Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost

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Furmama22

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And quickly just to add about Hawthorne and his eyes getting bigger during the face-to-face - no, there were no other signs. :)

And in other completely unrelated news, I have these two cat perches installed to the walls in Florence's room that no one has used for the past two months....except in the last few days Florie has started sleeping on them! She's up there right now. That makes me very happy. :)
 

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I don't think you're wrong at all! In fact, I think you're absolutely right! The key for me is figuring out how to get her to relax when he is around - to get to that 'hang out' stage. After the food is done we seem to get more to a 'tense up and be worried' phase - when she does her hunching and growling. She is still uncomfortable with him and I can't seem to break that. And her hunching/growling catches his eye and sets him off.

Plus, she doesn't really like to come hang out with me on the sofa anyways - when she is out of the room, she is more independent. She likes to groom on the carpet. So does he, actually.

Of course, if they're reading my energy during these sessions, then I'm not helping, as I also get tense - despite my best efforts. I'm trying to breathe, relax, say nice things, hahah - all the stuff. But I still feel anxious.

So I'm trying to think about the best set-up to allow for that "walk away" mentality but is still safe. Maybe we'll try an open gate meal again (her in her room; him outside of the French door room down the hallway) and this time I just won't let him come into her bedroom afterwards. We'll try to see if he'll just walk away again. And maybe we'll add that piece to the puzzle.
"I don't think you're wrong at all! In fact, I think you're absolutely right!" - Good to know. But if you disagree please let me know so we can think it through.

"The key for me is figuring out how to get her to relax when he is around - to get to that 'hang out' stage." - That is the key for most of us. It does get easier in time. Just try to enjoy them and let that love come through.

"After the food is done we seem to get more to a 'tense up and be worried' phase - when she does her hunching and growling." - Yes, and this is a good time to reassure, distract. Maybe pull out a toy for her and see if she will play (it is a bit of reverse - I like Play then eat but...........). If we can get her focused on anything but him it is a big win.

"She is still uncomfortable with him and I can't seem to break that." - Well, at times it seems. IF she was uncomfortable all of the time she would not eat, walk towards him, etc. So it is only when the only thing to focus on is him (for the most part).

"And her hunching/growling catches his eye and sets him off." - Yes, which is understandable. But he isn't attacking, etc at that point. Try your best to gt them both focused on anything but the other. I know it is easier said than done but do your best.

"Plus, she doesn't really like to come hang out with me on the sofa anyways" - Bummer. :/

" - when she is out of the room, she is more independent." - Interesting. So she is more confident than we think.

" She likes to groom on the carpet. So does he, actually." - Awwwwwwwwww

"Of course, if they're reading my energy during these sessions, then I'm not helping, as I also get tense - despite my best efforts. I'm trying to breathe, relax, say nice things, hahah - all the stuff. But I still feel anxious." - I know, that is normal and common. But I bet you are less than you were a month ago. And as they do better it should help you which in turn will help them. I THINK we have seen that already.

"So I'm trying to think about the best set-up to allow for that "walk away" mentality but is still safe." - Ok

" Maybe we'll try an open gate meal again (her in her room; him outside of the French door room down the hallway) and this time I just won't let him come into her bedroom afterwards. " - Well, I have no issue with him coming in her room. Just be ready to distract both of them. I just don't get the sense that he wants to hurt her. Bully, maybe. But really fight and hurt, I don't think so. But correct me if I am wrong since you are there. All the videos I have seen suggest my view to be correct (BUT I don't see all interactions).

"We'll try to see if he'll just walk away again. And maybe we'll add that piece to the puzzle." - Or just have normal body language, act normal, etc. As long as he looks away from her and focuses on anything but her it is great.

"And quickly just to add about Hawthorne and his eyes getting bigger during the face-to-face - no, there were no other signs. :) " - Great. So any real angst doesn't seem that supported.

"And in other completely unrelated news, I have these two cat perches installed to the walls in Florence's room that no one has used for the past two months....except in the last few days Florie has started sleeping on them! She's up there right now. That makes me very happy. :) " - Awwwwww. PERFECT!!!! :) She is doing fine. :)

Just do your best and keep up the great work. Don't overthink things, just go with them. Work on distracting and reassurance. They really are so close. Just try to keep them as positive as possible.

They are going to be fine. :)
 
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"I don't think you're wrong at all! In fact, I think you're absolutely right!" - Good to know. But if you disagree please let me know so we can think it through.

"The key for me is figuring out how to get her to relax when he is around - to get to that 'hang out' stage." - That is the key for most of us. It does get easier in time. Just try to enjoy them and let that love come through.

"After the food is done we seem to get more to a 'tense up and be worried' phase - when she does her hunching and growling." - Yes, and this is a good time to reassure, distract. Maybe pull out a toy for her and see if she will play (it is a bit of reverse - I like Play then eat but...........). If we can get her focused on anything but him it is a big win.

"She is still uncomfortable with him and I can't seem to break that." - Well, at times it seems. IF she was uncomfortable all of the time she would not eat, walk towards him, etc. So it is only when the only thing to focus on is him (for the most part).

"And her hunching/growling catches his eye and sets him off." - Yes, which is understandable. But he isn't attacking, etc at that point. Try your best to gt them both focused on anything but the other. I know it is easier said than done but do your best.

"Plus, she doesn't really like to come hang out with me on the sofa anyways" - Bummer. :/

" - when she is out of the room, she is more independent." - Interesting. So she is more confident than we think.

" She likes to groom on the carpet. So does he, actually." - Awwwwwwwwww

"Of course, if they're reading my energy during these sessions, then I'm not helping, as I also get tense - despite my best efforts. I'm trying to breathe, relax, say nice things, hahah - all the stuff. But I still feel anxious." - I know, that is normal and common. But I bet you are less than you were a month ago. And as they do better it should help you which in turn will help them. I THINK we have seen that already.

"So I'm trying to think about the best set-up to allow for that "walk away" mentality but is still safe." - Ok

" Maybe we'll try an open gate meal again (her in her room; him outside of the French door room down the hallway) and this time I just won't let him come into her bedroom afterwards. " - Well, I have no issue with him coming in her room. Just be ready to distract both of them. I just don't get the sense that he wants to hurt her. Bully, maybe. But really fight and hurt, I don't think so. But correct me if I am wrong since you are there. All the videos I have seen suggest my view to be correct (BUT I don't see all interactions).

"We'll try to see if he'll just walk away again. And maybe we'll add that piece to the puzzle." - Or just have normal body language, act normal, etc. As long as he looks away from her and focuses on anything but her it is great.

"And quickly just to add about Hawthorne and his eyes getting bigger during the face-to-face - no, there were no other signs. :) " - Great. So any real angst doesn't seem that supported.

