Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost

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Furmama22

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"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.
As always, bless you for listening and responding. I feel so overwhelmed about this sometimes. :)

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?
 
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And yes, the cardboard means I'm crawling into and out of the room, hahaha. It's kind of ridiculous. I'm not sure if's the best idea. If we're using the french door room, then maybe I don't need to bother with the extra cardboard for now.

And I will try some sessions with her in HIS room and him out too, and see how that goes.


LATER: Just a quick note that we tried a session with him out and her in HIS room (which also has a pet gate on it) and it was ok. He was pretty good, actually. He just wanted the treats. She was uncertain, as you predicted. She growled a bit more and hid under the bed. She'd come for treats about a foot from the bed but didn't want to venture closer.

That said, I closed the door after and about three minutes later I heard her chomping on the rest of the treats, so she recovered quickly.
 
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As always, bless you for listening and responding. I feel so overwhelmed about this sometimes. :)

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?
Oh my, thank you. Of course I am happy to listen and try to help.

Yes, it can be overwhelming if you never experienced it before. Your cats are doing great, they are going to be just fine. I wish I could give you all the intros that were actually a challenge but we don't have weeks to discuss those. Your intro is on the good side of normal.

You are welcome. Maybe there are more options we can think of as well.

"For the french door room sessions, which I'm game to try, obviously the french door is closed." - Yes, we will have them closed.

" So I could throw treats underneath it," - Might put a few treats outside by the door but that is it for him. Sometimes fast movements can set off the other cat so I would like both of them to be as "normal" moving as possible. I wouldn't slide them under unless he is really upset. The key will be to occupy her and get her to not pay attention to him. I don't think a jealousy or some other issue will arise but I would like to try to keep the treats with her to a minimum if possible.

"I think, but otherwise it would be me in there with Florie and Hawthorne outside." - Yes, that is exactly right. And think of it as a positive encounter sans treats (for the most part). So distracting Florie in whatever way and having Hawthorne think (ok, nothing to see here, I am moving on). Then he might come back and look and if she is focused on you or something then it is fine.

"It would be good for spending time and hanging out, and them observing each other, but not for an actual treat session." - Yes. Treats, food are only one of the positive association factors. Calm, feeling not threatened, etc allows for a positive association and positive encounter as well.

So part of me is thinking maybe try not to use treats at first for her and see if you can distract her. Put a few treats by the door for Hawthorne. If it doesn't work then pull out the treats try to occupy her with a few, go to the door and if safe put some more for Hawthorne if he is done. Then just try working on distracting her and maybe he will just go away.

This is where the art comes in. Just play it by ear. The risk of something bad happening (as long as one doesn't come in or escape) is low.

Does that kinda make sense?

"Is that what you were thinking too?" - I think it is. You can just use your judgement and do your best. The most important thing is to distract and try to keep them from making fast or sudden movements (which is easier said than done). But they are doing so well they have a good base to absorb any more minor uncertainty.

And we'll see how they do. I don't think anything will set us back in an important way.
 
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Oh my, thank you. Of course I am happy to listen and try to help.

Yes, it can be overwhelming if you never experienced it before. Your cats are doing great, they are going to be just fine. I wish I could give you all the intros that were actually a challenge but we don't have weeks to discuss those. Your intro is on the good side of normal.

You are welcome. Maybe there are more options we can think of as well.

"For the french door room sessions, which I'm game to try, obviously the french door is closed." - Yes, we will have them closed.

" So I could throw treats underneath it," - Might put a few treats outside by the door but that is it for him. Sometimes fast movements can set off the other cat so I would like both of them to be as "normal" moving as possible. I wouldn't slide them under unless he is really upset. The key will be to occupy her and get her to not pay attention to him. I don't think a jealousy or some other issue will arise but I would like to try to keep the treats with her to a minimum if possible.

"I think, but otherwise it would be me in there with Florie and Hawthorne outside." - Yes, that is exactly right. And think of it as a positive encounter sans treats (for the most part). So distracting Florie in whatever way and having Hawthorne think (ok, nothing to see here, I am moving on). Then he might come back and look and if she is focused on you or something then it is fine.

"It would be good for spending time and hanging out, and them observing each other, but not for an actual treat session." - Yes. Treats, food are only one of the positive association factors. Calm, feeling not threatened, etc allows for a positive association and positive encounter as well.

So part of me is thinking maybe try not to use treats at first for her and see if you can distract her. Put a few treats by the door for Hawthorne. If it doesn't work then pull out the treats try to occupy her with a few, go to the door and if safe put some more for Hawthorne if he is done. Then just try working on distracting her and maybe he will just go away.

This is where the art comes in. Just play it by ear. The risk of something bad happening (as long as one doesn't come in or escape) is low.

Does that kinda make sense?

"Is that what you were thinking too?" - I think it is. You can just use your judgement and do your best. The most important thing is to distract and try to keep them from making fast or sudden movements (which is easier said than done). But they are doing so well they have a good base to absorb any more minor uncertainty.

And we'll see how they do. I don't think anything will set us back in an important way.
We are trying a French door visit right now. I'm in the room with her and Hawthorne is outside. At first all was well - they both got treats in a food puzzle set a few feet on either side of the door. She noticed him but kept eating; he eventually noticed her but kept eating. Then, I think when the treats were done, he decided to wander away and I thought, wow! we did it!

But then he came back and snuck to the side of the door waiting. She wandered over and I couldn't quite distract her and then he popped up right in her face. She hissed and got a bit scared; he looked scared/aggressive to me. I couldn't tell. A little bit with the ears pulled back. She then decided the best plan was to go crouch under the bed and he is periodically coming right to the door to look for her, with big eyes, and slinking away.

Not quite the easy "I know that cat, that cat is cool" that I was hoping for.

Next time we'll try it with Michael in the room with Florie and me out with Hawthorne. I think he also doesn't like being separated from me. I didn't think about that when I planned this out.

But this is our first go. She obviously needs to work on confidence in this room - we aren't in here much, so she might not feel as strong. She was willing to play a bit under the bed; she has come out now but is growling at the door. She's still willing to eat treats though, ha. :)
 

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We are trying a French door visit right now. I'm in the room with her and Hawthorne is outside. At first all was well - they both got treats in a food puzzle set a few feet on either side of the door. She noticed him but kept eating; he eventually noticed her but kept eating. Then, I think when the treats were done, he decided to wander away and I thought, wow! we did it!

But then he came back and snuck to the side of the door waiting. She wandered over and I couldn't quite distract her and then he popped up right in her face. She hissed and got a bit scared; he looked scared/aggressive to me. I couldn't tell. A little bit with the ears pulled back. She then decided the best plan was to go crouch under the bed and he is periodically coming right to the door to look for her, with big eyes, and slinking away.

Not quite the easy "I know that cat, that cat is cool" that I was hoping for.

Next time we'll try it with Michael in the room with Florie and me out with Hawthorne. I think he also doesn't like being separated from me. I didn't think about that when I planned this out.

But this is our first go. She obviously needs to work on confidence in this room - we aren't in here much, so she might not feel as strong. She was willing to play a bit under the bed; she has come out now but is growling at the door. She's still willing to eat treats though, ha. :)
"We are trying a French door visit right now. I'm in the room with her and Hawthorne is outside." - Ok

" At first all was well - they both got treats in a food puzzle set a few feet on either side of the door. She noticed him but kept eating; he eventually noticed her but kept eating." - GREAT!!!

" Then, I think when the treats were done, he decided to wander away and I thought, wow! we did it!" - Great!!

"But then he came back and snuck to the side of the door waiting." - Ok, he was curious.

" She wandered over and I couldn't quite distract her and then he popped up right in her face." - Yep.

" She hissed and got a bit scared; he looked scared/aggressive to me. I couldn't tell." - Expected.

" A little bit with the ears pulled back." - Expected.

"She then decided the best plan was to go crouch under the bed" - Ok, normal. For how long?

" and he is periodically coming right to the door to look for her, with big eyes, and slinking away." - Ok. Slinking away is showing her he doesn't mean harm/provoke anything.

"Not quite the easy "I know that cat, that cat is cool" that I was hoping for." - Yes. BUT I think this is pretty good. First, they chose food over each other at first so they can do it and the "fear" is not high enough to prevent them from eating something good. Also, he slinked away which is a "I don't want problems" move rather than " want to eliminate you".

I would like to know how fast it took for them to rebound to "normal".

"Next time we'll try it with Michael in the room with Florie and me out with Hawthorne." Ok but not sure it is necessary.

" I think he also doesn't like being separated from me." - Agreed. BUT again he has to accept it. I think it is still the lingering uncertainty of "that other cat". So we just need more repetitions to let them know SO we just need to keep this up. If this is the worst that happens then it is not a big deal. They will learn the other doesn't really want to hurt them.

