Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost

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Furmama22

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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." - 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:
Hi blumarine916 blumarine916 ! Thanks for posting and sharing your thoughts! I definitely think chilling out (me) will help everything over here. It's just not always my strong suit, hahah. But I am trying. I think Florie and Hawthorne have some foundation of trust but still some chasing/boundaries to figure out. So I'm trying to be more relaxed for that. I appreciate you sharing your experience! I didn't think it was ranty at all! I value hearing from other people - what they did to make it work. It gives me hope!

And hello C calicosrspecial ! We're all doing well over here. Florie seems to be back on track - peeing in her litterbox, purring, grooming, eating. I suppose the bed peeing is something that could occur again if we were to go away, but taking a little more care around the cat sitter meetings and getting comfortable might help. Out of curiousity, is it your experience that cats can 'learn' to trust that you'll return from vacation? Will she get more comfortable in the future if we travel and come back, travel and come back? Or will she be scared each time?

In terms of the intro, we've been playing it pretty cool - treats at the gate, visual through the gate, etc. I'm figuring out if I try harness training or I just capitalize on feeling a bit less stressed and try another intro in the main room. I don't know if it was the break, but she seems a bit more sassy to Hawthorne. Like, she holds her ground at the gate (when in her room and he's out) and growls and HE might be the one to walk away. Maybe my imagination. Maybe not. Maybe she's just tired of being in her room, hahah.

I am going also to post, just for interest's sake, examples of them swatting through the gate. It's hard to get a video because as soon as I show up, they both stop and look at me. But you can see. The videos are very short. :) As usual, if you can't hear the volume, envision her growling the whole time with the growling going up in volume and pitch as she swats at him.

Video links: F & H Fussing at Gate 2.MP4
and F & H Fussing at Gate 1.MP4
 
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calicosrspecial

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Hi blumarine916 blumarine916 ! Thanks for posting and sharing your thoughts! I definitely think chilling out (me) will help everything over here. It's just not always my strong suit, hahah. But I am trying. I think Florie and Hawthorne have some foundation of trust but still some chasing/boundaries to figure out. So I'm trying to be more relaxed for that. I appreciate you sharing your experience! I didn't think it was ranty at all! I value hearing from other people - what they did to make it work. It gives me hope!

And hello C calicosrspecial ! We're all doing well over here. Florie seems to be back on track - peeing in her litterbox, purring, grooming, eating. I suppose the bed peeing is something that could occur again if we were to go away, but taking a little more care around the cat sitter meetings and getting comfortable might help. Out of curiousity, is it your experience that cats can 'learn' to trust that you'll return from vacation? Will she get more comfortable in the future if we travel and come back, travel and come back? Or will she be scared each time?

In terms of the intro, we've been playing it pretty cool - treats at the gate, visual through the gate, etc. I'm figuring out if I try harness training or I just capitalize on feeling a bit less stressed and try another intro in the main room. I don't know if it was the break, but she seems a bit more sassy to Hawthorne. Like, she holds her ground at the gate (when in her room and he's out) and growls and HE might be the one to walk away. Maybe my imagination. Maybe not. Maybe she's just tired of being in her room, hahah.

I am going also to post, just for interest's sake, examples of them swatting through the gate. It's hard to get a video because as soon as I show up, they both stop and look at me. But you can see. The videos are very short. :) As usual, if you can't hear the volume, envision her growling the whole time with the growling going up in volume and pitch as she swats at him.

Video links: F & H Fussing at Gate 2.MP4
and F & H Fussing at Gate 1.MP4
Hi blumarine916 blumarine916 blumarine916 blumarine916 ! Thanks for posting and sharing your thoughts!"

"I definitely think chilling out (me) will help everything over here." - :)

" It's just not always my strong suit, hahah." - :)

" But I am trying." - That is the key. Just feel the love and when you see good things take them in.

" I think Florie and Hawthorne have some foundation of trust but still some chasing/boundaries to figure out." - They have a lot of trust. The chasing/boundaries issue is pretty minor. They do have some work to figure that out but it is more of an annoyance rather than a threat issue if that makes sense.

"So I'm trying to be more relaxed for that." - Just feel it try not to force it.

" I appreciate you sharing your experience! I didn't think it was ranty at all! I value hearing from other people - what they did to make it work. It gives me hope!" - Agreed!!!

"And hello C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial ! We're all doing well over here." =- Hello, GREAT!!!

" Florie seems to be back on track - peeing in her litterbox, purring, grooming, eating." GREAT!!! She is very bonded and gets a great deal of confidence from you all.

"I suppose the bed peeing is something that could occur again if we were to go away," - Maybe BUT I don't think so. She learned you would come back. And she will be even more confident by then.

"but taking a little more care around the cat sitter meetings and getting comfortable might help." - Yes, that should help as well.

" Out of curiousity, is it your experience that cats can 'learn' to trust that you'll return from vacation?" - Hahahaha, I answered before you asked. YES!!! :) ABSOLUTELY!!! Florie had a tough start to life but has it great now. This was a big learning experience for her. I think she will be just fine in the future.

" Will she get more comfortable in the future if we travel and come back, travel and come back? Or will she be scared each time?" - I suspect she will be just fine and everything we do from here on will help that.

"In terms of the intro, we've been playing it pretty cool - treats at the gate, visual through the gate, etc. " - Great

"I'm figuring out if I try harness training or I just capitalize on feeling a bit less stressed and try another intro in the main room." - Personally I think they are ready for a main room face to face. A lot of escape routes available, a toy to distract, a sight blocked (cardboard) BUT not hovering over them waiting to use it, etc. Maybe a place she can jump on on to escape him. I think they are absolutely ready. :)

"I don't know if it was the break, but she seems a bit more sassy to Hawthorne." - Really?

" Like, she holds her ground at the gate (when in her room and he's out) and growls and HE might be the one to walk away." - WHOA GOOD JOB FLORIE!!!!

" Maybe my imagination. Maybe not. Maybe she's just tired of being in her room, hahah." - Interesting. IF he is walking away it will give her more mojo and feed on itself. It is funny, sometimes we get a breakthrough when it is least expected. Maybe being on her own gave her some.

"I am going also to post, just for interest's sake, examples of them swatting through the gate." - Great

" It's hard to get a video because as soon as I show up, they both stop and look at me." - Hahahaha, yep, THAT tells me it has no ill intent.

" But you can see. The videos are very short. :) As usual, if you can't hear the volume, envision her growling the whole time with the growling going up in volume and pitch as she swats at him. " - Let's take a look.

Gate 1 video - Yes. Short. He was fine reaching out (gentle) and she was defending/teaching. I mean if she is so afraid of him why go by the gate?????? Hahahahahaha

Gate 2 video - Hawthorne comes to the gate to play, she isn't having any of it. He walks away since she didn't engage. And again. He is trying to play and not getting any reaction so again he walks away. Poor guy. :/ Florie looks relaxed, he comes to the gate again and looks at you. Not a cat looking to get rid of another cat. ;) And Florie walks away. PERFECT!!! They are just fine. MY goodness they are adorable!!!

I think when you are feeling good (and I think you should be given everything - but should and are can be different) they are ready for a face to face. I see two cats that look great, relaxed, mischievous to some degree (on his part) but confident, happy.

On the gate session pull out a toy and see if one of them will play. If we can get them distracted with a toy that would be great and something we can use.

:) GREAT job!!!
 

Graham18

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Hi blumarine916 blumarine916 ! Thanks for posting and sharing your thoughts! I definitely think chilling out (me) will help everything over here. It's just not always my strong suit, hahah. But I am trying. I think Florie and Hawthorne have some foundation of trust but still some chasing/boundaries to figure out. So I'm trying to be more relaxed for that. I appreciate you sharing your experience! I didn't think it was ranty at all! I value hearing from other people - what they did to make it work. It gives me hope!

