Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost

Graham18

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Hello! We did bedtime treats last night after a slight change in routine and it was mostly fine. Florie didn't come as far down the hallway this time and I think Hawthorne was kind of full, so he started just watching the treats fly by after a while and wasn't chasing them. Then for some reason Florie decided she was going to go into our room and under the bed again. Either she was scared or didn't want to go into her room. So then she sat under our bed for thirty plus minutes and eventually only came out with some poking, which I didn't want to do, but she had to go back in her room so we could all get to bed.

So we are not yet back to the glorious days of her coming within a foot of him during treat time. I wonder if I should go back to treats at the gate again so they can be closer together, just for a few days.

I was feeling some massive guilt this morning about poor Hawthorne crying at the gate, wanting out, and then I alternately feel guilty about Florie locked away in her room all night. It feels like in an effort to get them together sometimes I'm giving both of them a worse life.

But, my partner also noted that the cats are becoming my entire world (which is kind of true - I so badly want to get them intro'd) and I might need to take a breather. One bad day and I'm totally dejected; a good day and I feel happy again. Sheesh.

So not sure - we'll just hold steady until the new gate gets here and see if I can come up with a new arrangement that helps us move forward again and improves everybody's quality of life. :)
I too feel guilty every day when one cat has to go away or I'm playing with one and not the other. It's especially bad when I'm tired/at night after I put Fluffy to bed I tend to get really upset but it always gets better with good interactions. I also feel like I'm dedicating my whole life to the cats sometimes to the point of exhaustion.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you aren't alone and you are doing a phenomenal job with your babies :)
 

calicosrspecial

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I too feel guilty every day when one cat has to go away or I'm playing with one and not the other. It's especially bad when I'm tired/at night after I put Fluffy to bed I tend to get really upset but it always gets better with good interactions. I also feel like I'm dedicating my whole life to the cats sometimes to the point of exhaustion.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you aren't alone and you are doing a phenomenal job with your babies :)
"I too feel guilty every day when one cat has to go away or I'm playing with one and not the other." - That is normal because we want the best for them. BUT the fact we are doing something to achieve that is why we shouldn't feel too guilty. A passing moment of guilt is ok but to allow it to turn into a negative and then impede our progress to our objective is something we all need to watch and be aware of and then put into perspective. It is tricky to find a balance. BUT I know we all can if we put our minds to it. So let's not allow guilt to get in the way of our achieving success (which we will). :)

" It's especially bad when I'm tired/at night after I put Fluffy to bed I tend to get really upset" - Yes but we have to sometimes. There are only so many hours in the day. AND love goes both ways and the cats are more resilient than we realize. If they are not acting up after it means they understand we can't do everything. Fluffy is enjoying life so I think he understands and that love he has puts everything into perspective.

" but it always gets better with good interactions." - EXACTLY!!!!

" I also feel like I'm dedicating my whole life to the cats sometimes to the point of exhaustion." - Yes, we have to find a good balance. We don't want to "burn out" and have negativity. The key is to find that balance and that balance will lead us to success. We want so much to have everything perfect since we love them but perfection in anything is unrealistic. We want them (and us) happy. And their actions tell us if they are happy. Fluffy, Sapphire, Florie and Hawthorne are all happy cats with great lives. I guarantee their lives are better now than any alternative. So putting everything in perspective is important and there is nothing wrong with taking a step back and enjoying the progress and the love you have with the,.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is that you aren't alone and you are doing a phenomenal job with your babies :)" - TOTALLY AGREE!!! :)
 
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Furmama22

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"I too feel guilty every day when one cat has to go away or I'm playing with one and not the other." - That is normal because we want the best for them. BUT the fact we are doing something to achieve that is why we shouldn't feel too guilty. A passing moment of guilt is ok but to allow it to turn into a negative and then impede our progress to our objective is something we all need to watch and be aware of and then put into perspective. It is tricky to find a balance. BUT I know we all can if we put our minds to it. So let's not allow guilt to get in the way of our achieving success (which we will). :)

" It's especially bad when I'm tired/at night after I put Fluffy to bed I tend to get really upset" - Yes but we have to sometimes. There are only so many hours in the day. AND love goes both ways and the cats are more resilient than we realize. If they are not acting up after it means they understand we can't do everything. Fluffy is enjoying life so I think he understands and that love he has puts everything into perspective.

" but it always gets better with good interactions." - EXACTLY!!!!

" I also feel like I'm dedicating my whole life to the cats sometimes to the point of exhaustion." - Yes, we have to find a good balance. We don't want to "burn out" and have negativity. The key is to find that balance and that balance will lead us to success. We want so much to have everything perfect since we love them but perfection in anything is unrealistic. We want them (and us) happy. And their actions tell us if they are happy. Fluffy, Sapphire, Florie and Hawthorne are all happy cats with great lives. I guarantee their lives are better now than any alternative. So putting everything in perspective is important and there is nothing wrong with taking a step back and enjoying the progress and the love you have with the,.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is that you aren't alone and you are doing a phenomenal job with your babies :)" - TOTALLY AGREE!!! :)
Thanks to you both C calicosrspecial and Graham18 Graham18 for such supportive comments! Even though it's awful to be going through this there is something comforting in knowing I'm not alone - both in the intro experience but also in how much I love my cats and would do anything for them! :) It's been great to encounter other people who love their cats just as much.

I have nothing to update - we just did one before bed treat session last night (face-to-face) and it was the same. Florie stayed in the hallway and wouldn't come closer and Hawthorne did his usual thing, focussed on the treats. Because we had my stepkids this weekend I had to switch their rooms around a bit (Florie goes into our bedroom) and that seemed to befuddle them a little - Hawthorne at least. He wouldn't eat his meal by the gate with her there (she was noshing away) but in the spirit of seeing the big picture, he's often more scared when my stepkids are here anyways.

When I'm back from vacation I'll start the harness training with Hawthorne and we'll see how that goes. And we'll try to new gate set-up/territory divide.

I'm curious C calicosrspecial - I know you aren't a fan of anxiety/behavioural medications, but, I wonder if we need something else in this mix. They're doing really well in terms of being separate - but any interactions they have at the gate are more violent. Maybe it's play, but if so, that's all it ever is. Aggressive play. Nothing friendly through the gate. And she still growls sometimes when she sees him even if he's fifteen feet away. And I know we know her growl is bluff, but to me it does indicate a certain overreactivity and I don't know how to calm that.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is....he wants to chase her, and she doesn't like it. So much so, that a week and half has passed and she still won't go near him during treat time. I'm not sure how we break the cycle if she doesn't stand up to him. Maybe the harness training will help - because he can't run at her, and that will build confidence (providing I can get him to accept the harness.....). I'm wondering if some type of anxiety medication might help her. Maybe he needs something too! I don't know. My vet has offered to try Florence on buspirone, which I have read about as an option for the 'victim' cat in the multi-cat household. I feel conflicted because Florie lacks confidence in NO areas except for Hawthorne. And they haven't really interacted enough for her to be a 'victim.' But now I can't get them to interact because she wants to flee the room when he's in it.

I want to have the patience to see if they can break the chase cycle on their own; but I worry that each chase, while not necessarily a big deal to him, does erode their relationship and seems to be a big deal to her - she recovers and is great with us, but it seems to make her even more suspicious of him.

Anyways, sorry, that was lots of rambling. I'm just trying to cast about for something that will help us get over this next hurdle.
 

calicosrspecial

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Thanks to you both C calicosrspecial and Graham18 Graham18 for such supportive comments! Even though it's awful to be going through this there is something comforting in knowing I'm not alone - both in the intro experience but also in how much I love my cats and would do anything for them! :) It's been great to encounter other people who love their cats just as much.

I have nothing to update - we just did one before bed treat session last night (face-to-face) and it was the same. Florie stayed in the hallway and wouldn't come closer and Hawthorne did his usual thing, focussed on the treats. Because we had my stepkids this weekend I had to switch their rooms around a bit (Florie goes into our bedroom) and that seemed to befuddle them a little - Hawthorne at least. He wouldn't eat his meal by the gate with her there (she was noshing away) but in the spirit of seeing the big picture, he's often more scared when my stepkids are here anyways.

When I'm back from vacation I'll start the harness training with Hawthorne and we'll see how that goes. And we'll try to new gate set-up/territory divide.

