7 Facts: Is It Safe for Cats Sleeping Under Covers?

7 Facts: Is It Safe for Cats Sleeping Under Covers?


Cats are naturally drawn to cozy spaces where they can bask in warmth and coziness, often seeking out the soft confines of a blanket or cover. As feline enthusiasts, we frequently come across concerns regarding whether our whiskered companions are safe when they disappear under sheets and duvets. It’s our job to ensure their comfort without compromising on their well-being.

1. Understand Why Cats Are Drawn to Warm and Enclosed Spaces

Cats bury beneath blankets due to innate instincts for safety and warmth that trace back to their ancestors. These behaviors reflect a feline’s need for a secure environment resembling a den where they can rest without worry.

The soft, enclosed spaces under covers mimic the safe havens their ancestors sought in the wild. This instinctual behavior offers cats a sense of security and tranquility in the domesticated world. They find comfort in the warmth that the layers provide, and the weight of the covers can simulate the feeling of being groomed or cuddled, amplifying their sense of security.

2. Assess the Safety Concerns of Cats Sleeping Under the Covers

While most cats enjoy sleeping under covers, there are safety concerns such as suffocation or overheating that must be addressed to ensure they can indulge in their burrowing behavior without risk. Owners can mitigate these dangers with vigilance and appropriate choices in bedding.

Safety is the primary consideration when our feline friends decide to slumber beneath the covers. The risk of suffocation, though generally low, does exist, especially for kittens or smaller cats that might find it challenging to navigate under heavier blankets. Overheating is another concern as cats are adept at conserving body heat and can sometimes become too warm without realizing it. Ensuring that covers are light and breathable helps reduce these risks and gives them the ability to emerge whenever they feel the need. Having an open, inviting bed where your cat can easily slip out is crucial in creating a safe hidden haven.

3. Recognize the Signs of a Cat Feeling Comfortable or Stressed

A cat’s body language and vocalizations are key indicators of their emotions, enabling owners to discern if their cat is relaxed or stressed while sleeping underneath covers.

Understanding your cat’s signals can be incredibly insightful. A cat that’s curled up and kneading the sheets is likely very content, while one that’s shifting restlessly or meowing might be signalling discomfort. Heavy purring, slow blinking, and a relaxed posture indicate your furry friend feels safe and at ease. In contrast, flattened ears, a tucked tail, or a tense body are signs of stress. Being able to read these cues allows us to create the most comfortable sleeping environment for them and to intervene if they’re not at ease.

4. Consider the Age and Health of Your Cat

Account for the cat’s age and health status as it impacts their ability to safely navigate and enjoy sleeping under the covers.

Cats with health issues may find it more difficult to move beneath the weight of a blanket, and elder cats might struggle more with mobility. Being conscious of this means selecting bedding that accommodates their specific needs, using less bulky fabrics, and ensuring they can get out comfortably when they want. As guardians of our feline friends, blending theoretical knowledge of a cat’s physical capacities with practical observations of their abilities is essential when creating their ideal sleeping conditions.

5. Learn the Proper Way to Introduce Covers to Your Cat

Guiding a cat to enjoy sleeping under covers safely involves introducing them to suitable fabrics and ensuring they can emerge without hindrance.

The process of acclimatizing your cat to covers can be a delightful exercise in bonding. Start by draping a light blanket over them during a calm moment, such as when they’re settling down for a nap. Ensure that the fabric is breathable and light enough that they don’t feel trapped. It’s important to see how they respond—if they stay put and start to snooze, it’s a good sign. However, if they immediately wriggle out, they may need more time to get used to the idea. Always leave a part of the cover lifted to offer them a clear exit.

6. Know the Right Types of Covers Suitable for Your Cat

Choosing covers with the safest materials and appropriate weight for your cat helps ensure their comfort and safety while they sleep.

When selecting covers for your cat, opt for fabrics that are lightweight and breathable like cotton or fleece. Avoid heavy quilts or anything that could restrict their movement. In my experience, cats have shown a preference for softer, lighter materials that provide warmth without imposing weight. It’s crucial to balance their need for snug comfort with the ability for swift movements. Observing your cat’s behavior with different types of blankets can become an excellent guide to understanding their preferences and ensuring they are both cozy and safe.

7. Create an Alternative Safe Sleeping Environment

If undercover sleeping isn’t suitable for your cat, offering alternative cozy spots in the house can provide them with the comfort they seek without the risks.

Not all cats will take to sleeping under covers, and for those who don’t, it’s our task to provide equally inviting alternatives. Cat beds with high walls, soft nesting materials, or even a box lined with a blanket can serve as the perfect retreat for your cat. Heated cat beds can also be a great investment, giving them a dedicated warm space without the risks associated with covers. My own experience of integrating heated beds into my cat’s life has been overwhelmingly positive, offering them a sanctuary that’s specifically tailored to their comfort.

In taking on the responsibility of pet ownership, understanding and catering to the intricate needs of our cats’ sleeping habits is paramount. By considering the security and suitability of their sleeping environments, we ensure that our feline friends have the opportunity to rest with ease, just as nature intended.

