Why Do Cats Burrow Under Blankets

If there is one thing no cat owner ever has to be told, it is that cats are masters of finding and claiming the comfiest spot in the house.

This may mean your cat insists on sleeping in your bed or even right on top of your face.

You may have to get up for work in the morning while your cat is still tucked away under your cozy, comfy blankets.

But why exactly do cats burrow under blankets? Could there be other reasons beyond the obvious? Let’s find out now!

Why Do Cats Burrow Under Blankets?

The truth is, cats don’t have just one reason for burrowing under blankets. There can be lots of reasons ranging from a sense of security to maintaining body temperature.

Some cats like to burrow under blankets because those blankets smell like their favorite people. Other cats like to burrow into blankets because it mutes keen feline senses during scary thunderstorms or because the feel of the blankets is comforting.

There is even an interesting theory that some wild cats have evolved to hide under or burrow into bushes and therefore blankets can be a kind of surrogate instinct for modern cats.

Of course, the only way to ever know for sure is to be a cat. Which means the best we will ever be able to do is guess! We will give you our best guesses for why cats burrow under blankets here.

Watch a Cute Video of Cats Burrowing in Blankets

This adorable YouTube video compilation highlights some of the many ways that cats like to get up close and personal with warm and cozy blankets.

As this cute YouTube video showcases, sometimes cats may also see blankets as something fun to play with.

Your cat may want to use the blankets to play with you and may crawl under the blankets in hopes of waking you up to play.

Common Reasons Cat Owners Say Cats Burrow Under Blankets

These are by far the most intuitive and frequently cited reasons that cat owners ascribe to their blanket-burrowing feline family members.

Your cat is attracted by the scent

According to the Texas A&M University Department of Veterinary Medicine, cats have a keen sense of smell of an apex (top) predator.

The feline sense of smell is enhanced even more with some help from your cat’s sensitive whiskers.

So if you have been sleeping in the blankets, your cat will be able to smell your scent and may burrow under them to feel comforted and close to you.

Your cat is scared

As Cat Behavior Associations outlines, your cat may be afraid of storms or fireworks or other similar events, and burrowing under blankets is a way to hide.

The blankets may also help to muffle the sight or sound or smell of inclement weather, holiday sparklers, and other upsetting sensory experiences.

If you suspect this may be causing your cat to run for the covers, consider that your cat may not be scared per se, but maybe sensing your fear and reacting accordingly.

Cats are masters of reading the body language of their people. If you are acting like your cat should be scared, or if you are scared, your cat may act out your fear by burrowing under the blankets until you feel calmer.

Your cat doesn’t feel well

While modern cats still retain the instincts of their wild feline relatives to try to hide weakness or illness, if your cat really feels bad, burrowing under blankets and going to sleep may be one strategic coping mechanism.

In fact, as Old Dominion Animal Hospital explains, this is actually one of the most common telltale signs that your cat doesn’t feel well.

If you suspect your cat is hiding under the blankets because of health issues, it is important not to wait to schedule a veterinary visit. Often by the time a cat feels bad enough to show signs of being unwell, the issue is already serious.

Your cat wants to play

Just like human kids often find great joy in jumping on the bed, many cats see all those piles of blankets as a great playground where they can have fun playing.

Unfortunately, this often happens while you are trying to get some sleep!

Hiding under the blankets and then leaping out to “surprise” their prey (aka you) is a fun game most cats love because it caters to their wild instinct to hide and hunt.

Your cat is sleepy

Cats have their own sleep/wake schedule that typically does not conform to that of their people. Cats that are otherwise perfectly healthy can sleep up to 20 hours per day.

As the Memphis Animal Emergency Center explains, cats may sleep more during certain life stages.

For example, a kitten or a senior cat will sleep more than an adult cat. But if you see other warning signs or your cat’s sleep schedule abruptly changes, it is better to have your cat seen by your feline veterinarian to rule out underlying health issues.

Your cat is cold

Blankets are warm and cozy – no doubt about it. And cats are very smart. Your cat may seek out the blankets after you have gotten up and left a nice warm spot behind. Or your cat may want to crawl under the blankets and sleep with you.

Either way, blankets are a great way for a shivering cat to warm up quickly.

Is Your Blanket Loving Cat a Tree Dweller, Beach Dweller, or Bush Dweller?

As PAWS Chicago explains, cats typically prefer one of three different types of hiding spots: trees, beaches, or bush.

While this is just a theory, it can make sense if you have one cat that insists on burrowing under blankets while another cat in your family doesn’t seem at all interested in this activity.

Tree dwelling cats

It often surprises first-time cat owners to learn that not all cats love to climb.

But if your cat loves to climb anything climbable (and some things that aren’t) it is likely you have a tree dweller in your household.

This means that up high is your cat’s happy place. If your cat does burrow under blankets, you are more likely to see this happen at the top of the bed – or on top of your head.

Beach dwelling cats

When a cat is considered a beach dweller, this cat is more likely to remain in open areas where there is good visibility all around.

A beach dwelling cat might be more likely to sit on top of the blankets rather than burrowing down underneath them to seek shelter.

For this cat, their happy place is where they can see, even if the trade-off is possibly being seen.

Bush dwelling cats

Bush dwelling cats prefer to seek shelter in some kind of enclosed location that is similar to hiding beneath a tree or bush.

These are the house cats that are most likely to enjoy diving under a thick, warm, comfy stack of blankets to find refuge and enjoy a nice nap.

Is Burrowing Under Blankets Just Part of Your Cat’s Routine?

Cats may certainly seem quite confident and self-contained, but like all animals, cats love routine.

Many cats get very stressed out or anxious when their daily schedule is disrupted in even minor ways. Some cats will run away or hide in strange places when something in their home life changes suddenly.

And in fact, you probably react similarly when you can’t follow your normal routine for some reason. After all, you probably go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day and your cat gets used to this and learns to expect and even anticipate it.

So it may simply be that your cat burrows under blankets for the same reason you do – it is time to sleep. But since your cat sleeps a lot more than you do each day, you may find that your cat burrows into the blankets much more frequently than you do!

Ultimately, each cat may have their own reasons for burrowing under blankets – reasons that may make sense only to that cat.

One cat may dive under the blankets because that is where you are and they want cuddles and pats. Another cat may burrow under blankets to satisfy wild instincts to hide, hunt, or play.

Still another cat may seek out the comfort of blankets to get warm or feel better or just to have some undisturbed nap time. And another cat may burrow under blankets to avoid the family dog, a passing thunderstorm, or ambient daylight.

The more you observe your cat, the more you will start to pick up on subtle clues that may send your kitty running for the pile of blankets on your bed.