" I didn't think about that when I planned this out." - I wouldn't worry, it is fine.

"But this is our first go. She obviously needs to work on confidence in this room - we aren't in here much, so she might not feel as strong." - Yes, agreed. But it is good to test and see where they are. I do think her being de-clawed does cause her some insecurity. But we will get over that.

"She was willing to play a bit under the bed;" - Great. How long did it take for her to start playing a little?

" she has come out now but is growling at the door." - How long did it take for her to come out? I am not at all worried about the growling, that is fine. Just a warning "not to mess with her'.

What was Hawthorne doing during this? Long gone?

" She's still willing to eat treats though, ha. :) " - :yess: Couldn't have been that bad then.

So ultimately she was scared a bit BUT nothing really bad happened. No attack, etc. So in time she will realize there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Just keep doing it and let's see if she gets over that fear.

Please let me know how it goes. Overall, though this wasn't perfect it gives us good info and though we have work I am not seeing anything really concerning. Pretty normal.

Keep up the great work.
 
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Ok thank you!! That's great hear. We'll try again tonight, maybe the same combo and see.

I would say she was under the bed for about 15 minutes and then felt confident to emerge and say a quick hello right beside the bed. I was lying there reading on the ground. She was ready to play (under the bed) as well after that same time - 15 or 20 minutes. She didn't go near the door again. She also later wanted to sleep under the bed covers, which is something she likes to do to feel secure/safe.

Hawthorne alternately peeked into the room looking about and sometimes would lie near the door or a few feet from the door. He cried a fair bit. Michael got him to have a few treats. So he relaxed but didn't go sleep on his tree, or anything like that.

Thank you for saying it's all 'normal and expected.' :)

This morning at breakfast I also noticed that Hawthorne was a bit more curious again - he wanted to leave his meal and come peek in the door at Florie but then he did decide to just go and eat. She ate her breakfast but preferred it under her bed a bit tucked away.

So they are back to normal but a bit more aware of the other, which I suppose is what we're trying to do - slowly and safely increase it over time.
 

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Ok thank you!! That's great hear. We'll try again tonight, maybe the same combo and see.

I would say she was under the bed for about 15 minutes and then felt confident to emerge and say a quick hello right beside the bed. I was lying there reading on the ground. She was ready to play (under the bed) as well after that same time - 15 or 20 minutes. She didn't go near the door again. She also later wanted to sleep under the bed covers, which is something she likes to do to feel secure/safe.

Hawthorne alternately peeked into the room looking about and sometimes would lie near the door or a few feet from the door. He cried a fair bit. Michael got him to have a few treats. So he relaxed but didn't go sleep on his tree, or anything like that.

Thank you for saying it's all 'normal and expected.' :)

This morning at breakfast I also noticed that Hawthorne was a bit more curious again - he wanted to leave his meal and come peek in the door at Florie but then he did decide to just go and eat. She ate her breakfast but preferred it under her bed a bit tucked away.

So they are back to normal but a bit more aware of the other, which I suppose is what we're trying to do - slowly and safely increase it over time.
"Ok thank you!! That's great hear. We'll try again tonight, maybe the same combo and see." - You are welcome. Sounds great.

"I would say she was under the bed for about 15 minutes and then felt confident to emerge and say a quick hello right beside the bed." - Oh, that is fine.

" I was lying there reading on the ground. She was ready to play (under the bed) as well after that same time - 15 or 20 minutes. " - Great. And then she had a positive experience after that.

"She didn't go near the door again." - Yes, not surprising.

" She also later wanted to sleep under the bed covers, which is something she likes to do to feel secure/safe." - Yes, they do that. Again, since she is not being threatened, attacked, she will realize it isn't that risky.

"Hawthorne alternately peeked into the room looking about and sometimes would lie near the door or a few feet from the door. " - Ok. Could you tell his body language at all?

"He cried a fair bit." - Interesting. Yes, he wanted you. Not something a cat that is afraid of another cat would do so that is actually a good sign.

"Michael got him to have a few treats." - Great. That probably helped him and why he did so well.

" So he relaxed but didn't go sleep on his tree, or anything like that." - Oh, he was fine. His actions after it were totally fine.

"Thank you for saying it's all 'normal and expected.' :)" - Well, that is what they were. And actually Hawthorne did better than I expected. And Florie was not bad at all. I feel more confident now than I did and I wasn't worried before. I promise you, if I see an issue I will tell you.

"This morning at breakfast I also noticed that Hawthorne was a bit more curious again - he wanted to leave his meal and come peek in the door at Florie but then he did decide to just go and eat." - That is normal and totally fine. We want him to see her then see she is not a threat and then go back to his business and when nothing negative happens it builds confidence and trust.

" She ate her breakfast but preferred it under her bed a bit tucked away." - Ok, Florie has a bit of a lingering issue. :/ But again, she ate and nothing bad happened so repeating that will help her build trust and confidence.

"So they are back to normal but a bit more aware of the other, " - Well, Florie might be a half step back but nothing to worry about. Hawthorne seems totally back to normal.

"which I suppose is what we're trying to do - slowly and safely increase it over time." - Exactly. We are trying to show them that the other cat is not a threat. Scent is totally fine. Sight is fine for the most part BUT when there is a charge (and there always is in intros) she is a bit shaken. So we'll want to see how she progresses (bounces back) from those (as she realizes he is not going to hurt her). So that is why the gate, french doors.

I know I asked this before but what is her background again? How old was she when you got her? Did they know where she came from? Etc.

So keep doing the feedings/meals, sessions, distract as needed. If possible step up play with her then feed after. And let's see how she does.

I am interested to see how she does over the next few days on the feedings. The kids are going to be back this weekend I believe so that will be a good test as well.

Because of some issues I have I do get very tired by early afternoon so I may have to respond the following morning. But if I am feeling ok then I can check a little later hopefully.

Keep up the great work.
 
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"Ok thank you!! That's great hear. We'll try again tonight, maybe the same combo and see." - You are welcome. Sounds great.

"I would say she was under the bed for about 15 minutes and then felt confident to emerge and say a quick hello right beside the bed." - Oh, that is fine.

" I was lying there reading on the ground. She was ready to play (under the bed) as well after that same time - 15 or 20 minutes. " - Great. And then she had a positive experience after that.

"She didn't go near the door again." - Yes, not surprising.

" She also later wanted to sleep under the bed covers, which is something she likes to do to feel secure/safe." - Yes, they do that. Again, since she is not being threatened, attacked, she will realize it isn't that risky.

"Hawthorne alternately peeked into the room looking about and sometimes would lie near the door or a few feet from the door. " - Ok. Could you tell his body language at all?

"He cried a fair bit." - Interesting. Yes, he wanted you. Not something a cat that is afraid of another cat would do so that is actually a good sign.

"Michael got him to have a few treats." - Great. That probably helped him and why he did so well.

" So he relaxed but didn't go sleep on his tree, or anything like that." - Oh, he was fine. His actions after it were totally fine.

"Thank you for saying it's all 'normal and expected.' :)" - Well, that is what they were. And actually Hawthorne did better than I expected. And Florie was not bad at all. I feel more confident now than I did and I wasn't worried before. I promise you, if I see an issue I will tell you.

"This morning at breakfast I also noticed that Hawthorne was a bit more curious again - he wanted to leave his meal and come peek in the door at Florie but then he did decide to just go and eat." - That is normal and totally fine. We want him to see her then see she is not a threat and then go back to his business and when nothing negative happens it builds confidence and trust.

" She ate her breakfast but preferred it under her bed a bit tucked away." - Ok, Florie has a bit of a lingering issue. :/ But again, she ate and nothing bad happened so repeating that will help her build trust and confidence.

"So they are back to normal but a bit more aware of the other, " - Well, Florie might be a half step back but nothing to worry about. Hawthorne seems totally back to normal.

"which I suppose is what we're trying to do - slowly and safely increase it over time." - Exactly. We are trying to show them that the other cat is not a threat. Scent is totally fine. Sight is fine for the most part BUT when there is a charge (and there always is in intros) she is a bit shaken. So we'll want to see how she progresses (bounces back) from those (as she realizes he is not going to hurt her). So that is why the gate, french doors.

I know I asked this before but what is her background again? How old was she when you got her? Did they know where she came from? Etc.

So keep doing the feedings/meals, sessions, distract as needed. If possible step up play with her then feed after. And let's see how she does.

I am interested to see how she does over the next few days on the feedings. The kids are going to be back this weekend I believe so that will be a good test as well.

