We often see videos of cats and huskies cuddled up together lovingly on the couch. But how typical is this kind of behavior?
Husky dogs have a strong desire to chase cats. So, it can be very difficult to keep cats and huskies together in the same household. That said, every husky dog is completely different. Huskies have a strong prey drive, so they can be aggressive towards cats.
If you want to keep a cat and a husky in the same house, you should introduce them gradually and supervise them closely. But, if you don’t want to take any risks, choose a dog breed that is more compatible with cats.
Is it Safe for Huskies to Live with Cats?
Some owners have been able to make this combination work, especially in cases where their cats have been sociable and confident.
Also, because huskies tend to be sociable and intelligent, having a cat companion may alleviate loneliness and boredom. Even the Blue Cross agrees that some husky dogs can live happily and safely alongside cats.
But, if you’re thinking of keeping cats and huskies together, don’t do it on a whim. It takes plenty of planning and preparation.
Keeping Huskies and Cats Together
Before introducing these two animals into the same household, consider the following factors:
- The Personality of Both Animals – Companion animals have different temperaments. For example, very shy cats will really struggle to adjust to a dog, especially a big breed like a husky. Also, some rescue huskies will be intolerant towards cats. Consider the personality of both animals before attempting to introduce them.
- Age of Both Animals – Raising a husky puppy with cats will be easier than trying to introduce an adult husky to cats.
- How you Introduce Them – It’s preferable to have a cat first and then introduce a dog (rather than the other way around). This means the dog will be entering the cat’s ‘territory’ so the cat will feel better able to defend herself. Also, the introduction process should be gradual
- The Home Environment – Both animals need their own space. Your cat will also need an escape route from any ‘shared’ parts of the house.
- Supervision – Huskies should never be left unsupervised with a cat.
Husky Breed: Characteristics and Personality
Siberian huskies with wolf-like features are endearing. In particular, their tendency to sing, howl, and chatter throughout the day.
Although beautiful, these dogs can be a handful. That’s why it’s important to fully understand the husky’s characteristics and personality before taking one on. Key characteristics include:
- A Very Active Lifestyle – When working, huskies pull sleds for hours at a time. As pets, they require 2 hours+ of exercise per day.
- Talkative – They love to howl, sing and chatter.
- Double-coat – Huskies have a double coat to withstand cold temperatures, but it needs grooming once a week.
- Big and Strong – Huskies are technically medium-sized breeds, but they grow into very strong dogs.
- Wolf-like Facial Features – Pricked-up ears and inquisitive eyes.
- 12+ Years – According to AKC, the average life expectancy of a Siberian husky is 12-14 years.
- Very Minimal Doggy Odor – This is true of all Sled breeds.
During the last decade, huskies have exploded in popularity. Indeed, this has led many cat owners to wonder whether their cat would be happy to live alongside a husky dog.
What Type of Cat will Get Along with a Husky?
Some cats do like dogs, especially those that were brought up around dogs as kittens. Also, cats that are confident and able to defend their territory should be OK around most pet dogs (as long as they are introduced properly and supervised).
Siamese and Abyssinian breeds of cat are known for being sociable, confident, and adaptable. They may be more accommodating towards dogs. Also, a semi-feral mixed breed would also be able to stand its ground around most canines.
If your cat is declawed, she should not be forced to live with a dog, as this will leave her feeling very vulnerable. Also, if your cat is very timid and flighty, she won’t be a good fit for huskies. This is because, as mentioned, huskies have a strong chase drive.
If a cat doesn’t take kindly to living with a husky, she may move out or become seriously ill due to stress. So, you must consider whether a husky is an appropriate companion for your cat or not.
Do Huskies Like Cats?
According to the RSPCA, husky dogs have very individual personalities. So, it’s very difficult to predict whether a particularly husky will love your cat, chase your cat, or simply ignore her.
In most cases, huskies will at least show an interest in cats. This could be an ‘I-want-to-play-with-you’ kind of interest or an ‘I-want-to-eat-you’ kind of interest. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell what’s going on in a husky’s head.