I'm curious C calicosrspecial - I know you aren't a fan of anxiety/behavioural medications, but, I wonder if we need something else in this mix. They're doing really well in terms of being separate - but any interactions they have at the gate are more violent. Maybe it's play, but if so, that's all it ever is. Aggressive play. Nothing friendly through the gate. And she still growls sometimes when she sees him even if he's fifteen feet away. And I know we know her growl is bluff, but to me it does indicate a certain overreactivity and I don't know how to calm that.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is....he wants to chase her, and she doesn't like it. So much so, that a week and half has passed and she still won't go near him during treat time. I'm not sure how we break the cycle if she doesn't stand up to him. Maybe the harness training will help - because he can't run at her, and that will build confidence (providing I can get him to accept the harness.....). I'm wondering if some type of anxiety medication might help her. Maybe he needs something too! I don't know. My vet has offered to try Florence on buspirone, which I have read about as an option for the 'victim' cat in the multi-cat household. I feel conflicted because Florie lacks confidence in NO areas except for Hawthorne. And they haven't really interacted enough for her to be a 'victim.' But now I can't get them to interact because she wants to flee the room when he's in it.

I want to have the patience to see if they can break the chase cycle on their own; but I worry that each chase, while not necessarily a big deal to him, does erode their relationship and seems to be a big deal to her - she recovers and is great with us, but it seems to make her even more suspicious of him.

Anyways, sorry, that was lots of rambling. I'm just trying to cast about for something that will help us get over this next hurdle.
"Thanks to you both C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial and Graham18 Graham18 Graham18 Graham18 for such supportive comments! Even though it's awful to be going through this there is something comforting in knowing I'm not alone - both in the intro experience but also in how much I love my cats and would do anything for them! :) It's been great to encounter other people who love their cats just as much." - You are welcome. :)

"I have nothing to update - we just did one before bed treat session last night (face-to-face) and it was the same." - Great

" Florie stayed in the hallway and wouldn't come closer" - That is not a problem as long as Haawthorne is not attacking her.

" and Hawthorne did his usual thing, focussed on the treats." - THAT is the key. She will realize he is not a threat(or as big of a threat as she thinks).

" Because we had my stepkids this weekend I had to switch their rooms around a bit (Florie goes into our bedroom) and that seemed to befuddle them a little - Hawthorne at least."- Ok

" He wouldn't eat his meal by the gate with her there" - Ok, not an issue.

" (she was noshing away)" - GREAT!!! And again, THAT is key. If she was so scared she would not be doing that.

" but in the spirit of seeing the big picture, he's often more scared when my stepkids are here anyways." - More uncertain maybe? Cats do not like change. BUT he sounds like he did fine. I don't see any issue.

"When I'm back from vacation I'll start the harness training with Hawthorne and we'll see how that goes." - Ok but I actually think it isn't needed. BUT if it helps you then it is fine. But I am hoping we get Graham18 (Sapphire and Fluffy) to where you (Hawthorne and Florie) are soon. I think you are past the need but again if it gives you confidence that is fine.

"And we'll try to new gate set-up/territory divide." - I really like this though.

"I'm curious C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial - I know you aren't a fan of anxiety/behavioural medications, but, I wonder if we need something else in this mix. They're doing really well in terms of being separate - but any interactions they have at the gate are more violent." - Violent? How so. When there is no gate there is no "violence" so I am not sure it is really "violence" rather some rougher play but we need to look into this.

"Maybe it's play, but if so, that's all it ever is. Aggressive play." - Ok, I am guessing that is what it is.

" Nothing friendly through the gate." - Well, I am sure one wants to get out so................. Is Hawthorne always in the room? Of does it happen with Florie in the room and Hawthorne out and about?

" And she still growls sometimes when she sees him even if he's fifteen feet away. " - Not an issue at all as long as it is respected and he isn't attacking her.

"And I know we know her growl is bluff" - Just a "don't try anything" communication. Which if he is respecting it (and all indications are he is - he ignores it and doesn't escalate) it is actually positive to avoid any negative physical interactions.

"but to me it does indicate a certain overreactivity and I don't know how to calm that." - I don't think so. Sapphire does it fairly often and it is not an issue. I think she is just still not totally trusting and therefore feels the need to warn him (and he does behave so it is fine). NOW if he would attack her after hearing it (escalation) THEN we have an issue.

"I guess what I'm trying to get at is....he wants to chase her," - When was the last time he chased her? He doesn't do it every time, correct?

"and she doesn't like it." - Agreed. They don't unless they totally trust.

"So much so, that a week and half has passed and she still won't go near him during treat time." - That is not an issue. If she is eating, if she acts normal, and he is not going after her every time he sees her then she will learn to trust him. She is giving him distance so he doesn't chase and it seems to be working. I am totally fine with that.

" I'm not sure how we break the cycle if she doesn't stand up to him." - Or he decides it isn't that exciting to chase her (which this weekend seems to have been the case).

"Maybe the harness training will help - because he can't run at her" - Yes. BUT he might not like being restrained and therefore rebel BUT we will only know when we know. I honestly don't think the cats need this but I want you to feel better. I don't think it will hurt most likely..

"and that will build confidence (providing I can get him to accept the harness.....)." - Yes. It is kind of like a gate.

" I'm wondering if some type of anxiety medication might help her." - I don't think that is the issue. I don't think she has anxiety issues. Just a trust issue. And I don't think her behavior is causing the chase. I think it is his desire to have some fun at times.

" Maybe he needs something too! I don't know." - I don't think so. He is trusting and has accepted for the most part (if they are eating with no gate they are not having severe issues).

" My vet has offered to try Florence on buspirone," - Yes, they do often. :/ It is easy.

" which I have read about as an option for the 'victim' cat in the multi-cat household." - Hmmmmm, I do not see Florie as a victim at all. She is a normal cat in an intro process. She trusts to some degree but not fully. BUT she does eat in front of him. If she was a true victim, she would be hiding 24/7, afraid to eat in his view, etc. She would NEVER go to the gate to "confront" him. She is a happy cat just doesn't totally trust him yet. BUT she does trust him a fair amount.

"I feel conflicted because Florie lacks confidence in NO areas except for Hawthorne." - I don't understand?

"And they haven't really interacted enough for her to be a 'victim.'" - Totally agree.

"But now I can't get them to interact because she wants to flee the room when he's in it." - But if he is not pursuing her then she will figure out to try to go out. If he is behaving she will trust him.

"I want to have the patience to see if they can break the chase cycle on their own; " - Yes. It sounds like it has been at least a week and a half without a chase. Correct?

"but I worry that each chase, while not necessarily a big deal to him, " - Agreed

"does erode their relationship" - only if he does something beyond the chase (like go after her and not let up, etc). And it depends on how she reacts after. If she bounces back quickly then she tells us it is not an issue. and seems to be a big deal to her - she recovers and is great with us, but it seems to make her even more suspicious of him.

The last chase was really not an issue. Yes, maybe she is hesitant to go down the hall to him BUT he is not attacking her and therefore she will trust him at some point.

"Anyways, sorry, that was lots of rambling." - No, PLEASE DO NOT apologize. I need to hear this. I am trying to see if I am missing something or if you are more fearful of what I believe is the situation. I almost feel like I am missing something. I read no chases (except that one), some hesitancy going down the hall to him, and gate pawing, hissing etc that seems "aggressive". BUT I am also reading they eat fine (gate, or face to face), no recent chasing, etc. So if I am missing something please let me know. Especially how Florie is acting with him not around.

" I'm just trying to cast about for something that will help us get over this next hurdle." - Yes. Sometimes it is just time. :/ As long as nothing negative is really happening (fights, changes in behavior, etc) then it is like bank interest (or at last like bank interest used to be). Everyday the balance (trust, confidence, acceptance) grows.

If we have interactions like this weekend every day until you leave for vacation I would say that is positive. IF we have real fights, her hiding when he is nowhere around, etc then we have some work to do. But I can feel (and it breaks my heart) you are really struggling. BUT I really think you may have more fear than the reality (if my view of reality is correct so please correct me with any negatives that are happening) would suggest. Let's get a good picture of where they are (can you get video) and let's see. But what I am reading is really not bad. So either I am missing something so please fill me in or the perception is worse than the reality. Please let me know what changes Florie has been going through in addition to the not wanting to go down the hall towards him. And maybe I can get a better sense of where she is at and how much she has pulled back.

Don't worry, we will get there. :) Hang in there.
 