Because of some issues I have I do get very tired by early afternoon so I may have to respond the following morning. But if I am feeling ok then I can check a little later hopefully.

Keep up the great work.
Thank you for getting back to me, and of course!! Please take care of yourself. You're here helping so many of us on this forum! That would take a lot of time and energy. If I'm posting too much or ever being too cumbersome let me know! I can always try to sum up things in a better way and just post every few days, so it isn't so demanding for you.

Florence's history - she was 4 when we got her (so 4 1/2 now), and declawed. All we knew is that her family surrendered her because she "wasn't getting along with their kids." I don't know how old the kids were or what not getting along looked like. I suspect her growling might have been a factor. The shelter adoption person said reading between the lines she thought maybe it was a louder household. But I have no idea. I don't think she lived with another cat but I also have no idea. Other than the slow intro with Hawthorne, she is a total angel. One of the sweetest cats I've known. Both Hawthorne and my other cat Tennyson were much more...volatile, shall we say, hahaha. :)
 
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Thank you for getting back to me, and of course!! Please take care of yourself. You're here helping so many of us on this forum! That would take a lot of time and energy. If I'm posting too much or ever being too cumbersome let me know! I can always try to sum up things in a better way and just post every few days, so it isn't so demanding for you.

Florence's history - she was 4 when we got her (so 4 1/2 now), and declawed. All we knew is that her family surrendered her because she "wasn't getting along with their kids." I don't know how old the kids were or what not getting along looked like. I suspect her growling might have been a factor. The shelter adoption person said reading between the lines she thought maybe it would a louder household. But I have no idea. I don't think she lived with another cat but I also have no idea. Other than the slow intro with Hawthorne, she is a total angel. One of the sweetest cats I've known. Both Hawthorne and my other cat Tennyson were much more...volatile, shall we say, hahaha. :)
"Thank you for getting back to me, and of course!! Please take care of yourself. You're here helping so many of us on this forum! That would take a lot of time and energy. If I'm posting too much or ever being too cumbersome let me know! I can always try to sum up things in a better way and just post every few days, so it isn't so demanding for you." - Of course. Thank you, I will. Oh no, your posting is totally fine. Not an issue at all. I just wanted you to know why it takes me until the next day. PLEASE post anything you want and feel. Information is so important so knowing as much as possible is really important. SO please do not hold anything back.

"Florence's history - she was 4 when we got her (so 4 1/2 now), and declawed. All we knew is that her family surrendered her because she "wasn't getting along with their kids." I don't know how old the kids were or what not getting along looked like." - It is interesting because she gets along with the people in your house. Do you know if it was a single animal house or a multiple? I do know why she is de-clawed given that. :(

"I suspect her growling might have been a factor." - I suspect the growling is an outcome from that and being de-clawed. Poor thing. I am SO GLAD she has found a great home now.

"The shelter adoption person said reading between the lines she thought maybe it would a louder household. But I have no idea." - Yes, and maybe a touch more. :(

"I don't think she lived with another cat but I also have no idea." - Yes, not sure. She could be the way she is towards Hawthorne because she is de-clawed and therefore feeling more helpless. :(

"Other than the slow intro with Hawthorne, she is a total angel. One of the sweetest cats I've known. Both Hawthorne and my other cat Tennyson were much more...volatile, shall we say, hahaha. :) "- Yes, agreed. She seems totally wonderful. I am so glad she is now at home!!

We will get there. We just need to build that trust. I suspect Hawthorne is afraid of her hurting him (she can't) and she is afraid of him hurting her (he can). So we just need to get that trust and then the breakthrough. I don't get a sense Hawthorne would hurt her (am I wrong?). Bully her a touch, yes.

So we will continue to get them "together" with the gate and the french doors and watch the progression. When we see him charge and she holds her own that will be a nice breakthrough and that might led to him not doing that anymore.

They are both good cats so we will get there. :)

Let me know how it goes today.
 
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"Thank you for getting back to me, and of course!! Please take care of yourself. You're here helping so many of us on this forum! That would take a lot of time and energy. If I'm posting too much or ever being too cumbersome let me know! I can always try to sum up things in a better way and just post every few days, so it isn't so demanding for you." - Of course. Thank you, I will. Oh no, your posting is totally fine. Not an issue at all. I just wanted you to know why it takes me until the next day. PLEASE post anything you want and feel. Information is so important so knowing as much as possible is really important. SO please do not hold anything back.

"Florence's history - she was 4 when we got her (so 4 1/2 now), and declawed. All we knew is that her family surrendered her because she "wasn't getting along with their kids." I don't know how old the kids were or what not getting along looked like." - It is interesting because she gets along with the people in your house. Do you know if it was a single animal house or a multiple? I do know why she is de-clawed given that. :(

"I suspect her growling might have been a factor." - I suspect the growling is an outcome from that and being de-clawed. Poor thing. I am SO GLAD she has found a great home now.

"The shelter adoption person said reading between the lines she thought maybe it would a louder household. But I have no idea." - Yes, and maybe a touch more. :(

"I don't think she lived with another cat but I also have no idea." - Yes, not sure. She could be the way she is towards Hawthorne because she is de-clawed and therefore feeling more helpless. :(

"Other than the slow intro with Hawthorne, she is a total angel. One of the sweetest cats I've known. Both Hawthorne and my other cat Tennyson were much more...volatile, shall we say, hahaha. :) "- Yes, agreed. She seems totally wonderful. I am so glad she is now at home!!

We will get there. We just need to build that trust. I suspect Hawthorne is afraid of her hurting him (she can't) and she is afraid of him hurting her (he can). So we just need to get that trust and then the breakthrough. I don't get a sense Hawthorne would hurt her (am I wrong?). Bully her a touch, yes.

So we will continue to get them "together" with the gate and the french doors and watch the progression. When we see him charge and she holds her own that will be a nice breakthrough and that might led to him not doing that anymore.

They are both good cats so we will get there. :)

Let me know how it goes today.
Hello! Here is the update from last night's French door visit. :) Next time I'll write directly after - now my memory for the details is a bit more fuzzy.

But, here is what I do recall: we switched it up last night - I went in the french door room with Hawthorne and Florie was out in the main area with my partner. Once again, they each got a food puzzle placed a few feet from the door to get them started. Hawthorne was very into his food puzzle. When she came out of her room she peeped into the room and he charged the door but I would say pretty mildly. She growled and hissed and had the flat ears, and he slunk away and came back to his food puzzle. Then she slowly went to her food puzzle and they each snacked for a bit. When done, my partner distracted her with a toy and she went over to the living room to play. Hawthorne paced around a little bit with a bit of door peeping but could be pretty easily distracted with snacks. After about 5 or 10 minutes, he came to sleep on the bed with me and I read/watched Netflix while he napped. He was totally relaxed.

My partner said Florie was willing to play but did periodically look at the door like she was a bit worried about him coming out. Then she went to sleep on the cat tree, which is in sight line of us in the room - about 15 feet away. So she could see Hawthorne and I on the bed; she watched us a bit, then napped on the tree. She didn't come back to the door.

This whole thing was about an hour. Then my partner coaxed her back to her bedroom with a paste treat - she was a little hesitant moving past the French door but did it; it helped that Hawthorne was distracted with a few more treats.

Then Hawthorne came out and had his paste, once she was tucked back into her room. He seemed fine. The only weird thing for him was about 30 minutes later, when I was getting ready for bed, he didn't want to leave the French door room. He would sit in the doorway and look at the living room, and then run and hide under the bed. He did that about three times. I imagine he thought she might still have been out there? He has been spending a little more time sleeping under the sofa too, instead of up on his chair. I don't know if that's a bit of stress? Maybe he just likes it. :)

This morning all seemed back to fine. She has still been a little hesitant to greet me right at the door - she hangs back a bit. I think she's worried about being surprised by Hawthorne. He's been good at breakfast though. He eats and leaves.

So I think last night was a success - they are still reactive when they see each other BUT I'm hoping it's a good sign that they were willing to leave and each go do something else? Even when they can't see each other they are aware that the other is around, right?

My stepkids are here this weekend, so we'll probably pause a little bit and pick things up again tomorrow night or Monday.
 

calicosrspecial

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Hello! Here is the update from last night's French door visit. :) Next time I'll write directly after - now my memory for the details is a bit more fuzzy.

But, here is what I do recall: we switched it up last night - I went in the french door room with Hawthorne and Florie was out in the main area with my partner. Once again, they each got a food puzzle placed a few feet from the door to get them started. Hawthorne was very into his food puzzle. When she came out of her room she peeped into the room and he charged the door but I would say pretty mildly. She growled and hissed and had the flat ears, and he slunk away and came back to his food puzzle. Then she slowly went to her food puzzle and they each snacked for a bit. When done, my partner distracted her with a toy and she went over to the living room to play. Hawthorne paced around a little bit with a bit of door peeping but could be pretty easily distracted with snacks. After about 5 or 10 minutes, he came to sleep on the bed with me and I read/watched Netflix while he napped. He was totally relaxed.

