Do Alaskan Malamutes Get Along With Cats? (Helpful Guide)

Do Alaskan Malamutes Get Along With Cats

Alaskan Malamutes often get along with cats if they’re socialized together from an early age. Still, always supervise their interactions because their individual personalities and behaviors can differ.

Alaskan Malamutes and Their Relationship With Cats

The Prey Drive of Malamutes

Malamutes were bred to pull heavy sleds over long distances. This required:

  • High energy levels
  • Strength and stamina
  • A strong prey drive

A dog’s prey drive, their instinct to chase and hunt small animals, comes from their history as hunters and workers.

For malamutes, their high prey drive targeted small prey like:

  • Rabbits
  • Birds
  • Rodents

This enabled malamute owners to use them for hunting or trapping small game.

Due to this instinct, malamutes might view cats and other small pets as potential prey. Proper training can curb this impulse and teach them to co-exist peacefully.

Initial Reactions Between Malamutes and Cats

When first introducing a malamute to a cat, expect:

  • Wariness – The cat will likely be hesitant and frightened of the large, unknown dog.
  • Curiosity – The malamute may be very interested in the new furry creature. Without proper training, this curiosity can turn into a prey-driven behavior.
  • Poor first impressions – Both animals may initially react badly to each other. But this doesn’t mean they can’t learn to get along.

Bonding Through Positive Experiences

Here are some tips to help a malamute and cat bond:

Reward calm behavior – Use treats and praise to reinforce calm, gentle behavior around the cat. This teaches the malamute to control its impulses.

Create positive associations by giving both animals treats when they’re near each other.

Have separate spaces – The cat should have escape routes to hide if feeling overwhelmed by the malamute. Baby gates are useful for this.

Plenty of exercise – Ensure the malamute gets plenty of exercise to keep it calm and less fixated on the cat.

Importance of Socializing Your Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan malamutes are sociable and crave human interaction, but they can develop behavioral issues without proper socialization.

Socialization involves positively exposing puppies to various sights, sounds, people, and animals. This greatly affects a malamute’s personality and trainability throughout its life.

If you want your malamute to be friendly with other pets, such as cats, proper socialization is essential. Here’s why it matters so much:

Socialization Builds Confidence

Socialization introduces puppies to new experiences in a controlled, positive manner. Every positive interaction with people or animals boosts a puppy’s confidence.

A well-socialized mal will be:

  • Outgoing and friendly
  • Comfortable in new situations
  • Eager to meet people and pets

Such adaptability helps them bond with everyone in the household, including cats.

It Curbs Negative Behaviors

Without socialization, malamutes may become:

  • Fearful
  • Aggressive
  • Overexcited

These behaviors increase the risk of chasing or harming cats and other pets.

Socialization helps malamutes see cats not as threats or prey but to behave calmly and gently around them.

The Right Age for Socialization

Malamute puppies should be socialized between 3 and 16 weeks when exposure to new experiences is most effective.

Tips for proper puppy socialization include:

  • Inviting friends over to meet the pup
  • Going on car rides
  • Visiting pet stores
  • Walking downtown
  • Playing sound CDs
  • Handling paws frequently

While socialization is beneficial at any age, it is crucial during puppyhood to establish a friendly, tolerant, and confident temperament.

Can Alaskan Malamutes and Cats Learn to Get Along?

With time, patience, and consistent positive reinforcement, malamutes, and cats can gradually develop a strong friendship.

Factors That Help Success

Begin socialization early in puppyhood to reduce prey drive and teach the pup to be gentle with small animals.

Choose a malamute puppy with a naturally calm and tolerant personality, indicated by an easygoing and social temperament.

Use reward-based training to encourage polite and gentle behavior around cats, as malamutes are eager to please their owners.

Control the prey drive by training to prevent chasing and providing outlets like flirt poles for the malamute to expend energy.

Positive associations – Give treats and praise when the mal and cat are calmly together. This creates positive feelings about each other.

Be patient, as some cats may need weeks or months to get comfortable with the dog. Allow the relationship to develop naturally.

