Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost

calicosrspecial

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Thanks as always for your continued positivity! I was worrying again that because of the fight on Saturday (and I suppose it was more of a chase/attack than an actual fight) it meant they won't be successfully intro'd and will always dislike each other. Every new phase comes with its little challenges, I guess. :)

I don't know if he would play. I'm game to try it. He can be difficult to engage in play regardless, and I'm not sure how he would do with her there. But always worth a try!

And when she growls he doesn't seem to react, exactly. When he ran at her on Saturday it was more like the same way he chase a bird out the window or a toy - low to the ground running over and then a pounce/jump. He didn't hiss or anything. He's never really hissed at her. He just stares with big eyes. I wouldn't say it was play though. It had a kind of stalking/chasing element.

Out of curiousity, why is it that he can be distracted to a point and then (as per Saturday) he decides he wants to take a run at her. Is it that the longer he looks at her the more agitated he gets?

We will try next time (probably later today) to distract him after she jumps down and see what happens. I know I tend to get more nervous then because they're at the same level. And the only way out of that main room is basically the hallway back to the bedrooms, so it becomes a little dance to try to get them to switch spots and get her to go back to her room. I think she does get scared. Scared, but also kind of at the same time she doesn't want to go back to her room, hahaha. She also gets, as the visit goes on and her growling increases, a bit more of an aggressive face - ears flattened against her head and whiskers back and eyes a little more squished up. Like the same face cats make before hissing. I guess that's more of a scared/defensive face, maybe.

Anyways, moral of the story is we just keep this up for now? Short visits around a meal or snacks and see how it is. We'll keep trying x1 per day for the rest of the week and see how we do.
"Thanks as always for your continued positivity!" - You are welcome. Remember, if I see negativity I will tell you.

" I was worrying again that because of the fight on Saturday (and I suppose it was more of a chase/attack than an actual fight) it meant they won't be successfully intro'd and will always dislike each other." - It is always a worry but given how they acted after it seemed like a low risk. And now with the additional information it tells me it was a non-issue. So they passed the test. :) I have no worry about them not being successfully intro'd.

"Every new phase comes with its little challenges, I guess. :) " - So true though I could tell you some challenges. This one is nothing compared to many.

"I don't know if he would play. I'm game to try it." - Sounds good. If e cna get him to focus on the toy that oculd be helpful. The one thing is that he doesn't then view her as someone to hunt.

" He can be difficult to engage in play regardless," - I feared I remembered that. :/

" and I'm not sure how he would do with her there." - Yes, that is always the issue. We don't want a cat to get into a hunting mode then hunt the other cat.

"But always worth a try!" - Just think about the above and if you deem the risk greater then the reward then we can not do it. It is not necessary.

"And when she growls he doesn't seem to react, exactly." - THAT is FANTASTIC!!! He knows she does not have bad intent.

"When he ran at her on Saturday it was more like the same way he chase a bird out the window or a toy - low to the ground running over and then a pounce/jump. He didn't hiss or anything." - Hmmmmmmm, could it have been play? To get her to play? I wish I could have seen it.

"He's never really hissed at her. He just stares with big eyes." - That is good. And he doesn't seem aggressive really wither, right? I keep going back to seeing him be on his back by the french doors (which is a huge sign of trust).

"I wouldn't say it was play though." Oh, you answered my question. Are you sure?

" It had a kind of stalking/chasing element." - Yes, but that is how they can play as well. When he got to her did he hesitate at all? Or was it full on pounce on her?

"Out of curiousity, why is it that he can be distracted to a point and then (as per Saturday) he decides he wants to take a run at her." - Usually because they want to play. It also can be a superiority or dominant thing as well. It is not a 'I want to eliminate you" thing at that point.

"Is it that the longer he looks at her the more agitated he gets?" - I am not sure agitated is the exact word but basically it can be. It is just part of the acceptance. Territory is really important to cats and sharing can be difficult depending on their confidence.

"We will try next time (probably later today) to distract him after she jumps down and see what happens." - Sounds good. Part of me wants to try with her on the floor rather than up high to eliminate the fast jump down which can trigger his instinct.

" I know I tend to get more nervous then because they're at the same level." - Agreed, we all do. :)

" And the only way out of that main room is basically the hallway back to the bedrooms, so it becomes a little dance to try to get them to switch spots and get her to go back to her room." - Yes, it is tricky. And when we get stressed they pick up on it and get more on edge. Just do your best.

Did you sense he had any intent to actually hurt her the other day?

"I think she does get scared." - Or unsettled?

" Scared, but also kind of at the same time she doesn't want to go back to her room, hahaha." - Exactly, she can't be that scared.........

"She also gets, as the visit goes on and her growling increases, a bit more of an aggressive face - ears flattened against her head and whiskers back and eyes a little more squished up. " - Really? I am really surprised. Is he at that point going after her or about to?

"Like the same face cats make before hissing. I guess that's more of a scared/defensive face, maybe." - Hmmmmmm.

"Anyways, moral of the story is we just keep this up for now?" - Absolutely. And distract, distract, reassure, etc. If you can diffuse a tense situation it is a huge win.

Is there any chance of videotaping it? I know it is hard too though. :/

"Short visits around a meal or snacks and see how it is." - Yes, morning gate/door sessions. Maybe even think of not have the gate (to the office so Florie in the office with him out) for a session (with maybe you at the threshold of the room.

"We'll keep trying x1 per day for the rest of the week and see how we do. " - Yes, for face to face. And just maximize positives. Distract as needed.

When you have one in their room and one out play with them where they do the face to face if possible.

Most likely it will be like a lightswitch, one day they will be like "ok, you're cool" and we'll get that breakthrough. Then there will be some ups and downs after that but they will be intro'd. I honestly get a sense they are really close to that..............................

Keep up the great work, you are almost there. :)
 
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Furmama22

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"Thanks as always for your continued positivity!" - You are welcome. Remember, if I see negativity I will tell you.

" I was worrying again that because of the fight on Saturday (and I suppose it was more of a chase/attack than an actual fight) it meant they won't be successfully intro'd and will always dislike each other." - It is always a worry but given how they acted after it seemed like a low risk. And now with the additional information it tells me it was a non-issue. So they passed the test. :) I have no worry about them not being successfully intro'd.

"Every new phase comes with its little challenges, I guess. :) " - So true though I could tell you some challenges. This one is nothing compared to many.

"I don't know if he would play. I'm game to try it." - Sounds good. If e cna get him to focus on the toy that oculd be helpful. The one thing is that he doesn't then view her as someone to hunt.

" He can be difficult to engage in play regardless," - I feared I remembered that. :/

" and I'm not sure how he would do with her there." - Yes, that is always the issue. We don't want a cat to get into a hunting mode then hunt the other cat.

"But always worth a try!" - Just think about the above and if you deem the risk greater then the reward then we can not do it. It is not necessary.

"And when she growls he doesn't seem to react, exactly." - THAT is FANTASTIC!!! He knows she does not have bad intent.

"When he ran at her on Saturday it was more like the same way he chase a bird out the window or a toy - low to the ground running over and then a pounce/jump. He didn't hiss or anything." - Hmmmmmmm, could it have been play? To get her to play? I wish I could have seen it.

"He's never really hissed at her. He just stares with big eyes." - That is good. And he doesn't seem aggressive really wither, right? I keep going back to seeing him be on his back by the french doors (which is a huge sign of trust).

"I wouldn't say it was play though." Oh, you answered my question. Are you sure?

" It had a kind of stalking/chasing element." - Yes, but that is how they can play as well. When he got to her did he hesitate at all? Or was it full on pounce on her?