"And in other completely unrelated news, I have these two cat perches installed to the walls in Florence's room that no one has used for the past two months....except in the last few days Florie has started sleeping on them! She's up there right now. That makes me very happy. :) " - Awwwwww. PERFECT!!!! :) She is doing fine. :)

Just do your best and keep up the great work. Don't overthink things, just go with them. Work on distracting and reassurance. They really are so close. Just try to keep them as positive as possible.

They are going to be fine. :)
Hello there! Nothing new to report. We did two short face to face sessions yesterday. One at supper - Florie in her room with the gate open, Hawthorne down the hallway (8 to 10 feet apart). She growled a bit closer to the end of her meal, but both ate no problem. And then, she finished her meal and was ready to walk out of the room!! So I panicked and closed the gate and she was like "meh, ok, I'll go on my tree." I maybe should have let it play out - her being confident enough to leave and walk out with Hawthorne down the hall. But caution got the best of me. :)

Then we did a treat session last night and that was about the same. She came down the hall again - a little less confidently than on past occasions and she growled more, but Hawthorne remained focussed on his treats (with some big eyes, but that also might be because he loves chasing the treats as a fun game) and we were able to guide her back into her room, and that was that.

I know that I need to push the gas a little more to see what happens - as Jackson Galaxy says, "high risk, high reward." I'm just too afraid to do it!
 

calicosrspecial

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Hello there! Nothing new to report. We did two short face to face sessions yesterday. One at supper - Florie in her room with the gate open, Hawthorne down the hallway (8 to 10 feet apart). She growled a bit closer to the end of her meal, but both ate no problem. And then, she finished her meal and was ready to walk out of the room!! So I panicked and closed the gate and she was like "meh, ok, I'll go on my tree." I maybe should have let it play out - her being confident enough to leave and walk out with Hawthorne down the hall. But caution got the best of me. :)

Then we did a treat session last night and that was about the same. She came down the hall again - a little less confidently than on past occasions and she growled more, but Hawthorne remained focussed on his treats (with some big eyes, but that also might be because he loves chasing the treats as a fun game) and we were able to guide her back into her room, and that was that.

I know that I need to push the gas a little more to see what happens - as Jackson Galaxy says, "high risk, high reward." I'm just too afraid to do it!
"Hello there!" - Hi!!!

" Nothing new to report." - Ok, great.

" We did two short face to face sessions yesterday." - Great

" One at supper - Florie in her room with the gate open, Hawthorne down the hallway (8 to 10 feet apart). She growled a bit closer to the end of her meal, but both ate no problem." - Perfect!!

" And then, she finished her meal and was ready to walk out of the room!!" - Hahahahaha, she is so lacking confidence. ;)

" So I panicked and closed the gate" - Awwwwwwwwwwww

" and she was like "meh, ok, I'll go on my tree." " - Hahahahaha, she was fine. Actually that is a great response.

"I maybe should have let it play out " - Yes, agreed. :/ BUT if you weren;t feelng it then it is best to have done what you did. It was a positive encounter.

"- her being confident enough to leave and walk out with Hawthorne down the hall." - Exactly. :)

"But caution got the best of me. :) " It does. You are normal. Happens all the time. And it is fine.

"Then we did a treat session last night and that was about the same." - Great

" She came down the hall again - a little less confidently than on past occasions and she growled more," - Ok, that is fine.

" but Hawthorne remained focussed on his treats (with some big eyes, but that also might be because he loves chasing the treats as a fun game) " - And THAT is what I am looking for. He didn't care, he didn't interpret her growling as a threat. And if he doesn't react she builds trust with him. PERFECT!!!

How close did they get?

"and we were able to guide her back into her room, and that was that." - Perfect.

"I know that I need to push the gas a little more to see what happens" - I wouldn't say "push", more "trust". Just trust their signals they are sending. There is a good baseline of trust between them and respect and acceptance. Sure it could go wrong but I think they might surprise you. Of course, there isn't a real rush but I think they are doing well. Just make sure it isn't in a "dead end" with only one way to go (or two I guess retreat or through the other cat). See if it can be where they can go left, right, up, etc.

" - as Jackson Galaxy says, "high risk, high reward." " - Hmmmmmmm, I don't like "high risk" BUT I think your situation isn't high risk, maybe more moderate. I do think "high reward" is in our reach.

Maybe just give them a few more days and make sure the setting is right. If she doesn't act like prey I think you will be pleasantly surprised. :)

"I'm just too afraid to do it!" - I know. Cats take on human emotions but maybe try to watch them and take on their emotions. If they are doing well feel what they are feeling and channel that trust and confidence. We have all been there (too afraid) so we know well the feeling. But once you see success you will understand "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself".

Just give it a few more days and let them reinforce the positive encounters to build that trust and confidence. And when you are ready make sure they are in a good, confident place where they wont feel cornered, etc.

You are doing great. Just keep it up. We'll have success soon. :)
 
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This evening we did supper together - Florie in her room, gate open; Hawthorne down the hallway. They ate no problem and then closer to the end of the meal started making more eye contact. When they do, Florie starts growling. Despite the growling, I think she was ready to come out of the room again but as she was already growling and it's a hallway (so as you say, the only choices are back or through the other cat), I moved to closed the gate. My partner suggested I wait and see how it played out.

Florie thought I was closing the gate so she started moving back towards her cat tree and out of view as I re-opened the gate. Then Hawthorne, who had finished his supper, decided to try to rush the gate and run into the room in his 'chase' mode. My partner quickly reached for the cardboard and I quickly reached to close the gate and our sudden movements startled Hawthorne, who then stopped his chase and left for the main room.

At any rate, obviously nothing happened, but I was curious about why he ran for her room.

Perhaps she caught his eye as she was walking away? Or perhaps he saw the gate was still open after his meal and thought "I'll quickly get in there!" I've learned from you how to think about his body language and nothing was aggressive - no puffing, no hissing, no nothing. It's strictly chase mode, which either means he think it's play OR he's trying to establish dominance, maybe? As you say, perhaps a touch of the bully there.

Anyways, thank you for your continued positivity! I need to get myself into a more confident zone to try the main room again and then we'll see how they do.
 
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Also, I've been reading some of the other forum posts and a thought occurred to me: is it possible I've been accidentally reinforcing Florence's desire to go growl at Hawthorne when he's in the room and she's out? For one thing, sometimes when she does it I go give them treats, hahaha, which sounds terribly backwards. But I'm trying to distract them with a positive and break the tension. But now I wonder if she thinks: I go growl, I get treats. Or, I wonder if she thinks: i go growl, I get attention!

Because she can sail past him no problems sometimes, but when the fun or playtime has stopped, she parks herself there again.
 

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This evening we did supper together - Florie in her room, gate open; Hawthorne down the hallway. They ate no problem and then closer to the end of the meal started making more eye contact. When they do, Florie starts growling. Despite the growling, I think she was ready to come out of the room again but as she was already growling and it's a hallway (so as you say, the only choices are back or through the other cat), I moved to closed the gate. My partner suggested I wait and see how it played out.