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Furmama22

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"Thanks to you both C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial and Graham18 Graham18 Graham18 Graham18 for such supportive comments! Even though it's awful to be going through this there is something comforting in knowing I'm not alone - both in the intro experience but also in how much I love my cats and would do anything for them! :) It's been great to encounter other people who love their cats just as much." - You are welcome. :)

"I have nothing to update - we just did one before bed treat session last night (face-to-face) and it was the same." - Great

" Florie stayed in the hallway and wouldn't come closer" - That is not a problem as long as Haawthorne is not attacking her.

" and Hawthorne did his usual thing, focussed on the treats." - THAT is the key. She will realize he is not a threat(or as big of a threat as she thinks).

" Because we had my stepkids this weekend I had to switch their rooms around a bit (Florie goes into our bedroom) and that seemed to befuddle them a little - Hawthorne at least."- Ok

" He wouldn't eat his meal by the gate with her there" - Ok, not an issue.

" (she was noshing away)" - GREAT!!! And again, THAT is key. If she was so scared she would not be doing that.

" but in the spirit of seeing the big picture, he's often more scared when my stepkids are here anyways." - More uncertain maybe? Cats do not like change. BUT he sounds like he did fine. I don't see any issue.

"When I'm back from vacation I'll start the harness training with Hawthorne and we'll see how that goes." - Ok but I actually think it isn't needed. BUT if it helps you then it is fine. But I am hoping we get Graham18 (Sapphire and Fluffy) to where you (Hawthorne and Florie) are soon. I think you are past the need but again if it gives you confidence that is fine.

"And we'll try to new gate set-up/territory divide." - I really like this though.

"I'm curious C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial - I know you aren't a fan of anxiety/behavioural medications, but, I wonder if we need something else in this mix. They're doing really well in terms of being separate - but any interactions they have at the gate are more violent." - Violent? How so. When there is no gate there is no "violence" so I am not sure it is really "violence" rather some rougher play but we need to look into this.

"Maybe it's play, but if so, that's all it ever is. Aggressive play." - Ok, I am guessing that is what it is.

" Nothing friendly through the gate." - Well, I am sure one wants to get out so................. Is Hawthorne always in the room? Of does it happen with Florie in the room and Hawthorne out and about?

" And she still growls sometimes when she sees him even if he's fifteen feet away. " - Not an issue at all as long as it is respected and he isn't attacking her.

"And I know we know her growl is bluff" - Just a "don't try anything" communication. Which if he is respecting it (and all indications are he is - he ignores it and doesn't escalate) it is actually positive to avoid any negative physical interactions.

"but to me it does indicate a certain overreactivity and I don't know how to calm that." - I don't think so. Sapphire does it fairly often and it is not an issue. I think she is just still not totally trusting and therefore feels the need to warn him (and he does behave so it is fine). NOW if he would attack her after hearing it (escalation) THEN we have an issue.

"I guess what I'm trying to get at is....he wants to chase her," - When was the last time he chased her? He doesn't do it every time, correct?

"and she doesn't like it." - Agreed. They don't unless they totally trust.

"So much so, that a week and half has passed and she still won't go near him during treat time." - That is not an issue. If she is eating, if she acts normal, and he is not going after her every time he sees her then she will learn to trust him. She is giving him distance so he doesn't chase and it seems to be working. I am totally fine with that.

" I'm not sure how we break the cycle if she doesn't stand up to him." - Or he decides it isn't that exciting to chase her (which this weekend seems to have been the case).

"Maybe the harness training will help - because he can't run at her" - Yes. BUT he might not like being restrained and therefore rebel BUT we will only know when we know. I honestly don't think the cats need this but I want you to feel better. I don't think it will hurt most likely..

"and that will build confidence (providing I can get him to accept the harness.....)." - Yes. It is kind of like a gate.

" I'm wondering if some type of anxiety medication might help her." - I don't think that is the issue. I don't think she has anxiety issues. Just a trust issue. And I don't think her behavior is causing the chase. I think it is his desire to have some fun at times.

" Maybe he needs something too! I don't know." - I don't think so. He is trusting and has accepted for the most part (if they are eating with no gate they are not having severe issues).

" My vet has offered to try Florence on buspirone," - Yes, they do often. :/ It is easy.

" which I have read about as an option for the 'victim' cat in the multi-cat household." - Hmmmmm, I do not see Florie as a victim at all. She is a normal cat in an intro process. She trusts to some degree but not fully. BUT she does eat in front of him. If she was a true victim, she would be hiding 24/7, afraid to eat in his view, etc. She would NEVER go to the gate to "confront" him. She is a happy cat just doesn't totally trust him yet. BUT she does trust him a fair amount.

"I feel conflicted because Florie lacks confidence in NO areas except for Hawthorne." - I don't understand?

"And they haven't really interacted enough for her to be a 'victim.'" - Totally agree.

"But now I can't get them to interact because she wants to flee the room when he's in it." - But if he is not pursuing her then she will figure out to try to go out. If he is behaving she will trust him.

"I want to have the patience to see if they can break the chase cycle on their own; " - Yes. It sounds like it has been at least a week and a half without a chase. Correct?

"but I worry that each chase, while not necessarily a big deal to him, " - Agreed

"does erode their relationship" - only if he does something beyond the chase (like go after her and not let up, etc). And it depends on how she reacts after. If she bounces back quickly then she tells us it is not an issue. and seems to be a big deal to her - she recovers and is great with us, but it seems to make her even more suspicious of him.

The last chase was really not an issue. Yes, maybe she is hesitant to go down the hall to him BUT he is not attacking her and therefore she will trust him at some point.

"Anyways, sorry, that was lots of rambling." - No, PLEASE DO NOT apologize. I need to hear this. I am trying to see if I am missing something or if you are more fearful of what I believe is the situation. I almost feel like I am missing something. I read no chases (except that one), some hesitancy going down the hall to him, and gate pawing, hissing etc that seems "aggressive". BUT I am also reading they eat fine (gate, or face to face), no recent chasing, etc. So if I am missing something please let me know. Especially how Florie is acting with him not around.

" I'm just trying to cast about for something that will help us get over this next hurdle." - Yes. Sometimes it is just time. :/ As long as nothing negative is really happening (fights, changes in behavior, etc) then it is like bank interest (or at last like bank interest used to be). Everyday the balance (trust, confidence, acceptance) grows.

If we have interactions like this weekend every day until you leave for vacation I would say that is positive. IF we have real fights, her hiding when he is nowhere around, etc then we have some work to do. But I can feel (and it breaks my heart) you are really struggling. BUT I really think you may have more fear than the reality (if my view of reality is correct so please correct me with any negatives that are happening) would suggest. Let's get a good picture of where they are (can you get video) and let's see. But what I am reading is really not bad. So either I am missing something so please fill me in or the perception is worse than the reality. Please let me know what changes Florie has been going through in addition to the not wanting to go down the hall towards him. And maybe I can get a better sense of where she is at and how much she has pulled back.

Don't worry, we will get there. :) Hang in there.
Hello again! Thanks for your message and you're right, I think I am struggling! I didn't see it, but my partner thinks so too. So I'm reading the room and thinking I need to take a chill pill, hahaha. I'll try. Sometimes I think I'm being analytical and observant and noticing all the nuances of their interactions (and I am) but it means I get stuck in the weeds (today better! today worse! this moment better! this moment worse) and get trapped on all the small things.

I think your summary is accurate - no more chases (but they haven't been face-to-face together with NO treats, which is when the last chase happened - I sense he would still want to chase her, if he could, once there are no treats to focus on); she is hesitant during face-to-face WITH treats to come closer to him (where she did before the chase) and sometimes she runs away and hides (in our bedroom, or last night under a chair in the living room - my partner suggests that it is fear in combination with not wanting to go back in her room, hahaha - so as you would say, she can't be THAT scared), and they continue to sometimes swat/growl/hiss (all growling and hissing is her) through the gate (I think you said there is an element of "mind your manners" to it) but the rest of the time leave each other alone. They only do this kind of play/fussing when he is in the room. When she is in the room, she typically doesn't come near enough to the gate that he could reach her - she knows to avoid the danger zone. If she were close by and he came by the gate, I think he would try to swat her. As it is, he sometimes sees her through the gate (when she is sleeping in 'his' room in the afternoon) and he chirps/murmurs, which is a noise he uses when he sees birds outside but also when he seems me and wants attention - so it's kind of excitement, I think. She also still growls when going into 'his' room in the afternoon.