"Out of curiousity, why is it that he can be distracted to a point and then (as per Saturday) he decides he wants to take a run at her." - Usually because they want to play. It also can be a superiority or dominant thing as well. It is not a 'I want to eliminate you" thing at that point.

"Is it that the longer he looks at her the more agitated he gets?" - I am not sure agitated is the exact word but basically it can be. It is just part of the acceptance. Territory is really important to cats and sharing can be difficult depending on their confidence.

"We will try next time (probably later today) to distract him after she jumps down and see what happens." - Sounds good. Part of me wants to try with her on the floor rather than up high to eliminate the fast jump down which can trigger his instinct.

" I know I tend to get more nervous then because they're at the same level." - Agreed, we all do. :)

" And the only way out of that main room is basically the hallway back to the bedrooms, so it becomes a little dance to try to get them to switch spots and get her to go back to her room." - Yes, it is tricky. And when we get stressed they pick up on it and get more on edge. Just do your best.

Did you sense he had any intent to actually hurt her the other day?

"I think she does get scared." - Or unsettled?

" Scared, but also kind of at the same time she doesn't want to go back to her room, hahaha." - Exactly, she can't be that scared.........

"She also gets, as the visit goes on and her growling increases, a bit more of an aggressive face - ears flattened against her head and whiskers back and eyes a little more squished up. " - Really? I am really surprised. Is he at that point going after her or about to?

"Like the same face cats make before hissing. I guess that's more of a scared/defensive face, maybe." - Hmmmmmm.

"Anyways, moral of the story is we just keep this up for now?" - Absolutely. And distract, distract, reassure, etc. If you can diffuse a tense situation it is a huge win.

Is there any chance of videotaping it? I know it is hard too though. :/

"Short visits around a meal or snacks and see how it is." - Yes, morning gate/door sessions. Maybe even think of not have the gate (to the office so Florie in the office with him out) for a session (with maybe you at the threshold of the room.

"We'll keep trying x1 per day for the rest of the week and see how we do. " - Yes, for face to face. And just maximize positives. Distract as needed.

When you have one in their room and one out play with them where they do the face to face if possible.

Most likely it will be like a lightswitch, one day they will be like "ok, you're cool" and we'll get that breakthrough. Then there will be some ups and downs after that but they will be intro'd. I honestly get a sense they are really close to that..............................

Keep up the great work, you are almost there. :)
Nothing new to report - we did supper last night together and then distracted with a few treats after. She started to get uncomfortable though, after the meal was done - perhaps because she wasn't sure where to go from the kitchen island - and turned up the growling. It started to get that kind of high pitch growling that is one step beyond regular growling. And she didn't want my partner to pick her up - she growled about that too, and kind of hunched up in one spot on the island. So I distracted her with treats and then picked her up myself and carried her out. So we're still having trouble now getting beyond the five minutes of the meal - since the 'scuffle' she is now very sensitive to him actually moving around the room.

He did ok - he ate his meal and then moved to another area of the living room but I could tell as her growling escalated he was getting a bit more staring going on (though distractable) and I feel like if she had hopped down he would have tried to take another run. That's just my sense. But probably I was getting more anxious too.

To be honest, I'm feeling kind of stressed out about it. It feels like a hopeless situation to get her to feel comfortable and stop growling. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right thing - trying so hard to get her to integrate with another cat when she's obviously uncomfortable around him. But I love her so much. And sometimes he cries so desperately and gets so worked up when he's closed in the other room. I feel bad about that too. And I love him so much. And we're supposed to take a summer holiday in July for a week and I'm worried about how that will be - if they aren't together and comfortable then one has to stay in a bedroom or something for a week and that doesn't seem very nice. But I guess it's not the end of the world, if it comes down to that.

But I just need to keep going and hope that eventually they can just leave each other alone.

I'll try to get some videos today and post so you can see where we are. :)
 
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Furmama22

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The cats are quiet now and napping so everything is calmer - in the calm moments, I feel more hopeful, haha. When they are growling/crying/fussing, it just activates the stress and worries.:) Apologies for any negativity! Sometimes I feel a bit down about the situation but then I rebound. :)
 
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calicosrspecial

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Nothing new to report - we did supper last night together and then distracted with a few treats after. She started to get uncomfortable though, after the meal was done - perhaps because she wasn't sure where to go from the kitchen island - and turned up the growling. It started to get that kind of high pitch growling that is one step beyond regular growling. And she didn't want my partner to pick her up - she growled about that too, and kind of hunched up in one spot on the island. So I distracted her with treats and then picked her up myself and carried her out. So we're still having trouble now getting beyond the five minutes of the meal - since the 'scuffle' she is now very sensitive to him actually moving around the room.

He did ok - he ate his meal and then moved to another area of the living room but I could tell as her growling escalated he was getting a bit more staring going on (though distractable) and I feel like if she had hopped down he would have tried to take another run. That's just my sense. But probably I was getting more anxious too.

To be honest, I'm feeling kind of stressed out about it. It feels like a hopeless situation to get her to feel comfortable and stop growling. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right thing - trying so hard to get her to integrate with another cat when she's obviously uncomfortable around him. But I love her so much. And sometimes he cries so desperately and gets so worked up when he's closed in the other room. I feel bad about that too. And I love him so much. And we're supposed to take a summer holiday in July for a week and I'm worried about how that will be - if they aren't together and comfortable then one has to stay in a bedroom or something for a week and that doesn't seem very nice. But I guess it's not the end of the world, if it comes down to that.

But I just need to keep going and hope that eventually they can just leave each other alone.

I'll try to get some videos today and post so you can see where we are. :)
"Nothing new to report -" - Great

" we did supper last night together and then distracted with a few treats after." - Perfect

" She started to get uncomfortable though, after the meal was done - perhaps because she wasn't sure where to go from the kitchen island - and turned up the growling." - Ok, that makes sense. But the main thing is she ate.

" It started to get that kind of high pitch growling that is one step beyond regular growling." - Yes. What was Hawthorne doing? Was he staring at her?

" And she didn't want my partner to pick her up - she growled about that too, and kind of hunched up in one spot on the island." - Yes, that is to be expected. I never pick them up at that point. I always distract the other cat away to get a clear path to where the cat wants to go.

" So I distracted her with treats" - Oh, very good. And she was distractible? If so that is great.

"and then picked her up myself and carried her out." - Ok. Next time get Hawthorne distracted or even back into his room (making him think it is on his terms) for her to then feel comfortable to come down etc.

"So we're still having trouble now getting beyond the five minutes of the meal - since the 'scuffle' she is now very sensitive to him actually moving around the room." - Yes, I think because she is up on the counter. Are you comfortable trying to feed them on the floor?

"He did ok - he ate his meal and then moved to another area of the living room" - THat is better than ok. That is great that he left her and moved to another part of the room. THAT is exactly what we want.

" but I could tell as her growling escalated he was getting a bit more staring going on (though distractable)" - Yes, that is nomrla but great he is distractible so keep diastracting him.

" and I feel like if she had hopped down he would have tried to take another run." - Probably.

" That's just my sense." - Yes, without being there my sense too.

" But probably I was getting more anxious too." - Oh yes, it is easy to get more anxious.

"To be honest, I'm feeling kind of stressed out about it." - Yes, I can sense that.

" It feels like a hopeless situation to get her to feel comfortable and stop growling." - I totally disagree. It is not at all hopeless. She will be comfortable. And I would not worry at all about the growling. The growling is just communication and if it causes de-escalation then it is a positive. And honestly, it is more the sudden movement than the growling that caused the chase. BUT the chase didn;t lead to a fight so it really isn't that big a deal. Of course we want it to not happen BUT they have a line, respect, and he doesn't want to hurt her.

"Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right thing" - Most everyone goes through that. I guarantee you are doing the right thing.

" - trying so hard to get her to integrate with another cat when she's obviously uncomfortable around him." - She is not THAT uncomfortable with him. IF she wasn't able to eat, didn't feel comfortable even seeing him etc THEN I would say we have a lot of work. But what you are seeing from her is really normal AND he is doing amazingly well which is going to build her trust up. I see no reason why they will not be living together happily soon.

"But I love her so much." - Yes, that is why you are questioning so much.

" And sometimes he cries so desperately and gets so worked up when he's closed in the other room. I feel bad about that too." - Yes, but if he really didn't like her he would not want to be out there. He has to be closed in the room for now but soon he will not have to be. He is going to be just fine. AND to support that it is ok, we are not seeing any behavioral issues from him. In fact, he is doing really well accepting her. Of course, it is not 100% but it sure is far along.

"And I love him so much." - Yes. :)

" And we're supposed to take a summer holiday in July for a week and I'm worried about how that will be - if they aren't together and comfortable then one has to stay in a bedroom or something for a week and that doesn't seem very nice. But I guess it's not the end of the world, if it comes down to that." - I don't think you have to worry about that. I think they will be successfully intro'd for a while by then.

"But I just need to keep going and hope that eventually they can just leave each other alone." - We don't have to hope, they will be. Hawthorne is really close and she is going to get over the last bit of uncertainty very soon.

"I'll try to get some videos today and post so you can see where we are. :) " - Sounds good.

Just distract Hawthorne to give her some space. And let's see how that goes.

You/they are really close. You'll see soon. :)
 

calicosrspecial

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The cats are quiet now and napping so everything is calmer - in the calm moments, I feel more hopeful, haha. When they are growling/crying/fussing, it just activates the stress and worries.:) Apologies for any negativity! Sometimes I feel a bit down about the situation but then I rebound. :)
Sorry, I just saw this after I posted the other. :/

"The cats are quiet now and napping so everything is calmer" - Ok, great. IF they had real issues this would not be happening.

" - in the calm moments, I feel more hopeful, haha." - That is very normal.

" When they are growling/crying/fussing, it just activates the stress and worries.:) " - Oh, I know, that is normal. If (when) you do many more of these you will understand what to worry about and what not to. ;)

"Apologies for any negativity! Sometimes I feel a bit down about the situation but then I rebound. :) " - Oh my, no need to apologize. What you are going through is normal. You haven't experienced this before. I have intro'd two cats that tried to literally kill each other, Blood, etc. I have done so many intros with cats that have seriously fought. Those are challenges. Hawthorne and Florie are on the good side of the spectrum and everything you are experiencing is totally normal (of course you don't have a reference so it is hard for you to know). I really don't see anything to worry about (if I did you would hear about it). Hawthorne is pretty much accepting her. Keep distracting him and I think that will help her build her trust in him.

I would love to get them eating on the floor together in the face to face. Use treats if they are more likely to make it positive. Distract Hawthorne. Use a toy to coax Florie into another area. If you get her focuses away from him and he just watches her or looks away it is a big win.

I think you will see it very soon. :)
 
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Sorry, I just saw this after I posted the other. :/

"The cats are quiet now and napping so everything is calmer" - Ok, great. IF they had real issues this would not be happening.

" - in the calm moments, I feel more hopeful, haha." - That is very normal.

" When they are growling/crying/fussing, it just activates the stress and worries.:) " - Oh, I know, that is normal. If (when) you do many more of these you will understand what to worry about and what not to. ;)

"Apologies for any negativity! Sometimes I feel a bit down about the situation but then I rebound. :) " - Oh my, no need to apologize. What you are going through is normal. You haven't experienced this before. I have intro'd two cats that tried to literally kill each other, Blood, etc. I have done so many intros with cats that have seriously fought. Those are challenges. Hawthorne and Florie are on the good side of the spectrum and everything you are experiencing is totally normal (of course you don't have a reference so it is hard for you to know). I really don't see anything to worry about (if I did you would hear about it). Hawthorne is pretty much accepting her. Keep distracting him and I think that will help her build her trust in him.

I would love to get them eating on the floor together in the face to face. Use treats if they are more likely to make it positive. Distract Hawthorne. Use a toy to coax Florie into another area. If you get her focuses away from him and he just watches her or looks away it is a big win.

I think you will see it very soon. :)
You are the best, thank you. :) I'm glad they aren't trying to kill each other, haha! That certainly does sound challenging. I can't even imagine!!

We will try eating on the ground for the face to face and see how that goes. Then we'll each try to distract and get them to go into different places in the house. I do wonder if maybe we should try it in Florie's room or somewhere else. The main room is great and they're both comfortable there but there is a LOT of space and lots of things to hide behind and pop out from. I wonder if that adds to the stress - feeling that one is hiding somewhere. Maybe if we try in her room, like you suggested - with her in the room and Hawthorne in the hall and me sitting between. I'll try to think that through and see how we could do it. :)
 

calicosrspecial

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You are the best, thank you. :) I'm glad they aren't trying to kill each other, haha! That certainly does sound challenging. I can't even imagine!!

We will try eating on the ground for the face to face and see how that goes. Then we'll each try to distract and get them to go into different places in the house. I do wonder if maybe we should try it in Florie's room or somewhere else. The main room is great and they're both comfortable there but there is a LOT of space and lots of things to hide behind and pop out from. I wonder if that adds to the stress - feeling that one is hiding somewhere. Maybe if we try in her room, like you suggested - with her in the room and Hawthorne in the hall and me sitting between. I'll try to think that through and see how we could do it. :)
"You are the best, thank you. :)" - You are welcome, but i ma not the best but you sure are!!

" I'm glad they aren't trying to kill each other, haha!" - Honestly, me too!! Talk about stress. :( Actually, I did not recommend that intro but they were going to do it alone so I figured to save one or two cat lives I would do it. I will say, they were totally dedicated which is why it worked.

"That certainly does sound challenging. I can't even imagine!!" - It is best not to even think about it.

Actually, last night one of my ferals in the colony was growling, etc behind some hedges. I thought it was toward another colony cat. So I went out and I saw an unknown male cat run which my feral then pursued (had I known it was not one of the colony I would not have startled the new cat and let them work it out to avoid a chase etc). I heard big time sounds further away. I thought for sure they were going to kill each other. My boy didn't come back, I tried to go to sleep, couldn't, looked out didn't see him. This morning I saw my boy, he was not injured in any way. And this new cat looked to be a big male. They worked it out on their own. My point is, cats are a little more sensible then we think. My boy was defending his territory from an unknown intact male. If there is ever a chance for something bad to happen that is the time. :/

"We will try eating on the ground for the face to face and see how that goes." - great. I suspect she will be unsure but if you can get him to eating that should help her. But we will see.

"Then we'll each try to distract and get them to go into different places in the house." - Perfect.

" I do wonder if maybe we should try it in Florie's room or somewhere else." - You can absolutely do that. She is confident in there so it should help increase the odds of success.

"The main room is great and they're both comfortable there but there is a LOT of space and lots of things to hide behind and pop out from." - Yes. Is he hiding and popping out?

"I wonder if that adds to the stress - feeling that one is hiding somewhere." - Could be but they don't seem too stressed really. If she was really afraid of him she would never have jumped down those times before. Now, she got chased so she is more cautious but that will fade shortly.

"Maybe if we try in her room, like you suggested - with her in the room and Hawthorne in the hall and me sitting between. I'll try to think that through and see how we could do it. :) " - Sure, you can do that. Or even be in the room with Florie (next to her) have Hawthorne with food or treats just inside the door. Distract her. Reassure here that everything is "ok". Loving voice. I highly doubt he would go after her with you right there. But what do you think?

