King of the Cat-stle!?
April 1, 2014 5:34 PM   Subscribe

My cat sleeps in my dog's crate when he isn't crated. Is this bad?

I have a 2 year old dog and a 5 year old declawed tabby. They are both neutered, both male, both physically the same size, and totally buddies. They love playing together. When they are not playing and my dog is roaming free around the house he has a dog bed to hang out in with lots of toys. They don't like curling up together, although they did once and it was cute and happy. We cannot keep the cat away from eating dog food, but we do keep his food out of dog reach (yes, kitteh eats dog food).

Recently (as in the past 3 weeks) when we are all hanging out watching tv at night my dog curls up in his bed and my cat...goes into the dog crate and hangs out?!? He doesn't full on pass out to sleep, just hangs. It's a plastic crate and clean (no smells, no accidents, etc) and my dog has a fleece blanket that he likes in there.

Is this a dominance thing? At night my cat likes to snuggle with me or fall asleep on one of the other 7 zillion soft surfaces (including fleece blankets) all over the house. He will not sleep in the dog bed, only crate when the dog isn't in there. My dog won't go in the crate if kitteh is in there. There is no hissing or barking, only a big WTF look from the dog.

Is this bad? Around the same time my dog has started getting whiney in the morning when I wake up before letting him out of the crate where he hasn't done that since he was a small puppy. I'm worried that kitteh is taking over his den. Thoughts? Or is this fine and they are just weirdos? Allowing my dog to sleep uncreated at night is not an option, we've tried but there is always an accident. :(
posted by floweredfish to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think the cat just found a new place to perch. It probably smells interesting, and the dog is there sometimes, so the cat thinks it's a cool place to be (cats love being wherever other animals, including people, sleep and sit).
posted by xingcat at 5:38 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

They are weirdos. But it's hard to be entirely certain without a picture of the little dudes.

Try replacing the blanket at night after weirdo-cat hangs on it but before you crate the dog - that might help. The whining seems curious and may be unrelated. Is the cat bugging him in the morning when he whines?
posted by sockermom at 5:39 PM on April 1, 2014 [6 favorites]

Cats love to find new places that they can "hide" and feel safe. They also get bored with the same routine. Perhaps kitteh just found that he likes the spot and it's some place different than before. I wouldn't worry about it so much. I have three cats and they all trade hiding spaces on occasion. I would be more worried if you had accidents more often with your cat.
posted by moonphases at 5:40 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can get a little cat perch with a closed in area and put it near the dog crate with the cats blanket.
posted by empath at 5:44 PM on April 1, 2014

Is this a dominance thing?

This is a cat thing.
posted by jamaro at 6:02 PM on April 1, 2014 [30 favorites]

Cats like dens for the same reason dogs do. I think it's only a problem if the dog is not going back into the crate when it's time to.
posted by bleep at 6:05 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't see this as a problem.... nice that they get along....
posted by HuronBob at 6:45 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just be careful. I have, on more then one occasion, accidentally locked the dog in with the cat when I'm in a hurry.
posted by lester at 6:51 PM on April 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe get him his own bed with a roof, like these kind of things? He might be enjoying the secure feeling of being enclosed in the crate. I think it's probably the best idea to discourage the cat from doing this- it's really not a dominance thing on his part, but the whole point of the crate is that it's supposed to be the dog's "safe space" and his retreat. Having someone else in there might complicate his associations with it.

Agree that the dog whining might be unrelated. Maybe consider getting up to let him out earlier, or walking him later at night so he doesn't have to hold it in so long?
posted by mymbleth at 2:11 AM on April 2, 2014

It's totally normal. The cat will move on in a few weeks/months to a new spot. That is the cat way. Like someone said above, if you had 2-3 cats, you'd notice that a new spot would be discovered or rediscovered by a cat every so often and then they'd rotate claiming it.

It's why cats are so weird and fun to watch.

Also, the cat must not mind the dog at all to go in there, so that's awesome!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:01 AM on April 2, 2014

I would say this is a sort-of dominance thing, and also cats need time alone to decompress. They like to be part of the room but also separate from the room at the same time, and your dog crate likely provides just this type of feeling. If you are worried about the dog becoming an under-dog, then assess the environment and see if there is a good perch location to put a catbed or cathouse that could fit these two conflicting cat needs.

I once had a cat house that sat unused for YEARS until I put it on the 2nd floor overlooking the 1st floor. Now it is THE place to be. You know what they say about real-estate... location, location, location!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:30 AM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

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