There’s a reason why people who can’t stand each other are said to be like “cats and dogs.” Dogs and cats won’t always mesh like peanut butter and jelly. So if you’re brining a cat into a home with a Husky, you may be wondering how they’ll get along.
Huskies don’t usually get along with cats in most cases. They have a strong prey drive and must be supervised at all times when left alone with smaller animals. If you leave a cat alone with a Husky, you’re placing the cat at risk of harm. However, with training, socialization and a little patience, it’s possible for the two to peacefully co-exist.
Huskies just don’t view smaller animals as “equals.” However, having a cat doesn’t mean you can’t have a Husky. To learn more about how Huskies interact with cats, and how you can help the two co-exist or develop a peaceful relationship – continue reading.
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Why Don’t Huskies Get Along with Cats?
Huskies are were sled dogs that have been bred to withstand the fiercely harsh conditions of cold northern regions. As such, food is scarce in the snow-filled wastelands of Siberia, Alaska, and other locations that Huskies were bred in.
This scarcity of food caused Huskies to evolve to attack any small animal that could be food for their pack of canines. The Husky’s prey drive is instincts, so it’s impossible to “unlearn” their desire to chase down cats (or other small “prey”).
My Husky will go into full prey-drive mode and will try to catch the little guy. Its really not anybody’s fault, but I’ll always advise other owners to put their dog in the ‘little dog park.’– Thecanderbear (Reddit User)
This type of behavior isn’t ideal for domestication, but they don’t know any better! And while some Huskies may tolerate the cats in their environment, the deep-set instinctual prey drive that kept their ancestors alive may kick into gear at any time.
It’s always a risk to leave a cat alone with a Husky, even if the Husky seems friendly most of the time. But don’t mistaken their prey drive as aggression. These dogs are some of the most kind breeds, at least towards humans and other dogs.
It’s hard to blame your Husky for attacking a cat. If you think about it, they’re just following their natural instincts. Still, it’s possible to suppress these instincts through obedience training and socialization.
How Cats Can Aggravate the Situation
Cats may create conditions that awaken the prey drive in Huskies. But even so, it’s not the cat’s fault either. They’re most likely just responding to their own set of instincts too. And in this case, it may even be a response to fear.
For example, when they sense danger from a Husky that has just joined the family, cats might be more likely to put out their defense paws and play brave. They will hiss and puff and possibly pounce on the canine.
Eli (the cat) is definitely the aggressor in this situation, but the blame can also be put on Dexter (the husky) as he reacts badly when she get anxious.– Idkwhatplanetimon (Reddit User)
Even though your Husky is a calm dog trained to be with cats, an attack from a cat can awaken the hunter in them. It’s difficult to predict these situations, as both cats and dogs are “wild animals” with their own instincts.
Therefore, a calm cat who doesn’t lash out is more likely to be a good Husky companion than a cat that lashes out all of the time. But just because your cat is docile in the home, things can change when you add a 50 pound beast.
So what option do lovers of both Huskies and Kitties have? Is owning both pets completely unfeasible? The next section answers these questions for you.
How to Train Huskies to Be With Cats
Fortunately, it’s possible to have a cat and a Husky that co-exist in peace. In fact, there are plenty of stories and examples of the two species becoming friends. Just as they can be trained to sit or fetch, Huskies can also be trained to live (and thrive) with a cat.
These four tips will help you teach your Husky and your cat how to live together without attacking each other. While it may seem like a daunting and futile task, the key is to have patience and consistency during the process.
1. If possible, bring the dog and cat home together
If you thought dogs were good at marking their territory, be informed that cats are very territorial. A cat used to having the space of a home and the cuddles of its owner to itself will puff and hiss at the sight of an intruding Husky.
Also, it is more difficult to train a mature dog to befriend a cat than it is with a puppy. As the saying goes, “old dogs can’t learn new tricks.”
Therefore, you should consider bringing home a kitten and a Husky pup at the same time. Training them to be part of the home together will likely build a stronger bond between the two pets.
Starting with a clean slate will potentially remove any pre-determined territorial behaviors with the first pet. But unfortunately, not all owners have this option, which means training the two animals to co-exist is crucial.
2. Train your Husky and cat to co-exist
While adopting a Husky and a cat at the same time makes domesticating easier, you’ll still need to train them to keep their paws away from each other. Don’t throw the puppy-Husky on the mat where the cat is lying and assume they will start hugging.
Gradual training is needed, and talking to your new pets and introducing them to each other is crucial. You’ll need to see how each reacts when both are let loose. But constant and consistent socializing is key to co-existence.
If you want to gauge their initial reactions, it’s best to introduce your Husky to your cat while at least one of them is restrained in some way.
The easiest way to create a safe meeting is to place the Husky on a leash. However, this method can be dangerous because a sudden pull from the Husky can rip the leash from your grasp.
This method also makes it easier for the cat to walk into the reach of the Husky’s mouth, which is a bad idea if you don’t know how the Husky will react yet.
3. Keep your Husky in a crate first
If you want to be safe, it’s best to place your Husky in a crate before bringing the cat in for a meeting. If you don’t have a crate, you can try placing the cat in its cat carrier. However, this is also risky because the Husky can flip the carrier over and harm the cat if the cat triggers its prey drive.