I wouldn't worry too much about the specifics etc. Just get them focused on food, keeping it positive, distracting and reassuring.

They are going to be just fine. He is doing great and she is getting so close. If you can get her to look at you when he is around that is great. And reassure her. She'll realize he doesn't mean harm.

Keep up the great work. :)
 

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You are the best, thank you. :) I'm glad they aren't trying to kill each other, haha! That certainly does sound challenging. I can't even imagine!!

We will try eating on the ground for the face to face and see how that goes. Then we'll each try to distract and get them to go into different places in the house. I do wonder if maybe we should try it in Florie's room or somewhere else. The main room is great and they're both comfortable there but there is a LOT of space and lots of things to hide behind and pop out from. I wonder if that adds to the stress - feeling that one is hiding somewhere. Maybe if we try in her room, like you suggested - with her in the room and Hawthorne in the hall and me sitting between. I'll try to think that through and see how we could do it. :)
I forgot to mention. Really step up play with Florie in the main room. Play builds confidence and confidence helps acceptance and trust etc.

We might even try playing with her in the main room before they meet face to face. I don't think she will be too amped up and chose to hunt him.

Also, how much has each cat (especially Florie) gotten their scents on things in the main room? Do they have bedding, scratching posts or trees in there? Scent helps ownership which helps confidence. And confidence helps acceptance.
 
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I forgot to mention. Really step up play with Florie in the main room. Play builds confidence and confidence helps acceptance and trust etc.

We might even try playing with her in the main room before they meet face to face. I don't think she will be too amped up and chose to hunt him.

Also, how much has each cat (especially Florie) gotten their scents on things in the main room? Do they have bedding, scratching posts or trees in there? Scent helps ownership which helps confidence. And confidence helps acceptance.
Ok we will do that! We've actually done most of our playtime in the basement - there's a bit more room for her and it's carpeted, which she likes (I think partly because cats like carpet and partly because she has no front claws and so can get a better grip). But we'll try in the main room!

And I agree - I don't think playing is likely to make her any more amped up. I really don't think she'll ever be the aggressor.

She does sleep out in the main room in a particular bed she likes. Hawthorne sometimes sleeps there too. But outside of that bed, they don't share many sleeping spots in the main room. Although...they sleep on the same rug in one spot and a carpeted area in another. That said, in the rest of the house, they really often sleep in the same spots. She is in the French door room right sleeping on his fuzzy blanket; he's in the office with me sleeping on her bed. And, they both sleep on this bench in our main bedroom (at different times, of course). :)

But I like the idea of really trying to get her smells everywhere in the main room. We'll work on that! Try to build her confidence in that room. And I should try to play a BIT more with Hawthorne too, not near a face-to-face session but maybe in the morning. Just to help him get his beans out.
 

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Ok we will do that! We've actually done most of our playtime in the basement - there's a bit more room for her and it's carpeted, which she likes (I think partly because cats like carpet and partly because she has no front claws and so can get a better grip). But we'll try in the main room!

And I agree - I don't think playing is likely to make her any more amped up. I really don't think she'll ever be the aggressor.

She does sleep out in the main room in a particular bed she likes. Hawthorne sometimes sleeps there too. But outside of that bed, they don't share many sleeping spots in the main room. Although...they sleep on the same rug in one spot and a carpeted area in another. That said, in the rest of the house, they really often sleep in the same spots. She is in the French door room right sleeping on his fuzzy blanket; he's in the office with me sleeping on her bed. And, they both sleep on this bench in our main bedroom (at different times, of course). :)

But I like the idea of really trying to get her smells everywhere in the main room. We'll work on that! Try to build her confidence in that room. And I should try to play a BIT more with Hawthorne too, not near a face-to-face session but maybe in the morning. Just to help him get his beans out.
"Ok we will do that! We've actually done most of our playtime in the basement - there's a bit more room for her and it's carpeted, which she likes (I think partly because cats like carpet and partly because she has no front claws and so can get a better grip). But we'll try in the main room!" - Great. If she is having issues then just stop, I don't want her to get hurt in any way. Play anywhere builds confidence though it does have more impact in the area. Just do your best. Confidence can be achieved through Food, Height and Love as well so play is just one factor. Many ways to success.

"And I agree - I don't think playing is likely to make her any more amped up. I really don't think she'll ever be the aggressor." - Great, I thought so.

"She does sleep out in the main room in a particular bed she likes. Hawthorne sometimes sleeps there too." - That is great. The fact they sleep in the same spot is terrific and a sign any remaining issues is minor.

" But outside of that bed, they don't share many sleeping spots in the main room." - That is fine. Not an issue at all.

" Although...they sleep on the same rug in one spot and a carpeted area in another." - The fact they sleep in similar spots (even one) is positive.

" That said, in the rest of the house, they really often sleep in the same spots. She is in the French door room right sleeping on his fuzzy blanket; he's in the office with me sleeping on her bed. And, they both sleep on this bench in our main bedroom (at different times, of course). :) " - Perfect. :)

"But I like the idea of really trying to get her smells everywhere in the main room. We'll work on that!" - Sounds good. It does sound like they both feel comfortable everywhere which is great.

"Try to build her confidence in that room." - I should say build her confidence "more". She is already pretty confident in there it seems.

" And I should try to play a BIT more with Hawthorne too, not near a face-to-face session but maybe in the morning. Just to help him get his beans out." - Yes, if you can. And try aerial if he likes birds, ground movements (if he likes mice, etc), consider balls, crinkle balls, etc. Just anything that might get him to play. And after play feed treats or a meal as it replicates the "Hunt, Capture, Kill, Eat" in the wild that builds confidence (through survival).

Though I will say he is doing great and actually she is. The jumping down which triggered the chase (and usually does) is normal and really nothing to be bothered by.

Keep up the great work!!
 
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"Ok we will do that! We've actually done most of our playtime in the basement - there's a bit more room for her and it's carpeted, which she likes (I think partly because cats like carpet and partly because she has no front claws and so can get a better grip). But we'll try in the main room!" - Great. If she is having issues then just stop, I don't want her to get hurt in any way. Play anywhere builds confidence though it does have more impact in the area. Just do your best. Confidence can be achieved through Food, Height and Love as well so play is just one factor. Many ways to success.

"And I agree - I don't think playing is likely to make her any more amped up. I really don't think she'll ever be the aggressor." - Great, I thought so.

"She does sleep out in the main room in a particular bed she likes. Hawthorne sometimes sleeps there too." - That is great. The fact they sleep in the same spot is terrific and a sign any remaining issues is minor.

" But outside of that bed, they don't share many sleeping spots in the main room." - That is fine. Not an issue at all.

" Although...they sleep on the same rug in one spot and a carpeted area in another." - The fact they sleep in similar spots (even one) is positive.

" That said, in the rest of the house, they really often sleep in the same spots. She is in the French door room right sleeping on his fuzzy blanket; he's in the office with me sleeping on her bed. And, they both sleep on this bench in our main bedroom (at different times, of course). :) " - Perfect. :)

"But I like the idea of really trying to get her smells everywhere in the main room. We'll work on that!" - Sounds good. It does sound like they both feel comfortable everywhere which is great.

"Try to build her confidence in that room." - I should say build her confidence "more". She is already pretty confident in there it seems.

" And I should try to play a BIT more with Hawthorne too, not near a face-to-face session but maybe in the morning. Just to help him get his beans out." - Yes, if you can. And try aerial if he likes birds, ground movements (if he likes mice, etc), consider balls, crinkle balls, etc. Just anything that might get him to play. And after play feed treats or a meal as it replicates the "Hunt, Capture, Kill, Eat" in the wild that builds confidence (through survival).