My partner said Florie was willing to play but did periodically look at the door like she was a bit worried about him coming out. Then she went to sleep on the cat tree, which is in sight line of us in the room - about 15 feet away. So she could see Hawthorne and I on the bed; she watched us a bit, then napped on the tree. She didn't come back to the door.

This whole thing was about an hour. Then my partner coaxed her back to her bedroom with a paste treat - she was a little hesitant moving past the French door but did it; it helped that Hawthorne was distracted with a few more treats.

Then Hawthorne came out and had his paste, once she was tucked back into her room. He seemed fine. The only weird thing for him was about 30 minutes later, when I was getting ready for bed, he didn't want to leave the French door room. He would sit in the doorway and look at the living room, and then run and hide under the bed. He did that about three times. I imagine he thought she might still have been out there? He has been spending a little more time sleeping under the sofa too, instead of up on his chair. I don't know if that's a bit of stress? Maybe he just likes it. :)

This morning all seemed back to fine. She has still been a little hesitant to greet me right at the door - she hangs back a bit. I think she's worried about being surprised by Hawthorne. He's been good at breakfast though. He eats and leaves.

So I think last night was a success - they are still reactive when they see each other BUT I'm hoping it's a good sign that they were willing to leave and each go do something else? Even when they can't see each other they are aware that the other is around, right?

My stepkids are here this weekend, so we'll probably pause a little bit and pick things up again tomorrow night or Monday.
"Hello! Here is the update from last night's French door visit. :) Next time I'll write directly after - now my memory for the details is a bit more fuzzy." - Ok, let's see. Fuzzy means it probably wasn't too bad....................

"But, here is what I do recall: we switched it up last night - I went in the french door room with Hawthorne and Florie was out in the main area with my partner." - Wow, interesting. Let's see.

" Once again, they each got a food puzzle placed a few feet from the door to get them started. Hawthorne was very into his food puzzle." - Good job Hawthorne!!

"When she came out of her room she peeped into the room and he charged the door but I would say pretty mildly." - OK, expected at this point. I like it was "mild" though.

"She growled and hissed and had the flat ears, and he slunk away" - Wow, she backed him down. Slinking away is telling her he doesn't mean harm. Actually pretty good.

"and came back to his food puzzle." - Awesome!!!

" Then she slowly went to her food puzzle" - Like really slow motion? Or just slower? Either way, she is telling him she is not a threat. Great.

"and they each snacked for a bit." - Perfect!!!

" When done, my partner distracted her with a toy and she went over to the living room to play." - Great!!

" Hawthorne paced around a little bit with a bit of door peeping but could be pretty easily distracted with snacks. After about 5 or 10 minutes, he came to sleep on the bed with me and I read/watched Netflix while he napped. He was totally relaxed." Awesome!!! I would have thought he would have been unsettled do to being in the room only. SO this is REALLY great!!! YOu definitely give him confidence, etc.

"My partner said Florie was willing to play but did periodically look at the door like she was a bit worried about him coming out." - Yes, normal. But she played AND there was no attack etc. SO a confidence builder.

" Then she went to sleep on the cat tree, which is in sight line of us in the room - about 15 feet away. So she could see Hawthorne and I on the bed; she watched us a bit, then napped on the tree. She didn't come back to the door." - :yess: :hyper::clap2: AWESOME!!!

"This whole thing was about an hour." - Wow, terrific!!

" Then my partner coaxed her back to her bedroom with a paste treat" - Perfect.

" - she was a little hesitant moving past the French door" - Expected. But again, she was afraid but nothing bad happened. So the more that happens the more trust is built.

"but did it; it helped that Hawthorne was distracted with a few more treats." - Great. Fantastic. And here is the thing, he knew she was out there but chose treats over bullying her, etc. THAT is a great sign and a sign that he is more defensive about her (lacking trust) rather than wanting to eliminate her.

"Then Hawthorne came out and had his paste, once she was tucked back into her room. He seemed fine." - Great. This was in the french door room?

" The only weird thing for him was about 30 minutes later, when I was getting ready for bed, he didn't want to leave the French door room. He would sit in the doorway and look at the living room, and then run and hide under the bed. He did that about three times. I imagine he thought she might still have been out there?" - Awwwwwwww. Yes, I think he thought she might be out there and attack him. Ok, this supports his actions are more defensive rather than offensive which is VERY good. (Easier to get over).

"He has been spending a little more time sleeping under the sofa too, instead of up on his chair. I don't know if that's a bit of stress? Maybe he just likes it. :)" - Yes, you never know if it is just likes or if it is a bit of fear she might come from out of nowhere. Probably a little of both. BUT I am not worried BECAUSE she is not going to attack him because she is not there. And that is the key, it can only be positive.

"This morning all seemed back to fine." - Great

" She has still been a little hesitant to greet me right at the door - she hangs back a bit." - Understandably.

" I think she's worried about being surprised by Hawthorne." - Yes, agreed.

" He's been good at breakfast though. He eats and leaves." - AWESOME!!!

"So I think last night was a success" - TOTALLY!!! This is actually amazing.

" - they are still reactive when they see each other BUT I'm hoping it's a good sign that they were willing to leave and each go do something else? Even when they can't see each other they are aware that the other is around, right?" - ABSOLUTELY.

I think this went fantastically well. AND I am understanding the defensive nature (before I thought Hawthorne might have been a bit offensive). SO the more we have them together and nothing bad happens it builds trust. I am amazed she held her ground. I LVOE they bth signaled to the other (by moving slowly) that they don't mean harm. That they rebounded quickly. Focused on their food rather than the other cat. That they could relax. She played. I think it went amazingly well. Now I know why the memory was fuzzy, nothing shocking happened. :)

"My stepkids are here this weekend, so we'll probably pause a little bit and pick things up again tomorrow night or Monday." - Ok, IF you can do some sessions to keep the momentum that would be great BUT if it is a bit chaotic, stressful, etc then pausing is a good idea.

But overall, this tells me they are going to be fine. We need to get them to trust each other not worrying about the other attacking. I actually like that Florie stood up for herself and he backed down (rather than escalated). I don't see Florie attacking him so when he stops that will help Florie and the ball will start rolling. And I am convinced Hawthorne does not want to eliminate her but rather is defending himself. So when he stops charging she will trust more and I expect she wont charge and we get that détente.

Oh if we can continue on this path that would be great!!! :)

Keep up the great work!!!!
 
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Furmama22

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"Hello! Here is the update from last night's French door visit. :) Next time I'll write directly after - now my memory for the details is a bit more fuzzy." - Ok, let's see. Fuzzy means it probably wasn't too bad....................

"But, here is what I do recall: we switched it up last night - I went in the french door room with Hawthorne and Florie was out in the main area with my partner." - Wow, interesting. Let's see.

" Once again, they each got a food puzzle placed a few feet from the door to get them started. Hawthorne was very into his food puzzle." - Good job Hawthorne!!

"When she came out of her room she peeped into the room and he charged the door but I would say pretty mildly." - OK, expected at this point. I like it was "mild" though.

"She growled and hissed and had the flat ears, and he slunk away" - Wow, she backed him down. Slinking away is telling her he doesn't mean harm. Actually pretty good.

"and came back to his food puzzle." - Awesome!!!

" Then she slowly went to her food puzzle" - Like really slow motion? Or just slower? Either way, she is telling him she is not a threat. Great.

"and they each snacked for a bit." - Perfect!!!

" When done, my partner distracted her with a toy and she went over to the living room to play." - Great!!

" Hawthorne paced around a little bit with a bit of door peeping but could be pretty easily distracted with snacks. After about 5 or 10 minutes, he came to sleep on the bed with me and I read/watched Netflix while he napped. He was totally relaxed." Awesome!!! I would have thought he would have been unsettled do to being in the room only. SO this is REALLY great!!! YOu definitely give him confidence, etc.

"My partner said Florie was willing to play but did periodically look at the door like she was a bit worried about him coming out." - Yes, normal. But she played AND there was no attack etc. SO a confidence builder.

" Then she went to sleep on the cat tree, which is in sight line of us in the room - about 15 feet away. So she could see Hawthorne and I on the bed; she watched us a bit, then napped on the tree. She didn't come back to the door." - :yess: :hyper::clap2: AWESOME!!!

"This whole thing was about an hour." - Wow, terrific!!

" Then my partner coaxed her back to her bedroom with a paste treat" - Perfect.