And hello C calicosrspecial ! We're all doing well over here. Florie seems to be back on track - peeing in her litterbox, purring, grooming, eating. I suppose the bed peeing is something that could occur again if we were to go away, but taking a little more care around the cat sitter meetings and getting comfortable might help. Out of curiousity, is it your experience that cats can 'learn' to trust that you'll return from vacation? Will she get more comfortable in the future if we travel and come back, travel and come back? Or will she be scared each time?

In terms of the intro, we've been playing it pretty cool - treats at the gate, visual through the gate, etc. I'm figuring out if I try harness training or I just capitalize on feeling a bit less stressed and try another intro in the main room. I don't know if it was the break, but she seems a bit more sassy to Hawthorne. Like, she holds her ground at the gate (when in her room and he's out) and growls and HE might be the one to walk away. Maybe my imagination. Maybe not. Maybe she's just tired of being in her room, hahah.

I am going also to post, just for interest's sake, examples of them swatting through the gate. It's hard to get a video because as soon as I show up, they both stop and look at me. But you can see. The videos are very short. :) As usual, if you can't hear the volume, envision her growling the whole time with the growling going up in volume and pitch as she swats at him.

Video links: F & H Fussing at Gate 2.MP4
and F & H Fussing at Gate 1.MP4
They're so cute!

You're videos look like my kitties at their gate to a T.

Keep up the great work :)
 
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Furmama22

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They're so cute!

You're videos look like my kitties at their gate to a T.

Keep up the great work :)
Thank you Graham18 Graham18 ! Our cases are really very similar - except it's my resident cat who is the more playful/rough (and insecure!) fellow and my new cat who is scared! Thanks for your positive feedback and words of encouragement! Right back atcha! Do your kitties also have these swat episodes at the gate and then just leave each other alone for the rest of the time?

And hello C calicosrspecial ! I've been trying to work on my zen by posting less (in an effort to obsess less) but I have only been moderately successful. :) Right now, we are trying switching the cats to the new gate structure where one gets the hallway section (with two bedrooms and the bathroom) and the other gets the main space. So far, Hawthorne is happier. They are both uncertain about the gate but he does a lot less pacing when he's in the 'hallway' section and usually just goes to take a nap on Florie's bed (which is what he does most afternoons anyways). She is the trickier one. When she is in the main room, it's no problem. She's happy to be out there. But when she is in the 'hallway' section, and we're in the main room, she wants to jump the gate. And it's very hard for me to relax because I feel I have to monitor her.

So I guess I have a few questions/thoughts:
1. If she jumps the gate, I guess we can say she isn't THAT scared of Hawthorne. That said, my worry is she has gotten so used to him being 'put away' when she's out, she doesn't really realize he is out here. And then I don't want a surprise situation that I'm not prepared for where they encounter each other and I have no treats, cardboard, etc.
2. If there were to be a surprise situation (and a chase), I guess that might solve the problem of her jumping the gate. But that isn't really how I want it to happen.
3. So lastly, I wonder: what is having HER in the 'hallway' section while he is in the main room achieving? Is is taking us a step forward in them getting used to each other? It expands her territory, which is positive. But she does get a fair amount of 'out' time. If it isn't really moving the dial, then I would rather still have a few times where I close her in her room (or in our bedroom) so I can get a bit of mental break. :) And then I'd rather save my cat energy for trying them together in the main space for a face-to-face or having evening treat sessions or increasing playtime with Hawthorne (to get his beans out) or something like that.

Thanks as always for your thoughts!

PS: you suggested in your last post to try to play with one of them and distract one 'during a gate session.' Do you mean try to play with one while the other is watching? And just test if they can be distracted in that way?

Also PPS: Funny thing about Hawthorne. I've been paying attention to the 'hunt kill eat' cycle and sometimes he literally captures the toy once (one chase, one pounce) and then he goes over to his plate to eat more of his meal. It just kind of makes me laugh. His hunt kill eat cycle is very short, hahaha!
 
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Graham18

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Thank you Graham18 Graham18 ! Our cases are really very similar - except it's my resident cat who is the more playful/rough (and insecure!) fellow and my new cat who is scared! Thanks for your positive feedback and words of encouragement! Right back atcha! Do your kitties also have these swat episodes at the gate and then just leave each other alone for the rest of the time?

And hello C calicosrspecial ! I've been trying to work on my zen by posting less (in an effort to obsess less) but I have only been moderately successful. :) Right now, we are trying switching the cats to the new gate structure where one gets the hallway section (with two bedrooms and the bathroom) and the other gets the main space. So far, Hawthorne is happier. They are both uncertain about the gate but he does a lot less pacing when he's in the 'hallway' section and usually just goes to take a nap on Florie's bed (which is what he does most afternoons anyways). She is the trickier one. When she is in the main room, it's no problem. She's happy to be out there. But when she is in the 'hallway' section, and we're in the main room, she wants to jump the gate. And it's very hard for me to relax because I feel I have to monitor her.

So I guess I have a few questions/thoughts:
1. If she jumps the gate, I guess we can say she isn't THAT scared of Hawthorne. That said, my worry is she has gotten so used to him being 'put away' when she's out, she doesn't really realize he is out here. And then I don't want a surprise situation that I'm not prepared for where they encounter each other and I have no treats, cardboard, etc.
2. If there were to be a surprise situation (and a chase), I guess that might solve the problem of her jumping the gate. But that isn't really how I want it to happen.
3. So lastly, I wonder: what is having HER in the 'hallway' section while he is in the main room achieving? Is is taking us a step forward in them getting used to each other? It expands her territory, which is positive. But she does get a fair amount of 'out' time. If it isn't really moving the dial, then I would rather still have a few times where I close her in her room (or in our bedroom) so I can get a bit of mental break. :) And then I'd rather save my cat energy for trying them together in the main space for a face-to-face or having evening treat sessions or increasing playtime with Hawthorne (to get his beans out) or something like that.

Thanks as always for your thoughts!

PS: you suggested in your last post to try to play with one of them and distract one 'during a gate session.' Do you mean try to play with one while the other is watching? And just test if they can be distracted in that way?

Also PPS: Funny thing about Hawthorne. I've been paying attention to the 'hunt kill eat' cycle and sometimes he literally captures the toy once (one chase, one pounce) and then he goes over to his plate to eat more of his meal. It just kind of makes me laugh. His hunt kill eat cycle is very short, hahaha!
They definitely used to have swatting battles. Fluffy would stick his paws through wanting to play and Sapphire would start wacking him and vice versa. Sapphire mostly ignores him now and will sit just out of his reach.
I found as soon as I was able to have a inescapable gate up while I was gone during the day so they could constantly see eachother, that's when things started to progress further with them :)

Good luck and keep up the great work :)
 

calicosrspecial

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Thank you Graham18 Graham18 ! Our cases are really very similar - except it's my resident cat who is the more playful/rough (and insecure!) fellow and my new cat who is scared! Thanks for your positive feedback and words of encouragement! Right back atcha! Do your kitties also have these swat episodes at the gate and then just leave each other alone for the rest of the time?

And hello C calicosrspecial ! I've been trying to work on my zen by posting less (in an effort to obsess less) but I have only been moderately successful. :) Right now, we are trying switching the cats to the new gate structure where one gets the hallway section (with two bedrooms and the bathroom) and the other gets the main space. So far, Hawthorne is happier. They are both uncertain about the gate but he does a lot less pacing when he's in the 'hallway' section and usually just goes to take a nap on Florie's bed (which is what he does most afternoons anyways). She is the trickier one. When she is in the main room, it's no problem. She's happy to be out there. But when she is in the 'hallway' section, and we're in the main room, she wants to jump the gate. And it's very hard for me to relax because I feel I have to monitor her.