Though I will say he is doing great and actually she is. The jumping down which triggered the chase (and usually does) is normal and really nothing to be bothered by.

Keep up the great work!!
So just a quick update with some questions - tonight we did supper together, about 10 feet apart, both on the floor. They eat just fine, occasional glances up, and then I was able to distract Hawthorne with some kibbles and move him to a different part of the room (with my handy cardboard box visual blocker, just in case).

So he does ok. What we're noticing now (perhaps because of the chase) is she's the one starting to get worked up. She starts to growl and she almost wants to follow him around, but in the way that she wants him always in her sight line so he can't surprise her. But as she tries to watch him and growls, he gets more agitated. So tonight we had to close her briefly in the basement (she was right by that door) and then put him away, and then were able to coax her back to her room (she remains cautious until she sees he's behind the pet gate again and then she's better).

As soon as she sees that he is away, her little tail perks up again and she's the same happy confident cat. She just doesn't have that yet while he's in the room.

I guess we're working on that with play and with these continued sessions. We just keep going and trust that, so long as we can prevent another fight, she'll build trust.

One last question unrelated to the face-to-face session: I'm curious - when he's in the room and she's out, why does she sit by the gate and growl? Is she being watchful? You can distract her but she hasn't given up doing that.
 
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I'm trying to find resources on helping a declawed cat who feels insecure around another cat, but I'm mostly seeing articles about "not declawing" (which I already know) and none about helping a cat who you've adopted who is in that situation already.

I found a few articles - mostly about how declawed and clawed cats can get along, and that often the declawed cat is the aggressor....so far, that hasn't been my experience, although Florence does have a very proactive growl warning system.
 
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Update this morning: they are fussing and fighting through the pet gate. She sits there for literally 30 minutes or more growling at him through the gate, and he yowls and cries and gets upset (largely because he already wants out) and then tries to grab at her, at which point she hisses and swats. Sometimes this can go on for an hour with me trying to intermittently break it up because the racket is hugely annoying and I don't like them doing it. But should I just let them get it out of their systems? Eventually they stop and both go take naps. So they CAN leave each other alone.

Maybe she's guarding the gate because she thinks he's up to no good.

Or maybe I need to do more playtime to get her energy out.

Sigh. I don't know.

I have a video of this type of interaction that I can post. I'll do that as soon as I can.

I closed the French door so now it's quiet again. :) Give them a chance to just calm down a bit.

...I spoke too soon, they're fussing under the French door. ARGH.
 
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So just a quick update with some questions - tonight we did supper together, about 10 feet apart, both on the floor. They eat just fine, occasional glances up, and then I was able to distract Hawthorne with some kibbles and move him to a different part of the room (with my handy cardboard box visual blocker, just in case).

So he does ok. What we're noticing now (perhaps because of the chase) is she's the one starting to get worked up. She starts to growl and she almost wants to follow him around, but in the way that she wants him always in her sight line so he can't surprise her. But as she tries to watch him and growls, he gets more agitated. So tonight we had to close her briefly in the basement (she was right by that door) and then put him away, and then were able to coax her back to her room (she remains cautious until she sees he's behind the pet gate again and then she's better).

As soon as she sees that he is away, her little tail perks up again and she's the same happy confident cat. She just doesn't have that yet while he's in the room.

I guess we're working on that with play and with these continued sessions. We just keep going and trust that, so long as we can prevent another fight, she'll build trust.

One last question unrelated to the face-to-face session: I'm curious - when he's in the room and she's out, why does she sit by the gate and growl? Is she being watchful? You can distract her but she hasn't given up doing that.
"So just a quick update with some questions - tonight we did supper together, about 10 feet apart, both on the floor. They eat just fine, occasional glances up, and then I was able to distract Hawthorne with some kibbles and move him to a different part of the room (with my handy cardboard box visual blocker, just in case)." - :yess: :hyper: :clap2: Fantastic!!!

"So he does ok." - He is doing fantasticly.

" What we're noticing now (perhaps because of the chase) is she's the one starting to get worked up. She starts to growl and she almost wants to follow him around, but in the way that she wants him always in her sight line so he can't surprise her." - I wonder if she is trying to get him to play. It could be she is trying to teach him some manners.

"But as she tries to watch him and growls, he gets more agitated." - Are either able to be distracted at that point? Getting him to be distracted, to focus on a toy, treats, you and your words etc it is very helpful.

"So tonight we had to close her briefly in the basement (she was right by that door)" - Ok, if at all possible try not to close her off. I know it can be hard but cats do not like territory taken away so if you can make it seem positive then it is ok but if she is against her will then it can be an issue.

"and then put him away, and then were able to coax her back to her room (she remains cautious until she sees he's behind the pet gate again and then she's better)." - Ok

"As soon as she sees that he is away, her little tail perks up again and she's the same happy confident cat." - Great.

" She just doesn't have that yet while he's in the room." - Well, she is eating etc. So she has it but not fully.

"I guess we're working on that with play and with these continued sessions. We just keep going and trust that, so long as we can prevent another fight, she'll build trust." - Yes, and distract him. Get him to focus on something else.

One last question unrelated to the face-to-face session: I'm curious - when he's in the room and she's out, why does she sit by the gate and growl? Is she being watchful? You can distract her but she hasn't given up doing that." - Honestly I think she is fascinated and wants to be friends. I see that all the time. If she feared him she would not be there. The fact she can be distracted supports that. A less probable reason could be she is trying to be dominant over him and control his actions. But I think that is unlikely in this situation.

What do you think would happen if you are in the office with her, the gate is open (so he could come in) and if she is high and he comes in would she just watch or come down? Or would he even come in?

Also, how anxious are you during the face to face sessions? How much do you have the cardboard with you? Maybe have it placed leaning on something if needed.

Also, are there places she can go high in the main room? Cat trees, shelving? Anything she can go high and observe him?

Are they distracted by a toy at all? During the face to face?

"I'm trying to find resources on helping a declawed cat who feels insecure around another cat, but I'm mostly seeing articles about "not declawing" (which I already know) and none about helping a cat who you've adopted who is in that situation already." - I have worked with de-clawed cats a few times. She is doing very well in my experience. I don't know where to find other resources though.

With that said, I am not at all worried about her being de-clawed. Hawthorne is accepting her and she will realize it. I don't get a sense he wants to hurt her at all. He has had chances and hasn't.

Just try to make sure there are multiple escape paths for them and they don't get caught in a "in and out" area. The more "escape routes" they have up, left, right etc the more secure they will feel.

"I found a few articles - mostly about how declawed and clawed cats can get along, and that often the declawed cat is the aggressor....so far, that hasn't been my experience, although Florence does have a very proactive growl warning system." - Well, in my experience they tend to be more cautious because they can't defend themselves. The growling s communication and actually Hawthorne does well with that. I am not at all worried about her growling.

"Update this morning: they are fussing and fighting through the pet gate." - How so?

" She sits there for literally 30 minutes or more growling at him through the gate" - I honestly think she wants to play with him.

" and he yowls and cries and gets upset (largely because he already wants out)" - Exactly, he wants out.

" and then tries to grab at her, at which point she hisses and swats." - Yes, that is normal. He is probably grabbing to play, and she is defending herself. BUT if she felt unsafe she could leave and she choses not to so she doesn't fear him that much. SHe might be momma disciplining him as well.

"Sometimes this can go on for an hour with me trying to intermittently break it up because the racket is hugely annoying and I don't like them doing it." - Well, if you get annoyed and your stress goes up them I would get her in the office with you.