There is occasional hesitancy (both) to come close to their meals if the other is there (this is with the gate present - one in the room, one out) but they both do eat - and they both then leave their meals and walk away. They both have their treat puzzles near the gate when the other is there and turn their back on each other and are totally focussed on treats. I've ordered two new food puzzles to keep them entertained.

She is great in all respects - napping where she wants, playing, being sweet - she doesn't hide any other time, except during the face-to-face when she wants to run away. So we're definitely doing well and in the last phase of the intro. This is just the phase that is hardest for me to control! No gates - just trust, and treats, and distraction. And I'm trying to think my way through it when it really needs just more time and patience. Your bank interest analogy is perfect. That's a great way to think about it.

Thank you for your patience with me! And with my control issues, hahaha. :) I will really try to chill. I'll maybe post again once if there is anything but I'll try to save up some observations for after vacation. :)
 
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Also a quick note that she increasingly doesn't want to be his room in the afternoon or her room for bedtime. Just now I was eating lunch (she was in Hawthorne's room and he was out - I think sleeping on her bed in her room) and I have the gate up and cardboard taped on top and she jumped out over the cardboard and the gate! Hawthorne didn't immediately come running out (he was scared by the noise) so I was able to pop her into the basement before any chase happened - I had no treats, no cardboard for distraction.

Just a few minutes before it happened she was busy growling at him through the gate, so she knew he was out! But she jumped out anyways. She's a tricky one! I might need to close the door this afternoon so I can get work done without worrying about her jumping out again. :)
 

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Hello again! Thanks for your message and you're right, I think I am struggling! I didn't see it, but my partner thinks so too. So I'm reading the room and thinking I need to take a chill pill, hahaha. I'll try. Sometimes I think I'm being analytical and observant and noticing all the nuances of their interactions (and I am) but it means I get stuck in the weeds (today better! today worse! this moment better! this moment worse) and get trapped on all the small things.

I think your summary is accurate - no more chases (but they haven't been face-to-face together with NO treats, which is when the last chase happened - I sense he would still want to chase her, if he could, once there are no treats to focus on); she is hesitant during face-to-face WITH treats to come closer to him (where she did before the chase) and sometimes she runs away and hides (in our bedroom, or last night under a chair in the living room - my partner suggests that it is fear in combination with not wanting to go back in her room, hahaha - so as you would say, she can't be THAT scared), and they continue to sometimes swat/growl/hiss (all growling and hissing is her) through the gate (I think you said there is an element of "mind your manners" to it) but the rest of the time leave each other alone. They only do this kind of play/fussing when he is in the room. When she is in the room, she typically doesn't come near enough to the gate that he could reach her - she knows to avoid the danger zone. If she were close by and he came by the gate, I think he would try to swat her. As it is, he sometimes sees her through the gate (when she is sleeping in 'his' room in the afternoon) and he chirps/murmurs, which is a noise he uses when he sees birds outside but also when he seems me and wants attention - so it's kind of excitement, I think. She also still growls when going into 'his' room in the afternoon.

There is occasional hesitancy (both) to come close to their meals if the other is there (this is with the gate present - one in the room, one out) but they both do eat - and they both then leave their meals and walk away. They both have their treat puzzles near the gate when the other is there and turn their back on each other and are totally focussed on treats. I've ordered two new food puzzles to keep them entertained.

She is great in all respects - napping where she wants, playing, being sweet - she doesn't hide any other time, except during the face-to-face when she wants to run away. So we're definitely doing well and in the last phase of the intro. This is just the phase that is hardest for me to control! No gates - just trust, and treats, and distraction. And I'm trying to think my way through it when it really needs just more time and patience. Your bank interest analogy is perfect. That's a great way to think about it.

Thank you for your patience with me! And with my control issues, hahaha. :) I will really try to chill. I'll maybe post again once if there is anything but I'll try to save up some observations for after vacation. :)
"Hello again! Thanks for your message and you're right, I think I am struggling!" - Yes, I can tell. :( It is pretty normal actually. I remember seeing person on the floor throwing treats to each cat. That person (not sure if it was you our your partner) was calm, confident, and enjoying the situation (as were the cats). I want to get back to that person. :) The process can wear us down and with life it can get tougher BUT the reward is so worth it. The love they will give is all worth it. :)

" I didn't see it, but my partner thinks so too." - We never do for the most part. That is why we really appreciate loved ones and friends to help us by pointing it out so we can focus on it and improve the situation.

"So I'm reading the room and thinking I need to take a chill pill, hahaha. I'll try." - :) Well, I think just try to see the big picture. Realize that no situation can be "perfect". BUT if we can make it the best we can than that is great. I have never experienced a "perfect" relationship or friendship of family situation BUT as long as there is respect and love etc then it still can be really wonderful.

"Sometimes I think I'm being analytical and observant and noticing all the nuances of their interactions (and I am) " - Yes, which is great. But seeing the nuance as it is. So some nuance is really positive and some can be negative (though I don't really see the nuance between Florie and Hawthorne as negative - I actually see the nuance as positive). It is almost like reading a medical book and seeing symptoms and thinking "Oh, I have this, I have that" but not realizing that not all the symptoms mean the disease and sometimes it is nothing.

"but it means I get stuck in the weeds (today better! today worse! this moment better! this moment worse) and get trapped on all the small things." - Yes. And that is normal. And that is why we need to communicate and try to really think about those things. So if you are concerned, we analyze it and then try to see if it really was something to worry about or something not to. So the other day, my one feral in my colony went over to another and starting grooming his head. I knew it was going to get a bit rough. Sure enough he grabs his neck with his paws on each side, starts biting his ears and of course the other one doesn't like it. But I never feared there would be a fight. Because I know and trust them. Sure enough the one getting bitten jumps off, the other pursues, and it fizzles out. It was just goofing off. So if I didn't really trust then I could have panicked and it could have maybe escalated as my emotions could have caused them stress and then bad things can happen. BUT they worked it out. I then went out, gave them some treats and pets and they went back on a house and sleep together.

"I think your summary is accurate - no more chases " - GREAT!!! THAT will build trust.

"(but they haven't been face-to-face together with NO treats," - That is fine. We just need to get her trust up so we can try again. So far now face to face with treats only. And we'll watch when they are ready for a no treat session.

"which is when the last chase happened" - Exactly

" - I sense he would still want to chase her, if he could, once there are no treats to focus on);" - Probably. But the question is why he would chase? To eliminate her? Or to have some fun? I think it is the latter but we can get more evidence o support that.

"she is hesitant during face-to-face WITH treats to come closer to him (where she did before the chase)" - That is fine. It just means she isn't totally trusting yet but if he is behaving and not doing anything negative towards her she will learn to trust again.

How anxious are you during these times?

" and sometimes she runs away and hides (in our bedroom, or last night under a chair in the living room " - Ok, THAT is interesting? If she was afraid why wouldn't she run into the territory she "owns" the most? Why the bedroom or worse the living room under a chair where he surely could get her? And if he is not chasing her then why is she running? I am not at all bothered by that. NOW IF he was chasing her and fighting with her then yes, I would be like "we have some work" BUT it seems it is all her.

"- my partner suggests that it is fear in combination with not wanting to go back in her room, hahaha - so as you would say, she can't be THAT scared)," - EXACTLY!!

" and they continue to sometimes swat/growl/hiss (all growling and hissing is her) through the gate" - Yes. And again, IF that was a sign of real issues he would be doing that with no gate AND if she was really afraid she would not be at the gate. She would be hiding.

" (I think you said there is an element of "mind your manners" to it)" - I think that is absolutely part of it but I just wonder if it is a bit of play as well. Can you get video of that?

"but the rest of the time leave each other alone." - Exactly. Which is acceptance. They know the other is there and they chose not to care (or worry).

" They only do this kind of play/fussing when he is in the room." - Yes and probably when he is acting up to get out. :/

"When she is in the room, she typically doesn't come near enough to the gate that he could reach her " - Hmmmm,, interesting. What is she doing? The office is the room, correct? Does he spend much time outside of that gate?

"- she knows to avoid the danger zone." - Hmmmmmmmmm. Or does she just not care he is there?

" If she were close by and he came by the gate, I think he would try to swat her." - Ok. Has that happened often?

" As it is, he sometimes sees her through the gate (when she is sleeping in 'his' room in the afternoon) and he chirps/murmurs, which is a noise he uses when he sees birds outside but also when he seems me and wants attention - so it's kind of excitement, I think." - Well, THAT is interesting. That does not sound like a cat that hates the other cat. That could be a big sign he has pretty much accepted her. And if that thesis is correct then his "chase" is more likely to be play driven.