Florie thought I was closing the gate so she started moving back towards her cat tree and out of view as I re-opened the gate. Then Hawthorne, who had finished his supper, decided to try to rush the gate and run into the room in his 'chase' mode. My partner quickly reached for the cardboard and I quickly reached to close the gate and our sudden movements startled Hawthorne, who then stopped his chase and left for the main room.

At any rate, obviously nothing happened, but I was curious about why he ran for her room.

Perhaps she caught his eye as she was walking away? Or perhaps he saw the gate was still open after his meal and thought "I'll quickly get in there!" I've learned from you how to think about his body language and nothing was aggressive - no puffing, no hissing, no nothing. It's strictly chase mode, which either means he think it's play OR he's trying to establish dominance, maybe? As you say, perhaps a touch of the bully there.

Anyways, thank you for your continued positivity! I need to get myself into a more confident zone to try the main room again and then we'll see how they do.
"This evening we did supper together - Florie in her room, gate open; Hawthorne down the hallway. They ate no problem" - Great

" and then closer to the end of the meal started making more eye contact." - Ok, that is fine.

" When they do, Florie starts growling." - Yes, she may be warning him to "not try anything". But if that is all that is going on it is fine.

"Despite the growling, I think she was ready to come out of the room again" - Great. SO I think that supports my view. It is more of a "don't try anything" rather than " I am going to get you".

" but as she was already growling and it's a hallway (so as you say, the only choices are back or through the other cat), I moved to closed the gate." - OK. But if it is just growing and he is doing ok and she is otherwise then give it a little bit. Remember it is more art than science, just realize the "rules" are more pliable as long as all is well.

"My partner suggested I wait and see how it played out." - I agree with your partner. Just observe them and if it starts to escalate then adjust.

"Florie thought I was closing the gate so she started moving back towards her cat tree and out of view as I re-opened the gate." - Ok

"Then Hawthorne, who had finished his supper, decided to try to rush the gate and run into the room in his 'chase' mode." - Ok, what was his body language? Did he see her? If so, what was she doing?

"My partner quickly reached for the cardboard and I quickly reached to close the gate and our sudden movements startled Hawthorne, who then stopped his chase and left for the main room." - Ok, so he actually was "distracted". IF he was really after her not sure he would have stopped.

What did she do during this? Or was your focus elsewhere?

"At any rate, obviously nothing happened" - Great

"but I was curious about why he ran for her room." - He could have been running to you (maybe he thought there were treats), he might have wanted to play. Tough to know without seeing it. If he wanted to "get" her he would have done it when he could instead of eating.

"Perhaps she caught his eye as she was walking away?" - Perhaps and walking away can be view as "prey".

" Or perhaps he saw the gate was still open after his meal and thought "I'll quickly get in there!" " - Hmmmmmmm, maybe but I think less likely.

"I've learned from you how to think about his body language and nothing was aggressive - no puffing, no hissing, no nothing." - Ok, THAT is great.

" It's strictly chase mode" - I would have to see it. Can you video these at all? I know it is hard. Chase mode can be play, it doesn't have to be negative.

" which either means he think it's play " - Exactly

"OR he's trying to establish dominance, maybe? As you say, perhaps a touch of the bully there." - Maybe, or mischievousness? I just don't get a sense it is anything serious because it isn't supported by anything else.

"Anyways, thank you for your continued positivity!" - Well, it is only positive because they are positive. IF I saw something to worry about I would be addressing it. But I am not seeing it really (maybe I am missing something but I don't think so because we would be seeing it much more often in different ways).

" I need to get myself into a more confident zone to try the main room again and then we'll see how they do." - Ok, just take your time and try not to overthink it. Like the hallway, just let your heart take over a bit more.

"Also, I've been reading some of the other forum posts and a thought occurred to me: is it possible I've been accidentally reinforcing Florence's desire to go growl at Hawthorne when he's in the room and she's out? " - I don't think so but I am willing to hear your support for that thinking.

"For one thing, sometimes when she does it I go give them treats, hahaha, which sounds terribly backwards." - Hahahaha, yes it "sounds" backwards but in my experience isn't.

" But I'm trying to distract them with a positive and break the tension." - EXACTLY and if it works it is a positive.

And remember, it is how Hawthorne interprets the growling. And he pretty much ignores it so he is telling us he understands and it is not a big deal.

"But now I wonder if she thinks: I go growl, I get treats. Or, I wonder if she thinks: i go growl, I get attention!" - Maybe I guess but if Hawthorne doesn't have an issue with it then that is all that matters (and I think he really doesn't have an issue with it).

"Because she can sail past him no problems sometimes," - Exactly

" but when the fun or playtime has stopped, she parks herself there again. " - And if she was really afraid of him would she do that? I don't think so. All her behavior (and his) tells me they are really fine. We just need to keep reinforcing those positives and let them work out the final hurdles. If we can get Hawthorne focused on something else other than her and vice versa it is great.

We all have our roles. The humans and the cats. And the cats have to do their thing as well (which I think they are doing).

I wish I could have seen how he ran for the room (and what he might have seen) but if he was in attack mode there is no way he would have stopped. I just don't see him wanting to hurt her (of course I could be wrong and if things get to a point where the only way to survive is too fight then.........). But I just don't see the conditions for that escalation to happen.

Try to get more video if possible so I can confirm my thoughts and just trust your heart. If they are doing alright and the growling stays at growling with no other indications then let it progress a bit. And if she holds her own (doesn't walk or run away) then a chase gets less likely.

And please don't be hard on yourself, you are doing great. You'll feed off their positives soon. :)
 
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"This evening we did supper together - Florie in her room, gate open; Hawthorne down the hallway. They ate no problem" - Great

" and then closer to the end of the meal started making more eye contact." - Ok, that is fine.

" When they do, Florie starts growling." - Yes, she may be warning him to "not try anything". But if that is all that is going on it is fine.

"Despite the growling, I think she was ready to come out of the room again" - Great. SO I think that supports my view. It is more of a "don't try anything" rather than " I am going to get you".

" but as she was already growling and it's a hallway (so as you say, the only choices are back or through the other cat), I moved to closed the gate." - OK. But if it is just growing and he is doing ok and she is otherwise then give it a little bit. Remember it is more art than science, just realize the "rules" are more pliable as long as all is well.

"My partner suggested I wait and see how it played out." - I agree with your partner. Just observe them and if it starts to escalate then adjust.

"Florie thought I was closing the gate so she started moving back towards her cat tree and out of view as I re-opened the gate." - Ok

"Then Hawthorne, who had finished his supper, decided to try to rush the gate and run into the room in his 'chase' mode." - Ok, what was his body language? Did he see her? If so, what was she doing?

"My partner quickly reached for the cardboard and I quickly reached to close the gate and our sudden movements startled Hawthorne, who then stopped his chase and left for the main room." - Ok, so he actually was "distracted". IF he was really after her not sure he would have stopped.