So I guess I have a few questions/thoughts:
1. If she jumps the gate, I guess we can say she isn't THAT scared of Hawthorne. That said, my worry is she has gotten so used to him being 'put away' when she's out, she doesn't really realize he is out here. And then I don't want a surprise situation that I'm not prepared for where they encounter each other and I have no treats, cardboard, etc.
2. If there were to be a surprise situation (and a chase), I guess that might solve the problem of her jumping the gate. But that isn't really how I want it to happen.
3. So lastly, I wonder: what is having HER in the 'hallway' section while he is in the main room achieving? Is is taking us a step forward in them getting used to each other? It expands her territory, which is positive. But she does get a fair amount of 'out' time. If it isn't really moving the dial, then I would rather still have a few times where I close her in her room (or in our bedroom) so I can get a bit of mental break. :) And then I'd rather save my cat energy for trying them together in the main space for a face-to-face or having evening treat sessions or increasing playtime with Hawthorne (to get his beans out) or something like that.

Thanks as always for your thoughts!

PS: you suggested in your last post to try to play with one of them and distract one 'during a gate session.' Do you mean try to play with one while the other is watching? And just test if they can be distracted in that way?

Also PPS: Funny thing about Hawthorne. I've been paying attention to the 'hunt kill eat' cycle and sometimes he literally captures the toy once (one chase, one pounce) and then he goes over to his plate to eat more of his meal. It just kind of makes me laugh. His hunt kill eat cycle is very short, hahaha!
"Do your kitties also have these swat episodes at the gate and then just leave each other alone for the rest of the time?" - How about pulling a toy out when they are batting and let's see if they chose a toy over the batting.

"And hello C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial !" - Hello

" I've been trying to work on my zen by posting less (in an effort to obsess less) " - OK. Well post when you want. Just go with what you feel rather than trying to suppress something that might be in you and might then cause more stress.

"but I have only been moderately successful. :) " - :/ You will be fine. :)

"Right now, we are trying switching the cats to the new gate structure where one gets the hallway section (with two bedrooms and the bathroom) and the other gets the main space." - Great

" So far, Hawthorne is happier." - Fantastic!!!

" They are both uncertain about the gate" - Yes change always brings some uncertainty so just reassure, play, feed, etc. THey will adjust just fine.

" but he does a lot less pacing when he's in the 'hallway' section and usually just goes to take a nap on Florie's bed (which is what he does most afternoons anyways)." - :yess: :hyper: :clap2:

"She is the trickier one. When she is in the main room, it's no problem." - Great

"She's happy to be out there." - :)

" But when she is in the 'hallway' section, and we're in the main room, she wants to jump the gate." Well, that does not sound like a fearful cat. I am sure she knows Hawthorne is out there. ;)

"And it's very hard for me to relax because I feel I have to monitor her." - But maybe she is ahead of us? Maybe she is telling us she is ready to be more "together"?

So I guess I have a few questions/thoughts:
"1. If she jumps the gate, I guess we can say she isn't THAT scared of Hawthorne. " - Hahahaha, well, you are spot on!!! You read my mind (or I did yours!!!) :)

"That said, my worry is she has gotten so used to him being 'put away' when she's out, she doesn't really realize he is out here." - Hmmmm, she knows he is there.

" And then I don't want a surprise situation that I'm not prepared for where they encounter each other and I have no treats, cardboard, etc." - I hear you BUT that anxiety will be picked up by the cats and they will be more anxious fearful and more likely to then get defensive and bad things could happen. I hear you totally but they are so far down the road of trust, acceptance, etc that the fear might be greater than warranted.

"2. If there were to be a surprise situation (and a chase), I guess that might solve the problem of her jumping the gate. But that isn't really how I want it to happen." - I hear you BUT they have to do their part as well. If we are too involved we don't let them develop as needed. BUT I hear you. I am not sure there would be a chase (though it is most likely) and I am not sure it would be severe enough that she would have a massive setback at this point as far down the road they are. And what would happen if you are relaxed, calm and she jumps it and goes up on something, or one of them comes next to you?

"3. So lastly, I wonder: what is having HER in the 'hallway' section while he is in the main room achieving?" - I am assuming the "hallway" section is also her room and maybe even the french door room? It is expanding the territory she "owns" - but maybe she already does?

" Is is taking us a step forward in them getting used to each other? " - Yes

"It expands her territory, which is positive." - Agreed

" But she does get a fair amount of 'out' time." - Yes BUT it also gives Hawthorne more comfort and confidence, correct?

" If it isn't really moving the dial," - I do think it is on those fronts mentioned above.

" then I would rather still have a few times where I close her in her room (or in our bedroom)" - Closing off territory will only keep her smaller and possibly hold back her confidence. We want her big, owning territory, etc.

" so I can get a bit of mental break. :) " - I hear you. But is Hawthorne holding her at bay at the new gate? Showing aggression? Is she that afraid that she doesn't want to possibly expand her territory? Watch the cats trust in each other and see if you can buy in to that. I know you are afraid of what might happen but why or what are you seeing to suggest the bad outcome will happen? It is very often the humans lag the cats in trust, etc. It is normal. Because we love them, want to protect them, etc. BUT we have to trust them and at some point let them work it out.

"And then I'd rather save my cat energy for trying them together in the main space for a face-to-face " - Yes, I hear you. We don't want you stressed, etc.

"or having evening treat sessions or increasing playtime with Hawthorne (to get his beans out) or something like that." - Yes

"Thanks as always for your thoughts!" - Of course. Always!!! :)

"PS: you suggested in your last post to try to play with one of them and distract one 'during a gate session.' Do you mean try to play with one while the other is watching? " - Yes, exactly

"And just test if they can be distracted in that way?" - Sure, test I guess is a good way to say it. Anytime we get one to look away from the other it builds confidence.

"Also PPS: Funny thing about Hawthorne. I've been paying attention to the 'hunt kill eat' cycle and sometimes he literally captures the toy once (one chase, one pounce) and then he goes over to his plate to eat more of his meal. It just kind of makes me laugh. His hunt kill eat cycle is very short, hahaha!" - Awwwwwwwwwwwwww I LOVE him!!!! He was doing that with the treats.

Is he playing more? Is she?

Hang in there. PLEASE do not stress. They are doing great. They both are great, sweet cats and are so far along in trust, respect and acceptance. They are just fine.

I would love to do the face to face in the main area - even if it is throwing treats to him and her watching (or eating next to you).

Hang in there are talk soon. If she jumps the gate she jumps the gate. I do think she knows he is there and telling us something. I really don't want you stressing about what might happen IF she jumps it. We'll deal with whatever happens. They are so far along I don't think they are going back.
 
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Furmama22

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"Do your kitties also have these swat episodes at the gate and then just leave each other alone for the rest of the time?" - How about pulling a toy out when they are batting and let's see if they chose a toy over the batting.

"And hello C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial !" - Hello

" I've been trying to work on my zen by posting less (in an effort to obsess less) " - OK. Well post when you want. Just go with what you feel rather than trying to suppress something that might be in you and might then cause more stress.

"but I have only been moderately successful. :) " - :/ You will be fine. :)

"Right now, we are trying switching the cats to the new gate structure where one gets the hallway section (with two bedrooms and the bathroom) and the other gets the main space." - Great

" So far, Hawthorne is happier." - Fantastic!!!