"She also still growls when going into 'his' room in the afternoon." - That is fine, not an issue. As long as nothing negative happens it reinforces that she can be there safe and that builds confidence.

"There is occasional hesitancy (both) to come close to their meals if the other is there (this is with the gate present - one in the room, one out)" - That is fine. As long as there isn;t anything negative happening it will build trust in time.

" but they both do eat - and they both then leave their meals and walk away." THAT is the key. Positive association, positive encounters.

"They both have their treat puzzles near the gate when the other is there and turn their back on each other and are totally focused on treats." - Exactly. Again, showing the other they are not "after" the other one. If there were real issues that would never happen. No cat turns their back on a potential threat.

"I've ordered two new food puzzles to keep them entertained." - Great

"She is great in all respects - napping where she wants, playing, being sweet " - THIS is REALLY important. IF there were real issues we would be seeing it elsewhere.

""- she doesn't hide any other time, except during the face-to-face when she wants to run away. " - Ok, so as long as we can get him t behave, not chase, etc she will learn to trust.

Part of me wonders if it is a bit of a game to her...........................

"So we're definitely doing well and in the last phase of the intro." - Agree

" This is just the phase that is hardest for me to control!" - It is for everyone, me included. :/

" No gates - just trust, and treats, and distraction." - Yep.

I do think I might pull out a toy and she if she will play with it and what he will do (hopefully observe).

"And I'm trying to think my way through it when it really needs just more time and patience." - Yes. We can only go at the pace of the cats.

BUT if she runs and he is being occupied in the living room etc and you just let her "do her thing" that is fine. They don't have to go to their rooms if you can keep him focused, occupied (not on her).

" Your bank interest analogy is perfect. That's a great way to think about it." - I hope it helps put it a bit more in context. Intros are a bit esoteric so putting it in easier to understand terms can help.

"Thank you for your patience with me! " - Oh my goodness. Patience???? NO NEED to thank me. I THANK YOU for all your are doing. All this is going to make sense. You'll realize you worried for no good reason. :)

"And with my control issues, hahaha. :) " - Oh my, you are such a wonderful person. You have no issues!!!

"I will really try to chill.' - Just enjoy them. Just feel their love. Just take a few moments to really appreciate them and your partner.

"I'll maybe post again once if there is anything but I'll try to save up some observations for after vacation. :) " - Sounds good. Anytime, is fine. I am here for you whenever and as often as needed. It breaks my heart to see you worried, stressed. And for not really good reasons it hurts more. I feel like I am not explaining as well as to why you shouldn't be worried. BUT I KNOW I will communicate it in time. All is going to be just fine.

Enjoy your vacation!!! :) Talk soon!!
 

calicosrspecial

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Also a quick note that she increasingly doesn't want to be his room in the afternoon or her room for bedtime. Just now I was eating lunch (she was in Hawthorne's room and he was out - I think sleeping on her bed in her room) and I have the gate up and cardboard taped on top and she jumped out over the cardboard and the gate! Hawthorne didn't immediately come running out (he was scared by the noise) so I was able to pop her into the basement before any chase happened - I had no treats, no cardboard for distraction.

Just a few minutes before it happened she was busy growling at him through the gate, so she knew he was out! But she jumped out anyways. She's a tricky one! I might need to close the door this afternoon so I can get work done without worrying about her jumping out again. :)
Sorry, didn't see this before posting the other response. :/

"Also a quick note that she increasingly doesn't want to be his room in the afternoon or her room for bedtime." - Hmmmmmmmm, that is odd. Any thoughts as to why?

" Just now I was eating lunch (she was in Hawthorne's room " - Ok

"and he was out - I think sleeping on her bed in her room)" - In the office? Hmmmmm, he can't hate her that much that he sleeps where she sleeps ;)

" and I have the gate up and cardboard taped on top and she jumped out over the cardboard and the gate!" - So the french door room? She jumped over it?????? WHOA!!!! Any idea why? She can't be that afraid of him to leave that security.......................

"Hawthorne didn't immediately come running out (he was scared by the noise)" - Wow. amazing!!

"so I was able to pop her into the basement before any chase happened - I had no treats, no cardboard for distraction." - :/ Ohhhhhhhhhh, that could have been a good opportunity. :/ Do you think you may be more traumatized that she is?

"Just a few minutes before it happened she was busy growling at him through the gate, so she knew he was out! But she jumped out anyways." - Hahahahahaha. Yep, she is going to be just fine. THAT is not what a cat does if they are afraid of the other cat. GOOD JOB Florie!!!!

" She's a tricky one! I might need to close the door this afternoon so I can get work done without worrying about her jumping out again. :) " - Hahahahaha, yep!!!

Well, I am thinking this supports the thesis they are in better shape then feared.

Cats............................................................... Hahahahahahahahaha

:clap2:
 
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Furmama22

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Sorry, didn't see this before posting the other response. :/

"Also a quick note that she increasingly doesn't want to be his room in the afternoon or her room for bedtime." - Hmmmmmmmm, that is odd. Any thoughts as to why?

" Just now I was eating lunch (she was in Hawthorne's room " - Ok

"and he was out - I think sleeping on her bed in her room)" - In the office? Hmmmmm, he can't hate her that much that he sleeps where she sleeps ;)

" and I have the gate up and cardboard taped on top and she jumped out over the cardboard and the gate!" - So the french door room? She jumped over it?????? WHOA!!!! Any idea why? She can't be that afraid of him to leave that security.......................

"Hawthorne didn't immediately come running out (he was scared by the noise)" - Wow. amazing!!

"so I was able to pop her into the basement before any chase happened - I had no treats, no cardboard for distraction." - :/ Ohhhhhhhhhh, that could have been a good opportunity. :/ Do you think you may be more traumatized that she is?

"Just a few minutes before it happened she was busy growling at him through the gate, so she knew he was out! But she jumped out anyways." - Hahahahahaha. Yep, she is going to be just fine. THAT is not what a cat does if they are afraid of the other cat. GOOD JOB Florie!!!!

" She's a tricky one! I might need to close the door this afternoon so I can get work done without worrying about her jumping out again. :) " - Hahahahaha, yep!!!

Well, I am thinking this supports the thesis they are in better shape then feared.

Cats............................................................... Hahahahahahahahaha

:clap2:
Good morning! Yes, exactly - she jumped out of the French door room. She had been wanting out already and pawing at the gate and I thought she would eventually settle and take her nap, as she usually does. But then 3 minutes later I was eating lunch and CRASH - she came flying out and took the entire cardboard thing down with her, hahaha.

Also last night again at treat time she refused to go after the treats I threw into her room and started going towards our bed instead - I think to avoid her room again. I had to pick her up and put her in her bedroom. I think she was mad at me. :)

Is it possible (I mean, I suppose I know the answer to this already) that a cat who has happily gone into her room without complaint for the last 6+months suddenly has decided she'd rather NOT go in there sometimes? Maybe she has grown even more confident and now also wants to be able to do her own thing?

Also last night at supper she and Hawthorne encountered each other at the gate by her room (I don't know how exactly - they are generally trustworthy enough around supper that I can feed them and walk away, so I wasn't watching until I heard them fussing) and she growled and hissed and she pulled away, but she didn't run away - and then he left, slinking down the hallway, and she walked back up the gate. I think she was like, "that's right! you get out of here!' and felt quite pleased with herself. Hold on to that confidence, Florie! We need it! :)
 

calicosrspecial

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Good morning! Yes, exactly - she jumped out of the French door room. She had been wanting out already and pawing at the gate and I thought she would eventually settle and take her nap, as she usually does. But then 3 minutes later I was eating lunch and CRASH - she came flying out and took the entire cardboard thing down with her, hahaha.

Also last night again at treat time she refused to go after the treats I threw into her room and started going towards our bed instead - I think to avoid her room again. I had to pick her up and put her in her bedroom. I think she was mad at me. :)

Is it possible (I mean, I suppose I know the answer to this already) that a cat who has happily gone into her room without complaint for the last 6+months suddenly has decided she'd rather NOT go in there sometimes? Maybe she has grown even more confident and now also wants to be able to do her own thing?