What did she do during this? Or was your focus elsewhere?

"At any rate, obviously nothing happened" - Great

"but I was curious about why he ran for her room." - He could have been running to you (maybe he thought there were treats), he might have wanted to play. Tough to know without seeing it. If he wanted to "get" her he would have done it when he could instead of eating.

"Perhaps she caught his eye as she was walking away?" - Perhaps and walking away can be view as "prey".

" Or perhaps he saw the gate was still open after his meal and thought "I'll quickly get in there!" " - Hmmmmmmm, maybe but I think less likely.

"I've learned from you how to think about his body language and nothing was aggressive - no puffing, no hissing, no nothing." - Ok, THAT is great.

" It's strictly chase mode" - I would have to see it. Can you video these at all? I know it is hard. Chase mode can be play, it doesn't have to be negative.

" which either means he think it's play " - Exactly

"OR he's trying to establish dominance, maybe? As you say, perhaps a touch of the bully there." - Maybe, or mischievousness? I just don't get a sense it is anything serious because it isn't supported by anything else.

"Anyways, thank you for your continued positivity!" - Well, it is only positive because they are positive. IF I saw something to worry about I would be addressing it. But I am not seeing it really (maybe I am missing something but I don't think so because we would be seeing it much more often in different ways).

" I need to get myself into a more confident zone to try the main room again and then we'll see how they do." - Ok, just take your time and try not to overthink it. Like the hallway, just let your heart take over a bit more.

"Also, I've been reading some of the other forum posts and a thought occurred to me: is it possible I've been accidentally reinforcing Florence's desire to go growl at Hawthorne when he's in the room and she's out? " - I don't think so but I am willing to hear your support for that thinking.

"For one thing, sometimes when she does it I go give them treats, hahaha, which sounds terribly backwards." - Hahahaha, yes it "sounds" backwards but in my experience isn't.

" But I'm trying to distract them with a positive and break the tension." - EXACTLY and if it works it is a positive.

And remember, it is how Hawthorne interprets the growling. And he pretty much ignores it so he is telling us he understands and it is not a big deal.

"But now I wonder if she thinks: I go growl, I get treats. Or, I wonder if she thinks: i go growl, I get attention!" - Maybe I guess but if Hawthorne doesn't have an issue with it then that is all that matters (and I think he really doesn't have an issue with it).

"Because she can sail past him no problems sometimes," - Exactly

" but when the fun or playtime has stopped, she parks herself there again. " - And if she was really afraid of him would she do that? I don't think so. All her behavior (and his) tells me they are really fine. We just need to keep reinforcing those positives and let them work out the final hurdles. If we can get Hawthorne focused on something else other than her and vice versa it is great.

We all have our roles. The humans and the cats. And the cats have to do their thing as well (which I think they are doing).

I wish I could have seen how he ran for the room (and what he might have seen) but if he was in attack mode there is no way he would have stopped. I just don't see him wanting to hurt her (of course I could be wrong and if things get to a point where the only way to survive is too fight then.........). But I just don't see the conditions for that escalation to happen.

Try to get more video if possible so I can confirm my thoughts and just trust your heart. If they are doing alright and the growling stays at growling with no other indications then let it progress a bit. And if she holds her own (doesn't walk or run away) then a chase gets less likely.

And please don't be hard on yourself, you are doing great. You'll feed off their positives soon. :)
Nothing new to report! I will definitely try to get some videos.

We did supper last night and then treat time later, both in the same way we've been doing. She was ready to walk out again after supper but he had walked away (good! what we want!) and I was worried that in coming down the hallway she would surprise him. So of course, I chickened out and closed the gate, haha. Yeah.

The treat session later was the same as it has been - she came down the hall to get treats, growled a bit, he stayed focussed on his treats, we were able to lead her back into her room (with treats), and that was that.

We might try tonight after supper just letting her come out if she wants to, and seeing what happens. Or, we'll try next week (Hawthorne goes to the vet tomorrow afternoon and I want to be sure he is fully over that experience before we do any longer interactions; then this weekend we have my stepkids).

In the morning, I have been opening our back door (which has another separate locked screen door) and letting Hawthorne watch an hour or so of "cat tv" and, knock on wood, I think he's liking it! He is difficult to engage in play but watching the birds (and a bunny, and a chipmunk) out back seems to help him de-stress a bit. He is very good about not touching the screen and of course I always do a bunch of checks to make sure it's locked up tight and I check on him periodically.

Florie, of course, when we tried it with her, immediately tried to paw the screen and look for a place where she could get outside. Little stinker. :)

Anyways, we're trying to get some nice calm energy around here and then we'll just let them interact a bit longer and see how we do.

Thank you as always for everything! I'll try to video more in the coming few days (weekend will throw things off a bit) and work on my own stress and then we'll try to push forward a bit.
 

calicosrspecial

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Nothing new to report! I will definitely try to get some videos.

We did supper last night and then treat time later, both in the same way we've been doing. She was ready to walk out again after supper but he had walked away (good! what we want!) and I was worried that in coming down the hallway she would surprise him. So of course, I chickened out and closed the gate, haha. Yeah.

The treat session later was the same as it has been - she came down the hall to get treats, growled a bit, he stayed focussed on his treats, we were able to lead her back into her room (with treats), and that was that.

We might try tonight after supper just letting her come out if she wants to, and seeing what happens. Or, we'll try next week (Hawthorne goes to the vet tomorrow afternoon and I want to be sure he is fully over that experience before we do any longer interactions; then this weekend we have my stepkids).

In the morning, I have been opening our back door (which has another separate locked screen door) and letting Hawthorne watch an hour or so of "cat tv" and, knock on wood, I think he's liking it! He is difficult to engage in play but watching the birds (and a bunny, and a chipmunk) out back seems to help him de-stress a bit. He is very good about not touching the screen and of course I always do a bunch of checks to make sure it's locked up tight and I check on him periodically.

Florie, of course, when we tried it with her, immediately tried to paw the screen and look for a place where she could get outside. Little stinker. :)

Anyways, we're trying to get some nice calm energy around here and then we'll just let them interact a bit longer and see how we do.

Thank you as always for everything! I'll try to video more in the coming few days (weekend will throw things off a bit) and work on my own stress and then we'll try to push forward a bit.
"Nothing new to report! I will definitely try to get some videos." - Great

"We did supper last night and then treat time later, both in the same way we've been doing." - Excellent

" She was ready to walk out again after supper" - Was he still eating or there still?

" but he had walked away (good! what we want!)" - Ok, so he walked away then she came out?

" and I was worried that in coming down the hallway she would surprise him." - Makes sense.

" So of course, I chickened out and closed the gate, haha. Yeah." - Hahahaha, well.....................

"The treat session later was the same as it has been - she came down the hall to get treats, growled a bit, he stayed focused on his treats," - Was there a gate or door between them for treat time? I LOVE that he stayed focused on his treats. SO POSITIVE!! Good boy Hawthorne!!!

