Siberian Huskies are great pets, but they’re also natural predators who pose a risk to small animals like cats. Before you move a Siberian Husky into the same home with cats, make sure you understand the risks involved and know how best to mitigate them. Can a Siberian Husky and a cat get along?
To raise a Siberian Husky with cats, slowly introduce them to each other, first through barriers and then for short, on-leash sessions. Always make sure that the cats have a place to escape to. You should also understand what aggression looks like in your Husky so that you can catch it early.
This article will discuss how Husky puppies interact with cats and what you can do to make their introductions to each other as smooth as possible. With time and patience, you can train these animals to cohabitate peacefully. So let’s get started.
Introducing a Siberian Husky Puppy To Your Cats
Husky puppies are energetic, pack-minded, and predator-minded. They tend to intimidate or hunt animals that are smaller than them, including cats. To ensure that your Husky puppy gets along well with your cats, make sure that you introduce them slowly and carefully according to expert recommendations.
Starting young is best, so try introducing your Husky to your cats when it’s still a puppy. Introducing cats to a grown Husky is much more likely to be dangerous.
While it is possible for Huskies and cats to happily coexist, it’s also possible that your new Husky will seriously injure or even kill a cat if introductions don’t go well. Make sure that you’re intentional about this process so that you don’t endanger your feline friends.
Let’s take a look at how you can introduce your new puppy to your cats.
How To Introduce a New Husky Puppy to Your Cats
To introduce a new Husky puppy to your cats, follow these steps:
- Exercise your Husky and offer plenty of stimulation before introducing it to the cats.
- Allow the Husky and your cats to smell each other through a door without interacting directly.
- Keep the Husky in a crate and allow the cats to be in the same room so that they can see and smell each other. These Midwest Homes crates from Amazon are high quality and large enough for your Husky.
- Reward your Husky when it interacts with the cats without growling, snapping, or biting.
- Supervise short periods of direct interaction about five minutes long with the Husky on a leash, maintain your reward system, and pull them apart if anyone becomes uncomfortable.
- Work your way up to 30-minute periods of interaction sessions together, offering consistent feedback on your Husky’s behavior. Any jumping or predator behaviors should be firmly disciplined.
- Once you are positive that the Husky will not attack, allow them to be with the cats off-leash but with supervision. You should also make sure that the cats have a way to escape if they feel frightened or are under attack.
However, it can take months for your Husky and your cats to become comfortable with each other if it happens at all. Sometimes Huskies and cats simply can’t cohabitate, and so they require full-time separation.
If you find that they really cannot get along, you might need to make the difficult decision to part ways with either your cats or your Husky puppy.
Making Huskies and Cats Comfortable With Each Other
You can do numerous things to make your new pet Husky comfortable with your feline pets and vice versa. These include the following:
- Offer plenty of attention to both the cats and the puppy so that no one gets jealous.
- Feed your cat first so that the Husky learns to respect the cat rather than categorizing it as inferior or prey.
- Ensure that you have plenty of high places for the cat to escape to, whether it be shelves or cat trees like this tall and sturdy Cat Tree With Platform on Amazon.com.
- Keep your Husky well-fed so that its hunting instincts don’t become too strong.
- Consider keeping your dog outside and your cat inside as much as possible.
- Make sure that your cats have plenty of escape routes, if possible, including pet doors that only the cats can get through.
- Give your cats and dogs separate areas to rest, feed, and defecate.
- Keep a collar on your Husky so that you can grab it if it starts to become rough or threatening.
How To Recognize Signs of Aggression in a Husky
If you’re going to introduce a Husky puppy to new cats, you’ll need to make sure that you know what signs of aggression to look for. Being able to catch aggression early could make the difference between a budding friendship and a horrible tragedy.
Often, Huskies become aggressive when they feel out of control in a situation. This could happen when they’re first introduced to a new home and surrounded by new people and animals, especially for the first few weeks.
Watch for the following behaviors:
- Rigid posture
- Erect ears and tail
- Raised hair
- Growling or snarling
- Deep, chesty barks
- Lunges, which may accompany bites.
- Snips, snaps, and bites
- Mouthing, which is a means of controlling via the mouth.
- Driving the muzzle into a person or animal.
Additionally, you should watch for predatory behaviors like stalking or staring, which is a sign that your dog is perceiving your cats as prey and might attack.
Be aware that intervening when your Husky is aggressive comes with the risk that the Husky will redirect its aggression towards you. Preventing aggressive behavior or catching it early is much safer than waiting for it to develop fully.
Reasons Why Huskies Become Aggressive
Huskies become aggressive with people and other animals for numerous different reasons. Understanding these is key to understanding how to prevent or address aggression. Let’s take a look at them now.
When a Husky becomes afraid of an attack or threat, it will appear aggressive. If your Husky doesn’t feel trapped or cornered, it is unlikely to attack out of fear. Additionally, fear-biting is more likely to happen in response to a large dog or human rather than a cat.
Because Huskies are pack dogs, they will sometimes engage in behaviors that allow them to establish a pack hierarchy, which, unfortunately, includes aggression. Sometimes dogs can work out their conflicts without physically fighting, but there is always the chance that conflicts will accelerate until they are finally settled physically.
If you have cats, you must establish the cat as more dominant in the household.
