Will my Husky Kill my Cats? Understanding a Husky’s Prey Drive

by: Adrienne Farricelli
Will My Husky Kill my Cats ? Huskies are sometimes unjustly blamed for their strong prey drive, but the history of the breed is often forgotten. Back in time, when huskies lived in Siberia, they were exposed to harsh conditions where food was often quite scarce. It wasn’t unusual for them to be left loose to wander in the summer in search of prey animals to hunt such as Arctic hares and birds. It therefore shouldn’t surprise us if today, they have a high prey drive towards small critters such as rodents, birds, ferrets, squirrels and cats.

Increasing the Chances of Getting Along
If you are considering adopting a Siberian husky and love cats, you may be wondering if your new addition will perceive cats as great playmates or an opportunity for dinner. The answer is, huskies aren’t the best additions to households with cats and you really won’t know what will happen until the two species are introduced, but you’ll need to do so in the safest way possible without keeping your hopes to high. When Snowball starts running, expect Thundra to pursue, so keep your husky on leash and give kitty an escape route as needed. While many huskies cannot live with cats, some can at times, but make sure you’re prepared to accept that should things not go well you’ll need to keep them separated for safety sake—and this may mean permanently. Generally, the chances of getting along are much higher if you already own a cat and your husky is a puppy— or even better, introduce them when they’re both young. This way your puppy has the opportunity to learn that kitty is a member of the household and your kitty can get used to him from a young age.

Things tend to get more complicated though if you are rescuing an adult husky and don’t have much history about him. Even if the husky was raised with cats in a former home, consider that this doesn’t grant that he’ll necessarily get along with your cats. In such cases, it’s best to use extreme caution and never leave your new husky and cat unsupervised. Also, consider that if your husky gets along with a cat in your home, it doesn’t mean he won’t chase and kill your neighbor’s cats!

Is Prey Drive a Sign of Aggression?
People often get upset when a Siberian husky kill s a cat, especially when it was a much cherished family pet. It’s wrong though to blame this breed for being vicious. Prey drive is much different from aggression. A Siberian husky can be the perfect pet, friendly towards people and other dogs and then kill a baby rabbit in the yard. The husky has an innate prey drive that was kept alive for many generations of living in harsh arctic conditions. Since this behavior is instinctive, it cannot be unlearned, but the husky’s environment can be managed by limiting exposure to animals. Keep your husky leashed on walks and make sure your yard is fenced well to prevent him from getting out and other animals from coming in.

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