We highly recommend investing in a solid and durable crate, and that’s what the Midwest Homes Dog Crate is. It’s our top recommendation for Huskies because it provides useful features, such as a divider, removable tray, a foldable design & more.
With or without a crate, don’t leave both of them unrestrained and unattended on the first day. Even puppy Huskies can show signs of aggression toward cats, and any potential injuries caused may harm your cat and ruin any hope of peaceful coexistence.
Try to supervise every interaction in the first week of their co-existing. After a month or two, the two animals can start having unsupervised time together. While there’s still no guarantee the Husky won’t attack, don’t underestimate the cat’s ability to escape.
4. Keep up with your Husky’s daily exercise
Your high-energy Husky will get agitated if you leave him leashed or stuck in a crate all day. If a Husky doesn’t get an opportunity to work off excess energy through daily exercise, the pent-up energy can cause an outburst of aggression.
This is a similar approach when introducing Huskies to small kids. A tired Husky means a less hyper and aggressive dog, thus, minimizing any potential mishaps. For example, a tired Husky may be less likely to jump on the cat out of pure excitement.
I will also give you husky enough mental stimulation if the situation gets out of hand. Start off with short interactions and increase over time, but always keep the husky on a leash.– Doodle_pop (Reddit User)
You can also implement a playtime where your Husky and your cat interact. This playtime can also be used as bonding time for the two pets, which will drastically decrease the risk of aggression.
However, you should note that a dog and cat joint playtime is not a suitable replacement for exercise. For best results, your Husky will need at least 2 hours of physical and mental activity daily.
If you need a joint playtime suggestion, try playing fetch with something your dog and cat will both enjoy playing with. For example, a roll of wool or a squeaky toy are both great. The Husky will treat the toy as something to be fetched, while the cat will treat it as a toy to paw at.
5. Keep your Husky well-fed
If your Husky doesn’t get enough food, it’s likely going to look for alternative sources of food from the house. And because your cat is likely the only small animal within the confines of your home, a hungry Husky will start to look at it as a potential meal.
The exact amount of food you need to feed your Husky depends on their size and age. However, the recommended amount is roughly two cups of dry food per day. If your Husky is getting less than this, he may start to look elsewhere.
Another feeding note: you should always feed cats and dogs separately. Both instinctively protect their food. If you feed them together, they may fight while they eat.
6. Give the Cat an Escape Route
In the worst case scenario, you want to give your cat an escape route. According to owner “mom2x” from Reddit, she keeps the dog on a leash inside attached to her waist.
This allows your Husky to walk freely next to you, but keeps them in check should the dog try to chase down the cat. In this case, the cat can roam freely. Make sure to give a firm “no” if you Husky makes the attempt.
When cats are backed up in a corner, they will fight back. They have no other choice – it’s fight or flight without the latter option. And again, a cat pawing and hissing at your Husky will do nothing but provoke the situation.
Marley still chases my cat but she tolerates it and sometimes will chase him back! She still dislikes Maya though. They just ignore each other now.– Mom2x (Reddit User)
The Reddit user admits that this process will take a while. But you must do whatever it takes to keep them together so they get to know each other. They may not end up being best friend, but civil co-existence is what owners are hoping for.
Does Your Husky and Cat Get Along?
Not all Huskies will prey on cats, though most of them will. It really depends on the training, individual dog, environment and of course, the cat.
With that said, we decided to ask real Husky owners. So, we surveyed the Siberian Husky Subreddit and other dog forums to ask owners: does your Husky get along with your cat?
Real Owner Answers:
1. Doodle_pop says Mixed: “I can confirm it may take awhile for them to tolerate each other. One cat was fine with her within 2 weeks. Another cat took just over a year and the youngest is still afraid of my dog.“
2. Siponarius says No: “My Husky vibrated when the cat was in the house. We had to re-home the cat. But I can see them getting along if the husky started out with the cat as a puppy.“
3. Sarahdottwo says Yes: “Our 2 y/o husky loves the cat, but in a non aggressive way. They play with each other so much that I feel like our cat seeks to play with our husky at times too.”
4. Buckeyegal923 says Mixed: “I have one husky that can be around any cat at any time without worry. I have another husky that kills everything smaller than it (mice, birds, toads, frogs, bunnies, etc.) who I will never let near a cat.”
5. Fetch-happens says Yes: “My husky LOVES our cats. The cats didn’t care for her at first, but now they’re best friends. My husky actually tries to groom the cat sometimes too.”
Cats & Huskies Can Co-Exist
The Husky’s prey drive makes it hard for them to get along with cats. This aggressive tendency should remind you that it is going to be more difficult to train a Husky to live with a cat than it is with other dog breeds.
It’s not impossible, though. If you’re dead-set on having both a Husky and a cat, there are a few tricks you can use to get them to play nice:
- Exercise your Husky daily. Doing so will let them release their pent-up energy.
- Make sure your Husky is well-fed.
- Feed your Husky and your cat separately.
- Try to train them to co-exist.
Just remember that it takes a lot of consistency, patience and firmness when training a Husky to co-exist with a cat. Don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t work out in the beginning. In fact, there are plenty of cats that live happily with Huskies!
Do you own a cat and Husky together? What has your experience been like? Let us know in the comments section below!
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