" They are both uncertain about the gate" - Yes change always brings some uncertainty so just reassure, play, feed, etc. THey will adjust just fine.

" but he does a lot less pacing when he's in the 'hallway' section and usually just goes to take a nap on Florie's bed (which is what he does most afternoons anyways)." - :yess: :hyper: :clap2:

"She is the trickier one. When she is in the main room, it's no problem." - Great

"She's happy to be out there." - :)

" But when she is in the 'hallway' section, and we're in the main room, she wants to jump the gate." Well, that does not sound like a fearful cat. I am sure she knows Hawthorne is out there. ;)

"And it's very hard for me to relax because I feel I have to monitor her." - But maybe she is ahead of us? Maybe she is telling us she is ready to be more "together"?

So I guess I have a few questions/thoughts:
"1. If she jumps the gate, I guess we can say she isn't THAT scared of Hawthorne. " - Hahahaha, well, you are spot on!!! You read my mind (or I did yours!!!) :)

"That said, my worry is she has gotten so used to him being 'put away' when she's out, she doesn't really realize he is out here." - Hmmmm, she knows he is there.

" And then I don't want a surprise situation that I'm not prepared for where they encounter each other and I have no treats, cardboard, etc." - I hear you BUT that anxiety will be picked up by the cats and they will be more anxious fearful and more likely to then get defensive and bad things could happen. I hear you totally but they are so far down the road of trust, acceptance, etc that the fear might be greater than warranted.

"2. If there were to be a surprise situation (and a chase), I guess that might solve the problem of her jumping the gate. But that isn't really how I want it to happen." - I hear you BUT they have to do their part as well. If we are too involved we don't let them develop as needed. BUT I hear you. I am not sure there would be a chase (though it is most likely) and I am not sure it would be severe enough that she would have a massive setback at this point as far down the road they are. And what would happen if you are relaxed, calm and she jumps it and goes up on something, or one of them comes next to you?

"3. So lastly, I wonder: what is having HER in the 'hallway' section while he is in the main room achieving?" - I am assuming the "hallway" section is also her room and maybe even the french door room? It is expanding the territory she "owns" - but maybe she already does?

" Is is taking us a step forward in them getting used to each other? " - Yes

"It expands her territory, which is positive." - Agreed

" But she does get a fair amount of 'out' time." - Yes BUT it also gives Hawthorne more comfort and confidence, correct?

" If it isn't really moving the dial," - I do think it is on those fronts mentioned above.

" then I would rather still have a few times where I close her in her room (or in our bedroom)" - Closing off territory will only keep her smaller and possibly hold back her confidence. We want her big, owning territory, etc.

" so I can get a bit of mental break. :) " - I hear you. But is Hawthorne holding her at bay at the new gate? Showing aggression? Is she that afraid that she doesn't want to possibly expand her territory? Watch the cats trust in each other and see if you can buy in to that. I know you are afraid of what might happen but why or what are you seeing to suggest the bad outcome will happen? It is very often the humans lag the cats in trust, etc. It is normal. Because we love them, want to protect them, etc. BUT we have to trust them and at some point let them work it out.

"And then I'd rather save my cat energy for trying them together in the main space for a face-to-face " - Yes, I hear you. We don't want you stressed, etc.

"or having evening treat sessions or increasing playtime with Hawthorne (to get his beans out) or something like that." - Yes

"Thanks as always for your thoughts!" - Of course. Always!!! :)

"PS: you suggested in your last post to try to play with one of them and distract one 'during a gate session.' Do you mean try to play with one while the other is watching? " - Yes, exactly

"And just test if they can be distracted in that way?" - Sure, test I guess is a good way to say it. Anytime we get one to look away from the other it builds confidence.

"Also PPS: Funny thing about Hawthorne. I've been paying attention to the 'hunt kill eat' cycle and sometimes he literally captures the toy once (one chase, one pounce) and then he goes over to his plate to eat more of his meal. It just kind of makes me laugh. His hunt kill eat cycle is very short, hahaha!" - Awwwwwwwwwwwwww I LOVE him!!!! He was doing that with the treats.

Is he playing more? Is she?

Hang in there. PLEASE do not stress. They are doing great. They both are great, sweet cats and are so far along in trust, respect and acceptance. They are just fine.

I would love to do the face to face in the main area - even if it is throwing treats to him and her watching (or eating next to you).

Hang in there are talk soon. If she jumps the gate she jumps the gate. I do think she knows he is there and telling us something. I really don't want you stressing about what might happen IF she jumps it. We'll deal with whatever happens. They are so far along I don't think they are going back.
Hello C calicosrspecial ! I have a couple of updates. Firstly, Florie jumped the gate yesterday evening. She jumped out and knocked over a piece of cardboard in the process, so Hawthorne got a big scared tail (from the noise) and ran and hid behind the sofa, where he has no visuals and couldn't see her. I'm not convinced he even knew she was out, and I'm not convinced she knew HE was out. I tried to remain very calm, and I thought I was, until after when I realized my heard was racing, etc. I startle easily and my stress response in my body is very overactive, so even when I try to remain calm, my body doesn't always listen (which frustrates me!). But anyways. She was very confident when she first jumped out, and then I think either realized Hawthorne was around or got scared by our energy. She hid under a living room table and then ran into the basement and we closed the door. And that was that. After a couple of minutes both were fine - Hawthorne calmed and took a nap upstairs; Florie watched the baseball game downstairs with my partner.

We also tried two face-to-face sessions yesterday. When she was ready to come out of the basement, we tried engaging Hawthorne in treats in another area of the living room and the opening the door so she could come out. She peeked out and saw him, and ran back down into the basement. Eventually my partner just picked her up and carried her back to her room.

Then we did bedtime treats together and (as you kind of said above) basically she watched him from the hallway entrance while he chased treats. She kind of tucked herself behind my partner and just watched/would eat the treats that came to her while in her safe spot. Then, when she sensed things were wrapping up, she quickly walked into our bedroom (to avoid having to go back into her own room, haha).

So my partner and I both agree - we don't think she jumps the gate because she isn't scared of him. We both think she is still scared of him. Part of it could just be the readjustment to the new gate - seeing him in new settings. My sense is, if given the choice, she would just avoid interacting with him/seeing him at all, if she could. And up to this point, I've been viewing that as a good thing. And, to some degree, I've been accommodating it by putting him in another room so she can come out into the main space.

In terms of territory, I think she is comfortable. She goes into every room with no issues; she sleeps on the new cat tree; she does whatever she likes. Other than Hawthorne, she seems totally at home here.

But as you say, now we need both of them to do their work.

Should I continue with site swapping or is it just confusing her that sometimes Hawthorne is out in the main room and sometimes he isn't. She's begun to trust that he's never around when she's out (hence the gate jumping). But I need her to step up and figure out a way to co-exist in the same space. And I need him to do it too. (And I'm doing my part too to remain calm).

- We can continue with evening treats face-to-face.
- In terms of the gate, should I make it so that basically Hawthorne is out ALL of the time in the main room and she gets the hallway/bedrooms and then she knows this is where he is? Or is that unfair after she's now had months of getting to come into the main room? Maybe that's what we do as a last resort.
- I'm also working on the harness/anxiety vest with Hawthorne. I'm trying to associate it with treats to make him less apprehensive. We'll see. Then I'm hoping we can have them both in this main room and she can at least stick around for more then ten seconds before running to the basement.

Am I missing anything else?