Signs of Success

Malamute behavior

  • Staying calm and nonreactive around the cat
  • Politely sniffing then losing interest
  • Wagging tail and play bows

Cat behavior

  • Purring or kneading near the malamute
  • Playfully pouncing on or chasing after the mal
  • Rubbing against the dog affectionately
  • Sitting near or sleeping by the malamute

How to Introduce Your Alaskan Malamute to a Cat?

This is a crucial step and you need to make sure you got it right. The thing about cats is they are peevish and know how to hold a grudge, for years if they have to. Alaskan Malamutes are too easy-going to worry about grudges. And because of their large size and apparent strength, they can be intimidating.

You need to avoid that first impression. When the cat sees this lumbering hulk approaching it, it will feel threatened. So you don’t want it to flee the place in fear. Make sure they both meet each other for the first time under favorable circumstances. The Alaskan Malamute looks more peaceful when it’s lying down.

So what you need to do here is to get the cat to get familiar with the dog and to feel safe. The cat needs to accept the Alaskan Malamute as a housemate, not a potential enemy. First impressions count and it would be much easier to develop a cordial atmosphere than to fix a hostile one. You can encourage them to accept each other. How you can do that is what we explain below.

How to Help A Cat Get Along With an Alaskan Malamute?

Two things that most pets tend to enjoy: food and playing. In the case of the cat, napping is another daily activity that they enjoy a whole lot. But since the Alaskan Malamute is more active then you can take that out napping or sleep time as a bonding activity off your list.

You’re left with food and playing. You can encourage them both to eat at the same time. Put their food bowls in different places but give them food at the exact time. Since they don’t share the same food, that means they won’t see each other as competitors. Instead, they will share an enjoyable activity together. This creates the right vibes that you’d want to build and nourish.

Then you have game time. Even though they both have a huge difference in temperament as well as size, you can still find a middle ground where the Alaskan Malamute and the cat can share a game and enjoy playing it together. Balls are the first thing that comes to mind here. Cats love playing with balls and so do the Alaskan Malamutes.

Cuddling and belly rubs are two activities that no pet would say no to. Make sure you bestow your love and attention equally on both pets. If one of them hogs your cuddles, the other would feel left out and get jealous.

Useful Tips

While animals have complex lives and the dynamics of their relationships are fluid and tend to change from one day to the next, there are still some guidelines to help you establish a harmonious atmosphere in your household and create the right conditions where a loving friendship between the cat and the Alaskan Malamute might blossom.

  1. Make sure their living areas don’t overlap when you’re introducing them to each other.
  2. Allow the Alaskan Malamute and the cat to take their time to explore each other and come to terms with having the other in their lives.
  3. Cats value their privacy, so ensure they get their own place that the dog cannot reach or get into.
  4. Scent is a powerful tool of introduction. So drop some of the cat’s items in the dog’s space and make sure the cat runs into the dog’s ball occasionally.
  5. Don’t scold either of them in the presence of the other. They both have their dignity and pride to keep.
  6. Don’t get anxious around the Alaskan Malamute, that might make them more hostile toward the cat or even blame it for your anxiety.
  7. Encourage them to be nice to each other. Treats play a big role in reinforcing positive behaviors and discouraging them from getting antsy toward each other.
  8. Give them love and cuddles in equal proportions. Don’t make one of them feels left out or less loved by you as it creates unnecessary competition.

Alaskan Malamutes and Other Small Animals

But what about other animals in the house? We’ve been focusing on cats that we forgot about the hamsters, the gerbils, the bunnies, and all those pets that have different personalities from cats.

One thing is for sure, if you can get your Alaskan Malamute to befriend the cat, then you’ll have great success with the rest of your furry household. Bunnies, for example, are less peevish than the cat and once they know that the Alaskan Malamute is not there to eat them, they will learn to love that big brute and accept it in their lives.

You can apply the same techniques we discussed earlier as well as the tips that you will find below with most pets. Whether you’re talking about a chihuahua or a gerbil, the rules of engagement are basically the same. You allow the two animals to get to know each other, you encourage them to interact without forcing, you allow them to have space, and you don’t put them in a situation that could create contention and animosity.

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