"But should I just let them get it out of their systems?" - Well, I would get her into the office with you. IF you have time get her to play and get some of the energy out of her. I really want to step up play with her if possible.

"Eventually they stop and both go take naps. So they CAN leave each other alone." - OK, THAT is great. That tells me they are just fine.

"Maybe she's guarding the gate because she thinks he's up to no good." - I don't think that so much. More wanting to play (safely) and some momma disciplining (Behave young man!!)

"Or maybe I need to do more playtime to get her energy out." - Ahhhhh, you got to the same point as me. Yes, play is always really good. And if you get them distracted using play that is great.

How does she do with play in the main room? Does she have a hard time with slipping?

"Sigh. I don't know." - We are figuring it out. :) You actually did know with play.

"I have a video of this type of interaction that I can post. I'll do that as soon as I can." - Great

"I closed the French door so now it's quiet again. :) Give them a chance to just calm down a bit." - Ok, good. I think I didn't read exactly. SO the gate was at the french door room with the door open. Ahhhhhhh, this makes sense. I thought he was reaching under the door.

"...I spoke too soon, they're fussing under the French door. ARGH. " - Ahhhhhhh, yes, I figured that.

Ok, if you want put Florie in the office with you and let him roam around. She will get good vibes being with you and he can get out of that room. Just put the gate up.

I do think they are not burning enough energy off so if possible step up play. Is he playing at all?

The fact they could eat face to face on the same level is a big deal. They are going to be just fine. Just keep distracting and reassuring. At this point I would pull out a toy and get Florie playing in front of Hawthorne. If you sense Hawthorne is going to attack her throw him a treat. I just don't think he has bad intent towards her. What do you think?
 
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"So just a quick update with some questions - tonight we did supper together, about 10 feet apart, both on the floor. They eat just fine, occasional glances up, and then I was able to distract Hawthorne with some kibbles and move him to a different part of the room (with my handy cardboard box visual blocker, just in case)." - :yess: :hyper: :clap2: Fantastic!!!

"So he does ok." - He is doing fantasticly.

" What we're noticing now (perhaps because of the chase) is she's the one starting to get worked up. She starts to growl and she almost wants to follow him around, but in the way that she wants him always in her sight line so he can't surprise her." - I wonder if she is trying to get him to play. It could be she is trying to teach him some manners.

"But as she tries to watch him and growls, he gets more agitated." - Are either able to be distracted at that point? Getting him to be distracted, to focus on a toy, treats, you and your words etc it is very helpful.

"So tonight we had to close her briefly in the basement (she was right by that door)" - Ok, if at all possible try not to close her off. I know it can be hard but cats do not like territory taken away so if you can make it seem positive then it is ok but if she is against her will then it can be an issue.

"and then put him away, and then were able to coax her back to her room (she remains cautious until she sees he's behind the pet gate again and then she's better)." - Ok

"As soon as she sees that he is away, her little tail perks up again and she's the same happy confident cat." - Great.

" She just doesn't have that yet while he's in the room." - Well, she is eating etc. So she has it but not fully.

"I guess we're working on that with play and with these continued sessions. We just keep going and trust that, so long as we can prevent another fight, she'll build trust." - Yes, and distract him. Get him to focus on something else.

One last question unrelated to the face-to-face session: I'm curious - when he's in the room and she's out, why does she sit by the gate and growl? Is she being watchful? You can distract her but she hasn't given up doing that." - Honestly I think she is fascinated and wants to be friends. I see that all the time. If she feared him she would not be there. The fact she can be distracted supports that. A less probable reason could be she is trying to be dominant over him and control his actions. But I think that is unlikely in this situation.

What do you think would happen if you are in the office with her, the gate is open (so he could come in) and if she is high and he comes in would she just watch or come down? Or would he even come in?

Also, how anxious are you during the face to face sessions? How much do you have the cardboard with you? Maybe have it placed leaning on something if needed.

Also, are there places she can go high in the main room? Cat trees, shelving? Anything she can go high and observe him?

Are they distracted by a toy at all? During the face to face?

"I'm trying to find resources on helping a declawed cat who feels insecure around another cat, but I'm mostly seeing articles about "not declawing" (which I already know) and none about helping a cat who you've adopted who is in that situation already." - I have worked with de-clawed cats a few times. She is doing very well in my experience. I don't know where to find other resources though.

"I found a few articles - mostly about how declawed and clawed cats can get along, and that often the declawed cat is the aggressor....so far, that hasn't been my experience, although Florence does have a very proactive growl warning system." - Well, in my experience they tend to be more cautious because they can't defend themselves. The growling s communication and actually Hawthorne does well with that. I am not at all worried about her growling.

"Update this morning: they are fussing and fighting through the pet gate." - How so?

" She sits there for literally 30 minutes or more growling at him through the gate" - I honestly think she wants to play with him.

" and he yowls and cries and gets upset (largely because he already wants out)" - Exactly, he wants out.

" and then tries to grab at her, at which point she hisses and swats." - Yes, that is normal. He is probably grabbing to play, and she is defending herself. BUT if she felt unsafe she could leave and she choses not to so she doesn't fear him that much. SHe might be momma disciplining him as well.

"Sometimes this can go on for an hour with me trying to intermittently break it up because the racket is hugely annoying and I don't like them doing it." - Well, if you get annoyed and your stress goes up them I would get her in the office with you.

"But should I just let them get it out of their systems?" - Well, I would get her into the office with you. IF you have time get her to play and get some of the energy out of her. I really want to step up play with her if possible.

"Eventually they stop and both go take naps. So they CAN leave each other alone." - OK, THAT is great. That tells me they are just fine.

"Maybe she's guarding the gate because she thinks he's up to no good." - I don't think that so much. More wanting to play (safely) and some momma disciplining (Behave young man!!)

"Or maybe I need to do more playtime to get her energy out." - Ahhhhh, you got to the same point as me. Yes, play is always really good. And if you get them distracted using play that is great.

How does she do with play in the main room? Does she have a hard time with slipping?

"Sigh. I don't know." - We are figuring it out. :) You actually did know with play.

"I have a video of this type of interaction that I can post. I'll do that as soon as I can." - Great

"I closed the French door so now it's quiet again. :) Give them a chance to just calm down a bit." - Ok, good. I think I didn't read exactly. SO the gate was at the french door room with the door open. Ahhhhhhh, this makes sense. I thought he was reaching under the door.

"...I spoke too soon, they're fussing under the French door. ARGH. " - Ahhhhhhh, yes, I figured that.

Ok, if you want put Florie in the office with you and let him roam around. She will get good vibes being with you and he can get out of that room. Just put the gate up.

I do think they are not burning enough energy off so if possible step up play. Is he playing at all?
Ok, I'm thinking this all through. :) I feel like I should make a schedule for them each day. I think I have done that! Time to make it again, maybe.

I could step up play with both, although she does get a fair amount (x3 per day) but I'm going to look into some new toys for him. I got him to play this morning for a bit. I need a toy that he really gets into, though. Something with feathers. I'll try to order some! And, we'll focus on play time in the main room so both gain confidence. In the chase that happened, he chased her and she ran, so we need them both to step up their confidence game. Should I play with her where he can see it, so he sees her body language and movements?

And I take your point about the gate interactions. It could be that she is a bit bored and he is entertaining (the play through the gate part, as you say) and also that she is trying to teach him manners. I thought if it were play there were be less noise - from her, at least.