Also last night at supper she and Hawthorne encountered each other at the gate by her room (I don't know how exactly - they are generally trustworthy enough around supper that I can feed them and walk away, so I wasn't watching until I heard them fussing) and she growled and hissed and she pulled away, but she didn't run away - and then he left, slinking down the hallway, and she walked back up the gate. I think she was like, "that's right! you get out of here!' and felt quite pleased with herself. Hold on to that confidence, Florie! We need it! :)
"Good morning! " - Good morning!!

"Yes, exactly - she jumped out of the French door room." - Wow, that is really a good sign regarding her view of him.

"She had been wanting out already and pawing at the gate and I thought she would eventually settle and take her nap, as she usually does. But then 3 minutes later I was eating lunch and CRASH - she came flying out and took the entire cardboard thing down with her, hahaha." - Interesting. I wonder why. Any idea?

What did she do when she got out?

"Also last night again at treat time she refused to go after the treats I threw into her room and started going towards our bed instead - I think to avoid her room again." - Interesting. I get a sense she is feeling more ownership of the other territory.

Doesn't Hawthorne sped a lot of time in your bedroom?

"I had to pick her up and put her in her bedroom. I think she was mad at me. :) " - Yep, probably. IF you have some time just go wtih it (her being out).

"Is it possible (I mean, I suppose I know the answer to this already) that a cat who has happily gone into her room without complaint for the last 6+months suddenly has decided she'd rather NOT go in there sometimes?" - YES!!! It tells us she doesn't need to security of "her" territory as much "so let's be in that other territory I am starting to own".

"Maybe she has grown even more confident and now also wants to be able to do her own thing?" - Yep, that is my take. Now if she was acting "weird or different" in her room (the office) all the time then I would wonder if it si something in the room (our outside of the window etc). When you are in the office does she act normal?

"Also last night at supper she and Hawthorne encountered each other at the gate by her room (I don't know how exactly" - Ok, that is fine.

" - they are generally trustworthy enough around supper that I can feed them and walk away," - So you do trust them a fair amount. VERY good!!!

"so I wasn't watching until I heard them fussing) and she growled and hissed and she pulled away," - Ok, not a issue.

" but she didn't run away" - GREAT!! -

"and then he left, slinking down the hallway," - Great. Tells me he has no interest in hurting her. Slinking away says "I am not a threat".

" and she walked back up the gate." - Wow!!! Impressive.

" I think she was like, "that's right! you get out of here!' and felt quite pleased with herself." - Hahahahaha, I think you are exactly correct.

I think this is a big deal, a sign of a nice move forward!! Great.

"Hold on to that confidence, Florie! We need it! :) " - EXACTLY!!!!

I think she is better than you may realize (or maybe did before this). :cheerleader:

LOVE IT!!! They are going to be just fine. I think we had a bigger step forward. :)
 
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Furmama22

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"Good morning! " - Good morning!!

"Yes, exactly - she jumped out of the French door room." - Wow, that is really a good sign regarding her view of him.

"She had been wanting out already and pawing at the gate and I thought she would eventually settle and take her nap, as she usually does. But then 3 minutes later I was eating lunch and CRASH - she came flying out and took the entire cardboard thing down with her, hahaha." - Interesting. I wonder why. Any idea?

What did she do when she got out?

"Also last night again at treat time she refused to go after the treats I threw into her room and started going towards our bed instead - I think to avoid her room again." - Interesting. I get a sense she is feeling more ownership of the other territory.

Doesn't Hawthorne sped a lot of time in your bedroom?

"I had to pick her up and put her in her bedroom. I think she was mad at me. :) " - Yep, probably. IF you have some time just go wtih it (her being out).

"Is it possible (I mean, I suppose I know the answer to this already) that a cat who has happily gone into her room without complaint for the last 6+months suddenly has decided she'd rather NOT go in there sometimes?" - YES!!! It tells us she doesn't need to security of "her" territory as much "so let's be in that other territory I am starting to own".

"Maybe she has grown even more confident and now also wants to be able to do her own thing?" - Yep, that is my take. Now if she was acting "weird or different" in her room (the office) all the time then I would wonder if it si something in the room (our outside of the window etc). When you are in the office does she act normal?

"Also last night at supper she and Hawthorne encountered each other at the gate by her room (I don't know how exactly" - Ok, that is fine.

" - they are generally trustworthy enough around supper that I can feed them and walk away," - So you do trust them a fair amount. VERY good!!!

"so I wasn't watching until I heard them fussing) and she growled and hissed and she pulled away," - Ok, not a issue.

" but she didn't run away" - GREAT!! -

"and then he left, slinking down the hallway," - Great. Tells me he has no interest in hurting her. Slinking away says "I am not a threat".

" and she walked back up the gate." - Wow!!! Impressive.

" I think she was like, "that's right! you get out of here!' and felt quite pleased with herself." - Hahahahaha, I think you are exactly correct.

I think this is a big deal, a sign of a nice move forward!! Great.

"Hold on to that confidence, Florie! We need it! :) " - EXACTLY!!!!

I think she is better than you may realize (or maybe did before this). :cheerleader:

LOVE IT!!! They are going to be just fine. I think we had a bigger step forward. :)
After she jumped out of the French door room yesterday she just kind of...starting walking around, like she was out and going to find a spot to go hang out. She didn't seem startled or concerned. But then again, I went over there quick to pick her up. So my energy was a bit panicked, I'll admit. I thought Hawthorne was going to come flying down the hall.

And to your other point, she's fine in her bedroom the rest of the time. She sits on her tree, or in my lap; after supper, she jumps on on her high perches on the wall. I haven't noticed any other aversion.
 

calicosrspecial

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After she jumped out of the French door room yesterday she just kind of...starting walking around, like she was out and going to find a spot to go hang out. She didn't seem startled or concerned. But then again, I went over there quick to pick her up. So my energy was a bit panicked, I'll admit. I thought Hawthorne was going to come flying down the hall.

And to your other point, she's fine in her bedroom the rest of the time. She sits on her tree, or in my lap; after supper, she jumps on on her high perches on the wall. I haven't noticed any other aversion.
"After she jumped out of the French door room yesterday she just kind of...starting walking around, like she was out and going to find a spot to go hang out. She didn't seem startled or concerned." - WOW!!! That is really impressive. LOVE it!!!

"But then again, I went over there quick to pick her up. So my energy was a bit panicked, I'll admit." - :) Understandably. But try to do your best to read the cats. I know it can happen fast and sometimes too fast but I think he is not really after her so I think there is some time. I KNOW it is hard. But just do your best.

" I thought Hawthorne was going to come flying down the hall." - Yes. But he didn't (and she didn't seem to fear that he would). ;)

"And to your other point, she's fine in her bedroom the rest of the time. She sits on her tree, or in my lap; after supper, she jumps on on her high perches on the wall. I haven't noticed any other aversion." - GREAT!!!! I thought that BUT it is great to get confirmation. That just supports the thesis she is more confident and feeling more territory secure.

Again, the facts support that the reality is better than the perception. I think it is great. It almost feels like a watershed moment. :) I am pretty ecstatic right now!!! :hyper:
 

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I haven't been on TCS for awhile so am catching up on some threads I'd been reading- and F Furmama22 wanted to say I feel your situation and feelings!
My four have some of the same things going on, and I've seen progress in mine so you will too! I have to arrange things and times and let some things play out and so on to best accomodate them and it's ongoing but worth it in the end.
I have one I have to have in her own room at night due to some chasing to give two of the others "free time" to run and play with abandon; another who won't let anyone else sleep on the bed with me at night so I have to make sure the other three get their "mom time" during the day; but through it all there is no fighting, no injury, no real aggression (just communicating in the "cat way") so in all they are content and getting what they need.
They are working through their "stuff." Sometimes at a snail's pace. They are improving over the long haul! Happy Dance!
Sometimes I wonder "should I have gotten these last 2 cats...would they all have been happier if I hadn't..." but, I have to realize how much is they way cats are and how they communicate, and what a good home they really do have under it all. Like a family that squabble but really love each other underneath. Or a couple dating and getting to know and trust each other.

You're so caring and doing a bang-up job!
 
