Cats have some interesting behaviors from natural instincts and learned behaviors from being domesticated over thousands of years.
Cats have different behaviors based on how they feel and what environments they have been exposed to. Burrowing is one of many natural instincts that your cat will exhibit.
The way domesticated cats burrow is usually by getting under the covers with you. Why your cat is doing this is dependent on its mood and health. As a general rule, most cats just want to be close to you and snuggle under the covers. However, burrowing can also indicate some physical, emotional, or health issues your cat could be dealing with.
While the best way to get answers about your cat’s behaviors is always by taking them to your vet, you may be able to figure out the cause or the solution to your cat’s reason for burrowing by simply watching their habits and knowing what they mean.
Our own cats often like to join us under the covers when we’re in bed, especially during the colder months where the warmth under the covers can be alluring for them.
While it may be a process to figure out why your cat is getting under the covers, it’s possible that you can use the process of elimination by taking your cat to the vet and checking all the boxes.
Your vet can help you figure out if your cat has any health issues or if they are just following a learned behavior.
It is always a possibility that your cat burrows or gets under the covers for several reasons, and you may never know the full extent of their desire, but the more you know, the better you can accommodate them.
Most animals have an instinct to hide or bury themselves if they are nearing the end of their lives. Domesticated cats that are inside most of their lives don’t have an option to dig a hole so they can pass away.
The closest thing your cat can get to burrowing is by getting under blankets. The best way to know if this is what your cat is doing is by noticing how often they do it and if they try to do it when you aren’t under the covers.
If you are concerned that your cat may be sick, taking them to the vet is the easiest way to rule this out or get the problem fixed before it gets too far along.
Of course, regularly taking your cat to the vet is the best way to know about sicknesses or issues before they start affecting your cat too much.
Whether you believe it or not, your cat is very attached to you.
They know your habits, they are comfortable around you and even prefer you over other humans. It is pretty often that your cat just wants to get under the covers to snuggle around your legs.
Your cat may also snuggle just to get warm.
If you live in a particularly cold climate or keep your house colder than normal, your cat may just want to be near you under the covers to use your body heat.
You can turn the temperature up in your house for a few days and see if their desire to get under the covers is still happening, then you can know whether that was an issue or not.
However, some health problems can cause cats issues with temperature regulation, so this may not entirely solve anything.
Cats are born with three different instinctive abilities that help them survive. One of the three other instincts your cat may have are:
- Tree Dwelling
- Bush Dwelling
- Beach Dwelling
A tree dweller is a cat that prefers to be up in high places, while a beach dweller is a cat that would rather be close to the ground in a wide-open space. A bush dweller is a type of cat that prefers to be low to the ground under something.
It’s common to find a bush dwelling type of cat in potted plants, under beds, or blankets. This is where these types of cats feel the safest.
Your cat may feel the safest and comfiest under the blankets.
This doesn’t mean anything about the safety of your cat’s normal environment necessarily, and it’s just a preference that they have.
However, allowing your cat a safe space to sleep and hide regularly can help them with their natural instincts and reduce anxiety issues.
It is common for cats, especially as they get older, to develop anxiety when it comes to situations such as:
- Loud situations
- When their owner leaves
- New people are in the house
- New animals
- Moving houses
In these situations, it is common for your cat to try and hide from whatever is happening, usually under blankets or beds. Anxiety is pretty easy to identify based upon what symptoms your cat is or isn’t exhibiting.
If your cat has anxiety, it will also exhibit other symptoms such as:
- Issues with using the litter box
- Not eating
- Hiding more than being around people.
If you believe your cat has anxiety, your vet should be able to help you identify triggers and solutions and prescribe medication if it is an extreme circumstance.
Any animal sleeping under the covers is truly no different than yourself sleeping under the covers.
It’s not great for anyone to be breathing the same air over and over again without allowing yourself to get new air.
It is likely that you are breathing carbon dioxide back in due to the lack of airflow and the same thing is happening to your cat. It likely won’t harm anything for short periods, but allowing it to happen all night or for several hours isn’t wise.
However, the good thing is, most animals will realize when they start dealing with oxygen issues or overheating problems far before it becomes dangerous. Animals have senses that alert their bodies to danger or harm far earlier than humans.
You may notice your cat gets out from under the covers and off the bed entirely; this is usually because they noticed they were overheating and needed to cool down.
You may have to break the habit of your cat sleeping under the covers if they are doing it too often or for longer periods than you are comfortable with. This can be difficult, but it is possible.
The easiest way to do this is by purchasing a bed or a cat condo for your feline to sleep in when it wants to hide or burrow. Repeatedly placing your cat on these new safe sleep locations when trying to get under the covers will help them learn that they have a new sleeping area.
You may have to hide your blankets and make your bed when you leave the house to discourage the habit from continuing while you are away. You can also place their safe sleeping area in a room without a bed and close off the other parts of the house.
While it’s not entirely necessary to break the habit, in some cases, it may be best for your cat if you fear they’re doing more harm than good.
It’s very common for cats to get under the covers and try to cuddle or sleep while they are under there.
However, depending on the reasons they are doing it, you may have to break that habit for their safety.