it.

Plus, a cat’s lungs are much smaller than our own so they inhale far less air than a human would with each breath.

Unless you have a weighted blanket or some other form of airtight material, then breathing underneath it will feel pretty normal for a cat. If you can get past the discomfort of the warm air, you’ll see that there’s plenty of oxygen for you too.

Can Kittens Suffocate Under Blankets?

While cats are absolutely fine to sleep underneath a warm blanket, the same is not true for kittens. They haven’t yet built up the necessary survival skills to fully understand how to keep themselves safe. 

Because of this, they may not know how or when to crawl from underneath the blanket, so it’s best not to let kittens sleep here.

If you notice that your kitten is spending long periods hiding underneath a blanket, make sure you check on them frequently to ensure that they’re okay.

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Suffocate?

An animal can suffocate in less than five minutes, and a cat cannot survive beyond 10-15 minutes if their brain is starved of oxygen.

If you check on your kitten and find that they aren’t breathing, then time is crucial, and every minute counts to save the life of your little furball.

What Should I Do If My Cat Stops Breathing?

If you check on your kitten and find that they’re not breathing, you need to act quickly and effectively and follow the steps below:

  1. Gently rock or shake your kitten and shout their name.
  2. If they don’t respond, gently place your fingers on their chest to determine whether or not it is still rising and falling.
  3. If they are non-responsive, call your vet or emergency vet immediately and get your kitten to a professional.
  4. To deliver CPR, do 30 chest compressions, then two mouth-to-mouth breaths. And repeat the cycle until you arrive at the emergency room.
  5. Follow the advice of the vet; they may want to talk you through the best actions to take over the phone. 

Can Cats Overheat Under Blankets?

The average temperature of the human body is 98.6°F. However, cats possess a higher average with a body temperature sitting between 99°F and 102.5°F. This is why they aren’t bothered by the warm air underneath our blankets.

And this warm body temperature reduces the risk of your cat overheating beneath a blanket. If they start to overheat, they will remove themselves from the blankets to regulate their temperature.

How Can I Be Sure That My Cat Is Safe Sleeping With Me?

An adult cat has a strong enough sense of self-preservation to keep themselves safe. If at any point they are too hot or uncomfortable, they will remove themselves from your bed and find a different place to sleep.

Aside from kittens, it’s perfectly fine to allow your cat to snuggle into the blankets. As long as you don’t restrict their access to get out of their “den,” they’ll be absolutely fine.

What Are The Disadvantages Of My Cat Sleeping With Me?

Adult cats are OK to sleep in your bed, and there is very little reason why this would put them in danger. Allow them to choose their preferred spot, make sure their access points are open, and they’ll be fine.

Plus, they can always move to a different location if they start to get uncomfortable. The more significant concern is that it may not suit you to have a cat sleep in your bed.

If you’re a light sleeper, sleeping with a cat can be particularly difficult as most of them won’t sleep through the entire night and may wander around your bed at 3 am.

In addition, the close proximity to your cat could trigger asthma and allergies – and your cat could trail litter box debris into your bed from its paws.

If you have an outdoor cat, you’ll need to be particularly mindful that your feline doesn’t trail any infections or parasites into your bed that they’ve picked up from outside.

When Should I Stop My Cat From Sleeping Underneath My Blanket?

Aside from personal choice, a few other circumstances should make you evaluate your cat’s blanket burrowing.

  • If you have a weighted blanket, it may be too heavy for your cat to get out from underneath. Plus, if your blanket possesses any airtight qualities, it may restrict their oxygen supply.
  • Blankets with a lot of cords or loose pieces that your cat can get caught in provide a hazard as it might prevent your fur baby from being able to crawl out.
  • Try to avoid coaxing or training your cat to sleep under the blankets; let them decide what feels best.

How Can I Stop My Cat From Snuggling Under My Blanket?

Maybe you’ve just adopted a kitten, perhaps you suffer from severe allergies, or maybe you’ve decided that your bed is only for humans. Either way, if there’s a reason that you don’t want your feline snuggling under the blankets, there are several steps that you can take to deter them.

  • Make your bedroom an off-limits zone and keep your door closed.
  • Wash or spray your sheets and blankets with a scent that will deter your cat.
  • Provide a cozy alternative for your fur baby, complete with a pillow and blanket for them to burrow under.
  • Be consistent, and don’t send mixed messages to your feline. If you don’t want them in your bed, then keep it off-limits at all times. 

Final Thoughts

Cats love playing under blankets thanks to the warmth, comfort, and security they provide. Think about how lovely it is to curl up under the duvet after a long day at work – well, it feels the same for your cat, so if you’re happy to share your bed, this is a lovely environment for them to feel safe and comfortable.

Thanks to the porous nature of a blanket, plus the survival instinct of your feline, it is almost impossible for an adult cat to suffocate underneath a blanket. However, you will need to be a little more careful with kittens, who haven’t yet developed their complete set of survival skills.

Similar Posts