"we were able to lead her back into her room (with treats), and that was that." - Perfect

"We might try tonight after supper just letting her come out if she wants to, and seeing what happens." - Ok, if you do reassure, distract, etc. Like you said "try to make sure each knows the other is there and coming.

"Or, we'll try next week (Hawthorne goes to the vet tomorrow afternoon and I want to be sure he is fully over that experience before we do any longer interactions; then this weekend we have my stepkids)." - OK, that is fine. Do whatever you feel best. In fact, since we will have a break after the vet visit just wait until next week. Not at all an issue.

"In the morning, I have been opening our back door (which has another separate locked screen door) and letting Hawthorne watch an hour or so of "cat tv" and, knock on wood, I think he's liking it!" - Awwwwwww, I bet he loves it!! :)

" He is difficult to engage in play but watching the birds (and a bunny, and a chipmunk) out back seems to help him de-stress a bit." - Great

"He is very good about not touching the screen and of course I always do a bunch of checks to make sure it's locked up tight and I check on him periodically." - Great.

"Florie, of course, when we tried it with her, immediately tried to paw the screen and look for a place where she could get outside. Little stinker. :)" - Yep. :/ They will do that. The hunter in them. There are screens that are stronger than a normal screen as well.

"Anyways, we're trying to get some nice calm energy around here and then we'll just let them interact a bit longer and see how we do." - Sounds great. They are doing great. Everything I am reading suggests they are fine and going to be even better. There could be a blip at some point but I think their base of respect/acceptance/ confidence/trust is pretty solid so a blip or two shouldn't be an issue (and is expected and normal). Just keep doing what you are doing.

"Thank you as always for everything! I'll try to video more in the coming few days (weekend will throw things off a bit)" - You are very welcome. Sounds good

" and work on my own stress" - I get a feeling through your posts it is getting better. :) LOVE THAT!!!

" and then we'll try to push forward a bit." - Not push per se, advance. ;) We'll go at the cat's pace.

Exciting!!! Going to be soon!!! :)
 
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"Nothing new to report! I will definitely try to get some videos." - Great

"We did supper last night and then treat time later, both in the same way we've been doing." - Excellent

" She was ready to walk out again after supper" - Was he still eating or there still?

" but he had walked away (good! what we want!)" - Ok, so he walked away then she came out?

" and I was worried that in coming down the hallway she would surprise him." - Makes sense.

" So of course, I chickened out and closed the gate, haha. Yeah." - Hahahaha, well.....................

"The treat session later was the same as it has been - she came down the hall to get treats, growled a bit, he stayed focused on his treats," - Was there a gate or door between them for treat time? I LOVE that he stayed focused on his treats. SO POSITIVE!! Good boy Hawthorne!!!

"we were able to lead her back into her room (with treats), and that was that." - Perfect

"We might try tonight after supper just letting her come out if she wants to, and seeing what happens." - Ok, if you do reassure, distract, etc. Like you said "try to make sure each knows the other is there and coming.

"Or, we'll try next week (Hawthorne goes to the vet tomorrow afternoon and I want to be sure he is fully over that experience before we do any longer interactions; then this weekend we have my stepkids)." - OK, that is fine. Do whatever you feel best. In fact, since we will have a break after the vet visit just wait until next week. Not at all an issue.

"In the morning, I have been opening our back door (which has another separate locked screen door) and letting Hawthorne watch an hour or so of "cat tv" and, knock on wood, I think he's liking it!" - Awwwwwww, I bet he loves it!! :)

" He is difficult to engage in play but watching the birds (and a bunny, and a chipmunk) out back seems to help him de-stress a bit." - Great

"He is very good about not touching the screen and of course I always do a bunch of checks to make sure it's locked up tight and I check on him periodically." - Great.

"Florie, of course, when we tried it with her, immediately tried to paw the screen and look for a place where she could get outside. Little stinker. :)" - Yep. :/ They will do that. The hunter in them. There are screens that are stronger than a normal screen as well.

"Anyways, we're trying to get some nice calm energy around here and then we'll just let them interact a bit longer and see how we do." - Sounds great. They are doing great. Everything I am reading suggests they are fine and going to be even better. There could be a blip at some point but I think their base of respect/acceptance/ confidence/trust is pretty solid so a blip or two shouldn't be an issue (and is expected and normal). Just keep doing what you are doing.

"Thank you as always for everything! I'll try to video more in the coming few days (weekend will throw things off a bit)" - You are very welcome. Sounds good

" and work on my own stress" - I get a feeling through your posts it is getting better. :) LOVE THAT!!!

" and then we'll try to push forward a bit." - Not push per se, advance. ;) We'll go at the cat's pace.

Exciting!!! Going to be soon!!! :)
We're off to the vet soon! Then we'll see how things are settling tonight - fingers crossed Hawthorne's teeth are just fine.

And yes, a little weekend break and then Sunday night/Monday we'll be back to it. I'll try to get some videos and more information/updates as soon as I can. :)

Have an awesome weekend!!
 

calicosrspecial

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We're off to the vet soon! Then we'll see how things are settling tonight - fingers crossed Hawthorne's teeth are just fine.

And yes, a little weekend break and then Sunday night/Monday we'll be back to it. I'll try to get some videos and more information/updates as soon as I can. :)

Have an awesome weekend!!
Good luck!! I hope all goes well!!!

Sounds good on the intro stuff.

Talk soon and have a great weekend.
 

calicosrspecial

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We're off to the vet soon! Then we'll see how things are settling tonight - fingers crossed Hawthorne's teeth are just fine.

And yes, a little weekend break and then Sunday night/Monday we'll be back to it. I'll try to get some videos and more information/updates as soon as I can. :)

Have an awesome weekend!!
Hi, how is Hawthorne? I am worried I haven't heard from you. Hopefully you are just busy and all is well. I love Hawthorne.
 
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Hi, how is Hawthorne? I am worried I haven't heard from you. Hopefully you are just busy and all is well. I love Hawthorne.
Hello C calicosrspecial ! You are so kind to be checking in and I'm sorry for any worry! Hawthorne boy is fine - he has one sore tooth starting (tooth resorption) but the vet said she felt the rest of his mouth was just fine and we could wait a bit more before doing any dental work. He has also lost weight (!?!), which I didn't think possible given how many treats I've been feeding him, but there you have it - he got a panel of blood work done and it's all good, so it's possible it's just been the stress of the last few months (Florie, moving, etc). I reviewed his records and forgot he was also very sick in September of last year from a vaccine reaction (just after my cat Tennyson passed away) so he's had an eventful year. :)

We picked up the face to face sessions again yesterday with a short treat visit at night - that was fine, other than Florie growling. And today, during her afternoon time in the French door room I decided to add one little extra element which is instead of closing the French door, I just closed the gate (with cardboard taped at the top so she can't jump out). There was a little extra tension about this - she came close to the gate to tell me "hey mom, I'd rather be out there with you!" and then growled at Hawthorne, who, to his credit, was very focussed on treats until I put them away and then he briefly rushed her at the gate. She growled and pulled away and then I was able to distract them and now they're both taking naps - her on the bed in her room, him on the armchair in the living room.

