Can Cats Suffocate Under Blankets?

Can cats suffocate under blankets

As a cat owner, you want to protect your kitty and keep them safe. So it is not uncommon to wonder if certain actions that cats do may pose a risk to their health and well-being. One such activity that cat owners often ponder about is whether or not their cat suffocates under blankets. After all, most adults will quickly become overheated and uncomfortable when they cover their heads with blankets. Thankfully, blankets are perfectly safe and do not pose a risk to cats.

Can cats suffocate under blankets?

While it is potentially possible for any pet or person to suffocate under a blanket, the chances of a cat suffocating under blankets are extremely low. This is because most bedding is made from breathable fabric and does not pose a risk to cats. If, however, the blanket is made from a solid sheet of plastic or another material that doesn’t allow gas to escape, you should keep cats far away from it. 

Like blankets, pillows are sometimes a cause for concern, since some cats like to lie under them. The good news is that when your cat crawls under a pillow they won’t suffocate or overheat. They will enjoy the warmth and coziness that the pillow provides, and then will come out from under it when they are ready.

white cat under the blanket
White cat under the blanket. Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

Cats will protect themselves

Cats of all types, from tigers in the wild to your house cat, have insects to protect themselves from harm. A cat’s self-preservation instinct will kick in when they are under blankets and feel they need to get fresh air. This self-regulation helps to prevent cats from suffocating under blankets. Even a small kitten will come out from under the covers when they are not getting enough air. You can, however, help keep them perfectly safe by ensuring they have a way out of the blankets when they are ready.

Another example of their self-preservation is when you are tossing and turning during the night. Most cats will get up and move to either their own bed or a furniture piece that they like to lay on. They won’t stay in your bed if you are bothering or annoying them. 

Blankets are made from breathable material

Most blankets are made from a breathable material, which allows for air to pass through. Cotton, for example, is one of the most commonly used fibers for bedding, such as blankets. This fabric is well known for its breathability. With that said, however, there are some fabrics that are not as breathable. Denim is one such fabric that is rather dense and doesn’t allow for air to flow as freely as other less dense fabrics. The good news is that most people don’t use blankets made from dense fabric like denim.

Even though blankets are safe for cats, there are two ways you can ensure the fabric the blanket is made from is breathable. One method is to hold the blanket up to the light and examine how much light passes through. The more light that passes through, the more air that will flow through the fibers. The second method is to simply test it yourself. Get under the blankets, making sure to cover your entire body and head. If you’re unable to breathe properly under the blankets, then your cat probably won’t be able to either.

Will my cat overheat under blankets?

A cat overheating while under the covers is extremely unlikely. Most cats even prefer the warm environment that blankets provide, even during the warmer months. In addition, cats know when they are getting too hot and will come out from under the covers when they become uncomfortable. 

Another thing to consider is that cats have a higher body temperature than humans. For cats, their normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this higher body heat, they can feel comfortable when you feel too hot.

Oxygen deprivation, while the cat sleeps under the covers, is also not a concern, since most blankets allow for air and oxygen to flow through. However, you should ensure that your cat has a way out from under the blanket. 

What do veterinarians say about cats and blankets?

There has been some veterinary advice that suggests pets shouldn’t be allowed under blankets for a period of time because it could potentially deprive them of oxygen and cause them to breathe stale air. However, this advice seems to be directed more towards brachycephalic dogs, as well as pets with heart conditions, breathing issues, or other health problems.

If you’re concerned about your cats and the blanket situation, consider reaching out to your trusted veterinarian. They will listen to your concerns and provide you with their expert advice. 

Should I monitor my cats when they are under a blanket?

You shouldn’t have to monitor your cats when they are under the blankets, as long as the blankets are made from breathable fabric and they have a way out. With that said, however, you should monitor young kittens or adult cats with health conditions since these cats can sometimes get tangled up in bedding and have a difficult time getting out.

can cats suffocate under the blanket
Can cats suffocate under the blanket? Photo by Vladyslava Andriyenko on Unsplash

Why do cats like to play and sleep under the covers?

There are several reasons why cats like to crawl, play, and sleep under blankets. Some cats are naturally “bush dwellers” that enjoy the cozy and safe feeling they get when they are under the blankets. Other cats use blankets as a way to hide when they feel insecure or scared.

According to Jackson Galaxy, there are three different classifications of cats; bush dwelling, tree-dwelling, and beach dwelling.

  • Bush Dwellers like to hide under or behind things, and wait for their “prey” to walk by so they can pounce. These types of cats typically prefer being on the ground and like to sleep under the covers on a bed.
  • Tree Dwellers love being up high, and they get their confidence from having the high ground. You can often find these types of cats laying on the back of the couch, on top of the counter, or on a cat tree.
  • Beach Dwellers are similar to those cats that like the bush environment as they also like to keep their feet on the ground. However, these types of cats prefer an open area.

Keep in mind, however, that if your cats are spending an abundant amount of time under blankets there could be something medically wrong. Cats like to hide their pain and illness and are no strangers to hiding when they are not feeling well. If you suspect your cat may be ill, make a veterinarian appointment as soon as possible. 

How do I stop my cat from sleeping under blankets?

Even though allowing your cats to sleep with you can create a mutual bond between cats and their owners, some cat parents prefer to have their kitty sleep in their own bed. This could be due to various reasons, including disrupted sleep caused by a playful cat. No matter what the reason, however, there are a few things you can do if you don’t want your cat to sleep under the covers.

Keep the blankets away from your cats

One way is to prevent them from accessing the blankets. This may require keeping your cats out of any rooms with bedding. Another option is to train them to stay away from bedding. Offering them a nice cat bed as an alternative to your bed can help keep them out of your bedding. 

Even though most cats can be trained, the easiest way to stop them from playing in standard blankets is to keep the bedroom door closed. This ensures that your feline friends won’t come in contact with any blankets or covers. 

No matter what method you choose, consistency is key. If you decide to keep your cat out of your bedroom, you will need to ensure they stay out at all times. Allowing them in the room sometimes will only confuse your cats and cause them to want to go into the bedroom when you kick them out.

cat under the blanket
Cat under the blanket. Photo by silviannnm on Unsplash

Are there any downsides to having cats sleep with you?

Your cat sleeping with you is not always sunshine and rainbows. Many cat owners prefer to have their cats sleep elsewhere because of the various drawbacks that these adorable felines can sometimes cause.

  • Disrupted Sleep – Cats typically do not sleep throughout the night, and it is not uncommon for them to get up and down out of bed and even play while in bed. All of which can wake you up and disrupt your good night’s sleep.
  • Litter Debris – Litter boxes are a necessary evil when it comes to cat ownership. When your cat uses the litter box and then jumps into bed, they can leave litter box debris on the top of your blankets, as well as between the sheets.
  • Allergies and Asthma – For people who suffer from allergies and asthma, having your cat sleep with you can increase the chance of exposing you to irritates that can trigger symptoms.

Should I let my cat sleep with me?

Whether or not you should let your cats sleep with you depends on your personal preference and specific situation. Some people prefer to have their cats sleep with them, while others want their cats to have their own bed. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer. Simply consider all the pros and cons of sharing your bed with your cats and choose the option that works best for you and your family.