4 reasons why cats join owners under bed covers

Domestic cats like to go under the bed covers for four reasons depending on the individual cat and their mood
Domestic cats like to go under the bed covers for four reasons depending on the individual cat and their mood. Image: MikeB
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I can think of at least four good reasons why domestic cats sometimes – depending on the cat and their mood – love to slither under the duvet while their caregiver is in bed. This is perhaps most likely to happen in the early hours of the morning for an indoor/outdoor cat who’s been outside and is a little chilled by the cold night air and wants to warm up. The cat might also have been scared a little by something that happened on his travels during the night.

  1. Warmth – this is the obvious one together with number two below. Thanks to their wildcat heritage domestic cats like warmth. Their wild cousins lived and live in warm places. This is an inherited trait.
  2. Smells – cats are very attuned to smells as we know. Under the duvet it pongs of their caregiver and that is attractive to a domestic cat in a good relationship with their owner. They like to bathe in the heavily scented air under the duvet cover.
  3. Contact with owner – pure physical contact with their owner is important to domestic cats to varying degrees depending on the individual. Once again, I see this as a friendship reflected and a need to feel secure. They like to be in contact with their surrogate mom.
  4. Feeling of security – under the duvet it is quiet and warm and it feels safe. Cats like to feel safe and secure. It is one of the prime objectives of cat caregivers: to make them feel secure. They get it in spades under the duvet.

Where do these thoughts originate? My cat’s behavior. For years he’s been diving under the duvet at 5 am. He stays there for about 20 minutes and that’s enough. I think he just becomes too hot. Unlike me he is down there wearing a full, fur coat. He is bound to get hot. And there is a limit to the amount of heat cats accept despite their love of it.

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Why do domestic cats like warmth so much? Here are a couple

There are two main reasons why domestic cats love basking in warmth:

  • Evolutionary adaptation: Cats are descended from wildcats that lived in hot, arid climates like deserts. Their ancestors needed to conserve body heat at night, when desert temperatures can plummet. This preference for warmth is ingrained in their biology, and even though our house cats live in much more comfortable conditions, they still seek out heat sources instinctively.
  • Comfort and security: Just like we find a warm blanket cozy on a chilly day, warmth provides a sense of security and comfort for cats. It can be a way for them to relax and de-stress. In the wild, warmth might have signaled safety from the elements or predators. That feeling of safety is likely linked to their love for basking in sunbeams or curling up on a warm lap.

1 thought on “4 reasons why cats join owners under bed covers”

  1. My cat does exactly the same thing and has done for years. Only he stays there for longer than I can accept it! 😉😹😻

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