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Furmama22

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I haven't been on TCS for awhile so am catching up on some threads I'd been reading- and F Furmama22 wanted to say I feel your situation and feelings!
My four have some of the same things going on, and I've seen progress in mine so you will too! I have to arrange things and times and let some things play out and so on to best accomodate them and it's ongoing but worth it in the end.
I have one I have to have in her own room at night due to some chasing to give two of the others "free time" to run and play with abandon; another who won't let anyone else sleep on the bed with me at night so I have to make sure the other three get their "mom time" during the day; but through it all there is no fighting, no injury, no real aggression (just communicating in the "cat way") so in all they are content and getting what they need.
They are working through their "stuff." Sometimes at a snail's pace. They are improving over the long haul! Happy Dance!
Sometimes I wonder "should I have gotten these last 2 cats...would they all have been happier if I hadn't..." but, I have to realize how much is they way cats are and how they communicate, and what a good home they really do have under it all. Like a family that squabble but really love each other underneath. Or a couple dating and getting to know and trust each other.

You're so caring and doing a bang-up job!
Hi pearl99 pearl99 ! Great to hear from you! And great to hear that your beautiful kitties are all doing well and finding their rhythm, even though there is still some 'work' going on. :)

And thank you for the kind words about my kitties! We are working very hard to get along, hahaha, me working harder than them sometimes. But we're inch by inch (or millimetre by millimetre) moving forward.

I really appreciate you saying hello and your words of hope! The support of this community (big shout out to C calicosrspecial ) and the cuteness of the cats has kept me going. Sometimes I think I'm at the end of my tether and then I look at one of them sleeping in the sunshine and I think, nope, we just have to keep going. :)
 

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Hi pearl99 pearl99 ! Great to hear from you! And great to hear that your beautiful kitties are all doing well and finding their rhythm, even though there is still some 'work' going on. :)

And thank you for the kind words about my kitties! We are working very hard to get along, hahaha, me working harder than them sometimes. But we're inch by inch (or millimetre by millimetre) moving forward.

I really appreciate you saying hello and your words of hope! The support of this community (big shout out to C calicosrspecial ) and the cuteness of the cats has kept me going. Sometimes I think I'm at the end of my tether and then I look at one of them sleeping in the sunshine and I think, nope, we just have to keep going. :)
Absolutely. And, yesterday and today I’ve had some millimeters forward. Ziggy has “allowed” Moo to be on the floor moving around with no chasing! I saw them sitting in the kitchen both just looking around, look at each other, look around etc. No dilated eyes or pounce pose. That feeling is worth all the trouble.
So, hope springs eternal. Ziggy is 15 yrs next month and I’ve had her since March of 2020. Older cat, can take longer.
Yours will get there!
 

calicosrspecial

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Absolutely. And, yesterday and today I’ve had some millimeters forward. Ziggy has “allowed” Moo to be on the floor moving around with no chasing! I saw them sitting in the kitchen both just looking around, look at each other, look around etc. No dilated eyes or pounce pose. That feeling is worth all the trouble.
So, hope springs eternal. Ziggy is 15 yrs next month and I’ve had her since March of 2020. Older cat, can take longer.
Yours will get there!
"Ziggy has “allowed” Moo to be on the floor moving around with no chasing! " - :yess: :hyper: :clap2: Terrific!!

"I saw them sitting in the kitchen both just looking around, look at each other, look around etc. No dilated eyes or pounce pose." - This is a really great sign!! They are going to be just fine. :)

" That feeling is worth all the trouble." - Exactly, GREAT job!!

"So, hope springs eternal." - And hard work is rewarded. :)

"Ziggy is 15 yrs next month and I’ve had her since March of 2020. Older cat, can take longer." - Yes. THANK YOU SO MUCH for saving her and giving her a great life!!! :rock:

"Yours will get there!" - Totally agree.
 
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Hi C calicosrspecial and all! Just a quick note to say hello and we're back from vacation. Hope you have had a good week/week and a half!! :)

And, good news, the cats seem to be basically exactly where we were when I left. We go home Saturday and kept them separate (as they had been all week - separate even from seeing each other) and by Sunday morning we were right back to breakfast at the gate. Neither of them looked at the other like it was any big deal. Later, when I let Florie out and Hawthorne was in the French door room, she gave him a quick hiss as she went by, but otherwise they're also back to eating treats from their puzzles together (separated by the gate) and all that. We did bedtime treats at the gate last night and that was fine too. Tonight or tomorrow night we'll try back to in-person treats and see where we are.

The bad news (or less positive news) is that Florie had a hard time while we were away. I felt bad about that. I thought she would be fine! But she was scared of the cat sitter (she initially hid under things and ran away from her) and even though that got better, and the cat sitter was able to pet her, I think she was pretty stressed. She also peed on a few things, which she has never done before - she peed on her bed, on a blanket that was on her bed, and possibly on this other fuzzy bed too. We have washed and enzymed and deoderized and all that, and she's peeing again in her litterbox, so fingers crossed she is feeling comfortable again. Next time I'm going to look into a cat sitter who can maybe stay for longer visits and do a better up-front intro so Florie feels comfortable with the person before we go. We didn't do that this time because Hawthorne knows the sitter and I felt Florie would be ok, so that's on me. I have to up my game next time. We've only had her eight months and she was surrendered by her family, so I can see she might have more abandonment concerns.

Hawthorne is good. :) He was so happy to see us I could actually HEAR him purring. Now that's something that doesn't happen very often. :)

Anyways, that's all for now. We're getting back into the swing of things. It looks like I'll have to return to working at my office part-time or full-time as of September (how I wish that were not the case), so without putting any expectations on it, I'm going to try to use August to maximum effect, so if they have to be alone during the day starting in September, maybe they can at least be with each other. We'll see.
 

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"Hi C calicosrspecial and all! Just a quick note to say hello and we're back from vacation. Hope you have had a good week/week and a half!! :) "

And, good news, the cats seem to be basically exactly where we were when I left. We go home Saturday and kept them separate (as they had been all week - separate even from seeing each other) and by Sunday morning we were right back to breakfast at the gate. Neither of them looked at the other like it was any big deal. Later, when I let Florie out and Hawthorne was in the French door room, she gave him a quick hiss as she went by, but otherwise they're also back to eating treats from their puzzles together (separated by the gate) and all that. We did bedtime treats at the gate last night and that was fine too. Tonight or tomorrow night we'll try back to in-person treats and see where we are.

The bad news (or less positive news) is that Florie had a hard time while we were away. I felt bad about that. I thought she would be fine! But she was scared of the cat sitter (she initially hid under things and ran away from her) and even though that got better, and the cat sitter was able to pet her, I think she was pretty stressed. She also peed on a few things, which she has never done before - she peed on her bed, on a blanket that was on her bed, and possibly on this other fuzzy bed too. We have washed and enzymed and deoderized and all that, and she's peeing again in her litterbox, so fingers crossed she is feeling comfortable again. Next time I'm going to look into a cat sitter who can maybe stay for longer visits and do a better up-front intro so Florie feels comfortable with the person before we go. We didn't do that this time because Hawthorne knows the sitter and I felt Florie would be ok, so that's on me. I have to up my game next time. We've only had her eight months and she was surrendered by her family, so I can see she might have more abandonment concerns.

Hawthorne is good. :) He was so happy to see us I could actually HEAR him purring. Now that's something that doesn't happen very often. :)

Anyways, that's all for now. We're getting back into the swing of things. It looks like I'll have to return to working at my office part-time or full-time as of September (how I wish that were not the case), so without putting any expectations on it, I'm going to try to use August to maximum effect, so if they have to be alone during the day starting in September, maybe they can at least be with each other. We'll see.
WELCOME BACK!!!

"Hi C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial and all! Just a quick note to say hello and we're back from vacation. Hope you have had a good week/week and a half!! :) " - - Welcome back!!! I hope you had a wonderful vacation.

"And, good news, the cats seem to be basically exactly where we were when I left." - Perfect!!!

" We go home Saturday and kept them separate (as they had been all week - separate even from seeing each other) and by Sunday morning we were right back to breakfast at the gate." - WOW!!! FANTASTIC!!! Absence makes the heart grow fonder. ;)

"Neither of them looked at the other like it was any big deal." - Terrific!!! Do you think you were more relxed, etc?

"Later, when I let Florie out and Hawthorne was in the French door room, she gave him a quick hiss as she went by, but otherwise they're also back to eating treats from their puzzles together (separated by the gate) and all that." - Great!!!

" We did bedtime treats at the gate last night and that was fine too." - Totally agree.

"Tonight or tomorrow night we'll try back to in-person treats and see where we are." - Perfect. Let's try in the main room, no hallways, etc. I think they are ready. :)

"The bad news (or less positive news) is that Florie had a hard time while we were away." - Awwwww, really? She sure didn't act like it when you came home. I am really surprised given her behavior when you came home. I KNOW she missed you but maybe she missed Hawthorne as well. :/

" I felt bad about that." - Please do not feel badly. She is over it, it obviously didn't cause her issues.

