3rd Month into introduction, help moving to the next step

lurealC

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Hi everyone!

So we are our 3rd month into our introduction and feeling a little stuck on how to move forward.

I have Maggie (under a year old) and Clancey (just under 2). We have had a bumpy introduction process I think.

Currently the kitties can be in the same room together (sort of) and eat together. We haven't managed to integrate fully with full access as I feel like we keep backtracking or are stuck at a phase that has been challenging to navigate out of. We currently can't afford to get a behaviourist in so I'd love to get some perspective or ideas on how to move forward.

Clancey seems to be afraid of Maggie, if she is in the room, he will generally become 'wallflowerish' he will hide under the couch or under the dining table. He will skulk around and any signs of movement from Maggie will cause him to constrict or run to his safe spaces, he always seems to be on alert when she is out whereas she is confident as ever, strolling around like she owns the show. As soon as we put her in her room Clancey will come out of hiding, and check she is nowhere to be seen then return to himself.

Maggie will chase Clancey at least twice a day, any time he gets up to move from one spot to another she will lock onto him. So he can't freely move from locations throughout the house unless I put her in her room. I try to burn her energy at least twice a day with strenuous play, and I try to encourage Clancey to play but he is often too nervous, or if she's not in the room he's not usually interested. I've also noticed Maggie will mark her scent everywhere, shes constantly wiping her face on every corner of the house and I don't often see Clancey do this, which he did before we got Maggie. I've also tried to get him his own things like a scratch post, and a bed but she will always overtake them.

I feel stuck because I've never seen Clancey hide this often and he is just generally so much less confident. I don't know if there is mutual play happening because I haven't seen Clancey ever reciprocate the chasing, and in fact any time Maggie is near him (waiting for food) or if im trying to encourage mutual play he will whack her, it doesn't look playful at all it looks more frustrated and 'Get away from me' ish. If he is sleeping and she comes near him, he will get up and try to go somewhere else to sleep.

My question is, how can I move towards having full time access because it is waring me down constantly having to shuffle them around and I feel so unsure of what to do before/after or when she chases him, currently I either put her in her room or say 'No' and try to distract her but sometimes I cant, and other times I will put a pillow in the way and try to move her somewhere else but I am exhausted from watching them constantly together and not feeling confident in how to help these situations.

And do I just allow him to whack her all the time when she gets near him?

Would love some feedback because again I'm feeling really disheartened :-(
 

Kwik

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Hi,May I ask who you had intitially,for how long,a little about that kitties behavior and then new kitty arrival & introduction to house and 1st kitty...
I ask these questions because I can't just make assumptions on these interactions-often times you have to go back to start over,fortunately with kitties you can do that-especially since they are quite young and 3months is not such a long time for a reset....
I'm not sure if these are both newly adopted family members or how this all began.... with cats,first order is familiarity with territory,then intros.... it can be overwhelming for a cat that is not confident and established in his/her environment to have to contend with another cat that is more confident and will quickly adapt
So,if you would provide some more detailed info it'd be beneficial to a proper assessment-be happy to listen and offer suggestions
 
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lurealC

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Hey! Yes absolutely.

We had Clancey originally for about 6 months I believe, and adopted a cat called Minnie - we were on a trial with her to see if she would vibe with Clancey but she was super territorial and aggressive and was violent with Clancey and couldn’t settle, we saw no progress after a month of trying with intros so the shelter re homed her as an only cat to someone else. They then gave us Maggie who had been around other cat before and was good natured in their opinion.

We went really slow with intros for Maggie after things being quite high stress through the previous adoption. Initially they were actually both quite curious with one another, and eventually got comfy with the baby gate phase, Maggie never really was too phased by play by the gate, but Clancey was open, and scent wasn’t an issue either. once we moved to in person interactions over time Maggie became more and more overbearing with our attention. And started chasing Clancey, oftentimes attempting to bite him and fur came came out, Clancey would often hiss when she would be lurking.