I would say there is still tension between them, it's just shorter-lived and each is still distractable.

So slow moving but we're slogging on. :) My partner is working late tonight but ideally tomorrow we'll try again with face to face treats and maybe supper too.

I have been thinking about trying Hawthorne on the harness. I am just wondering if we need one extra piece to the puzzle in terms of getting Florie confident with him. She still often acts defensively and a bit like prey - cowering, pulling back, growling. I want her to bop him!

In the moments of tension (when he's rushed the gate and she pulls away) they both look a bit like this. Hawthorne is the orange cat (for the sake of matching up to the photo, that is) and Florie would be the tabby. Then I can distract them and it fizzles, so that's good.

1623781232746.png
 
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calicosrspecial

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Hello C calicosrspecial ! You are so kind to be checking in and I'm sorry for any worry! Hawthorne boy is fine - he has one sore tooth starting (tooth resorption) but the vet said she felt the rest of his mouth was just fine and we could wait a bit more before doing any dental work. He has also lost weight (!?!), which I didn't think possible given how many treats I've been feeding him, but there you have it - he got a panel of blood work done and it's all good, so it's possible it's just been the stress of the last few months (Florie, moving, etc). I reviewed his records and forgot he was also very sick in September of last year from a vaccine reaction (just after my cat Tennyson passed away) so he's had an eventful year. :)

We picked up the face to face sessions again yesterday with a short treat visit at night - that was fine, other than Florie growling. And today, during her afternoon time in the French door room I decided to add one little extra element which is instead of closing the French door, I just closed the gate (with cardboard taped at the top so she can't jump out). There was a little extra tension about this - she came close to the gate to tell me "hey mom, I'd rather be out there with you!" and then growled at Hawthorne, who, to his credit, was very focussed on treats until I put them away and then he briefly rushed her at the gate. She growled and pulled away and then I was able to distract them and now they're both taking naps - her on the bed in her room, him on the armchair in the living room.

I would say there is still tension between them, it's just shorter-lived and each is still distractable.

So slow moving but we're slogging on. :) My partner is working late tonight but ideally tomorrow we'll try again with face to face treats and maybe supper too.

I have been thinking about trying Hawthorne on the harness. I am just wondering if we need one extra piece to the puzzle in terms of getting Florie confident with him. She still often acts defensively and a bit like prey - cowering, pulling back, growling. I want her to bop him!

In the moments of tension (when he's rushed the gate and she pulls away) they both look a bit like this. Hawthorne is the orange cat (for the sake of matching up to the photo, that is) and Florie would be the tabby. Then I can distract them and it fizzles, so that's good.

View attachment 384491
"Hello C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial ! You are so kind to be checking in and I'm sorry for any worry! Hawthorne boy is fine - he has one sore tooth starting (tooth resorption) but the vet said she felt the rest of his mouth was just fine and we could wait a bit more before doing any dental work." - Oh , poor guy, there is a little problem. :/ At least the vet says it can wait so can't be too bad.

" He has also lost weight (!?!), which I didn't think possible given how many treats I've been feeding him, but there you have it" - Hmmmm, it does happen. He looks good on the videos.

" - he got a panel of blood work done and it's all good," - THAT is GREAT!!!

" so it's possible it's just been the stress of the last few months (Florie, moving, etc)." - Could be. The good news is you can keep the treats and food going.

" I reviewed his records and forgot he was also very sick in September of last year from a vaccine reaction (just after my cat Tennyson passed away) so he's had an eventful year. :) " - Awwwww, poor guy. :( He has gone through a lot. It is actually pretty good that he is so good with Florie given all this.

"We picked up the face to face sessions again yesterday with a short treat visit at night - that was fine, other than Florie growling." - Great. If all there was was growling that is great. Means he understands her intent and isn't escalating making her react. So that is very good.

" And today, during her afternoon time in the French door room I decided to add one little extra element which is instead of closing the French door, I just closed the gate (with cardboard taped at the top so she can't jump out)." - Great, I like this.

" There was a little extra tension about this" - Expected. Change = potential unsettled.

" - she came close to the gate to tell me "hey mom, I'd rather be out there with you!" " - Hahahahaha, she can't be too afraid of him.............

"and then growled at Hawthorne," - Yep - "Don't try anything".

" who, to his credit, was very focussed on treats" - Great

" until I put them away and then he briefly rushed her at the gate." - I just wonder if it is to have a bit of fun..................

" She growled and pulled away and then I was able to distract them" - GREAT they are distractible so it isn't that worrisome.

"and now they're both taking naps - her on the bed in her room, him on the armchair in the living room." - Perfect. Seems like they aren't too bothered.......................

"I would say there is still tension between them," - Yes

" it's just shorter-lived and each is still distractable." - And THAT is the important "tell".

"So slow moving but we're slogging on. :) My partner is working late tonight but ideally tomorrow we'll try again with face to face treats and maybe supper too." - OK, sounds good.

"I have been thinking about trying Hawthorne on the harness." - Is he good with it? If not it could add some stress, etc.

" I am just wondering if we need one extra piece to the puzzle in terms of getting Florie confident with him." - Yeah. I think if he could get funny then get distracted and walk away that would achieve it BUT I knw what you mean by "something" to further it along.

"She still often acts defensively and a bit like prey - cowering, pulling back, growling." - Yes, but if he turns away, looks away she will learn he doesn't really mean harm.

" I want her to bop him!" - Yes!! Or just sit there and be like "whatever!!".

"In the moments of tension (when he's rushed the gate and she pulls away) they both look a bit like this. Hawthorne is the orange cat (for the sake of matching up to the photo, that is) and Florie would be the tabby. " - Yes, that is normal body language BUT if that is all that there is that is great and it will lead to confidence.

"Then I can distract them and it fizzles, so that's good. " - THAT is a REALLY BIG DEAL and a GREAT thing telling us there issues are really minor and they will be fine.

Thanks for the update!!! I am so glad he is doing ok. Whew!!!
 
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Furmama22

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"Hello C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial ! You are so kind to be checking in and I'm sorry for any worry! Hawthorne boy is fine - he has one sore tooth starting (tooth resorption) but the vet said she felt the rest of his mouth was just fine and we could wait a bit more before doing any dental work." - Oh , poor guy, there is a little problem. :/ At least the vet says it can wait so can't be too bad.

" He has also lost weight (!?!), which I didn't think possible given how many treats I've been feeding him, but there you have it" - Hmmmm, it does happen. He looks good on the videos.

" - he got a panel of blood work done and it's all good," - THAT is GREAT!!!