Sometimes I'm tempted to do what blumarine916 blumarine916 did and just remove all the gates and say "this is life now! figure it out!". :)
 
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calicosrspecial

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Hello C calicosrspecial ! I have a couple of updates. Firstly, Florie jumped the gate yesterday evening. She jumped out and knocked over a piece of cardboard in the process, so Hawthorne got a big scared tail (from the noise) and ran and hid behind the sofa, where he has no visuals and couldn't see her. I'm not convinced he even knew she was out, and I'm not convinced she knew HE was out. I tried to remain very calm, and I thought I was, until after when I realized my heard was racing, etc. I startle easily and my stress response in my body is very overactive, so even when I try to remain calm, my body doesn't always listen (which frustrates me!). But anyways. She was very confident when she first jumped out, and then I think either realized Hawthorne was around or got scared by our energy. She hid under a living room table and then ran into the basement and we closed the door. And that was that. After a couple of minutes both were fine - Hawthorne calmed and took a nap upstairs; Florie watched the baseball game downstairs with my partner.

We also tried two face-to-face sessions yesterday. When she was ready to come out of the basement, we tried engaging Hawthorne in treats in another area of the living room and the opening the door so she could come out. She peeked out and saw him, and ran back down into the basement. Eventually my partner just picked her up and carried her back to her room.

Then we did bedtime treats together and (as you kind of said above) basically she watched him from the hallway entrance while he chased treats. She kind of tucked herself behind my partner and just watched/would eat the treats that came to her while in her safe spot. Then, when she sensed things were wrapping up, she quickly walked into our bedroom (to avoid having to go back into her own room, haha).

So my partner and I both agree - we don't think she jumps the gate because she isn't scared of him. We both think she is still scared of him. Part of it could just be the readjustment to the new gate - seeing him in new settings. My sense is, if given the choice, she would just avoid interacting with him/seeing him at all, if she could. And up to this point, I've been viewing that as a good thing. And, to some degree, I've been accommodating it by putting him in another room so she can come out into the main space.

In terms of territory, I think she is comfortable. She goes into every room with no issues; she sleeps on the new cat tree; she does whatever she likes. Other than Hawthorne, she seems totally at home here.

But as you say, now we need both of them to do their work.

Should I continue with site swapping or is it just confusing her that sometimes Hawthorne is out in the main room and sometimes he isn't. She's begun to trust that he's never around when she's out (hence the gate jumping). But I need her to step up and figure out a way to co-exist in the same space. And I need him to do it too. (And I'm doing my part too to remain calm).

- We can continue with evening treats face-to-face.
- In terms of the gate, should I make it so that basically Hawthorne is out ALL of the time in the main room and she gets the hallway/bedrooms and then she knows this is where he is? Or is that unfair after she's now had months of getting to come into the main room? Maybe that's what we do as a last resort.
- I'm also working on the harness/anxiety vest with Hawthorne. I'm trying to associate it with treats to make him less apprehensive. We'll see. Then I'm hoping we can have them both in this main room and she can at least stick around for more then ten seconds before running to the basement.

Am I missing anything else?

Sometimes I'm tempted to do what blumarine916 blumarine916 did and just remove all the gates and say "this is life now! figure it out!". :)
"Hello C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial ! I have a couple of updates." - Hi, great.

" Firstly, Florie jumped the gate yesterday evening." - Very interesting!!!

" She jumped out and knocked over a piece of cardboard in the process," - Yep :/ Happens often.

"so Hawthorne got a big scared tail (from the noise) and ran and hid behind the sofa," - Awwwwwww, yes, he doesn't like noises if I remember correctly. :/ Poor guy.

"where he has no visuals and couldn't see her." - Ok

" I'm not convinced he even knew she was out," - Possibly. It probably was the noise base don what you have told me about him.

" and I'm not convinced she knew HE was out." - Hmmmmmmm, not sure about that. She knows he is somewhere so if not with her and not in the french door room where could he be?

" I tried to remain very calm," - Great!!!

" and I thought I was, until after when I realized my heard was racing, etc." - Awwwwwwwwwww. It is ok and understandable.

" I startle easily and my stress response in my body is very overactive, so even when I try to remain calm, my body doesn't always listen (which frustrates me!)." - Yes, that does happen. Don't let it frustrate you as that only makes it worse. Just accept that is how it is and let's then work with it.

" But anyways. She was very confident when she first jumped out," - GREAT!!!! That tells me she feels "ownership" of that territory which is GREAT!!!

"and then I think either realized Hawthorne was around" - Ok, if he was hiding how would she know he was around but not before?

" or got scared by our energy." - Possibly. Did you move faster? Or make any "different" movements?

" She hid under a living room table and then ran into the basement" - Ok. That is fine. Did he confront her, chase her?

"and we closed the door." - Ok, was he chasing her? If not, just leave the door open and monitor/distract him. Does he ever go downstairs?

" And that was that." - Ok. Was there any chase, confrontation? If not this is really good.

" After a couple of minutes both were fine - Hawthorne calmed and took a nap upstairs; Florie watched the baseball game downstairs with my partner." - :yess: :hyper: :clap2: Success so whatever may have happened it was not negative. There may have been caution, maybe even fear BUT it was not realized!!! Which is GREAT!!

"We also tried two face-to-face sessions yesterday." - Ok. Any after the jump the gate incident?

" When she was ready to come out of the basement, we tried engaging Hawthorne in treats in another area of the living room and the opening the door so she could come out. " - GREAT job!! Exactly the right thing to do!!!

"She peeked out and saw him, and ran back down into the basement." - Ok, not an issue as long as he didn't chase and then attack her, etc. In fact, anytime her fear or caution is unwarranted it builds confidence.

" Eventually my partner just picked her up and carried her back to her room." - Ok. I would lvoe to try to either let her be and let her come up on her own OR coax her with treats, a toy, etc to come up.

"Then we did bedtime treats together and (as you kind of said above) basically she watched him from the hallway entrance while he chased treats." - Perfect. Positive encounter if he isn't going after her, etc.

" She kind of tucked herself behind my partner and just watched/would eat the treats that came to her while in her safe spot." - GREAT!!!

" Then, when she sensed things were wrapping up, she quickly walked into our bedroom (to avoid having to go back into her own room, haha)." - Great!!! How much time does Hawthorne spend in your bedroom?

"So my partner and I both agree - we don't think she jumps the gate because she isn't scared of him. " - Well, if she is scared of him why would she jump the gate? Because the reward of the territory is greater than the fear? I think so which is GREAT!!!

"We both think she is still scared of him." - Maybe a touch BUT at what point was that fear realized?

" Part of it could just be the readjustment to the new gate - seeing him in new settings." - Possibly. But this incident was a success.

" My sense is, if given the choice, she would just avoid interacting with him/seeing him at all, if she could." - That is fine.

" And up to this point, I've been viewing that as a good thing." - Agreed, that is fine.

" And, to some degree, I've been accommodating it by putting him in another room so she can come out into the main space." - Well, the goal of that is to increase territorial security and therefore confidence. And a confident cat is more likely to accept or be accepted.

"In terms of territory, I think she is comfortable. She goes into every room with no issues; she sleeps on the new cat tree; she does whatever she likes." - TOTALLY AGREE!!

"Other than Hawthorne, she seems totally at home here." - Well she does eat treats by him so other than at times is probably more accurate.

"But as you say, now we need both of them to do their work." - Exactly and once she has these situations and realizes he isn't after her she'll trust more.

"Should I continue with site swapping or is it just confusing her that sometimes Hawthorne is out in the main room and sometimes he isn't." - Absolutely continue site swapping.

" She's begun to trust that he's never around when she's out (hence the gate jumping)." - I am totally convinced she knew he was out there. But let's say she didn't know then she will learn and learn how to adjust to him being there.

