You’ve just adopted a new Husky! How can you ensure he’ll get along with your house cat? You’ve heard mixed things from friends, and are afraid the new husky will frighten your little one. Are Huskies good with cats?
Siberian Huskies have a very strong prey drive and can be tempted to chase or even attack smaller animals. This tendency can seem even worse if your Husky hasn’t received enough exercise! Huskies can be good with cats provided they were socialized well.
But how do you do that?
Are Huskies Good with Cats?
Huskies can easily live a happy life alongside the family cat! There is no rule saying dogs necessarily have to be at odds with cats.
Huskies are extremely high-energy. This is a dog bred to perform strenuous work all day long. A Siberian Huskie’s energy is near limitless.
So why does this matter?
Most domestic Husky pets won’t ever receive the amount of exercise they need to be satisfied. If a Huskie’s energy demands aren’t met, he could become destructive.
Your husky might begin digging holes all over the yard or become an escape artist, even jumping your fence! He can also present a danger to smaller animals, including cats. This is a huge reason why it is so important to socialize your Husky with cats.
Siberian Huskies have a strong prey drive! A prey drive is a carnivore’s instinct to find and pursue food. Since this is such a strong instinct, your dog might feel the need to chase smaller animals even if he isn’t hungry.
Training Huskies to Be with Cats
Early socialization is the key when training Huskies to be with cats! When you socialize a dog, you’re helping the dog become familiar and accept, even enjoy, everything and everyone in his environment. Your Husky can be a fantastic companion for your cat, but he’ll need to be taught the cat is a friend.
Remember, you have another party in this equation. You can’t train your Husky to be friendly with the family cat if the cat isn’t friendly in the first place.
Early socialization is important for cats too!
Bringing a larger predatory animal home your cat isn’t used to can cause an adult cat accustomed to solitude to become stressed. Unsocialized adult cats can sometimes act aggressively, such as darting out of hiding spots to take a swipe at the foreseen “combatant”.
How Do You Introduce a Husky to a Cat?
Introductions are best made when the Husky is young, during the first “fear period” between 8-11 weeks. Tread carefully because your puppy probably hasn’t finished his first set of core vaccines, and is still very susceptible to illness.
Your Husky is soaking up information like a sponge! This little one will relish in new encounters but take them slowly. Don’t force anything or overwhelm your pup.
As long as you’re able to ensure happy, pleasant encounters with the cat (especially from the cat), this is a perfect time to begin! Slowly introduce your puppy to the cat or play games around the cat.
You absolutely want to ensure these encounters are enjoyable! There is a reason they are called “fear periods”. A negative encounter with an angry or unfriendly feline could devastate your socialization efforts and be very traumatic for your little one.
If the cat doesn’t like dogs, other animals, or isn’t friendly, it’s best to keep them separated for now. You don’t have to force encounters, but make sure the puppy is aware of the cat’s presence.
Step One: Begin Early
You’ll want to begin socializing your Husky with the family cat before 12 weeks if possible. Earlier is even better, but you’ll also want to wait until your pup finished those DHPP vaccines. Unvaccinated puppies are extremely vulnerable if they happen to get sick!
Make sure the cat has been vaccinated also, especially if it is an outdoor cat.
A puppy older than 12 weeks will become more cautious about strange or new encounters, and social interactions may take more time. It still can be done! You’ll just need to take things at a slower pace.
When You Bring the Animal Home
Stop at your front door. Allow both animals to sniff each other before entering the house. You’ll want your cat to know there is another companion entering the home. Your cat might paw underneath the door. This is fine!
Always show love to your cat when your Husky is around! Make sure your Husky is able to recognize how important and valuable a member of the family this cat is. Your Husky will feel more at ease if he is able to see how you feel about your feline friend.
Step Two: Always Supervise Closely!
You want to treat these interactions like it is a vulnerable human infant and a potentially dangerous gorilla! The gorilla may seem extremely gentle but could easily injure the newborn if things went sideways.
If the cat takes a swipe at the puppy, your socialization efforts could be at an end. This would be even worse if the cat happens to harm the puppy! It can be extremely traumatic for the little one. Your pup would have learned to fear cats and avoid them at all costs.
Have your cat’s nails been trimmed just in case? There is nothing wrong or painful about asking a groomer to trim the tips of those nails!
Supervision is necessary with your puppy and any other animal. This isn’t limited to cats. Always supervise, like your pup is a human child.
The same is true for a kitten and an adult Siberian Husky. You’ll still have to supervise closely, ensuring every encounter is a positive one! These are still two predatory animals that wouldn’t naturally associate in a wild setting.
Step Three: Leashed Encounters
Ensure your husky is on a lead so you’re able to control any outcome if the dog is old enough to wear a harness. Collars can apply pressure to the trachea and aren’t recommended for young puppies.