" I thought she would be fine!" - Me too. :/

" But she was scared of the cat sitter (she initially hid under things and ran away from her)" - Awwwwwww :/

" and even though that got better," - That is really good!!!

" and the cat sitter was able to pet her," - AWESOME!!!!

" I think she was pretty stressed. She also peed on a few things, which she has never done before - she peed on her bed, on a blanket that was on her bed, and possibly on this other fuzzy bed too." - Oh no. Yes, she was very scared and insecure. Awwwww, poor Florie. :(

" We have washed and enzymed and deoderized and all that," - Ok, good.

" and she's peeing again in her litterbox, so fingers crossed she is feeling comfortable again." - Yes, I think she will be fine now. Let's monitor her.

" Next time I'm going to look into a cat sitter who can maybe stay for longer visits and do a better up-front intro so Florie feels comfortable with the person before we go. " - The sitter sounds like they did a good job eventually. Florie may have mroe of a shitory then we realized. :(

"We didn't do that this time because Hawthorne knows the sitter and I felt Florie would be ok, so that's on me." - It isn't on anyone. The good news is, she has rebounded quickly. But agreed, next time maybe a few pre-visits is a good idea.

"I have to up my game next time. We've only had her eight months and she was surrendered by her family, so I can see she might have more abandonment concerns." - :( Well, she is going to be more confident by the time the next time rolls around.

"Hawthorne is good. :) He was so happy to see us I could actually HEAR him purring. Now that's something that doesn't happen very often. :) " - Awwwwwwwwwwwww, what a sweetheart.

"Anyways, that's all for now. " - Sounds good. Let's watch Florie. See how she does out and about the house. I really want to do a face to face in the big area given how well she did when you came back. But given how she struggled (I think only at the beginnng of the vacation) I am wondering. Hmmmmmm, what do you think? If she is acting normally (which it seems she is) I think I would do a face to face in the main area to capitalize on how well behaved they are.

"We're getting back into the swing of things. It looks like I'll have to return to working at my office part-time or full-time as of September (how I wish that were not the case)," - Well. :( Given where this delta seems to be going that may not happen. Ughhhhhhh.

"so without putting any expectations on it, I'm going to try to use August to maximum effect," - OK, but let's not put too much pressure on ourselves. I think it si absolutely doable to have them successfully intro'd very shortly (by the time you do go back). I really need you to be calm, confident, cool, and loving for them. They are ready if we get your boost of confidence I am sure we can do this. :)

It is even more impressive how well she is doing given what you told me about her when you were gone. I have thought they were ready for a while (IF I could have been in-house I would have had them face to face - I am that confident in where they are towards each other).

"so if they have to be alone during the day starting in September, maybe they can at least be with each other. We'll see." - Yes. I think that is very achievable. They are ready. :)

Welcome back!!! You sound relaxed, positive. LOVE IT in every way (for you, your partner, and Florie and Hawthorne). :)
 

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I have experienced the stressful 6 month introduction in 2019. Back then it was because of a stray cat that entered my home and caused both my cats who have lived together for 8 years to stop recognizing one another. It was heartbreaking and very stressful to us. I followed all the steps in the TCS articles to a T, sometimes failing and restarting over and over.

It came to a point where I was so stressed out watching my cats’ every move, freaking out and worrying over a little hiss or growls, putting up with all the inconvenience of having one cat in the room and one outside, always needing to divide my attention, always thinking about the pet gate/divider that I just…..stopped being bothered. This was on the 6th month when progress was so slow. I just went, “I’m not going to care anymore.” At that moment, I removed the annoying barricade and opened all the doors. I let my cats be. I ignored their little hisses, stopped hovering over them over everything and just told myself to be alert IF I hear them actually fighting.

True enough, that worked out. I believe our cats get nervous if we watch them too closely. They become anxious with our presence because we get nervous if they did anything. If they aren’t physically engaging in angry, growling, meowing positions, leave them be. They’ll work it out and learn to respect one another.

Sorry for the long ranty post. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be too obsessed over their progress on accepting each other. Let them work it out.
 

calicosrspecial

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I have experienced the stressful 6 month introduction in 2019. Back then it was because of a stray cat that entered my home and caused both my cats who have lived together for 8 years to stop recognizing one another. It was heartbreaking and very stressful to us. I followed all the steps in the TCS articles to a T, sometimes failing and restarting over and over.

It came to a point where I was so stressed out watching my cats’ every move, freaking out and worrying over a little hiss or growls, putting up with all the inconvenience of having one cat in the room and one outside, always needing to divide my attention, always thinking about the pet gate/divider that I just…..stopped being bothered. This was on the 6th month when progress was so slow. I just went, “I’m not going to care anymore.” At that moment, I removed the annoying barricade and opened all the doors. I let my cats be. I ignored their little hisses, stopped hovering over them over everything and just told myself to be alert IF I hear them actually fighting.

True enough, that worked out. I believe our cats get nervous if we watch them too closely. They become anxious with our presence because we get nervous if they did anything. If they aren’t physically engaging in angry, growling, meowing positions, leave them be. They’ll work it out and learn to respect one another.

Sorry for the long ranty post. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be too obsessed over their progress on accepting each other. Let them work it out.
"I have experienced the stressful 6 month introduction in 2019. Back then it was because of a stray cat that entered my home and caused both my cats who have lived together for 8 years to stop recognizing one another. It was heartbreaking and very stressful to us. I followed all the steps in the TCS articles to a T, sometimes failing and restarting over and over." - THANK YOU SO MUCH for saving the cats and doing all you did to give them a great home!!

"It came to a point where I was so stressed out watching my cats’ every move, freaking out and worrying over a little hiss or growls, putting up with all the inconvenience of having one cat in the room and one outside, always needing to divide my attention, always thinking about the pet gate/divider that I just…..

"stopped being bothered." - THIS IS THE KEY. Cats take on our emotions so once we are "cool" with the situation they tend to be "cool" with the situation. I work with ferals all the time and I see every day how much human emotions have an impact on the behavior of cats. It is mindboggling how large of an impact. It is amazing to see an angry. scared cat calm down when I am totally relaxed around them. The do take on or refelct our emotions.

"This was on the 6th month when progress was so slow. I just went, “I’m not going to care anymore.” " - Or maybe a better feeling of "accepting" and maybe even "trusting"? I guarantee you cared still quite a lot BUT you basically allowed the feelings of trust come to the forefront (maybe sub-consciously you were were confident than you thought?).

"At that moment, I removed the annoying barricade and opened all the doors. I let my cats be. I ignored their little hisses, stopped hovering over them over everything" - EXACTLY!!!! Trusting them so that they could trust themselves. It is unanced but this is a really big deal. Getting to the point we trust them enough to allow them to work out the final pieces. Because intros are about the human actions BUT the cats have their parts to play as well.

" and just told myself to be alert IF I hear them actually fighting." - EXACTLY

And any nervous energy the humans might have had disappeared and the cats couldn't pick up on it and personalize it holding them back.

It is very much like a kid. If you tell a kid he is stupid he probably will be stupid. BUT if you build confidence, honestly address weaknesses yet build on positives it will help the child be better. Same with cats in my opinion.

"True enough, that worked out. " = :) Because all your work built the solid base of trust and confidence to allow for them to put the finishing touches on the relationship.

"I believe our cats get nervous if we watch them too closely. They become anxious with our presence because we get nervous if they did anything. " - EXACTLY!!! :clap2:

"If they aren’t physically engaging in angry, growling, meowing positions, leave them be. They’ll work it out and learn to respect one another." - As long as they have a solid base of trust and confidence.

"Sorry for the long ranty post. " - Oh my goodness, no reason to apologize. THIS was GREAT!!!! exactly correct!!

"I’m just saying we shouldn’t be too obsessed over their progress on accepting each other. Let them work it out." - When the base of trust and confidence are showing. And with Hawthorne and Florie it is there. :)

I often find the humans lag a bit behind the cats in trust and confidence (because we love so much and want everything to be perfect etc). It is understandable but it can impede the progress. It is not to blame anyone (I did it as well on my first intro - YES I was a helicopter mom before the term even existed!!!) - it is to help and make progress. Constructive. :)

Thank you for the excellent post and congratulations on the success and all you are doing to save lives and make cat lives great!!! :rock:
 
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