3

Of the three cats in my life, the first two were relatively chill, and the latest is by far the most full of energy, vigor, and character. As an example, the first cat never showed the slightest interest in blanket spelunking1, the second appreciated a good blanket spelunk, but was quickly satisfied she had seen what needed to be seen. The latest is absolutely obsessed with it. Ever wrinkle, every corner, every seam- it must be thoroughly explored and examined!

As I continue to adjust to this personality that is so different from what I am accustomed to, I feel like anything I can do to encourage positive outlets of his energy, I need to latch on to. Blanket Spelunking is right up there on the list, alongside several others.

So first, I want to get inside the cat's head. This doesn't seem to be a hunting-related behavior, at least not on the surface of it. I can tell it is fun, but why? I understand why human kids build forts, but what is the motive for the feline spelunker?

Second, I want to make it more fun and enjoyable. Hiding toys and treats under blankets would be an obvious step (or would it?). Are there other things I can do? Perhaps knowing the motive will make this clearer, but I am asking anyway.


1Just in case I am coining a term the community is not familiar with, Blanket Spelunking is the sport of squeezing ones body under a blanket, then crawling around underneath.

  • 1
    Gods only know. I suspect it is simply play. It may indeed be related to hunting, or he may just like the feeling of the blanket on his fur, r he may be looking for the warmest spot, . or it may just be that he has learned that you make happy noises when he does this -- "cute" is a survival skill for pets. Note that if the cat has carrying-sized toys he may "stock" the blanket-tunnel himself... Best advice I can give is try something and watch his reaction. – keshlam Feb 10 '16 at 18:49
  • Voting to close since this question as primarily opinion-based – Just Do It Feb 10 '16 at 19:08
  • @JustDoIt: If I remove the second part of the question, "what actions to take to encourage?" and left it as just "what is the motive?" would that change your vote? I believe this could be answered objectively from a behaviorist point of view. – cobaltduck Feb 10 '16 at 19:10
  • 1
    There's no actual way to know why a cat shows this type of behavior, unless there happens to be a user specialized in feline psychology that can provide an answer backed up with data or studies(and I'd still be a bit iffy about it). And since we don't know the why, we can't possibly know the how to encourage the behavior since we don't know what thrives the cat to do it in the first place. – Just Do It Feb 10 '16 at 19:20
  • 1
    And anyway OP, I might be the only one holding this position, I remind you we need the vote of 5 users. Not just one(unless it's a diamond mod) One vote should not worry you. – Just Do It Feb 10 '16 at 19:26
2

I believe it's a culmination of being safe (hidden in darkness, not visible to others), being warm (cats love being comfy and warm) and lastly due to the generally curious nature of cats wanting to be in and around new unexplored things.

I have 3 cats from which I draw upon some observational conclusions.

One doesn't ever go inside blankets but regularly sits on top of them. She also happens to be the least frightful of the 3.

The other two are much more cautious, and generally dislike when guests come over. They will regularly hide in blankets when this happens.

Of those two, one is noticeably more frightful of guests and exhibits very little curiosity towards meeting them. He has a personality that drives him to seclude himself and very much desires warmer sleeping areas.

The second of those two is much more curious and naturally active and will explore the blankets for the fun of it from time to time.


In my case, I don't believe any of the reasons to be hunting related. A more fun/enjoyable blanket environment would be one that is partially formed and more inviting. Try to make a sort of cave-like enclosure by propping up parts of the blanket with pillows. This will pique their curiosity greatly. Putting some food/catnip inside will as usual give them some other reason to go in but usually the natural curiosity is enough.

After they explore their curiosity with whatever setup you have, they may decide they like the atmosphere and settle down. Depending on their personality, they may try to incorporate that area into their playtime. You can certainly encourage this by using a string toy or something you know your cats find engaging and have it go in and out of the blanketed area.

Most cats will naturally seek out hiding places and if its warm/inviting, all the better for them.


The thorough exploitative nature of the cat you mention could be a scent related thing too.

A large part of each cats personality is set in stone from the early months of it's life and the particular genetic wiring. You're likely not going to get your less interested cats more interested in something they weren't naturally interested in. If they see another cat having a tremendous amount of fun doing something, they may try it out but they may conclude yet again that it's just not as fun as that other one made it look.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.