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Will My Cat Suffocate if They Sleep Under a Blanket? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

grey and white cat under the blanket

Will My Cat Suffocate if They Sleep Under a Blanket? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Once you bring a cat home, it won’t take long for them to find a blanket, a comforter, a scarf, or another type of cover to burrow beneath. While it may look cute, you may also worry about your pet’s safety. The good news is that a cat can safely sleep under a blanket if it’s made of breathable material.

If you’re wondering how cats breathe beneath a blanket or whether they’ll overheat, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions when it comes to your cat’s cuddly sleeping habits!

divider 2 cats

Is It Okay for Cats to Sleep Under the Covers?

The short answer is yes! It’s okay for your cat to sleep under the covers.

It can be easy to forget that beneath all that fluff and cuteness, cats are highly skilled predators that have evolved over thousands of years—first domesticated around 12,000 years ago!1Along with their predatory instincts come strong instincts for self-preservation.

In fact, this “self-preserving” behavior is often mistaken as cats being aloof or unfriendly—really, they’re just very good at looking out for themselves. You’ll be glad to hear that the same instincts extend to the regulation of their breathing during sleep.

A cat will only sleep under a blanket so long as they are comfortable. If they begin to feel uncomfortable, because of low oxygen levels or something else, they’ll come out.

cat with blanket
Image Credit by: ajcespedes, Pixabay

How Long Can Cats Breathe Under Blankets?

Blankets, comforters, and covers are made from breathable materials. Though you might not be able to see them, there are tiny holes that allow the air to get through.

But surely the air supply must get short after a while, right? This feeling affects us humans more than our feline companions. While breathable blankets allow for a certain amount of airflow, there are a few restrictions. If you stick your head under a blanket, the air around you will warm quite quickly, making you feel uncomfortable, although that feeling doesn’t seem to bother cats as much. Additionally, in comparison to humans, cats have a much smaller lung capacity. This means it takes longer for exhaled carbon dioxide to build up, enabling them to stay under blankets for longer periods than humans

That said, how long a cat is comfortable beneath a blanket will depend on the thickness of the blanket, the temperature in the room, and your cat’s preferences.

As long as your cat is not trapped under the blanket—and nothing is weighing the blanket down—when they begin to feel uncomfortable, they’ll come out on their own. For extra safety, it is recommended to leave an opening to allow for better airflow and an easy way out.

Is It Okay for a Kitten to Sleep Under a Blanket?

It’s quite common for kittens to burrow under a blanket, or even under the covers with you. In fact, it probably helps them to feel safe.

For the first couple of months or so of their life, your kitten spent much of their time curled up against the warmth of their mother and siblings—curling up under a warm blanket can offer the same sort of comfort.

Just make sure that the blanket is not so heavy that your kitten gets stuck. It is recommended to check on your kitten regularly, especially if they are still quite small. Also, try to leave an opening to allow better circulation.

cat with wool blanket
Image Credit by: Dimhou, Pixabay

Why Do Cats Burrow Under Blankets?

Cats burrow under blankets because it helps them feel comfortable and secure. Additionally, if you’re there, then they may be doing it for affection.

You may find your cat burrowing under the blankets during winter months more than in the summer, just as we’re likely to pull the covers up when we’re cold.

Cats are also constantly looking out for danger. It’s normal for them to seek the safest place possible to sleep. A blanket helps them feel hidden and, therefore, less vulnerable to an attack.

Do Cats Get Too Hot Under Blankets?

A cat’s body temperature naturally runs higher than ours. That’s why cuddling up to your cat can feel like holding a hot water bottle up close. While our normal body temperature is between 97°F to 99°F, a cat’s temperature can be between 100.5°F and 102.5°F!2

But even with their warm body temperatures, cats are often found basking in the sunniest spot in our house or huddled beneath a blanket. This is because cats are descendants of desert animals! They’re very good at regulating their body temperature, and if they start to feel too hot, they’ll move away.

BoxCat subscription sisal blanket
Image credit: Courtesy of BoxCat

Where Should I Put My Cat to Sleep at Night?

Cats will often have several spots that they like to fall asleep in, including their bed, your bed, the couch, a chair, a soft rug, the windowsill, the shed roof, or somewhere else.

Try placing a comfortable cat bed in a warm, sheltered part of the living room or your bedroom, preferably away from noisy appliances. Cats like corners and elevated spots because these areas give them a feeling of advantage over any possible predators that might enter the room—even if there aren’t any!

Is It Okay to Let My Cat Sleep With Me?

Whether you want your cat to sleep in your bed or not comes down to personal preference. While it won’t harm your cat, there are several reasons why you may not want them to sleep under your blanket.

Cats will not sleep in the same spot throughout the night, and their movements may disrupt your sleep. If you value getting a good night’s sleep, it may be better to encourage your cat to sleep in a cat bed.

Another factor to consider is hygiene. As clean as cats may be, they still shed fur and could possibly carry parasites and even dirt trapped in their paws. Letting them sleep with you will result in these items being introduced to your bed. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, it is definitely safest for you not to let your cat in your bed.

That said, if none of the above bother you, then you’ll be pleased to know it’s okay to let your cat cuddle up to you!

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At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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Wrapping Up

You shouldn’t cover your kitty with blankets when they’re sleeping. Instead, leave it to them to decide if that’s what they want to do. If they do burrow under a blanket, there’s no need to worry about them suffocating—they’ll come out if they’re uncomfortable!

Featured Image Credit: Roman Samsonov, Shutterstock

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