Also, a husky’s attitude towards cats can change over time. There have been cases of husky dogs who’ve been very friendly towards a cat for many years, but then have ended up killing it, either accidentally or on purpose.
It’s far easier to shape behavior when an animal is young. So, if you want to train a husky to like cats, it’s best to expose him to cats when he is a puppy.
How to Raise a Husky Puppy with Cats
Introducing a husky puppy to your cat is certainly easier than trying to introduce a 50 lb.-adult husky to your cat. Below, we’ll show you how to introduce a husky puppy to your cat in 8 steps:
1/ Swap Bedding
For the first few days, keep the puppy and cat in separate rooms. During this time, take some bedding from your cat’s bed and dog’s bed and swap these over. This will help your pets get used to each other’s smell.
2/ Gentle Introduction
Now, it is time to start introducing your puppy to your cat. Only attempt this after your puppy has had his vaccinations.
Make sure your cat is in a relaxed state and part of the house she feels comfortable. Ideally, she should be on a raised surface like a countertop or cat tree so that she can see the puppy clearly and feel in control of the situation. Also, make sure there is a clear escape route for your cat.
Then, bring your puppy in on a long leash. Don’t go straight up to your cat; instead, wait and watch to see how their behavior unfolds. It is important to monitor the interaction very closely.
3/ Watch for Signs of Severe Anxiety
In all likelihood, your cat will become scared and anxious – this is normal. However, if your cat becomes extremely distressed, it will be kinder to end the interaction and try again later or the next day.
But, how can you know if your cat is just a little stressed or severely distressed? Well, the following would be a cause for concern:
- Repetitive screeching and screaming
- A raised back that doesn’t settle after several minutes
- Frantically running around the house but not finding somewhere to hide or settle
If you see these signs, terminate the interaction immediately and make sure your cat is safely separated from your puppy.
Also, if your cat starts grooming excessively, or stops eating and drinking, this is a sign she is severely distressed and may not be able to cope with a dog in the house.
4/ Watch for Signs of Aggression
During the initial introductions, you should watch for signs of aggression in your husky pup, and intervene if you witness this. Signs of aggression include:
- Driving the muzzle into the cat
- Erect tail and piloerection of the fur
- Rigid posture
- Lunging towards the cat pretending to bite
- Licking the cat’s face. This isn’t necessarily a sign of aggression but could easily become a dangerous situation
If your pup displays any of the above behavior, remove him to another room. You can try re-introducing him at a later time but only on the lead. If signs of aggression do not diminish during subsequent interaction sessions, you can try the ‘distraction method’ of training instead. But, remember, some huskies will always remain aggressive towards cats no matter how much training they are given.
5/ Short and Regular Interactions
In the beginning, keep the interactions short and sweet. This will stop your cat from getting overly stressed and will also prevent your puppy from becoming overly excited.
If your pets start to become more relaxed in each other’s company, you can then allow them to spend more time together.
6/ Consider Removing the Leash
If safe to do so, it will be nice to let your puppy freely interact with your kitty. However, you should only consider removing the leash if you are confident that your husky pup is not being aggressive towards your kitty.
7/ Provide Escape Routes and Personal Space
If you are at the stage where your puppy is interacting with your cat when off the leash, your cat must have somewhere safe to escape to when necessary.
So, make sure exit routes are not blocked. Never shut a cat and dog in a room together.
Also, provide your cat with at least one room she can call her own. To do this, fix a baby gate on one room and remove one of the bars (or raise the entire gate slightly) so that your cat can get through, but your dog cannot.
8/ Supervise the Interactions
Supervise all interactions, at least until you can confidently predict your dog’s behavior. Even then, it’s still a good idea to supervise all interactions. This is the only way to guarantee your cat’s safety, because, as mentioned, dogs are never 100% predictable.
So, when you are not around to supervise, keep the dog and cat in separate rooms. Or, at least provide the cat with a dog-proof escape route.