Make sure the lead is loose, and your puppy doesn’t associate any stress with it! This simply ensures you have even greater control over the situation.
- Sower your Husky puppy with enthusiastic praise as he approaches the cat! You want your puppy to form positive associations with kitty.
- Play games around the cat!
- Offer your puppy treat rewards when the little one approaches your cat!
Tracking games like “find that treat” are very enriching and will give your husky a lot of enjoyment!
Step Four: Off Lead
If you don’t notice any issues or problem behaviors (described below) between either party, you can begin to allow your Husky off lead. You still want to supervise closely until your puppy is about no longer a small puppy. This is especially true for the first few encounters!
Adult Huskies and Cats
Are Huskies good with cats when they are adults? Imagine you want to introduce a full-grown adult Husky to your home and your cat. Let’s say you saw this amazing 5-year-old shelter dog you wanted to adopt!
The ideal period to begin socializing a dog is during puppyhood. Once the dog is an adult, socializing with animals it has never met before, or even worse- learned to dislike, can become much more difficult and sometimes near impossible.
- Socialization doesn’t have to begin before 12 weeks! You can still socialize seven at the six-month or year mark. Just don’t wait much longer and follow the steps above cautiously.
There is no guarantee an adult Husky will get along with your cat naturally, just like there is no guarantee he won’t. Ask the shelter employees how this dog is with cats. Has it been socialized with cats before? Has it grown up with cats?
For more information, see our “Recognizing Aggression in Huskies” section below.
Remember- if you aren’t sure, always supervise!
Are Huskies Good with Cats? Socialization is Key
Socializing your Husky is only half the battle here! It won’t matter how much your dog loves cats if your cat is terrified of dogs. Being a smaller predatory animal, cats are very easily stressed if you aren’t careful.
Some adult cats, just like some adult dogs, are set in their ways. Your adult cat might never grow tolerant of your new dog. If you have an adult cat at home, be sure he was socialized with dogs and gets along with them.
If your cat already doesn’t like dogs, this can be a long process and may seem much more difficult for you, another dog breed may be a better choice for your family.
Begin early! You want to begin socializing your cat with dogs at a young age. Teach your cat that dogs are friendly animals and nothing to worry about!
Take your time and introduce slowly. Never force interactions! Provide a nice, calm, and quiet getaway for your cat if the introduction becomes too much.
- Account for your cat’s personality type. Shy or timid cats may struggle when adjusting to a new dog. This is especially true with a larger, hyperactive breed like a Siberian Husky!
- Consider the age of both animals. Introducing young puppies and kittens will often be drastically easier than adult animals!
- Consider how you introduce your animals. It’s best to introduce a new puppy or adult dog to the household, versus a new adult cat. Cats are stressed easier and can take longer to adjust! You are already making a drastic change in the environment.
- Provide both animals with their own space to get away if feeling overwhelmed. It’s especially important your cat has a getaway from any shared portions at the home.
Recognizing Severe Anxiety in Cats
It’s normal for a cat to become scared or anxious at first. This is a larger predator after all (unless your Husky is still a small pup). You’ll want to be able to recognize fear or anxiety before it becomes a problem.
If your cat does display signs of severe anxiety or fear, it’s best to end the introduction and try again tomorrow. Symptoms of severe anxiety or fear in cats can include:
- Continuous screaming or screeching
- Raised back that won’t settle after an extended period of time
- Frantic, repeated bolting around your home without hiding
Recognizing Aggression in Huskies
Recognizing aggression in your dog is just as, or perhaps more, important than recognizing fear in your cat! You’ll want to separate the two animals if you think your Husky is acting aggressively. Gently encourage positive encounters over time.
This is more likely with adult Huskies who have never encountered or been socialized with cats. You might see it more often in rescued animals.
- Forcing muzzle into the cat
- Erect or raised tail and hackles/ piloerected fur
- Rigid, erect posture
- Lunging toward cat with pretend bites or snapping
- Growling, bearing teeth
Intense face licking isn’t a sign of aggression, but it can lead to an altercation if it isn’t tolerated by the cat.
If you do notice aggression in your Husky, you’ll want to use a psychological training principle called counterconditioning by desensitizing your Husky to the cat over time. You can read more about these principles here.
Are Huskies Good With Cats? Final Word
Your Siberian Husky can make a fantastic companion for your cat! Yes, Huskies are good with cats- if they are raised properly.
This doesn’t always come naturally to either a Husky or a cat. Adults who’ve never met the opposite animal might not get along with or like it right away. As the pet owner, you must teach your pets that other animals are good for them and make for fun encounters!
After all is said and done, are Huskies good with cats? That depends on you as much as your pets!