As we speak she is just staring at him while he hides under the couch & i’m trying desperately to distract her 😩
 
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lurealC

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I try really hard to reinforce positive behaviour with treats, but maybe the fact that when she is stalking him or staring at him causes my attention to go to her may be part of why she keeps stalking?

we have so many resources, litter trays, bowls of water, multiple cat towers and scratchers.
 
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lurealC

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Oh! And Clancey was previously an outside/inside cat, but the past couple of months we’ve only had him inside to help with the introduction period.
 

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Hi L lurealC
Thanks so much for sharing that info,it's very helpful-now let's see if I got it right?lol
Okay ,so you adopted Clancy (about a year old),had him 6 most and then tried another kitty but quickly realized a big personality clash- now 7 mos pass since Clancy was adopted & along comes Maggie-with baby gate Clancy was willing,Maggie was not....but where was Maggie?In her own room with Clancy in the main living space?..
I'm beginning to think this is where it might have went left,too much too soon.....Maggie sounds confident,territorial and she may not have had time to acclimate INTO Clancys territory-whereas she instead TOOK over his territory -Clancy,seems a sweet guy,flight response rather than a flight response for his territory... not Maggie,she's top cat in her very female mind,lol
Don't fret,Clancy has to have his territory back,feel secure in it and understand it's YOUR territory and see Maggie is not a threat
I would go back to the gate or better yet a crate where Maggie can be in the main living space while Clancy has free run-little crate sessions are far better than fur flying or a cat that simply hides
No doubt Maggie is perfectly fine in her "room" so I don't see concern for problems from her.....I'm big on "rewards " but don't really use treats much,praise &petting is my thing,cats do love to please their human pets!Contrary to what most believe,cats are trainable & do well knowing basic obedience,I've been training big & small cats for 4 decades -it's quite the blessing when you can simply say"Hey,no" or" go to your spot",sit,lie down,come and "let's go"....this can only be achieved without distraction,short frequent sessions and one on one
But perhaps that for another conversation...
Right now,Clancy is being " trained" to hide,you said your home has plenty of cubbies,vertical spaces etc.. and feeding?Letting them eat together is not bonding them,they just want to eat- do you free feed,have various feeders throughout the house?What's that like?
See what others say,Imo it's reset time to get Clancy some confidence & to help Maggie understand its unacceptable behavior to mess with Clancy,get her well established in her 'little territory" where you bring Clancy in while she's crated and bring her into his territory crated until you can let her & Clancy display mutual respect in the little room first-feed with gate separation too for as well,tolerating each other while eating is not "getting along "
Lots of praise for Maggie,treats for in the crate,The crate is not solitary confinement,it just means " no touch". Switch scents with beds,rub towel on Maggie& let Clancy lie on it where he likes to lie down and visa versa..... cats sense of smell & leaving their scents are like pen pals ,they must familiarize before actually "seeing &meeting" to be very comfortable... they are not comfortable in each other's company yet imho,more writing letters to one another is very helpful
I hope you're encouraged,it's only a little awkward time that you can correct,without correction and intervention is will only escalate its great you recognized the issue so quickly,many people wouldn't have & they think"aww,they'll work it out"-they don't,cats don't like conflict,they prefer avoidance... works great for an outside feral colony,not in a home,thats not a "family
I'm interested to see others assessments-in any event I'm confident you will all do well because you have the most important thing to make it work-LOVE!
My 4 take turns partnering up for play,grooming,sleep but they each have me & strong individual relationship ,one on one time and all together time-and the option for "me time ".... to eliminate territory issues in multic cat households they only need options- food dishes,water access and litter boxes in any room.... they most territorial cat will soon realize nothing needs be guarded,the most timid is never threatened
Until I just brought in a feral I forgot my cats know how to hiss or growl....now that's gonna be challenging,say a prayer for me& I'm praying for you!
 