" - she was a little hesitant moving past the French door" - Expected. But again, she was afraid but nothing bad happened. So the more that happens the more trust is built.

"but did it; it helped that Hawthorne was distracted with a few more treats." - Great. Fantastic. And here is the thing, he knew she was out there but chose treats over bullying her, etc. THAT is a great sign and a sign that he is more defensive about her (lacking trust) rather than wanting to eliminate her.

"Then Hawthorne came out and had his paste, once she was tucked back into her room. He seemed fine." - Great. This was in the french door room?

" The only weird thing for him was about 30 minutes later, when I was getting ready for bed, he didn't want to leave the French door room. He would sit in the doorway and look at the living room, and then run and hide under the bed. He did that about three times. I imagine he thought she might still have been out there?" - Awwwwwwww. Yes, I think he thought she might be out there and attack him. Ok, this supports his actions are more defensive rather than offensive which is VERY good. (Easier to get over).

"He has been spending a little more time sleeping under the sofa too, instead of up on his chair. I don't know if that's a bit of stress? Maybe he just likes it. :)" - Yes, you never know if it is just likes or if it is a bit of fear she might come from out of nowhere. Probably a little of both. BUT I am not worried BECAUSE she is not going to attack him because she is not there. And that is the key, it can only be positive.

"This morning all seemed back to fine." - Great

" She has still been a little hesitant to greet me right at the door - she hangs back a bit." - Understandably.

" I think she's worried about being surprised by Hawthorne." - Yes, agreed.

" He's been good at breakfast though. He eats and leaves." - AWESOME!!!

"So I think last night was a success" - TOTALLY!!! This is actually amazing.

" - they are still reactive when they see each other BUT I'm hoping it's a good sign that they were willing to leave and each go do something else? Even when they can't see each other they are aware that the other is around, right?" - ABSOLUTELY.

I think this went fantastically well. AND I am understanding the defensive nature (before I thought Hawthorne might have been a bit offensive). SO the more we have them together and nothing bad happens it builds trust. I am amazed she held her ground. I LVOE they bth signaled to the other (by moving slowly) that they don't mean harm. That they rebounded quickly. Focused on their food rather than the other cat. That they could relax. She played. I think it went amazingly well. Now I know why the memory was fuzzy, nothing shocking happened. :)

"My stepkids are here this weekend, so we'll probably pause a little bit and pick things up again tomorrow night or Monday." - Ok, IF you can do some sessions to keep the momentum that would be great BUT if it is a bit chaotic, stressful, etc then pausing is a good idea.

But overall, this tells me they are going to be fine. We need to get them to trust each other not worrying about the other attacking. I actually like that Florie stood up for herself and he backed down (rather than escalated). I don't see Florie attacking him so when he stops that will help Florie and the ball will start rolling. And I am convinced Hawthorne does not want to eliminate her but rather is defending himself. So when he stops charging she will trust more and I expect she wont charge and we get that détente.

Oh if we can continue on this path that would be great!!! :)

Keep up the great work!!!!
The kids have gone home and we're doing a French room door visit right now. We did a few treats/meals visual access things while they were here and those were fine (short, but fine). We're trying the same set-up as before - I'm in the French door room with Hawthorne; Florence is out with my partner.

Hawthorne was eating treats in his puzzle when she came out of her room. She took a look through the door and saw him and sped off quickly. She came back to eat the treats in her puzzle, again placed about four feet from the door. She snacked pretty well, occasionally looking up to check on him. He was very occupied with his snacks.

He then moved to watching through the door and doing a bit more vocalizing & pacing. He's tried to climb on bookshelves etc to see if he could spot her. He would go to the door and then kind of slink away before making his next approach.

He did eventually relax - he came on the bed to lie down, and then put his head down. She walked past the door at one point and he didn't see; then she came back to check if any treats were remaining in her puzzle and he lifted his head to watch her intently, but didn't rush the door. And, I gave him a few treats on the bed and he stayed to eat them.

Now he's back beside the door. My sense is that while part of it might be her, the large part is he doesn't want to be in here tonight and he is near the door to express that. His body language is very curious near the door but nothing aggressive. Now he's back looking to see if anything remains in his treat puzzle.

Then he moved to trying to put his paw under the door -there is a 1 inch gap or so, so he is able to grab underneath the door. She wandered over and looked at his paw and then kind of aggressively (ears back, etc) tried to swat/grab at it. I was a bit surprised by that! My partner walked over and that distracted her; she growled and hissed too. I was able to distract him with a few treats....Now he's lying down in front of the door again.

The conclusion of the evening was her giving a big hiss on her way past the door to go to her bedroom for the evening. He looked over but I distracted him with treats and he stayed lying down.

I wonder if maybe he hurt her paw with the incident under the door - she seemed to be favouring it a bit. I'll check again in the morning and see how she's doing.

I guess that's the play by play. Not sure how to sum up the whole thing. They're good at ignoring each other but when face-to-face the reactions are still more testy than I would wish for. My partner said overall Florence seemed fine - a few times looking over and of course the door incident (although he felt she was pretty well fine right after that) - but otherwise ok to play and hang out. I could see she was hesitant to go past the door too, but she did do it! Twice!

How do you interpret this evening?
 

calicosrspecial

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The kids have gone home and we're doing a French room door visit right now. We did a few treats/meals visual access things while they were here and those were fine (short, but fine). We're trying the same set-up as before - I'm in the French door room with Hawthorne; Florence is out with my partner.

Hawthorne was eating treats in his puzzle when she came out of her room. She took a look through the door and saw him and sped off quickly. She came back to eat the treats in her puzzle, again placed about four feet from the door. She snacked pretty well, occasionally looking up to check on him. He was very occupied with his snacks.

He then moved to watching through the door and doing a bit more vocalizing & pacing. He's tried to climb on bookshelves etc to see if he could spot her. He would go to the door and then kind of slink away before making his next approach.

He did eventually relax - he came on the bed to lie down, and then put his head down. She walked past the door at one point and he didn't see; then she came back to check if any treats were remaining in her puzzle and he lifted his head to watch her intently, but didn't rush the door. And, I gave him a few treats on the bed and he stayed to eat them.

Now he's back beside the door. My sense is that while part of it might be her, the large part is he doesn't want to be in here tonight and he is near the door to express that. His body language is very curious near the door but nothing aggressive. Now he's back looking to see if anything remains in his treat puzzle.

Then he moved to trying to put his paw under the door -there is a 1 inch gap or so, so he is able to grab underneath the door. She wandered over and looked at his paw and then kind of aggressively (ears back, etc) tried to swat/grab at it. I was a bit surprised by that! My partner walked over and that distracted her; she growled and hissed too. I was able to distract him with a few treats....Now he's lying down in front of the door again.

The conclusion of the evening was her giving a big hiss on her way past the door to go to her bedroom for the evening. He looked over but I distracted him with treats and he stayed lying down.

I wonder if maybe he hurt her paw with the incident under the door - she seemed to be favouring it a bit. I'll check again in the morning and see how she's doing.

I guess that's the play by play. Not sure how to sum up the whole thing. They're good at ignoring each other but when face-to-face the reactions are still more testy than I would wish for. My partner said overall Florence seemed fine - a few times looking over and of course the door incident (although he felt she was pretty well fine right after that) - but otherwise ok to play and hang out. I could see she was hesitant to go past the door too, but she did do it! Twice!

How do you interpret this evening?
"The kids have gone home and we're doing a French room door visit right now." - Sounds good

"We did a few treats/meals visual access things while they were here and those were fine (short, but fine)." - Perfect, it is all about quality over quantity and positive encounters.

" We're trying the same set-up as before - I'm in the French door room with Hawthorne; Florence is out with my partner." - Ok

"Hawthorne was eating treats in his puzzle when she came out of her room. She took a look through the door and saw him and sped off quickly." - Ok, she is a bit cautious still.

" She came back to eat the treats in her puzzle, again placed about four feet from the door." - GREAT!!! So her fear was unwarranted which builds trust and confidence.

" She snacked pretty well, occasionally looking up to check on him. He was very occupied with his snacks." - Perfect!!! Again, it is fine she looks because he is engrossed in his food and nothing negative happens which is positive and builds trust and confidence.

"He then moved to watching through the door and doing a bit more vocalizing & pacing." - Ok, at this point try pulling out a toy and see if he will play.

"He's tried to climb on bookshelves etc to see if he could spot her. " - Ok, height brings confidence so I like he is going high (though it may be to get a better view). Either way, totally fine.

"He would go to the door and then kind of slink away before making his next approach." - Would he see her then slink? Or was she not there? Slinking away is telling her he does not mean harm or be a threat.