" so it's possible it's just been the stress of the last few months (Florie, moving, etc)." - Could be. The good news is you can keep the treats and food going.

" I reviewed his records and forgot he was also very sick in September of last year from a vaccine reaction (just after my cat Tennyson passed away) so he's had an eventful year. :) " - Awwwww, poor guy. :( He has gone through a lot. It is actually pretty good that he is so good with Florie given all this.

"We picked up the face to face sessions again yesterday with a short treat visit at night - that was fine, other than Florie growling." - Great. If all there was was growling that is great. Means he understands her intent and isn't escalating making her react. So that is very good.

" And today, during her afternoon time in the French door room I decided to add one little extra element which is instead of closing the French door, I just closed the gate (with cardboard taped at the top so she can't jump out)." - Great, I like this.

" There was a little extra tension about this" - Expected. Change = potential unsettled.

" - she came close to the gate to tell me "hey mom, I'd rather be out there with you!" " - Hahahahaha, she can't be too afraid of him.............

"and then growled at Hawthorne," - Yep - "Don't try anything".

" who, to his credit, was very focussed on treats" - Great

" until I put them away and then he briefly rushed her at the gate." - I just wonder if it is to have a bit of fun..................

" She growled and pulled away and then I was able to distract them" - GREAT they are distractible so it isn't that worrisome.

"and now they're both taking naps - her on the bed in her room, him on the armchair in the living room." - Perfect. Seems like they aren't too bothered.......................

"I would say there is still tension between them," - Yes

" it's just shorter-lived and each is still distractable." - And THAT is the important "tell".

"So slow moving but we're slogging on. :) My partner is working late tonight but ideally tomorrow we'll try again with face to face treats and maybe supper too." - OK, sounds good.

"I have been thinking about trying Hawthorne on the harness." - Is he good with it? If not it could add some stress, etc.

" I am just wondering if we need one extra piece to the puzzle in terms of getting Florie confident with him." - Yeah. I think if he could get funny then get distracted and walk away that would achieve it BUT I knw what you mean by "something" to further it along.

"She still often acts defensively and a bit like prey - cowering, pulling back, growling." - Yes, but if he turns away, looks away she will learn he doesn't really mean harm.

" I want her to bop him!" - Yes!! Or just sit there and be like "whatever!!".

"In the moments of tension (when he's rushed the gate and she pulls away) they both look a bit like this. Hawthorne is the orange cat (for the sake of matching up to the photo, that is) and Florie would be the tabby. " - Yes, that is normal body language BUT if that is all that there is that is great and it will lead to confidence.

"Then I can distract them and it fizzles, so that's good. " - THAT is a REALLY BIG DEAL and a GREAT thing telling us there issues are really minor and they will be fine.

Thanks for the update!!! I am so glad he is doing ok. Whew!!!
Just updating that I have no updates. :) we've only had bedtime treat sessions and they've been the same - fine, if a bit tense (on Florie's part) and brief.

There was a moment the other day when Hawthorne was in his room, crying at the gate, and Florie was out, and I thought she was maybe going to swat at HIM through the gate - she was growling and slowly creeping toward the gate. Normally she just sits and stares and growls. I came over and said "hey what's up here!" and then she was all nice-y nice again. :)

I agree re: the harness and stress. He isn't used to wearing one so it would take a bit of time to get him used to it. I tried it on Florie and of course she seemed to barely notice it was on. Easy peasy. I tried gently laying it, unfastened, on Hawthorne a few times while we were doing treats and I could see his tail lashing faster and faster to signal his annoyance about the harness, hahah. Sheesh.

But I want them in the same room in a manner in which he can't run at her and they can maybe tensely each stay in their respective part of the room and see that it's all fine. The harness is also supposed to be a combo anxiety vest - in fact, it's an anxiety vest first with a harness attachment. So I'm hoping the end gains would outweigh any initial stress about getting it on.

I don't know though. I want something that is closer than a gate between them but not as close as being totally free in the same room.

But maybe we just try it again in the same room and see how we are doing.
 

calicosrspecial

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Just updating that I have no updates. :) we've only had bedtime treat sessions and they've been the same - fine, if a bit tense (on Florie's part) and brief.

There was a moment the other day when Hawthorne was in his room, crying at the gate, and Florie was out, and I thought she was maybe going to swat at HIM through the gate - she was growling and slowly creeping toward the gate. Normally she just sits and stares and growls. I came over and said "hey what's up here!" and then she was all nice-y nice again. :)

I agree re: the harness and stress. He isn't used to wearing one so it would take a bit of time to get him used to it. I tried it on Florie and of course she seemed to barely notice it was on. Easy peasy. I tried gently laying it, unfastened, on Hawthorne a few times while we were doing treats and I could see his tail lashing faster and faster to signal his annoyance about the harness, hahah. Sheesh.

But I want them in the same room in a manner in which he can't run at her and they can maybe tensely each stay in their respective part of the room and see that it's all fine. The harness is also supposed to be a combo anxiety vest - in fact, it's an anxiety vest first with a harness attachment. So I'm hoping the end gains would outweigh any initial stress about getting it on.

I don't know though. I want something that is closer than a gate between them but not as close as being totally free in the same room.

But maybe we just try it again in the same room and see how we are doing.
"Just updating that I have no updates. :) " - Ok, holding steady is good and builds trust and confidence.

"we've only had bedtime treat sessions and they've been the same - fine," - Ok, good.

" if a bit tense (on Florie's part) and brief." - How is he responding to her being tense? Is it brief because they are starting to "act up"?

"There was a moment the other day when Hawthorne was in his room, crying at the gate, and Florie was out, and I thought she was maybe going to swat at HIM through the gate - she was growling and slowly creeping toward the gate. Normally she just sits and stares and growls. " - Ok, normal. She might have been telling him to "knock off the noise". Was he at all focused on her?

"I came over and said "hey what's up here!" and then she was all nice-y nice again. :) " - Hahahaha, great!!! Wasn;t serious if that was her response.

"I agree re: the harness and stress. He isn't used to wearing one so it would take a bit of time to get him used to it. I tried it on Florie and of course she seemed to barely notice it was on. Easy peasy. I tried gently laying it, unfastened, on Hawthorne a few times while we were doing treats and I could see his tail lashing faster and faster to signal his annoyance about the harness, hahah. Sheesh." - Yes, cats do not like change and most/many do not like being limited so not surprised.

"But I want them in the same room in a manner in which he can't run at her" - Well, I don't think that is a necessary precondition for them. If he runs at her and she holds her own it would stop it I suspect. BUT I understand your caution, concern.

" and they can maybe tensely each stay in their respective part of the room and see that it's all fine." - You use the word "tensely" but when they are eating treats it is not "tense", correct? On the videos, I don't see them as "tense". Do you see them tense on the videos?