Also, you may need to protect your neighbors’ cats. Huskies will often learn to love their resident cat but will still go after other cats in the neighborhood. So, if your dog uses the yard, try to install a fence that will be high enough to discourage cats from entering.
How to Introduce an Adult Husky to a Cat
Introducing an adult husky to a cat is usually much harder than introducing a puppy. Even if the adult was brought up around other cats, it can be difficult to predict their behavior.
Nevertheless, some owners who have rescued adult huskies have been able to integrate them safely into a household with cats. How can this be done?
Well, you can attempt the above steps. Or, you can try something called the ‘distraction method’. The distraction method is generally considered more effective for training adult huskies to behave safely around cats. It works by encouraging the dog to ignore the cat. Here’s how it works:
- Follow points 1 & 2 (above). Then, when you bring your husky into the room, encourage him to focus all his attention on you. You could play his favorite game, for example.
- If your husky focuses his attention on you and largely ignores the cat, reward him with treats and cuddles. Over time, he should learn than ignoring the cat wins him more rewards.
If your adult husky does approach your cat but is gentle in his approach, it may not be necessary to continue with the distraction method. However, if there are any signs of aggression, you should continue with the distraction method.
If, after several attempts, your cat and dog simply can’t get along, it may be helpful to speak to an animal behaviorist. If that doesn’t work, having one of your pets adopted may, unfortunately, be the kindest option.
Can You Introduce a Cat to a Resident Husky?
It is much harder to introduce to a cat to a household that already has huskies. The cat will feel very uncomfortable and will struggle to establish her own territory.
It may be possible to introduce kittens to a household with husky dogs, but this would take a lot of care and attention. It will be necessary to supervise the cats/dogs at all times and give the cats at least one room they can call their own.
My Husky Attacked My Cat
If your husky has attacked your cat, it goes without saying that you should seek veterinary care (even if there are no visible wounds). Also, this probably means that your cat and dog cannot live safely together anymore.
This is sad because it means one of your pets will probably need to be adopted. However, this is often the kindest option all round if pets are attacking each other.
Before contacting an adoption center, consider whether a family member, friend or neighbor would be able to adopt one of your pets. That way, you’d still have the option of visiting your pet in the future.
Helping Huskies and Cats Get Along Tips
In addition to the points we’ve already mentioned, there are some other things you can do to help your dog and cat get on better together.
Huskies that are bored and under-stimulated are more likely to chase after pet cats. So, make sure your husky has enough exercise throughout the day to feel tired. According to the Blue Cross, it’s a good idea to run or cycle with huskies as this will fulfill their desire to run and chase.
Huskies are sociable animals that require lots of interaction, ideally with other dogs. Ironically, having 2 husky dogs rather than 1 will probably reduce the likelihood of cat attacks. This is because the dogs will be happier and more fulfilled if they are kept in pairs, so they are less likely to cause mischief.
Feeding your husky a good-quality, healthy dog food may help to balance his mood and stop him from chasing after cats.
Dogs Similar to Huskies (and Compatible with Cats)
Huskies are gorgeous and they have wonderful personalities, so it’s no surprise they are popular pets. However, as mentioned, they are not very compatible with cats.
If you are drawn towards the husky breed, but you are worried about their instinct to chase, why not consider one of these similar (more-cat-friendly) breeds instead?
- Hungarian Vizsla – Like huskies, these dogs are devoted to their owners, love the outdoors and need plenty of exercise daily. Vizslas would show an interest in small animals, but they do not have the same chase drive as huskies.
- Border Collies – Border collies are just as active as huskies. They have a herding instinct so they might try to herd a cat, but they are less likely to ‘follow-through’ and attack a cat.
- Pomeranians – If you like the fluffiness of huskies, Pomeranians are a great option. These are small dogs and they tend to get on very well with cats.
- American Eskimo Dogs – These dogs look similar to huskies, but their prey drive is not as strong.
Having said that, all breeds of dogs can be potentially dangerous to cats. That’s why it’s important to take personality into account.