As always, bless you for listening and responding. I feel so overwhelmed about this sometimes."We're keeping at it! Hawthorne is great at breakfast, usually. He eats and then leaves, and ignores her." - Awesome!!! Exactly what we want to see. And if he does it in the morning he can do it at other times. It actually sounds like Hawthorne is making huge progress. He has been my key so this is great.
"This morning she hissed and growled right off the bat." - Yep. How did he respond?
" But she ate her meal too - she just wanted it a bit further away so she felt more secure." - Totally fine. The fact she ate it is perfect.
"I've taped up an enormous piece of cardboard and she definitely can't jump it. We tested." - Great. Does it make it harder or more difficult to get in and out?
" This afternoon I'll try an extended session maybe." - Great
"Would it be ok to do a session with her in the other bedroom (i.e. Hawthorne's room) and Hawthorne out? " - Sure. Will you put up a gate?
"She spends the afternoon in there so that would be easiest. Or will she feel insecure being in a different room?" - She might be a little uncertain but it should be fine. She does well in there and knows it.
"And, should we ever do it with HER out and Hawthorne in the room or will that just upset him?" - Yeah, I don't want to do that because he is more territorial possibly even in this new house. And I don't think it really matters. I want to do it where it maximizes the confidence of both cats. She is very secure in that office so that maximizes the confidence.
"I'm having trouble coming up with a good routine for treat times and sessions." - Yes, understandably.
" Because of the room swapping, there aren't many occasions where he has been outside in the main space for awhile and she has been in her room (the ideal combo for him being relaxed). It's really only breakfast and the evening." - Exactly. :/
" The rest of the time it's her out, him in, or her in his room, or so on. " - Yes.
So the options are -
1 -do sessions with her in his room and him out. (Probably our first choice and let's see how it goes. I suspect well after the first few times. I do worry that him seeing her in there might be a territorial issue)
2 - do sessions with him in the office and her out and about (Our second choice since he may feel restricted in being in the room only AND she might want to try to get into "her" room.
3 - do sessions in the french door room - and we can see if the theory of safety might allow escalation though it is pretty "neutral" territory since it seems no one (cats) really spends much time in there
Our first face to face I think will be in her room/the office.
"Really it would be better if my office weren't also Florie's room but alas, too late for that. " - Well, maybe. It is good that she has that human interaction/scent and Hawthorne's scent in there. I actually think it is fine.
So if possible let's try the french door room and see how it goes. Do it exactly like you would in "her room" the office.
One thing I want to make sure is you have time, work doesn't cause anxiety for you, stress. So getting a calm 5 or 10 minutes would be good.
And we'll see how it goes. It might go fine the first time or two then get a little wild then we'll see if it settles down (I suspect it will).
I think they are pretty well down the path so I don't think there is a big risk of a setback.
Let me know if that makes sense. Ask anything for clarification.
And thank you for helping me think through the options! I was trying to do that earlier today.
For the french door room sessions, which I'm game to try, obviously the french door is closed. So I could throw treats underneath it, I think, but otherwise it would be me in there with Florie and Hawthorne outside. It would be good for spending time and hanging out, and them observing each other, but not for an actual treat session. Is that what you were thinking too?