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Btw,sorry to be so long-winded and still,forgot to mention that Clancy,having been an outside cat knows 'avoidance" and being inside for such a short time he has not yet gotten comfortable with this little territory that he's hardly claimed at all- my feral Graycie took almost 2yrs to get really comfortable and gain confidence.. with love & patience you can accomplish anything
 
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lurealC

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Yeah thats right!
Maggie would sometimes play by the gate but I more meant like if she saw him at the gate she wouldn’t have any sort of reaction, she would just look, and walk away.
We dont free feed, i feed them 3 small meals a day, and feeding times are fine, they will linger by my feet & often Clancey will slap Maggie during this period.
I’m open to the crate thing, we have a pet tent i’ve just grabbed, should I set it up in her room and put her favourite things in there so she can explore? And then eventually close the tent up and allow Clancey to come into the room? And other times pop her in the tent in the mutual living space while we are watching tv etc? How often/long would you recommend having her in there for? And should i let her out in the main living space and put Clancey out in another room at other tomes? I feel like she definitely sees the living space as hers.
That makes total sense about the outdoor/indoor transition! I definitely dont mind the long winded responses they are really helpful for me to wrap my head around! I’m really grateful for your responses :-)
 

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Hi L lurealC
0h good,so glad that makes sense to you-we just have to shrunk down to their size,look through their eyes and speak"cat",lol!
Yes,you got it!Setting the tent up for Maggie in her room is for HER,as I said,it'd not solitary confinement,it's a good place,her space(within her space)....She's not "established" her territory YET,that's what all the fuss is about-although she's bold and confident she's still "claiming".....not for long now!
That's absolutely correct ,you then place her in her tent when Clancy comes in and when you do bring Maggie( in her tent) in the mutual living space you let Clancy explore her room and give him free reign
How long depends on them,possibly a week of this routine and then you will move on to short supervised "visits" outside of the tent,begun in Maggie's room- small is better,big is overwhelming and too many places for avoidance
I do disagree about feeding time,as I mentioned"tolerance" does not mean they are getting on....Clancy slapping Maggie a tad bit is undesirable,he's not a happy camper with Maggie but he wants to eat and has no other choice-no doubt it'd put a big smile on your face to see zero swats -I never place dishes beside each other-I always assign each their own little space to eat.... For example :"Time to eat",I exclaim & when everyone is sitting nicely at their spot ,I begin serving.. there's just no competition because they were taught manners.... it's repetition,repetition,repetition & lots of PRAISE! Now because I also free feed dry weight mgnt food (bowls in every room)...food competition does not exist.....but not everyone opts to free feed,its fine not too-it does come in handy when you are out and delayed or even if you were out overnight
Oh & yes you can put Clancy in her room & close the door while Maggie explores another room but not for long periods,rub a towel on each cat also to place in the rooms....and after maybe 2days I'd put a Clancy scented towel in Maggie's tent
Do they sleep in little beds?It's always good to swap beds during the introduction period ..this is all where crating is very beneficial-you can put Clancy in the tent with his bed around week 2 & then with her bed when Maggie is in another room with you
It might sound a little confusing but you'll get the idea as soon as you begin
Do get excited,you're taking steps towards a very peaceful environment and a great family dynamic-one day while your watching them walk up to each other with a head butt and side rubs you'll be glad you helped!
No worries,I was once culled to assess a home where unacceptable behavior was tolerated for 5 yrs-the poor little timid boy was practically living in the closet,terrified..... would they ever be best buddies ,highly unlikely BUT the aggressor had to be taught she does not rule the roost- you see,the owner(s) simply"had cats "- they were not happy with my suggestion-"buy stuffed animals".... 6 months later they called,believe it or not both kitties were rehomed TOGETHER!!!!It was a happy ending without positive results👍
You're a wonderful pet parent,it gives me great Joy to talk with folks like you who LOVE their little ones,God Bless you and Clancy &Maggie💞
 