"He did eventually relax - he came on the bed to lie down, and then put his head down." - Perfect

" She walked past the door at one point and he didn't see; then she came back to check if any treats were remaining in her puzzle and he lifted his head to watch her intently, but didn't rush the door. " - :yess: :hyper::clap2: He is making great progress!! love this AND it helps her build trust and confidence letting her see that he is not totally focused on her.

"And, I gave him a few treats on the bed and he stayed to eat them." - {Perfect

"Now he's back beside the door. My sense is that while part of it might be her, the large part is he doesn't want to be in here tonight and he is near the door to express that." - Yes, I suspect he is tired of being in there which is normal.

" His body language is very curious near the door but nothing aggressive." - GREAT!!!

" Now he's back looking to see if anything remains in his treat puzzle." - Awwwwwwwww. Feel free to pull out a toy and play with him at this point.

"Then he moved to trying to put his paw under the door -there is a 1 inch gap or so, so he is able to grab underneath the door." - Did eh see her then do it? Hw aggressive was he?

" She wandered over and looked at his paw and then kind of aggressively (ears back, etc) tried to swat/grab at it." - Yep, they will do that.

" I was a bit surprised by that!" - Really? Why?

" My partner walked over and that distracted her; she growled and hissed too. " Was she fairly easy to be distracted? You can use a toy at this point to distract and get her to play to build confidence.

"I was able to distract him with a few treats...." - Awesome

"Now he's lying down in front of the door again." - Uneasily or comfortably?

"The conclusion of the evening was her giving a big hiss on her way past the door to go to her bedroom for the evening." - Yep, he warned him not to try anything. Totally fine. Especially if he doesn't ram the door, etc.

"He looked over but I distracted him with treats and he stayed lying down." - AWESOME!!! :yess::hyper::clap2: This is what is going to build her trust. Him not going after her, etc.

"I wonder if maybe he hurt her paw with the incident under the door - she seemed to be favouring it a bit. I'll check again in the morning and see how she's doing." - Hmmmm, ok. I would be surprised but let me know. It didn't sound that aggressive.

"I guess that's the play by play. Not sure how to sum up the whole thing. " - OK, I say really positive.

"They're good at ignoring each other but when face-to-face the reactions are still more testy than I would wish for." - Yes, BUT he is really coming along. And she is still a bit dis-trustful BUT with him being so good she will get over it.

"My partner said overall Florence seemed fine - a few times looking over and of course the door incident (although he felt she was pretty well fine right after that)" - Great, that was my sense so great to get confirmation.

"- but otherwise ok to play and hang out. " - Yes, that is great.

"I could see she was hesitant to go past the door too, but she did do it! Twice!" - Totally normal and the most important thing is he was really good with it. He is doing so well and is really doing his part. I am SO PROUD of him!!! As she walks by and he doesn't go after her etc then she will trust more and show more confidence which will cause him to back off. She is defensive in her actions so the more she trusts the less she will do actions. The hissing is just communication so if he respects it it is totally fine. How does he respond to her hissing? If he ignores, etc it is really positive. I am sure he responds at times but if it is getting less (response) that is the progress we want to see.

"How do you interpret this evening? " - Really positive. Progress. AND the fact the kids were there (which would add some stress most likely) adds to the positive.

We just need her to trust more, he is doing great. And we'll get there. Just keep up these interactions, use toys to distract as well and play to build that confidence. Keep using food, treats. I am really optimistic. We want to keep Hawthorne on this great path. I think we are breaking through with him and that is going to help her.

Keep up the great work. Another week or to of this if we get her to trust more we'll be doing a face to face. :) We are getting close. :)

It is not a question of "if" they will be intro'd it is "when".
 
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  • #214

Furmama22

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"The kids have gone home and we're doing a French room door visit right now." - Sounds good

"We did a few treats/meals visual access things while they were here and those were fine (short, but fine)." - Perfect, it is all about quality over quantity and positive encounters.

" We're trying the same set-up as before - I'm in the French door room with Hawthorne; Florence is out with my partner." - Ok

"Hawthorne was eating treats in his puzzle when she came out of her room. She took a look through the door and saw him and sped off quickly." - Ok, she is a bit cautious still.

" She came back to eat the treats in her puzzle, again placed about four feet from the door." - GREAT!!! So her fear was unwarranted which builds trust and confidence.

" She snacked pretty well, occasionally looking up to check on him. He was very occupied with his snacks." - Perfect!!! Again, it is fine she looks because he is engrossed in his food and nothing negative happens which is positive and builds trust and confidence.

"He then moved to watching through the door and doing a bit more vocalizing & pacing." - Ok, at this point try pulling out a toy and see if he will play.

"He's tried to climb on bookshelves etc to see if he could spot her. " - Ok, height brings confidence so I like he is going high (though it may be to get a better view). Either way, totally fine.

"He would go to the door and then kind of slink away before making his next approach." - Would he see her then slink? Or was she not there? Slinking away is telling her he does not mean harm or be a threat.

"He did eventually relax - he came on the bed to lie down, and then put his head down." - Perfect

" She walked past the door at one point and he didn't see; then she came back to check if any treats were remaining in her puzzle and he lifted his head to watch her intently, but didn't rush the door. " - :yess: :hyper::clap2: He is making great progress!! love this AND it helps her build trust and confidence letting her see that he is not totally focused on her.

"And, I gave him a few treats on the bed and he stayed to eat them." - {Perfect

"Now he's back beside the door. My sense is that while part of it might be her, the large part is he doesn't want to be in here tonight and he is near the door to express that." - Yes, I suspect he is tired of being in there which is normal.

" His body language is very curious near the door but nothing aggressive." - GREAT!!!

" Now he's back looking to see if anything remains in his treat puzzle." - Awwwwwwwww. Feel free to pull out a toy and play with him at this point.

"Then he moved to trying to put his paw under the door -there is a 1 inch gap or so, so he is able to grab underneath the door." - Did eh see her then do it? Hw aggressive was he?

" She wandered over and looked at his paw and then kind of aggressively (ears back, etc) tried to swat/grab at it." - Yep, they will do that.

" I was a bit surprised by that!" - Really? Why?

" My partner walked over and that distracted her; she growled and hissed too. " Was she fairly easy to be distracted? You can use a toy at this point to distract and get her to play to build confidence.

"I was able to distract him with a few treats...." - Awesome

"Now he's lying down in front of the door again." - Uneasily or comfortably?

"The conclusion of the evening was her giving a big hiss on her way past the door to go to her bedroom for the evening." - Yep, he warned him not to try anything. Totally fine. Especially if he doesn't ram the door, etc.

"He looked over but I distracted him with treats and he stayed lying down." - AWESOME!!! :yess::hyper::clap2: This is what is going to build her trust. Him not going after her, etc.

"I wonder if maybe he hurt her paw with the incident under the door - she seemed to be favouring it a bit. I'll check again in the morning and see how she's doing." - Hmmmm, ok. I would be surprised but let me know. It didn't sound that aggressive.

"I guess that's the play by play. Not sure how to sum up the whole thing. " - OK, I say really positive.

"They're good at ignoring each other but when face-to-face the reactions are still more testy than I would wish for." - Yes, BUT he is really coming along. And she is still a bit dis-trustful BUT with him being so good she will get over it.

"My partner said overall Florence seemed fine - a few times looking over and of course the door incident (although he felt she was pretty well fine right after that)" - Great, that was my sense so great to get confirmation.

"- but otherwise ok to play and hang out. " - Yes, that is great.

"I could see she was hesitant to go past the door too, but she did do it! Twice!" - Totally normal and the most important thing is he was really good with it. He is doing so well and is really doing his part. I am SO PROUD of him!!! As she walks by and he doesn't go after her etc then she will trust more and show more confidence which will cause him to back off. She is defensive in her actions so the more she trusts the less she will do actions. The hissing is just communication so if he respects it it is totally fine. How does he respond to her hissing? If he ignores, etc it is really positive. I am sure he responds at times but if it is getting less (response) that is the progress we want to see.

"How do you interpret this evening? " - Really positive. Progress. AND the fact the kids were there (which would add some stress most likely) adds to the positive.

We just need her to trust more, he is doing great. And we'll get there. Just keep up these interactions, use toys to distract as well and play to build that confidence. Keep using food, treats. I am really optimistic. We want to keep Hawthorne on this great path. I think we are breaking through with him and that is going to help her.