" But I need her to step up and figure out a way to co-exist in the same space. And I need him to do it too. (And I'm doing my part too to remain calm)." - AGREED!!! Which means doing what you are doing and continue with face to face in teh main area with multiple escape routes, distraction, etc.

"- We can continue with evening treats face-to-face." - Perfect. In the main room with multiple escape routes.

"- In terms of the gate, should I make it so that basically Hawthorne is out ALL of the time in the main room and she gets the hallway/bedrooms and then she knows this is where he is? " - No, continue site swapping.

"Or is that unfair after she's now had months of getting to come into the main room? " - It would be unfair and more importantly harmful to her progress

"Maybe that's what we do as a last resort." - We don't need a last resort. ;)

"- I'm also working on the harness/anxiety vest with Hawthorne." - Ok, it is unnecessary but it is fine as long as it doesn't create stress in him.

"I'm trying to associate it with treats to make him less apprehensive. We'll see." - Great. The key is not to cause him stress, etc.

" Then I'm hoping we can have them both in this main room" - They can be in the main room now. Use treats and he will be distracted.

" and she can at least stick around for more then ten seconds before running to the basement." - But if she runs to the basement and nothing negative happens she will learn she doesn't need to run.

"Am I missing anything else?" - No. Other than just really think about what this encounter really was. Why was it negative in your view? Is that accurate? Etc.

"Sometimes I'm tempted to do what blumarine916 blumarine916 blumarine916 blumarine916 did and just remove all the gates and say "this is life now! figure it out!". :) " - I think that might actually be a pretty good option. I would like a bit more time before doing it but I think we are REALLY close to doing that. :)

Keep up the great work and hang in there. I KNOW you are worried but I do think it is unwarranted. I saw that as totally positive and will help them progress. Nothing in that incident was a setback. :)
 
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Furmama22

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"Hello C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial ! I have a couple of updates." - Hi, great.

" Firstly, Florie jumped the gate yesterday evening." - Very interesting!!!

" She jumped out and knocked over a piece of cardboard in the process," - Yep :/ Happens often.

"so Hawthorne got a big scared tail (from the noise) and ran and hid behind the sofa," - Awwwwwww, yes, he doesn't like noises if I remember correctly. :/ Poor guy.

"where he has no visuals and couldn't see her." - Ok

" I'm not convinced he even knew she was out," - Possibly. It probably was the noise base don what you have told me about him.

" and I'm not convinced she knew HE was out." - Hmmmmmmm, not sure about that. She knows he is somewhere so if not with her and not in the french door room where could he be?

" I tried to remain very calm," - Great!!!

" and I thought I was, until after when I realized my heard was racing, etc." - Awwwwwwwwwww. It is ok and understandable.

" I startle easily and my stress response in my body is very overactive, so even when I try to remain calm, my body doesn't always listen (which frustrates me!)." - Yes, that does happen. Don't let it frustrate you as that only makes it worse. Just accept that is how it is and let's then work with it.

" But anyways. She was very confident when she first jumped out," - GREAT!!!! That tells me she feels "ownership" of that territory which is GREAT!!!

"and then I think either realized Hawthorne was around" - Ok, if he was hiding how would she know he was around but not before?

" or got scared by our energy." - Possibly. Did you move faster? Or make any "different" movements?

" She hid under a living room table and then ran into the basement" - Ok. That is fine. Did he confront her, chase her?

"and we closed the door." - Ok, was he chasing her? If not, just leave the door open and monitor/distract him. Does he ever go downstairs?

" And that was that." - Ok. Was there any chase, confrontation? If not this is really good.

" After a couple of minutes both were fine - Hawthorne calmed and took a nap upstairs; Florie watched the baseball game downstairs with my partner." - :yess: :hyper: :clap2: Success so whatever may have happened it was not negative. There may have been caution, maybe even fear BUT it was not realized!!! Which is GREAT!!

"We also tried two face-to-face sessions yesterday." - Ok. Any after the jump the gate incident?

" When she was ready to come out of the basement, we tried engaging Hawthorne in treats in another area of the living room and the opening the door so she could come out. " - GREAT job!! Exactly the right thing to do!!!

"She peeked out and saw him, and ran back down into the basement." - Ok, not an issue as long as he didn't chase and then attack her, etc. In fact, anytime her fear or caution is unwarranted it builds confidence.

" Eventually my partner just picked her up and carried her back to her room." - Ok. I would lvoe to try to either let her be and let her come up on her own OR coax her with treats, a toy, etc to come up.

"Then we did bedtime treats together and (as you kind of said above) basically she watched him from the hallway entrance while he chased treats." - Perfect. Positive encounter if he isn't going after her, etc.

" She kind of tucked herself behind my partner and just watched/would eat the treats that came to her while in her safe spot." - GREAT!!!

" Then, when she sensed things were wrapping up, she quickly walked into our bedroom (to avoid having to go back into her own room, haha)." - Great!!! How much time does Hawthorne spend in your bedroom?

"So my partner and I both agree - we don't think she jumps the gate because she isn't scared of him. " - Well, if she is scared of him why would she jump the gate? Because the reward of the territory is greater than the fear? I think so which is GREAT!!!

"We both think she is still scared of him." - Maybe a touch BUT at what point was that fear realized?

" Part of it could just be the readjustment to the new gate - seeing him in new settings." - Possibly. But this incident was a success.

" My sense is, if given the choice, she would just avoid interacting with him/seeing him at all, if she could." - That is fine.

" And up to this point, I've been viewing that as a good thing." - Agreed, that is fine.

" And, to some degree, I've been accommodating it by putting him in another room so she can come out into the main space." - Well, the goal of that is to increase territorial security and therefore confidence. And a confident cat is more likely to accept or be accepted.

"In terms of territory, I think she is comfortable. She goes into every room with no issues; she sleeps on the new cat tree; she does whatever she likes." - TOTALLY AGREE!!

"Other than Hawthorne, she seems totally at home here." - Well she does eat treats by him so other than at times is probably more accurate.

"But as you say, now we need both of them to do their work." - Exactly and once she has these situations and realizes he isn't after her she'll trust more.

"Should I continue with site swapping or is it just confusing her that sometimes Hawthorne is out in the main room and sometimes he isn't." - Absolutely continue site swapping.

" She's begun to trust that he's never around when she's out (hence the gate jumping)." - I am totally convinced she knew he was out there. But let's say she didn't know then she will learn and learn how to adjust to him being there.

" But I need her to step up and figure out a way to co-exist in the same space. And I need him to do it too. (And I'm doing my part too to remain calm)." - AGREED!!! Which means doing what you are doing and continue with face to face in teh main area with multiple escape routes, distraction, etc.

"- We can continue with evening treats face-to-face." - Perfect. In the main room with multiple escape routes.

"- In terms of the gate, should I make it so that basically Hawthorne is out ALL of the time in the main room and she gets the hallway/bedrooms and then she knows this is where he is? " - No, continue site swapping.

"Or is that unfair after she's now had months of getting to come into the main room? " - It would be unfair and more importantly harmful to her progress

"Maybe that's what we do as a last resort." - We don't need a last resort. ;)

"- I'm also working on the harness/anxiety vest with Hawthorne." - Ok, it is unnecessary but it is fine as long as it doesn't create stress in him.

"I'm trying to associate it with treats to make him less apprehensive. We'll see." - Great. The key is not to cause him stress, etc.

" Then I'm hoping we can have them both in this main room" - They can be in the main room now. Use treats and he will be distracted.

" and she can at least stick around for more then ten seconds before running to the basement." - But if she runs to the basement and nothing negative happens she will learn she doesn't need to run.

"Am I missing anything else?" - No. Other than just really think about what this encounter really was. Why was it negative in your view? Is that accurate? Etc.

