Are Siberian Huskies Good With Cats: Why Huskies and Cats Don’t Mix
Siberian Huskies are very popular dogs in the United States and around the world.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Siberian Husky is ranked as the 14th most popular out of nearly 200 purebred dog breeds!
As you may already know, dogs and cats are the two most popular companion animals today. So many people want to have both a dog and a cat. This makes the question of whether Siberian Huskies are good with cats an important one to ask.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about whether Siberian Huskies and cats can get along well.
Are Siberian Huskies Good With Cats?
Siberian Huskies have a very strong instinct to chase and hunt. This is bred into these dogs from centuries of deliberate breeding to produce a strong, reliable hunting and sledding dog.
In most cases, Siberian Huskies are not good with cats. There are always exceptions, especially when the Siberian Husky is raised alongside cats and comes to view them as friends and playmates. Otherwise, the combination of a Siberian Husky with a cat is not usually recommended.
Watch a Siberian Husky Try to Play With a Cat
In this owner-made YouTube video, you get a true-life glimpse of how most Siberian Huskies view cats.
While a cat might be well able to play and rough house with a Husky, the size difference combined with the Husky’s strong prey drive and chase instinct could easily result in the cat getting hurt.
Why Are Siberian Huskies Not Good With Cats?
As the Forever Husky rescue charity explains, Siberian Huskies have been bred for hundreds of years to reliably grow up to have certain strong canine instincts.
These instincts can mean that a pet cat in your household may not be safe around a Husky dog. The same holds true for other small prey-type animals as well.
The Siberian Husky has always served in a very important role as a canine hunting partner to their people.
As the Aussie Exile Siberian Husky kennel recounts, these dogs were originally bred by the Chukchi indigenous tribal people of Siberia – where the Siberian Husky takes its breed name from.
The Chukchi people needed their dogs to help them with transportation (sledding) and hauling and with hunting. If the people didn’t have their dogs for hunting assistance and then for assistance hauling their prey, they might not eat.
So the Siberian Husky was bred to have very strong instincts to chase prey-type animals. While Siberian Huskies are rarely used for hunting today, these instincts persist, which is why your family cat may end up in harm’s way.
In addition to the very strong instinctive drive to chase fast-moving prey-type animals, Siberian Huskies are working dogs to their core that lives to run.
In fact, one of the biggest risks pet owners face when choosing a Siberian Husky is that their dog might escape the yard and start running and just never stop.
Huskies live to run – it is in their blood. When you combine the running instinct with the prey drive, any pet cat that crosses a Husky’s path could easily end up in a very dangerous situation.
Independent and stubborn
The third big risk of combining a Siberian Husky with a family feline is that Huskies are notoriously independent and stubborn in certain ways.
Here again, the reason for this is not because these dogs are not smart or because they are not people-oriented. Actually, Siberian Huskies are famously friendly and very smart.
But Siberian Huskies have been bred to think and work independently of their people, often making split-second decisions about which way to run or how to capture a prey animal that leave no time to look to humans for guidance.
So Siberian Huskies simply do not have much genetic programming to understand why you wouldn’t want them to chase down a fluffy cat that looks very much like dinner.
You can do your best to train your Husky not to do this, but as many Husky owners can attest, you may not be fully successful and your cat will then pay the price.
Are Cats the Only Other Animals Siberian Huskies Don’t Like?
This is a great question – and a valid one.
Some people think that the reason Siberian Huskies and cats don’t generally get along well is that Huskies don’t like cats in particular.
Actually, Siberian Huskies like cats very much. They just don’t like them for the friendship value. Huskies see cats as desirable prey animals.
As Husky Rescue KZN explains, it isn’t that a cat is a cat that is the problem.
The problem is that a cat is furry, low to the ground, quick-moving, interesting to watch, and impossible to resist chasing.
As the rescue explains, small dogs can also be equally at risk. Other small companion animals such as rabbits, rodents, birds, and even some reptiles can be at risk around a Siberian Husky for exactly the same reason.
There is no way to know for sure how your Siberian Husky will react around your pet cat or any other small companion animal that is already a part of your family. You can always choose to take the risk and see if all of your animals will get along.
But here, you are potentially gambling with the lives of your other family pets, especially given the Siberian Husky’s well-documented reputation for having a very strong prey drive and chasing instinct.
Your Husky may not have ill-will towards another animal they chase and there may not even be any real intention to kill or harm the other animal. However, once the instinct takes over, you may not have any control over the outcome.