Keep up the great work. Another week or to of this if we get her to trust more we'll be doing a face to face. :) We are getting close. :)

It is not a question of "if" they will be intro'd it is "when".
You are so awesome, thank you for this! I was worried about the under the door paw batting incident. I was surprised she came over and batted his paw but maybe she felt HE was being aggressive? His body language was fine, actually. He just wanted out of the door - he didn't even initially know she was there. She batted his paw and looked angry, but then when Michael walked over she left immediately and he said she seemed fine - no lingering concerns. Hawthorne was over it very quickly - he came to eat treats. I obviously have a very low tolerance/understanding for what is actually aggressive, hahaha. I feel dejected after an incident like that but I think perhaps I'm not really seeing what's truly aggressive. I'm a no-conflict person in many areas of life. :)

This morning Florie seemed a bit more quiet still - she prefers to eat a little more hidden away now. But her paw seems fine. :) And Hawthorne is still sleeping under the sofa much of the time. He did make an exception to go on his cat tree this morning in the main space - where he can see her in her room on her cat tree - and was a bit concerned about seeing her (staring, a swishing tail, etc) but nothing significant.

I was going to ask too about timeline, so thanks for your thoughts on that - I agree - keep trying this for another week or two and see where we are. Should I try some different combinations again? Hawthorne and me out in the main room; Florence and my partner in the French door room, etc? I want to see if he can leave her alone equally well when HE is the one out in the main room.

As always, your feedback is SO SO appreciated.
 
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Furmama22

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You are so awesome, thank you for this! I was worried about the under the door paw batting incident. I was surprised she came over and batted his paw but maybe she felt HE was being aggressive? His body language was fine, actually. He just wanted out of the door - he didn't even initially know she was there. She batted his paw and looked angry, but then when Michael walked over she left immediately and he said she seemed fine - no lingering concerns. Hawthorne was over it very quickly - he came to eat treats. I obviously have a very low tolerance/understanding for what is actually aggressive, hahaha. I feel dejected after an incident like that but I think perhaps I'm not really seeing what's truly aggressive. I'm a no-conflict person in many areas of life. :)

This morning Florie seemed a bit more quiet still - she prefers to eat a little more hidden away now. But her paw seems fine. :) And Hawthorne is still sleeping under the sofa much of the time. He did make an exception to go on his cat tree this morning in the main space - where he can see her in her room on her cat tree - and was a bit concerned about seeing her (staring, a swishing tail, etc) but nothing significant.

I was going to ask too about timeline, so thanks for your thoughts on that - I agree - keep trying this for another week or two and see where we are. Should I try some different combinations again? Hawthorne and me out in the main room; Florence and my partner in the French door room, etc? I want to see if he can leave her alone equally well when HE is the one out in the main room.

As always, your feedback is SO SO appreciated.
Actually, one last question: what would it look like if they WEREN'T doing well? Would it be fighting at the glass door, or, not being able to relax knowing the other is out there, or...?
 

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You are so awesome, thank you for this! I was worried about the under the door paw batting incident. I was surprised she came over and batted his paw but maybe she felt HE was being aggressive? His body language was fine, actually. He just wanted out of the door - he didn't even initially know she was there. She batted his paw and looked angry, but then when Michael walked over she left immediately and he said she seemed fine - no lingering concerns. Hawthorne was over it very quickly - he came to eat treats. I obviously have a very low tolerance/understanding for what is actually aggressive, hahaha. I feel dejected after an incident like that but I think perhaps I'm not really seeing what's truly aggressive. I'm a no-conflict person in many areas of life. :)

This morning Florie seemed a bit more quiet still - she prefers to eat a little more hidden away now. But her paw seems fine. :) And Hawthorne is still sleeping under the sofa much of the time. He did make an exception to go on his cat tree this morning in the main space - where he can see her in her room on her cat tree - and was a bit concerned about seeing her (staring, a swishing tail, etc) but nothing significant.

I was going to ask too about timeline, so thanks for your thoughts on that - I agree - keep trying this for another week or two and see where we are. Should I try some different combinations again? Hawthorne and me out in the main room; Florence and my partner in the French door room, etc? I want to see if he can leave her alone equally well when HE is the one out in the main room.

As always, your feedback is SO SO appreciated.
"You are so awesome, thank you for this!" - You are very welcome.

" I was worried about the under the door paw batting incident. I was surprised she came over and batted his paw" - That is very normal. Cats LOVE something moving and from under a door it is really interesting to them. I would ahve had to see it to understand the thought behind it but how they act after always tells us what they are thinking. If she was hiding, walking low, avoiding, not eating, etc then it would be something that would say she was fearful, etc.

" but maybe she felt HE was being aggressive?" - Depends on how he was doing it, how she was responding. When it is aggressive it really makes a human feel different.

" His body language was fine, actually." - Ok, that tells us a lot. IF it was aggressive he would have shown it. Fast movements, hard, ears back, hair up, puffy tail. Things like that.

"He just wanted out of the door - he didn't even initially know she was there." - Awwwwwwww, yep. It makes sense now.

" She batted his paw and looked angry, but then when Michael walked over she left immediately and he said she seemed fine - no lingering concerns." - Ok, THIS is really important. IF it was serious there is no way she would be distracted that easily or rebound that quickly.

" Hawthorne was over it very quickly - he came to eat treats." - Hahahaha, so he wasn't even bothered? If so, THAT is AMAZING!! That tells me he is accepting her and maybe he viewed it as play. That is really a good sign.

"I obviously have a very low tolerance/understanding for what is actually aggressive, hahaha." - Hahahaha, well, it is hard. But I will say, when it is you know. There is a feeling a person gets. I don;t know if it is adrenaline or what but it is like a shock. A person just knows in their stomach.

" I feel dejected after an incident like that but I think perhaps I'm not really seeing what's truly aggressive." - Oh my, no need to feel dejected at all. IF they were hiding, acting weird, walking low, not eating, not using the litter box, etc then there would be an issue.

The "rebound" to normal is always the best way to tell how serious an incident/encounter was. If we get a fast rebound back to normal then it wasn't an issue. I would call your rebound fast, no question about it.

"I'm a no-conflict person in many areas of life. :) " - Awwwwwwwww. That is not always bad.

"This morning Florie seemed a bit more quiet still - she prefers to eat a little more hidden away now." - Ok. If you have time see if you can get her to play. And just reassure her, and keep Hawthorne distracted.

" But her paw seems fine. :)" - Great.

"And Hawthorne is still sleeping under the sofa much of the time." - Is that normal? I am not getting a sense he is having any issues.

'He did make an exception to go on his cat tree this morning in the main space - where he can see her in her room on her cat tree -" - Great. SO they are both on their cat trees able to see each other? If so, great.

"and was a bit concerned about seeing her (staring, a swishing tail, etc) but nothing significant." - Staring, swishing tail is not a big deal. And the fact she didn't attack him and he didn't attack her is confidence building.

"I was going to ask too about timeline, so thanks for your thoughts on that - I agree - keep trying this for another week or two and see where we are." - Yes, I suspect we will continue to see progress.

" Should I try some different combinations again?" - Sure

" Hawthorne and me out in the main room; Florence and my partner in the French door room, etc?" - Sure, or Florie in the office.

"I want to see if he can leave her alone equally well when HE is the one out in the main room." - Agreed. And if he is playing and ignoring her in the main area (out) it is success. And if she is in her room on the cat tree, or looking at him, or eating, etc then it is great.

"As always, your feedback is SO SO appreciated." - Awwwww :)

"Actually, one last question: what would it look like if they WEREN'T doing well? Would it be fighting at the glass door, or, not being able to relax knowing the other is out there, or...?" - Yes, serious hitting the glass door (or the gate), not able to be distracted, bad body language like puffy tail, dilated eyes, ears back, hair up, not eating, avoiding areas, hiding, strange anti-social behavior, not using the litter box, walking low all the time, unsettledness, things like that. It would be obvious that something it really not right.

Hawthorne is doing amazingly well. I feel like he has made huge strides forward in the last 2 weeks (I guess really pretty much since the painters left). She is coming around but a bit slower. I expect she will make big strides as she realizes his recent changes. And that will reinforce the confidence. And then we'll get that breakthrough. I think her being de-clawed is really holding her back. She is defenseless so that really impacts how a cat feels so her caution is understandable. But Hawthorne is going to let her know she is accepted. I actually feel he is like 95% accepting of her. We just need her to trust it. I am amazed at how he has come along.

So keep it up and let's see the how they progress. There will be bumps, some good 2 steps forward, a step back but we'll see continued progress. I am not at all worried especially with Hawthorne doing what he is doing. That is REALLY helpful!!
 
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calicosrspecial

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I hope you are just busy or there is nothing to really update rather than not posting because you are worried about my time.

I do want to stress the importance of distraction (using food, a toy, words, etc). Anytime we get a cat to stop focusing on another cat, or moving towards, etc it is a positive to show the cat that they aren't the main interest. And when they look away (which a threatened cat or a cat threatening would never do) it builds trust and confidence. So keep working on getting them distracted to ease a tense encounter. And if we get them to focus on something else it will help build that trust and confidence. It doesn't happen overnight but does over time.
 