Kwik

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Please keep in mind,different trainers,handlers and behaviorist do have different teqniques and without actually physically meeting ,seeing the environment,watching human interaction and animals behavior it's certainly "suggestions" and not every situation is the same,there's no real cookie cutter" resolution...you make your own adjustments accordingly - just see what" makes sense " to YOU and go with your heart-I always pray-I pray to be Blessed TO BLESS
Clancy & Maggie are your Blessings🐈⬛🐈
 

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We dont free feed, i feed them 3 small meals a day, and feeding times are fine, they will linger by my feet & often Clancey will slap Maggie during this period.
Is there no barrier between them during mealtimes? (Question to better understand the situation)

Just move Maggie back a bit as Clancy is saying he needs more space 😉
 

maggie101

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Sounds like my cat family. I also have a Maggie who is very territorial and likes to play with my cat peaches when she does not. Coco is very timid and afraid of maggie. I have clicker trained Maggie to come when called. Provide no hiding places otherwise the cat hiding will be trapped if found. So lots of high places to jump up. I have never separated them.instead let them learn on their own. Because my Maggie is territorial it would not be a good idea to separate them. I do occasionally break up fights but not nearly as often since they've aged
 

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I should add,6 months old they are teenagers. So soon after they show their true colors and it will be hard to change their personality
 
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lurealC

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Is there no barrier between them during mealtimes? (Question to better understand the situation)

Just move Maggie back a bit as Clancy is saying he needs more space 😉
no barrier at mealtimes, i was feeding them after hangouts so they were in the same room together already.
 
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lurealC

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Sounds like my cat family. I also have a Maggie who is very territorial and likes to play with my cat peaches when she does not. Coco is very timid and afraid of maggie. I have clicker trained Maggie to come when called. Provide no hiding places otherwise the cat hiding will be trapped if found. So lots of high places to jump up. I have never separated them.instead let them learn on their own. Because my Maggie is territorial it would not be a good idea to separate them. I do occasionally break up fights but not nearly as often since they've aged
Must be a Maggie thing eh! I have lots of high spaces (2 high cat towers) but its quite hard not to have hiding spaces as our furniture has space under them (couches, dining chairs)
 
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lurealC

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A wee update, i’ve dialled stuff right back. Maggie is back in her room for the most part, ive set up a little cat tent with all her bedding and am clicker training her to pop in there. While Maggie hasn’t been around Clancey has returned to his former self, hes scratching ALL his scratch posts and sleeping on his favourite donut next to the couch (he avoided this while Maggie was out and about) he has been playing, and playing with himself which I havent seen him do in so long.
i’m trying toas frequently as i can, pop into Maggies room for plays and pets, but she is meowling at the door a lot.
i’ve done very short site swaps about 15 mins 2 x today which has been fine.
 

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Must be a Maggie thing eh! I have lots of high spaces (2 high cat towers) but its quite hard not to have hiding spaces as our furniture has space under them (couches, dining chairs)
It is difficult with that kind of furniture,I actually bought bricks at Lowes when I adopted a very timid feral "Graycie"and then my next couch I purchased with the cats in mind-the things we do for love,lol💞
 

Kwik

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It's nice seeing Clancy stress free again,isn't it L lurealC ?

So now the work begins and it should not be a long process at all-remember,neither cat should feel stress or lonliness,it isn't solitary
confinement,it's simple proper reintroduction,🙋

Is Clancey sniffing by Maggie's door at all?Spray some Comfort Zone,`Feliway or put some catnip on both sides to encourage
You want to encourage Clancy to go into the room with Maggie in her little tent as well...

You're doing really well clicker training Maggie,great job
.....this is going to easy for you because of your diligent-I'm going to guess at this rate it will be done and over with in about 2 weeks time
 
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lurealC

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So far Clancey has come to her bedroom door once, but it looks like hes just enjoying having the living space to himself. But i’m about to pop her in the tent and see if he wants to come and interact.
 

Kwik

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Does he like catnip,throw his favorite toys that way-laser?wand toy-dont force him to go in,entice him and you sit in there
He'll come-does he have a cat Crack type treat he cannot resist?
 
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