During the face to face sessions, I am anxious. I do fine while they're eating and then after that it feels like the wild west to the degree that I'm trying to very watchfully keep an eye on agitation levels and know when to end it. Once they both start to get a little agitated it's much harder to lead one of them away so sometimes we just end it (like closing her in the basement since she was sitting on the steps anyways). We'll try again tonight. :)

Last thing was that I'm wondering about is if I should be swapping larger portions of the house at this point. Like, should she be out overnight sometimes now? She is out 8:30-12ish, 3:30-5ish, and 8-9 kind of thing. He gets to sleep with me on the bed or in the bedroom most nights. Would it help her confidence and ownership to get to be out at night? I don't want to lower Hawthorne's confidence but right now we need to balance hers too, so she doesn't run when chased and feels she also owns the space.

And sorry, you'd asked about height options too! There is a cat tree in the main room, and the kitchen island, and a table near a window. But I guess the 'highest' option then is the cat tree.

I'm thinking too we'd talked about having a session in her room. Maybe she'll feel more confident in the office. Plus, there are options for going up higher. Just have to make sure no one gets cornered under the bed.
 

calicosrspecial

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Ok, I'm thinking this all through. :) I feel like I should make a schedule for them each day. I think I have done that! Time to make it again, maybe.

I could step up play with both, although she does get a fair amount (x3 per day) but I'm going to look into some new toys for him. I got him to play this morning for a bit. I need a toy that he really gets into, though. Something with feathers. I'll try to order some! And, we'll focus on play time in the main room so both gain confidence. In the chase that happened, he chased her and she ran, so we need them both to step up their confidence game. Should I play with her where he can see it, so he sees her body language and movements?

And I take your point about the gate interactions. It could be that she is a bit bored and he is entertaining (the play through the gate part, as you say) and also that she is trying to teach him manners. I thought if it were play there were be less noise - from her, at least.

During the face to face sessions, I am anxious. I do fine while they're eating and then after that it feels like the wild west to the degree that I'm trying to very watchfully keep an eye on agitation levels and know when to end it. Once they both start to get a little agitated it's much harder to lead one of them away so sometimes we just end it (like closing her in the basement since she was sitting on the steps anyways). We'll try again tonight. :)

Last thing was that I'm wondering about is if I should be swapping larger portions of the house at this point. Like, should she be out overnight sometimes now? She is out 8:30-12ish, 3:30-5ish, and 8-9 kind of thing. He gets to sleep with me on the bed or in the bedroom most nights. Would it help her confidence and ownership to get to be out at night? I don't want to lower Hawthorne's confidence but right now we need to balance hers too, so she doesn't run when chased and feels she also owns the space.

And sorry, you'd asked about height options too! There is a cat tree in the main room, and the kitchen island, and a table near a window. But I guess the 'highest' option then is the cat tree.

I'm thinking too we'd talked about having a session in her room. Maybe she'll feel more confident in the office. Plus, there are options for going up higher. Just have to make sure no one gets cornered under the bed.
"Ok, I'm thinking this all through. :) " - I know, it is a lot and disjointed because of my poor writing and thought processes.

"I feel like I should make a schedule for them each day. I think I have done that! Time to make it again, maybe." - Cats LOVE routines so having them on a routine actually builds confidence.

"I could step up play with both, although she does get a fair amount (x3 per day)" - Great. I know time is always a constraint but do your best. And try in that main room.

" but I'm going to look into some new toys for him." - Yes, see what he likes. Balls, etc. And make the toy act like prey. Get them hunting if possible.

" I got him to play this morning for a bit." - Great

" I need a toy that he really gets into, though. Something with feathers. I'll try to order some! " - Sounds good. Make the toy act like prey. Some like mice, some birds. So on the ground, halting movements, going around corners. Birds flying. Just see what they get engaged on. Some don' like jumping so we do it on the ground.

"And, we'll focus on play time in the main room so both gain confidence. " - Sounds good.

"In the chase that happened, he chased her and she ran," - Yes which is normal. I wish I saw it because he could have actually been playing and then it escalated. He didn't really hurt her so he knows the line, respects her and it.

"so we need them both to step up their confidence game. " - Yes but they are fairly confident based on the facts they are eating, they don't avoid each other etc.

"Should I play with her where he can see it, so he sees her body language and movements?" - I think so. Maybe with him in the french door room with the door closed. I suspect he will go bananas but if she choses play over seeing what he is doing that would be great.

"And I take your point about the gate interactions. It could be that she is a bit bored and he is entertaining (the play through the gate part, as you say) and also that she is trying to teach him manners." - I think so. That is pretty normal. If she really feared him she would not be there.

" I thought if it were play there were be less noise - from her, at least." - Not necessarily. Some cats are just more vocal. I am not at all worried about the growling.

"During the face to face sessions, I am anxious." - :/ Yes, I figured. The cats pick up on that energy and they channel it. It is VERY hard to be calm and confident but try your best.

"I do fine while they're eating and then after that it feels like the wild west to the degree that I'm trying to very watchfully keep an eye on agitation levels and know when to end it." - Yes, that is normal. And the cats pick up on that so become more unsettled.

I have had people be so scared in face to faces and they come home from the store etc and somehow a cat gets out so they are together and everything is fine. They can't believe the cats were out together and nothing happened. It is amazing how cats pick up on human emotions.

"Once they both start to get a little agitated it's much harder to lead one of them away" - Or just distract. If you can get them focused on anything but the other cat it is a huge win and step forward. You don't necessarily have to lead them out.

"so sometimes we just end it (like closing her in the basement since she was sitting on the steps anyways). " - I understand. How does she do? Maybe go with her downstairs with a toy and close the door behind you then play with her and have some treats.

Sometimes with a full belly it is harder to get them to play since it is a bit reversed. :/

"We'll try again tonight. :) " - Great. And feel free to talk calm, confidently and lovingly to them. Or sit on the couch and see if one of them with "hang out with you". Things like that.

"Last thing was that I'm wondering about is if I should be swapping larger portions of the house at this point. Like, should she be out overnight sometimes now?" - I think that would be fine but where would be be?

"She is out 8:30-12ish, 3:30-5ish, and 8-9 kind of thing." - How does she doing during those time? Is he with you in the office during those times?

"The other time He gets to sleep with me on the bed or in the bedroom most nights." - Ahhhh, ok. Does he go in and out a lot?

" Would it help her confidence and ownership to get to be out at night?" - Possibly. But I think the main thing is to make every encounter with him as positive as possible.

"I don't want to lower Hawthorne's confidence" - Agreed though I do think he is doing really well.

" but right now we need to balance hers too, so she doesn't run when chased and feels she also owns the space." - Yes, agreed. I think when she jumped down she really trusted him and the chase disrupted that a bit. BUT she sounds like she is getting over it. She would not eat on the floor with him if she wasn't doing pretty well.

"And sorry, you'd asked about height options too! There is a cat tree in the main room, and the kitchen island, and a table near a window. But I guess the 'highest' option then is the cat tree." - Ok. But no real way to go around the room without touching the floor?

"I'm thinking too we'd talked about having a session in her room. Maybe she'll feel more confident in the office." - I would definitely do that. Anything to have a positive encounter and the more places the better. I would play with her before, then feed them and then reassure, distract etc.

"Plus, there are options for going up higher." - Yes. But feed them on the floor then she can go high.

"Just have to make sure no one gets cornered under the bed." - Yes, if possible block that off. But I just don't think he would chase her. I get a sense the most likely option is he will eat then go back into the main room THEN she might try to follow.

Do you really think Hawthorne would really hurt her? I don't get that sense but want to make sure I am correct.

When you post the video I will take a look. I have an idea what I think I will see and it will be good to know if my thinking is near.
 
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Furmama22

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"Ok, I'm thinking this all through. :) " - I know, it is a lot and disjointed because of my poor writing and thought processes.