"Sometimes I'm tempted to do what blumarine916 blumarine916 blumarine916 blumarine916 did and just remove all the gates and say "this is life now! figure it out!". :) " - I think that might actually be a pretty good option. I would like a bit more time before doing it but I think we are REALLY close to doing that. :)

Keep up the great work and hang in there. I KNOW you are worried but I do think it is unwarranted. I saw that as totally positive and will help them progress. Nothing in that incident was a setback. :)
Thank you! I'm glad it was positive! I have to remember - nothing happens = positive. :) No, he didn't chase her during any of the encounters. When she jumped the gate he was scared and hid the whole time - I'm not sure he really saw her run downstairs. And for the other two face to face visits (which happened after the gate jumping) he was primarily focussed on his treats.

So we will continue on! And I will remember that even if she runs, so long as he doesn't chase her, she'll learn that it's ok. And hopefully even if he does chase her, she'll learn that she's fine afterwards and it isn't life or death.

You also asked how much time Hawthorne spends in our bedroom. Not a ton, really! He prefers to sleep on Florie's bed, when given the chance - he's sleeping there now. He normally joins me on the bed in the morning to wake me up, although the last two nights we had Florie sleep in our room with us (since she goes in there after bedtime treats anyways) so he hasn't had bedroom access. He doesn't seem to mind that much. And of course, he spent part of the week we were away in that bedroom. But otherwise, when he's in the 'hallway' territory, he sleeps on her bed.

I know that my fear isn't rational - he's past the point of wanting to really harm her, I think, and now just wants to play/chase/run her out of the room a bit, if he can. I don't quite know why I can't keep perspective. :) But I know that's equally key to this process! :)

Thanks again for your thoughts! I always find your perspective incredibly valuable.
 

calicosrspecial

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Thank you! I'm glad it was positive! I have to remember - nothing happens = positive. :) No, he didn't chase her during any of the encounters. When she jumped the gate he was scared and hid the whole time - I'm not sure he really saw her run downstairs. And for the other two face to face visits (which happened after the gate jumping) he was primarily focussed on his treats.

So we will continue on! And I will remember that even if she runs, so long as he doesn't chase her, she'll learn that it's ok. And hopefully even if he does chase her, she'll learn that she's fine afterwards and it isn't life or death.

You also asked how much time Hawthorne spends in our bedroom. Not a ton, really! He prefers to sleep on Florie's bed, when given the chance - he's sleeping there now. He normally joins me on the bed in the morning to wake me up, although the last two nights we had Florie sleep in our room with us (since she goes in there after bedtime treats anyways) so he hasn't had bedroom access. He doesn't seem to mind that much. And of course, he spent part of the week we were away in that bedroom. But otherwise, when he's in the 'hallway' territory, he sleeps on her bed.

I know that my fear isn't rational - he's past the point of wanting to really harm her, I think, and now just wants to play/chase/run her out of the room a bit, if he can. I don't quite know why I can't keep perspective. :) But I know that's equally key to this process! :)

Thanks again for your thoughts! I always find your perspective incredibly valuable.
"Thank you! " - You are welcome

"I'm glad it was positive!" - Me too!! :)

" I have to remember - nothing happens = positive. :) " - Exactly!!!

"No, he didn't chase her during any of the encounters." - Perfect!!!

"When she jumped the gate he was scared and hid the whole time" - Yes

" - I'm not sure he really saw her run downstairs." - Probably not which is good.

"And for the other two face to face visits (which happened after the gate jumping) he was primarily focussed on his treats." - :yess: :hyper: :clap2: THIS IS HUGE!!! This tells us a lot. He choses something good (treats) over bullying, eliminating her. They are just fine. :)

"So we will continue on!" - Perfect!!!

" And I will remember that even if she runs, so long as he doesn't chase her, she'll learn that it's ok. " - Exactly and feel free to distract him so he doesn't.

"And hopefully even if he does chase her, she'll learn that she's fine afterwards and it isn't life or death." - Exactly. I don't see him wanting to kill or eliminate her (if he did he would be doing that ALL THE TIME). SO he might try to bully her, put her in her place, etc but she'll learn he isn't that bad.

"You also asked how much time Hawthorne spends in our bedroom. Not a ton, really!" - Interesting. But once in a while?

" He prefers to sleep on Florie's bed, when given the chance - he's sleeping there now." - Awwwwwwwwwww

"He normally joins me on the bed in the morning to wake me up," - Awwwwwwwwwww

" although the last two nights we had Florie sleep in our room with us (since she goes in there after bedtime treats anyways)" - Awwwww, spoiled girl :)

" so he hasn't had bedroom access. He doesn't seem to mind that much." - As long as he doesn't mind too much. Which if he did it would be noticeable.

"And of course, he spent part of the week we were away in that bedroom." - Ok

"But otherwise, when he's in the 'hallway' territory, he sleeps on her bed" - Hahahahaha, yeah, he is just fine with her..

"I know that my fear isn't rational" - Great. Well, I wouldn't say "isn't rational", I would say "unwarranted". I think that is an important distinction.

"- he's past the point of wanting to really harm her, I think," - GREAT!!! And I totally agree.

"and now just wants to play/chase/run her out of the room a bit, if he can." - Yes but he hasn't done that in a while and it isn't that often.

." I don't quite know why I can't keep perspective. :) " - Because you love them and don't want anyone hurt!! Seems rational to me!!!

"But I know that's equally key to this process! :) " - Yes ;) AND the fact you know is a big step forward!!!

"Thanks again for your thoughts! " - You are very welcome.

"I always find your perspective incredibly valuable. " - That is great, I hope so. I will not lead you astray!!! My goal is to get them successfully intro'd and the family to be happy. We are soooooooooooo close. :) Just keep up the great work!!! :)
 
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Furmama22

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"Thank you! " - You are welcome

"I'm glad it was positive!" - Me too!! :)

" I have to remember - nothing happens = positive. :) " - Exactly!!!

"No, he didn't chase her during any of the encounters." - Perfect!!!

"When she jumped the gate he was scared and hid the whole time" - Yes

" - I'm not sure he really saw her run downstairs." - Probably not which is good.

"And for the other two face to face visits (which happened after the gate jumping) he was primarily focussed on his treats." - :yess: :hyper: :clap2: THIS IS HUGE!!! This tells us a lot. He choses something good (treats) over bullying, eliminating her. They are just fine. :)

"So we will continue on!" - Perfect!!!

" And I will remember that even if she runs, so long as he doesn't chase her, she'll learn that it's ok. " - Exactly and feel free to distract him so he doesn't.

"And hopefully even if he does chase her, she'll learn that she's fine afterwards and it isn't life or death." - Exactly. I don't see him wanting to kill or eliminate her (if he did he would be doing that ALL THE TIME). SO he might try to bully her, put her in her place, etc but she'll learn he isn't that bad.

"You also asked how much time Hawthorne spends in our bedroom. Not a ton, really!" - Interesting. But once in a while?

" He prefers to sleep on Florie's bed, when given the chance - he's sleeping there now." - Awwwwwwwwwww

"He normally joins me on the bed in the morning to wake me up," - Awwwwwwwwwww

" although the last two nights we had Florie sleep in our room with us (since she goes in there after bedtime treats anyways)" - Awwwww, spoiled girl :)

" so he hasn't had bedroom access. He doesn't seem to mind that much." - As long as he doesn't mind too much. Which if he did it would be noticeable.

"And of course, he spent part of the week we were away in that bedroom." - Ok

"But otherwise, when he's in the 'hallway' territory, he sleeps on her bed" - Hahahahaha, yeah, he is just fine with her..