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I hope you are just busy or there is nothing to really update rather than not posting because you are worried about my time.

I do want to stress the importance of distraction (using food, a toy, words, etc). Anytime we get a cat to stop focusing on another cat, or moving towards, etc it is a positive to show the cat that they aren't the main interest. And when they look away (which a threatened cat or a cat threatening would never do) it builds trust and confidence. So keep working on getting them distracted to ease a tense encounter. And if we get them to focus on something else it will help build that trust and confidence. It doesn't happen overnight but does over time.
Hello! Thanks so much for checking in! It's just been quiet here and I haven't had any updates. :) My partner has been working late so last night and tonight so we can't do the French door setup - too challenging to do with just me.

We've done a few short treat times over the last couple of days and those are going fine (and of course, we're still doing the site swapping in the afternoons). She doesn't growl until about three feet of closeness between them. Then she just starts growling regardless, haha. He doesn't seem to react, at least not at that distance. He just goes for the treats. If she were closer/no gate, I'm not sure.

Neither is eating quite as heartily at breakfast - Hawthorne eats a few bites and then leaves. That's not entirely out of character for him so I'm not spending too much time worrying. She still prefers to be under the bed for meals, although she is still visible to him and him to her.

I definitely appreciate the reminder about the use of toys! We've been using a lot of treats because they are generally 100% successful at distracting, but Florie is putting on some lbs. :) So using toys to distract is good too.

I feel the distraction part is going well but I've lost a bit of steam on the behavioural part, I guess - the part where we get them to associate the other with something positive, like a wonderful treat that only happens when the other cat appears. Are we beyond that point now? I guess the treat sessions/distractions are part of that too.

We can pick up the French door time again tomorrow, hopefully. :)
 

calicosrspecial

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Hello! Thanks so much for checking in! It's just been quiet here and I haven't had any updates. :) My partner has been working late so last night and tonight so we can't do the French door setup - too challenging to do with just me.

We've done a few short treat times over the last couple of days and those are going fine (and of course, we're still doing the site swapping in the afternoons). She doesn't growl until about three feet of closeness between them. Then she just starts growling regardless, haha. He doesn't seem to react, at least not at that distance. He just goes for the treats. If she were closer/no gate, I'm not sure.

Neither is eating quite as heartily at breakfast - Hawthorne eats a few bites and then leaves. That's not entirely out of character for him so I'm not spending too much time worrying. She still prefers to be under the bed for meals, although she is still visible to him and him to her.

I definitely appreciate the reminder about the use of toys! We've been using a lot of treats because they are generally 100% successful at distracting, but Florie is putting on some lbs. :) So using toys to distract is good too.

I feel the distraction part is going well but I've lost a bit of steam on the behavioural part, I guess - the part where we get them to associate the other with something positive, like a wonderful treat that only happens when the other cat appears. Are we beyond that point now? I guess the treat sessions/distractions are part of that too.

We can pick up the French door time again tomorrow, hopefully. :)
"Hello! Thanks so much for checking in!" - You are welcome, of course. :)

" It's just been quiet here and I haven't had any updates. :) My partner has been working late so last night and tonight so we can't do the French door setup - too challenging to do with just me." - Ok, as long as you aren't holding back.

You can do a session playing with one (if they will play), distracting them, while the other watches. Just make sure they are distracted with the toy.

"We've done a few short treat times over the last couple of days and those are going fine (and of course, we're still doing the site swapping in the afternoons)." - Great

" She doesn't growl until about three feet of closeness between them. Then she just starts growling regardless, haha." Ok, good. 3 feet is not bad.

"He doesn't seem to react, at least not at that distance. He just goes for the treats." - Awesome!! THAT is fantastic!! No reaction builds her trust with him.

" If she were closer/no gate, I'm not sure." - We will see in time. ;)

"Neither is eating quite as heartily at breakfast - Hawthorne eats a few bites and then leaves. That's not entirely out of character for him so I'm not spending too much time worrying. " - Ok, as long as it is not a change. I don't see any reason why anything in the recent past would cause a change.

"She still prefers to be under the bed for meals, although she is still visible to him and him to her." - Ok, is this a change?

We may need to block off under the bed. :/

"I definitely appreciate the reminder about the use of toys! We've been using a lot of treats because they are generally 100% successful at distracting, but Florie is putting on some lbs. :) So using toys to distract is good too." - Yes, treats do a good job and we can always get them to lose weight. But toys are good at building confidence as it replicates the "Hunt, Capture, Kill, Eat" survival instinct in the wild.

"I feel the distraction part is going well" - Great. That is fantastic.

" but I've lost a bit of steam on the behavioural part, I guess - the part where we get them to associate the other with something positive, like a wonderful treat that only happens when the other cat appears." - I don't get that sense. They eat with the other near.

"Are we beyond that point now?" - No, it is always good to have positive associations.

" I guess the treat sessions/distractions are part of that too." - Absolutely.

Positive associations are something positive whether food, or calmness, or ignoring, or play, or looking away. Positive associations blend in with positive encounters often. Hopefully that makes sense.

"We can pick up the French door time again tomorrow, hopefully. :) " - Ok, sounds good. It can be the office as well. Just anywhere they are near each other making a positive association and positive encounter.
 
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Furmama22

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"Hello! Thanks so much for checking in!" - You are welcome, of course. :)

" It's just been quiet here and I haven't had any updates. :) My partner has been working late so last night and tonight so we can't do the French door setup - too challenging to do with just me." - Ok, as long as you aren't holding back.

You can do a session playing with one (if they will play), distracting them, while the other watches. Just make sure they are distracted with the toy.

"We've done a few short treat times over the last couple of days and those are going fine (and of course, we're still doing the site swapping in the afternoons)." - Great

" She doesn't growl until about three feet of closeness between them. Then she just starts growling regardless, haha." Ok, good. 3 feet is not bad.

"He doesn't seem to react, at least not at that distance. He just goes for the treats." - Awesome!! THAT is fantastic!! No reaction builds her trust with him.

" If she were closer/no gate, I'm not sure." - We will see in time. ;)

"Neither is eating quite as heartily at breakfast - Hawthorne eats a few bites and then leaves. That's not entirely out of character for him so I'm not spending too much time worrying. " - Ok, as long as it is not a change. I don't see any reason why anything in the recent past would cause a change.

"She still prefers to be under the bed for meals, although she is still visible to him and him to her." - Ok, is this a change?

We may need to block off under the bed. :/

"I definitely appreciate the reminder about the use of toys! We've been using a lot of treats because they are generally 100% successful at distracting, but Florie is putting on some lbs. :) So using toys to distract is good too." - Yes, treats do a good job and we can always get them to lose weight. But toys are good at building confidence as it replicates the "Hunt, Capture, Kill, Eat" survival instinct in the wild.

"I feel the distraction part is going well" - Great. That is fantastic.

" but I've lost a bit of steam on the behavioural part, I guess - the part where we get them to associate the other with something positive, like a wonderful treat that only happens when the other cat appears." - I don't get that sense. They eat with the other near.

"Are we beyond that point now?" - No, it is always good to have positive associations.

" I guess the treat sessions/distractions are part of that too." - Absolutely.

Positive associations are something positive whether food, or calmness, or ignoring, or play, or looking away. Positive associations blend in with positive encounters often. Hopefully that makes sense.

"We can pick up the French door time again tomorrow, hopefully. :) " - Ok, sounds good. It can be the office as well. Just anywhere they are near each other making a positive association and positive encounter.
Just quickly on the breakfast visual access - for both, it is a change.

He was eating quite heartily before we started doing the visual access at mealtimes. That said, he does and has always liked to graze. But I noticed that before at the other house too - once we started the visual mealtimes he ate less in one go and would leave and then come back later (once the door was closed).

She used to be waiting at the door for her meals, right there when I opened the door in the morning - now she is sleeping on her tree or waiting off to the side on the desk. She isn't waiting right at the gate. And she isn't eating her whole meal, either, like she was. And before she wasn't fussy about where the plate was - she'd just get right into it. Now she waits until the plate is at the edge of the bed (underneath) where she feels a bit more secure.

I will also say, though, that the weather here has changed from really spring-like to now much colder, so not sure if they're just feeling more cold/snuggly in the morning?

Although: Hawthorne still wakes me up for breakfast - but then he doesn't seem to want to come over and eat it.

Moral of the story - Both seemed to initially have a greater relish for breakfast before we started the visual access. But they aren't NOT eating. It's just with some changes.
 
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