What Are the Potential Risks of Cats Sleeping Under Covers?

Cat owners often find their feline companions snuggled beneath the blankets, seeking comfort and warmth. However, this cute behavior isn’t without its risks. Suffocation is a primary concern, particularly for kittens and smaller breeds that may not have the strength to push the covers off if they become overheated or can’t get enough air. Overheating, in general, is another concern since cats are covered in fur and can become too warm if enclosed in a small, poorly ventilated space. Care should also be taken with electric blankets, which could pose a burn hazard or electrocution risk if the cat claws through the wiring.

How Can You Ensure Your Cat’s Safety While Sleeping Under Covers?

Ensuring a cat’s safety while it sleeps under covers requires a proactive approach. First and foremost, always use breathable materials for bedding, such as cotton, that allow for sufficient airflow. Avoid heavy blankets that might be difficult for your cat to move. Also, observe your cat’s behavior. If your cat seems to struggle getting in and out from under the covers, it may be best to train it to sleep on top of the bedding instead of underneath. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature to reduce the risk of overheating. If using an electric blanket, ensure it is pet-safe and always turn it off when not in use to prevent any accidents.

What Are the Signs of Distress to Watch for If Cats Sleep Under Covers Regularly?

Cats who sleep under covers may sometimes experience distress, and knowing the signs is crucial for cat owners. Keep an eye out for overheating signs, such as excessive panting, restlessness, or lethargy, which may mean the cat is too warm and possibly dehydrated. Cats might also show signs of suffocation – struggling to breathe, frantic movements, or a lack of movement if they’ve become trapped and are unable to get out. Pay attention to how your cat behaves when it emerges from under the covers; if it seems disoriented or fatigued, this could be a sign that it is not getting enough air while sleeping.

Are There Specific Breeds or Types of Cats That Should Not Sleep Under Covers?

While many cats enjoy the coziness of sleeping under covers, certain breeds and types of cats should be discouraged from doing so. Brachycephalic breeds, such as Persians, have shortened nasal passages which may make it challenging for them to breathe properly when covered. Very young kittens, elderly cats, or those with mobility issues or disabilities might also find it difficult to free themselves if they become uncomfortable or tangled in bedding. Furthermore, cats with a history of respiratory problems should avoid sleeping under covers to prevent exacerbating any breathing difficulties. Always consider your cat’s physical abilities and health conditions when they show preference for sleeping locations.


What should I do if my cat seems to struggle to breathe while under the covers?

If you notice your cat struggling to breathe while under the covers, it’s essential to intervene immediately. Gently lift the blankets to provide fresh air and observe your cat closely. If the problem persists, consult your veterinarian, as this could be a sign of a more severe health issue.

Can kittens sleep under covers just as safely as adult cats?

While kittens may enjoy the warmth and comfort of sleeping under covers, they are more vulnerable due to their smaller size and limited strength. Always ensure that kittens have a clear airway and are not at risk of overheating or suffocating under the covers. It’s generally safer to provide a warm, kitten-safe bedding option instead.

Are certain breeds or ages of cats more at risk when sleeping under covers?

Older cats, brachycephalic breeds with short noses, and cats with medical conditions may have difficulty breathing under covers. Young kittens and particularly small breeds might also be at higher risk due to their size. Consider your cat’s age, breed, and health status before allowing them to sleep under covers.

How can I ensure my cat has an emergency exit from under the covers?

Keep a section of the covers lifted or provide an easily accessible opening so your cat can exit quickly if they feel uncomfortable or need fresh air. Monitor their behavior to ensure they can move freely and adjust your bedding setup as needed for their safety.

Is it possible for a cat to overheat while sleeping under the covers?

Yes, cats can overheat if they are under heavy covers in a warm environment. Signs of overheating include panting, restlessness, or rapid pulse. Provide a cooler area for your cat to rest and be mindful of room temperature and the thickness of the covers they’re using.

Can my cat suffocate under the covers if I’m not at home?

The risk of suffocation is relatively low for healthy adult cats, as they typically adjust their position or leave if they’re uncomfortable. However, to be safe, it’s advisable to ensure that the environment is cat-friendly with ample exits from under the covers before leaving the house.

Should I avoid certain types of bedding if my cat likes to sleep under the covers?

It’s best to avoid heavy, thick blankets that could restrict your cat’s movements or cause overheating. Opt for light, breathable fabrics that provide warmth without the risk of suffocation or overheating, and ensure your cat can easily move them if necessary.


Allowing your cat to sleep under the covers can be safe, provided you take the necessary precautions. Always pay attention to their comfort and behavior, and make appropriate adjustments to bedding materials and room temperature to mitigate any risks. Breeds, age, and health can influence how well a cat can self-regulate under covers, so it is essential to assess each cat’s individual needs. With these considerations in mind, you and your feline friend can enjoy cozy, safe snuggles under the covers. Remember, if you ever have concerns about your cat’s safety or well-being in any situation, consulting a veterinarian is the best course of action.

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