"The harness is also supposed to be a combo anxiety vest - in fact, it's an anxiety vest first with a harness attachment. So I'm hoping the end gains would outweigh any initial stress about getting it on." - Yes. They can work really well once the cat gets used to it.

"I don't know though. I want something that is closer than a gate between them but not as close as being totally free in the same room." - I know and understand. You are struggling a bit it sounds. They never really fought, correct? But you fear that and someone getting hurt. But even though the signs and at times the body language is concerning I just am not getting a sense the risk is as high as you may think. BUT I understand you love them and do not want anyone to be hurt (as do I). But try to look for those moments when they are showing trust, etc and learn from those positives. Like when Florie was at the gate because Hawthorne was crying if he wasn't trying to get at her that is really positive and a sign that he isn't "after her". Even a chase can be not worrying depending on what happens when they get together. If they knw where the line is and don't cross it that is a positive. I just don't see Florie attacking Hawthorne and I just don't get a sense Hawthorne wants to hurt Florie. Of course it could escalate but usually there are signs. BUT I want you to be comfortable.

"But maybe we just try it again in the same room and see how we are doing." - I think I would do that. I would do more gate/door sessions before that so they get more time together and then just trust them. Use a lot of treats when they do go face to face. And if or when you sense tension then just calmly end it using treats to guide one of them away.

I know it is hard and worrying when we get her and rarely is it perfect BUT understanding where they are and the real risks is really important. Even if he chased her into her room and she went on the tree if he stopped and then could be called away that would actually be a good sign. Of course we don't want a chase but as long as it doesn't end in a real fight and there aren't lingering cautionary signs (hiding, avoiding eating, etc) then it would help us understand that the risks are less than we may fear.

So just try to watch their actions, watch them for signs of respect, etc and try to feed off those to see that there is maybe a bit more trust there than you may realize. And if we aren't seeing that then we'll keep at it but if we are seeing that then we can move forward a bit more.

Don't worry, we will get there. I honestly think they are really close. We do want to try to keep those gate sessions going to keep up the momentum. But stability is a good sign so I am not reading anything that suggests any issues, etc.

There is a lot here so please let me know if you have questions or need clarification. Hang in there. :)
 
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Furmama22

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"Just updating that I have no updates. :) " - Ok, holding steady is good and builds trust and confidence.

"we've only had bedtime treat sessions and they've been the same - fine," - Ok, good.

" if a bit tense (on Florie's part) and brief." - How is he responding to her being tense? Is it brief because they are starting to "act up"?

"There was a moment the other day when Hawthorne was in his room, crying at the gate, and Florie was out, and I thought she was maybe going to swat at HIM through the gate - she was growling and slowly creeping toward the gate. Normally she just sits and stares and growls. " - Ok, normal. She might have been telling him to "knock off the noise". Was he at all focused on her?

"I came over and said "hey what's up here!" and then she was all nice-y nice again. :) " - Hahahaha, great!!! Wasn;t serious if that was her response.

"I agree re: the harness and stress. He isn't used to wearing one so it would take a bit of time to get him used to it. I tried it on Florie and of course she seemed to barely notice it was on. Easy peasy. I tried gently laying it, unfastened, on Hawthorne a few times while we were doing treats and I could see his tail lashing faster and faster to signal his annoyance about the harness, hahah. Sheesh." - Yes, cats do not like change and most/many do not like being limited so not surprised.

"But I want them in the same room in a manner in which he can't run at her" - Well, I don't think that is a necessary precondition for them. If he runs at her and she holds her own it would stop it I suspect. BUT I understand your caution, concern.

" and they can maybe tensely each stay in their respective part of the room and see that it's all fine." - You use the word "tensely" but when they are eating treats it is not "tense", correct? On the videos, I don't see them as "tense". Do you see them tense on the videos?

"The harness is also supposed to be a combo anxiety vest - in fact, it's an anxiety vest first with a harness attachment. So I'm hoping the end gains would outweigh any initial stress about getting it on." - Yes. They can work really well once the cat gets used to it.

"I don't know though. I want something that is closer than a gate between them but not as close as being totally free in the same room." - I know and understand. You are struggling a bit it sounds. They never really fought, correct? But you fear that and someone getting hurt. But even though the signs and at times the body language is concerning I just am not getting a sense the risk is as high as you may think. BUT I understand you love them and do not want anyone to be hurt (as do I). But try to look for those moments when they are showing trust, etc and learn from those positives. Like when Florie was at the gate because Hawthorne was crying if he wasn't trying to get at her that is really positive and a sign that he isn't "after her". Even a chase can be not worrying depending on what happens when they get together. If they knw where the line is and don't cross it that is a positive. I just don't see Florie attacking Hawthorne and I just don't get a sense Hawthorne wants to hurt Florie. Of course it could escalate but usually there are signs. BUT I want you to be comfortable.

"But maybe we just try it again in the same room and see how we are doing." - I think I would do that. I would do more gate/door sessions before that so they get more time together and then just trust them. Use a lot of treats when they do go face to face. And if or when you sense tension then just calmly end it using treats to guide one of them away.

I know it is hard and worrying when we get her and rarely is it perfect BUT understanding where they are and the real risks is really important. Even if he chased her into her room and she went on the tree if he stopped and then could be called away that would actually be a good sign. Of course we don't want a chase but as long as it doesn't end in a real fight and there aren't lingering cautionary signs (hiding, avoiding eating, etc) then it would help us understand that the risks are less than we may fear.

So just try to watch their actions, watch them for signs of respect, etc and try to feed off those to see that there is maybe a bit more trust there than you may realize. And if we aren't seeing that then we'll keep at it but if we are seeing that then we can move forward a bit more.

Don't worry, we will get there. I honestly think they are really close. We do want to try to keep those gate sessions going to keep up the momentum. But stability is a good sign so I am not reading anything that suggests any issues, etc.

There is a lot here so please let me know if you have questions or need clarification. Hang in there. :)
This all makes perfect sense and thank you! I think we are getting there too. We just need that final bit of trust and really that final bit of boredom where one of them leaves to go groom or nap and it's good. They do that at meal time through the pet gate. We just need them to do it with each other in the room. I think I just want the perfect time/set-up/attempt and it might have to be imperfect. And I agree, I suppose in the end a chase isn't the end of the world, though we want to avoid if it possible. So we will try again.

If the next few attempts don't seem to be going well, perhaps then I'll keep the harness in my back pocket as our next thing to try.

I have a video of the evening treat sessions! I'll work to upload that now. I used the word 'tense' because of Florie's growling, but in truth for both I think there is a great deal of excitement around the treats themselves and getting to chase them. So her growling is part for Hawthorne (as you say, "don't try anything") and part "give me that treat right now!". Her body language when we do treats and he is in the room and only she is out is a bit more...tail upright in a confident way. Her body language in the video is a little more aware of him, but I guess that makes sense.

Anyways, take a look and see what you think. :) I'll work on uploading it now.

Hawthorne & Florie face-to-face treats.mp4
 
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