Your Husky will also likely not understand what they have done wrong if they do chase down and injure or kill the other animal.
After an estimated 3,000 years of deliberate human breeding for the very predatory and chasing instincts they just displayed, it is unlikely any amount of training you attempt will convince your Husky they did something they should not have done.
But What About All Those Cute Husky-Cat “Best Friends” on Social Media?
It is true there are more than a few incredibly cute Siberian Husky and cat “best friends” duos on social media (as proof, check out Greyson & Skyla on Instagram – they even look like twins)!
This does offer a window of hope if you absolutely have your heart set on including both a family feline and a Siberian Husky in your household.
So yes, it is possible that a Siberian Husky and a cat can get along and even become best friends. It has happened before and it is happening in homes all around the world right now.
But it is also important to remember that no one wants to post pictures and videos of Siberian Husky and cat encounters that have gone very wrong.
Plus, when you look at those photos and videos on social media, you are not getting the back story of what had to happen first before those two animals learned to see one another as “packmates” and not as predator and prey.
There may have been hours and days and weeks and months of training and heavily supervised interactions before the two animals decided to bond.
It could have been that the Siberian Husky came into the family as a very young puppy and thus was socialized around the family cat from the start, understanding that the cat was a companion and not a prey.
Or it might have been that the cat got in a good swipe or two with their sharp claws and taught the Siberian Husky that two could play the predator-prey game.
Here, one thing that is great about social media is that you may be able to reach out to influencers who have both Huskies and cats to find out what the owner did to help the two animals become friends.
You can also choose to work with a professional dog trainer to give your dog and cat the very best chance of becoming friends and peaceful housemates.
What never works is introducing a Siberian Husky into a home where there is a cat and just assuming the two animals will “figure it out.” What typically happens is that there is an injury and sometimes a fatality.
How to Train Your Siberian Husky to Get Along With Your Cat
As Vetstreet points out, Siberian Huskies score in the lowest percentage as far as companion canines that are cat-friendly.
In other words, your Siberian Husky will likely find your family feline irresistible, but not for the reasons you’d hoped.
As Forever Husky rescue charity explains, Siberian Huskies don’t just chase cats and call it a day. There is a whole predatory sequence they typically go through when hunting.
The predatory sequence goes as follows:
None of these steps is good news for the family cat.
Your goal when training a Siberian Husky and a cat to get along is to intercept the predatory sequence from the start, giving your Husky an alternate sequence and making it desirable for your dog to choose that alternate sequence.
For example, if you can teach your Siberian Husky that not chasing the family cat always results in a tasty treat or a fun run with you, you will have a higher likelihood of success in training the two animals to peacefully coexist.
As celebrity animal trainer Jackson Galaxy tells Mental Floss, it is possible that some dogs will have a personality that is more likely to get along well with a cat.
Just as not all humans are exactly alike, so too are not all Siberian Husky dogs exactly alike. Some Huskies may be more mellow in their personality or temperament while other Huskies may be more excitable and energetic.
As well, a young Siberian Husky puppy that gets used to encountering other animals of all sizes and species from a very young age may be more trainable than an older Husky that is set in its ways.
The best-case scenario is always going to be getting a kitten and a Siberian Husky puppy and raising them together from a very young age. This scenario is the one that holds out the most hope of a friendly outcome.
In the same way, as Pet Sitters International points out, some cats are more apt to tolerate a dog’s presence or stand their ground rather than run so your dog gives chase.
In this way, it is important not to treat a Siberian Husky and cat pairing as just a generic “dog and cat” pairing. You are adding two individual and highly unique animals of different species to your families.
It is vital to study the temperament and personality of each animal and evaluate ahead of time how likely it will be that the two learn to get along. Pairing a fearful and submissive cat paired with an aggressive and stubborn Husky is likely to be a disaster.
Conversely, pairing a calm and confident Husky with a calm and confident cat is much more likely to bode well for a future interspecies friendship.
Should You Add a Siberian Husky to Your Family If You Have Cats?
Ultimately, as you have probably already figured out from reading this article, the Siberian Husky is not an ideal choice of companion canine if your family already includes cats.
There may be extenuating factors that make it more likely the two animals will coexist peacefully.
But if it does not work out, you may end up having to re-home one of your pets – or worse.
In summary, always proceed with caution when pairing Siberian Huskies with cats.