"I feel like I should make a schedule for them each day. I think I have done that! Time to make it again, maybe." - Cats LOVE routines so having them on a routine actually builds confidence.

"I could step up play with both, although she does get a fair amount (x3 per day)" - Great. I know time is always a constraint but do your best. And try in that main room.

" but I'm going to look into some new toys for him." - Yes, see what he likes. Balls, etc. And make the toy act like prey. Get them hunting if possible.

" I got him to play this morning for a bit." - Great

" I need a toy that he really gets into, though. Something with feathers. I'll try to order some! " - Sounds good. Make the toy act like prey. Some like mice, some birds. So on the ground, halting movements, going around corners. Birds flying. Just see what they get engaged on. Some don' like jumping so we do it on the ground.

"And, we'll focus on play time in the main room so both gain confidence. " - Sounds good.

"In the chase that happened, he chased her and she ran," - Yes which is normal. I wish I saw it because he could have actually been playing and then it escalated. He didn't really hurt her so he knows the line, respects her and it.

"so we need them both to step up their confidence game. " - Yes but they are fairly confident based on the facts they are eating, they don't avoid each other etc.

"Should I play with her where he can see it, so he sees her body language and movements?" - I think so. Maybe with him in the french door room with the door closed. I suspect he will go bananas but if she choses play over seeing what he is doing that would be great.

"And I take your point about the gate interactions. It could be that she is a bit bored and he is entertaining (the play through the gate part, as you say) and also that she is trying to teach him manners." - I think so. That is pretty normal. If she really feared him she would not be there.

" I thought if it were play there were be less noise - from her, at least." - Not necessarily. Some cats are just more vocal. I am not at all worried about the growling.

"During the face to face sessions, I am anxious." - :/ Yes, I figured. The cats pick up on that energy and they channel it. It is VERY hard to be calm and confident but try your best.

"I do fine while they're eating and then after that it feels like the wild west to the degree that I'm trying to very watchfully keep an eye on agitation levels and know when to end it." - Yes, that is normal. And the cats pick up on that so become more unsettled.

I have had people be so scared in face to faces and they come home from the store etc and somehow a cat gets out so they are together and everything is fine. They can't believe the cats were out together and nothing happened. It is amazing how cats pick up on human emotions.

"Once they both start to get a little agitated it's much harder to lead one of them away" - Or just distract. If you can get them focused on anything but the other cat it is a huge win and step forward. You don't necessarily have to lead them out.

"so sometimes we just end it (like closing her in the basement since she was sitting on the steps anyways). " - I understand. How does she do? Maybe go with her downstairs with a toy and close the door behind you then play with her and have some treats.

Sometimes with a full belly it is harder to get them to play since it is a bit reversed. :/

"We'll try again tonight. :) " - Great. And feel free to talk calm, confidently and lovingly to them. Or sit on the couch and see if one of them with "hang out with you". Things like that.

"Last thing was that I'm wondering about is if I should be swapping larger portions of the house at this point. Like, should she be out overnight sometimes now?" - I think that would be fine but where would be be?

"She is out 8:30-12ish, 3:30-5ish, and 8-9 kind of thing." - How does she doing during those time? Is he with you in the office during those times?

"The other time He gets to sleep with me on the bed or in the bedroom most nights." - Ahhhh, ok. Does he go in and out a lot?

" Would it help her confidence and ownership to get to be out at night?" - Possibly. But I think the main thing is to make every encounter with him as positive as possible.

"I don't want to lower Hawthorne's confidence" - Agreed though I do think he is doing really well.

" but right now we need to balance hers too, so she doesn't run when chased and feels she also owns the space." - Yes, agreed. I think when she jumped down she really trusted him and the chase disrupted that a bit. BUT she sounds like she is getting over it. She would not eat on the floor with him if she wasn't doing pretty well.

"And sorry, you'd asked about height options too! There is a cat tree in the main room, and the kitchen island, and a table near a window. But I guess the 'highest' option then is the cat tree." - Ok. But no real way to go around the room without touching the floor?

"I'm thinking too we'd talked about having a session in her room. Maybe she'll feel more confident in the office." - I would definitely do that. Anything to have a positive encounter and the more places the better. I would play with her before, then feed them and then reassure, distract etc.

"Plus, there are options for going up higher." - Yes. But feed them on the floor then she can go high.

"Just have to make sure no one gets cornered under the bed." - Yes, if possible block that off. But I just don't think he would chase her. I get a sense the most likely option is he will eat then go back into the main room THEN she might try to follow.

Do you really think Hawthorne would really hurt her? I don't get that sense but want to make sure I am correct.

When you post the video I will take a look. I have an idea what I think I will see and it will be good to know if my thinking is near.
You definitely don't have poor or disjointed thought processes, hahaha! I would never say that. :)

I'll try to take a video tonight of their face-to-face. :)
 

calicosrspecial

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You definitely don't have poor or disjointed thought processes, hahaha! I would never say that. :)

I'll try to take a video tonight of their face-to-face. :)
"You definitely don't have poor or disjointed thought processes, hahaha!" - Well.................. :/ I need to think and sort better rather then have a stream of thought. :/

" I would never say that. :) " - Because you are too kind!!! :)

"I'll try to take a video tonight of their face-to-face. :) " - Sounds good. :)

Did you put up the other video yet? I know it is hard with work, etc.
 
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Furmama22

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OK, I've added two new videos - one from a morning interaction and one of her sitting outside his gate. I have one more too but just waiting for it to sync to my iCloud so I can download it and save it here. :)

These videos represent neither the best of their interactions nor the worst, haha. Whenever I turn the camera on, good behaviour gets a bit worse and bad behaviour gets a bit better. Note that if you can't hear it, in the one video where she is sitting outside his gate she is growling almost the whole time.

Still, probably always helpful to just see them interacting. And if I can, I'll aim to get one tonight with their face-to-face.

Hawthorne and Florie Gate x1.MP4

I was able to add the third video! I think it's in the same album as the other two, and should be available when you click that link.
 
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If it's helpful too, here is the schedule we've been following:
  • 7am breakfast - in view of each other. *I'm going to add playtime to this for Hawthorne, before breakfast
  • 8:30 - Hawthorne goes in the French door room (with the door open but gate closed); Florie gets to come out and has playtime; then she usually joins me in the office (though she has free access to the house) after she is done growling; sometimes she sleeps in the main area on a bed she likes or a cat scratcher thing. Sometimes we do a few treats for both with me sitting on the ground near the gate.
  • 12:30 - the cats have a treat session throughout which I use treats to guide them into different rooms, ultimately switching so now Florie is in the French door room (with the gate up and the door closed, because I worry about her jumping/sticking her head through the bars) and Hawthorne is out with me. He usually naps either with me in the office or in our bedroom. Florie growls a bit upon entering the room but then quickly goes to grooming and napping
  • 3:30 or 4pm - another treat session, ultimately swapping the cats again so Florie is out and Hawthorne is in; playtime for Florie
  • 5:30 or 6 - supper (now a face-to-face) - Florie is out and Hawthorne comes to join her. We do what we need to do, but ideally we end with Florie going back in her room (this office, this time) and Hawthorne staying out
  • 8-9 - Hawthorne goes back in the French door room with the gate up; Florie comes out and has playtime and mills about. Generally in the evening she just hangs out until she gets what she really wants which is: her paste treat. We use the treat to guide her back to her room, and once the gate is closed, we let Hawthorne out - and then she and Hawthorne have a snack close together (about a foot or two apart) with the gate up with her in her room and Hawthorne out. Then we throw a few treats, and then close up the door to Florie's room and turn out the lights. Then that's the day!
 
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