The Siberian Husky has only recently become popular as a family pet. There are many factors to bear in mind when considering owning one. For instance, how much exercise does it need (loads), does it get on well with children (usually, yes) and will it get on with an existing pet?
Are Siberian Huskies good with cats? Siberian Huskies are not really a good choice of dog to mix with cats. They have strong predatory instincts and may simply see a cat as prey. However, there are always exceptions and with strict training, a relationship between a Husky and cat may work.
Be very careful as I’ve heard of success stories that have turned sour after many peaceful years. This may well be down to dormant natural instincts kicking in.
The Siberian Husky Personality
The Siberian Husky is most definitely a unique breed of dog. From its past life as the original working sled-dog to its wolf-like looks, the Husky is a difficult dog to ignore. They are known to have many, somewhat unusual, personality traits.
For instance, you may already know this but the Siberian Husky very rarely barks. Instead, it howls, like a wolf. So, not only does it look like a wolf, it sounds like one too. Hang on, before we go any further – make sure you’ve got a dog, not a wolf, okay? 🙂
Next is their inbuilt ability to escape from anywhere. Harry Houdini himself could learn a thing or two from this breed! If you think you’ve got a secure garden as it has a high fence, think again.
The trouble is, unlike most dogs that will be content with their lot, the Siberian Husky wants to escape. If your fences are anything less than 8 feet then forget letting them out without a lead as they will be up and over before you know it.
Don’t forget the foundations also. If they can’t get over the top then maybe they’ll try to go underneath! These dogs can dig and they can dig quickly. They will dig their way under that fence and out the other side in less than five minutes – it’s actually quite impressive if you think about it.
The Siberian Husky has a lot of energy and needs a way to expend it. If you won’t help them with this then they’ll find other ways. These alternative ways may not be to your liking!
This breed can become very destructive if left alone – even for short periods like 20 minutes – so they are not a breed of dog to get if you’re thinking of being out of the house and leaving them home alone all day. Yes, you can crate them but even with this, you shouldn’t keep them in a crate for more than about 3 hours.
Siberian Husky and its Prey Drive
Originally, when this breed was living with the Chukchi people, they were allowed to roam free during the summer months. During this time, the Huskies would hunt birds, squirrels, general vermin and wild cats.
It would be rare for the dog to actually return back to its family until it was unable to find any more food in the wild. These natural instincts have not been bred-out and are still an integral part of the dog’s personality.
Anyone who has owned a Siberian Husky in the past will know this is accurate. Don’t fool yourself into thinking they actually need you! The Husky is constantly trying to escape, roam and hunt and you will not be able to change this natural behavior.
The Siberian Husky will usually see a cat as prey but there are many examples of a Husky and cat getting along famously. In fact, I asked the question on a Siberian Husky owner’s site as to whether they also had cats and how the relationship worked. There were literally dozens of responses commenting on how well they all get on and that there have never been any incidents.
However, the prey drive will always be within the Husky and some owners have reported that even though the dog has got on fine with the cat for many years, occasionally they just revert back to their natural instincts and the consequences have been regrettable. Therefore, regardless of how well the Husky may appear to get on with our feline friends, it is not a partnership that I would recommend.
You may now be wondering whether the Husky can be used as a guard dog – you may (or may not) be surprised by the answer! Check out the link if you’re interested!
How Can I Ensure My Siberian Husky and Cat Get Along?
There are some things you can do to give yourself a better chance but the question really is should you? The Siberian Husky will typically always have that inbuilt drive to hunt prey and we know that the cat used to fall directly under that category.
However, is there anything we can do to give ourselves a better chance at having a peaceful environment between Husky and cat? Well, yes – there are some things we can do:
- Socialization – early socialization of the Husky is critical. To be honest, if this didn’t happen I wouldn’t personally even consider trying to get them together. However, if you can – make sure that during those first few weeks the Husky is introduced to as many different types of cat (and person) as possible. This is your best shot. Ensure they are familiar with cats and you may stand a chance of them developing a bond with them. One suggestion is that if a cat sanctuary allows it, take your Husky puppy along – they’ll get to meet several cats in one go in a very controlled environment!
- Slow Introduction – just throwing your Husky together with a cat in the same room straight away is a guaranteed way to fail. Introductions must be slow and controlled and you need to be patient. This process can take months or in some cases years. The cat must always have an escape route and they should never be left on their own together.
- Formal Dog Training – combined with the above, your Husky must be able to respond to simple commands such as ‘Stay’, ‘No’, and ‘Leave’, amongst others of course. If you notice they are becoming over-excited then you have to be able to issue a command to calm them down. There is no guarantee though that they will respond to you if that prey instinct takes over.
Finally, you must be prepared to accept that it is not going to work out. All dogs and all cats are individuals and even after weeks, months or even years of introductions and even after all the above has been ticked, it may not all come together.
Where did the Siberian Husky come from?
I know, the clue is in the name but this is an important point as the Husky was very much a working-dog originally. The Chukchi peninsular can be found in Siberia, on the far eastern tip of Russia and only the Chukchi Sea and the Bearing Strait separates it from Alaska.
The people who lived here were hunter-gatherers and relied heavily on the Siberian Husky (amongst other breeds) to help them travel across large distances in Siberia, which were often frozen.
The Husky was well-suited for the task as they have a very strong pack mentality, could run all day (with breaks of course), were able to follow simple commands and were tough enough to be able to handle the harsh conditions that us humans find extremely challenging.
To get to this perfect dog, Spitz dogs that were local to the area were crossed with the Laika dog breed and after several iterations, the Siberian Husky was produced that we now know today.
Are Siberian Huskies Good With Kids?
The Siberian Husky can be very good with children, yes. They are not an aggressive breed at all (at least when it comes to us humans) and will love interacting with children and lap up all the attention they are given.
So, you could call the Husky a great family dog, assuming that family doesn’t own a cat, is prepared to take it for long walks twice a day and has a fenced garden which even Mr. Trump would be proud of!
Ideally, during the early socialization stage, the Husky would have been introduced to children and this helps dramatically later in life. It’s not only the Husky that needs educating though.
Children should be taught how to act around animals and to never be complacent. They should never put their face close to the dogs, never tease it and of course, it goes without saying that they should never smack it.
A Siberian Husky can enjoy a great life which is even more enriched if children are involved and it’s difficult to say who gets more out of the relationship.
It might not be good news to everyone but it’s important when looking to get a new dog or perhaps when thinking of introducing a cat into a family which already includes a dog, to consider if they will all get on.
I think it’s quite clear that naturally, the Siberian Husky will typically see a cat as prey and you should not be surprised to see an associated response when the two are brought together. There are exceptions though and certainly with some good socialization, controlled introductions and formal training you can give yourself a better shot at compatibility.