Otherwise, the dog will think it’s appropriate to attack the cat as a way of maintaining the hierarchy. You can do this by feeding the cat first and punishing your dog for aggression toward the cat. Appropriate punishments include a firm “no” and separation from the household.
When Huskies are hurt, they’ll often lash out and bite. This is sometimes retaliatory, and other times just the only way to express how upset or discontent they are. If your Husky is acting more aggressively than normal, consider taking it to the vet to see if an underlying illness or other problem is making the situation worse.
Sometimes a Husky can become too rough or aggressive when it’s only trying to play. This is most likely to happen in dogs who are separated from their mom and siblings early, as they lack the early socialization where they’d otherwise have learned to play gently with others.
Also, note that appropriate play between dogs can still be too rough for cats. Be careful about letting your Husky interact with your cats when it’s energized and playful.
When in doubt, exercise the Husky until its energy level decreases.
Dogs can become very protective of their homes and their resources, and so they’ll become aggressive when they feel that these things are threatened. Be careful if you add any new confining features to your yard or house.
If your dog is acting territorial, try approaching slowly with a treat to show that you aren’t a threat. Train Me! Treats from Amazon are household favorite with Lily and Shadow.
Huskies will sometimes consider people a form of property. Their territorial behavior can develop when they perceive that another person or animal is taking too much of your attention.
Huskies are predatory creatures, and occasionally their need to hunt will show itself as a form of aggression. Be wary if your dog is staring or stalking a creature, as a bite may soon follow.
This is among the most dangerous forms of aggression you’ll see between a Husky and pet cats, so you should make sure that you pay extra attention to the cues that this kind of aggression is happening.
Signs of Fear in Pet Cats
Watching for signs that your cat is fearful is also important, as your cat might pick up on signs of aggression in the Husky that you are missing.
A fearful cat might do any of the following:
- Roll into a ball
- Flatten its ears
- Dilate its pupils
- Arch its back
- Stand its hair on end
If the fear is chronic, you might notice anxious behaviors like nervous grooming to the point of hair loss, excessive vocalization, or urination outside the litter box.
You can decrease the negative impacts of some fears with repeated exposure, so don’t lose heart if your cat appears terrified of your Husky at first. Take the process slowly, and make sure you aren’t forcing the cat to be around the Husky.
Most cats will be naturally curious and will come out to say hi and sniff the new dog so long as they also have an escape route.
What To Do if Your Husky Attacks Your Cat or Vice Versa
If your pets get into a physical fight, you should check them for signs of injury as soon as they’re separated.
Even seemingly small injuries can have serious complications if left untreated, so make sure that you also consult a veterinarian to address any wounds, limping, or other signs of injury. Every injury should be considered an emergency.
First Aid for Cats
Besides calling the veterinarian, there are a few things that you can do to help your cat if it’s been attacked by a larger animal. For one, you can clean wounds with warm water, but try not to use any ointments, creams, or disinfectants unless specifically instructed to by a veterinarian.
Sometimes cats will respond negatively to being handled when they are injured, so be careful to watch for bites and scratches as you tend to your pet.
First Aid for Huskies
First aid for Huskies is similar to first aid for cats. In both cases, the biggest risk is bites and scratches, and you should consult a veterinarian to ensure that the injuries are treated properly and don’t lead to complications. However, you can reduce the risk of complications and ease your dog’s discomfort by washing the wounds with warm water.
Injuries can be difficult to find in Huskies because of their thick fur, so make sure that you do a thorough inspection after a conflict occurs. You’ll likely need someone to restrain the head or put a muzzle on the dog before you can perform an examination, especially if the dog is injured, defensive, or aggressive.
When To Consult a Veterinarian
If your cats and your Husky simply won’t get along after months of trying, it might be time to consult a veterinarian for professional help. You may want to involve a veterinarian even earlier in the process if you’re unsure how your cats or Husky will respond to training.
They will be able to examine your pets’ behavior and offer tips and advice personalized to your animals. Each pet is different, so having this expert advice can help you determine what particular triggers might be influencing your pets and how best to handle them.
Additionally, you should consult a veterinarian right away if a physical fight occurs between your Husky and your cats.
Brain Training For Dogs
If you are looking for additional training for your Husky, I highly recommend Brain Training For Dogs by Adrienne Farricelli. She is a CPDT-KA certified dog trainer and has over 10 years experience. She has been featured in worldwide publications for her outstanding work. Her training expertise has helped thousands of families! She also does training for service and military dogs, too! This training is online and allows you do it from your own home. Also, as of this writing the cost of this training was less than $50.
Siberian Huskies are natural predators, but they can coexist with small animals like cats if they’re trained to live with them from a young age. Make sure that you introduce your Husky to pet cats as a puppy and not as an adult and that you facilitate a gentle and slow introduction process. Always supervise your Husky and your cats.
- Embora Pets: Do Huskies Get Along with Cats?
- SibeLife: Can Siberian Huskies and cats get along?
- Husky Puppies Info: How to Introduce a Husky Puppy to Your Cat
- SnowDogGuru: Aggression And Biting In Huskies
- Base Paws: Fears And Anxiety in Cats: Do You Have a Fearful Kitty?
- Hill’s Pet: How to Care for an Injured Cat
- VCA Hospitals: Pet Emergency Care Handbook