"I know that my fear isn't rational" - Great. Well, I wouldn't say "isn't rational", I would say "unwarranted". I think that is an important distinction.

"- he's past the point of wanting to really harm her, I think," - GREAT!!! And I totally agree.

"and now just wants to play/chase/run her out of the room a bit, if he can." - Yes but he hasn't done that in a while and it isn't that often.

." I don't quite know why I can't keep perspective. :) " - Because you love them and don't want anyone hurt!! Seems rational to me!!!

"But I know that's equally key to this process! :) " - Yes ;) AND the fact you know is a big step forward!!!

"Thanks again for your thoughts! " - You are very welcome.

"I always find your perspective incredibly valuable. " - That is great, I hope so. I will not lead you astray!!! My goal is to get them successfully intro'd and the family to be happy. We are soooooooooooo close. :) Just keep up the great work!!! :)
Hello! Hope you're having a good week!

Nothing much to report - we did another before bed treat session last night and she was willing to come a little bit into the main room (and out of the hallway), though not far. Hawthorne did keep focussed on his treats.

The rest has been all the same - a bit of site swapping, though I do still close her in our bedroom for a bit in the afternoon and in her own room a bit after supper. I notice she really only likes to use the litterbox when she is alone in her own room. I think in the ten months I've had her I've seen her actually pee only once. Otherwise it always happens behind closed doors. So she needs a bit of time (at least at this point) so she goes to the bathroom.

Anyways, she hasn't jumped the gate again but that's largely because I haven't given her the opportunity to jump the gate again - by closing the door to whatever room she is in, if she isn't in the main space for her time to be 'out'.

She's also been sleeping in our bedroom overnight. My partner was wondering if that's harmful to her progress in any way - making her less independent. I didn't think so, but wanted your thoughts.

I have tried to work with Hawthorne on the harness but, to my disappointment (but not utter shock), I don't think that's going to work. He's not a cat who likes to be handled really even at the best of times, and he does not like to have his belly touched, and this harness velcros underneath at the belly. I've been trying to use treats to make the harness a positive association, but today I tried to lay it on him and just clasp it underneath and he hissed at me and got worked up. So I don't know it's worth the frustration.

So that leaves us back where we were before. Is there anything else I can be doing? We will keep doing face-to-face bedtime treats. We can try, where possible, to do face-to-face supper.

I'm confident he will still want to chase her. Is there any way to get around that (clicker training? something else?), or is it just something that needs to be got through, until she stands up to him? If it's something we just need to work through, then really me postponing them having more time together isn't really helping. It's more just...delaying the inevitable. :)
 

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Hello! Hope you're having a good week!

Nothing much to report - we did another before bed treat session last night and she was willing to come a little bit into the main room (and out of the hallway), though not far. Hawthorne did keep focussed on his treats.

The rest has been all the same - a bit of site swapping, though I do still close her in our bedroom for a bit in the afternoon and in her own room a bit after supper. I notice she really only likes to use the litterbox when she is alone in her own room. I think in the ten months I've had her I've seen her actually pee only once. Otherwise it always happens behind closed doors. So she needs a bit of time (at least at this point) so she goes to the bathroom.

Anyways, she hasn't jumped the gate again but that's largely because I haven't given her the opportunity to jump the gate again - by closing the door to whatever room she is in, if she isn't in the main space for her time to be 'out'.

She's also been sleeping in our bedroom overnight. My partner was wondering if that's harmful to her progress in any way - making her less independent. I didn't think so, but wanted your thoughts.

I have tried to work with Hawthorne on the harness but, to my disappointment (but not utter shock), I don't think that's going to work. He's not a cat who likes to be handled really even at the best of times, and he does not like to have his belly touched, and this harness velcros underneath at the belly. I've been trying to use treats to make the harness a positive association, but today I tried to lay it on him and just clasp it underneath and he hissed at me and got worked up. So I don't know it's worth the frustration.

So that leaves us back where we were before. Is there anything else I can be doing? We will keep doing face-to-face bedtime treats. We can try, where possible, to do face-to-face supper.

I'm confident he will still want to chase her. Is there any way to get around that (clicker training? something else?), or is it just something that needs to be got through, until she stands up to him? If it's something we just need to work through, then really me postponing them having more time together isn't really helping. It's more just...delaying the inevitable. :)
"Hello! Hope you're having a good week!" - Hello

"Nothing much to report " - Ok

"- we did another before bed treat session last night and she was willing to come a little bit into the main room (and out of the hallway), though not far. Hawthorne did keep focussed on his treats." - GREAT!!!! :yess: :hyper: :clap2:

"The rest has been all the same - a bit of site swapping," - Great

" though I do still close her in our bedroom for a bit in the afternoon and in her own room a bit after supper." - Ok

" I notice she really only likes to use the litterbox when she is alone in her own room. I think in the ten months I've had her I've seen her actually pee only once. Otherwise it always happens behind closed doors. So she needs a bit of time (at least at this point) so she goes to the bathroom." - OK, that i not uncommon. If there is a more private place you can add a litter box (since some cats do like privacy) that might be helpful.

""Anyways, she hasn't jumped the gate again but that's largely because I haven't given her the opportunity to jump the gate again - by closing the door to whatever room she is in, if she isn't in the main space for her time to be 'out'." - Ok. I really hope we can keep the door open and the gates up if at all possible. I don't want her to feel insecure feeling territory is being closed off, etc. If she decides to jump it she is telling us she is ok with it.

"She's also been sleeping in our bedroom overnight. My partner was wondering if that's harmful to her progress in any way - making her less independent. I didn't think so, but wanted your thoughts." - As long as Hawthorne is ok with it it is perfectly fine. In fact probably builds her confidence.

"I have tried to work with Hawthorne on the harness but, to my disappointment (but not utter shock), I don't think that's going to work. He's not a cat who likes to be handled really even at the best of times, and he does not like to have his belly touched, and this harness velcros underneath at the belly. I've been trying to use treats to make the harness a positive association, but today I tried to lay it on him and just clasp it underneath and he hissed at me and got worked up. So I don't know it's worth the frustration." - I don't think it is necessary at all. And if it causes him stress it will actually cause more issues.

Remember in your first line - "Hawthorne did keep focussed on his treats.". He is not all out after her if he choses treats or over. He doesn't need a harness.

"So that leaves us back where we were before. Is there anything else I can be doing?" - Just let them move forward. We need them to realize that the other cat is not a threat. But we need them to be with each other.

" We will keep doing face-to-face bedtime treats. " - Great

"We can try, where possible, to do face-to-face supper." - Absolutely do this as often as possible. I would really like to see them out in the main room eating a meal.

"I'm confident he will still want to chase her." - Maybe. It will depend on the success of the distraction, her behavior. It has been a while since he chased her and he has had opportunities so............................. If they eat a meal in the main room and then you guide them (not pick them up, etc) with a toy or treats and do that a few times I think you will see some good things.

Is he playing at all?

"Is there any way to get around that (clicker training? something else?)," - I don't do clicker training but I know people use that successfully. I would use his treat/play way, use a toy if possible, words, etc.

"or is it just something that needs to be got through, until she stands up to him?" - The ultimate solution will be for her to hold her ground, make him stop in his tracks and then they look away, walk away. I don't think she is there yet BUT I am not convinced he is going to chase every time. I do think he would chase down a treat before he is "locked" on to her.

" If it's something we just need to work through, then really me postponing them having more time together isn't really helping. It's more just...delaying the inevitable. :) " - Well, I think it is helping though very marginally. Anytime we have no negative encounters it builds trust and confidence. BUT at some point we have to take the test. Now my method is reinforce but push a touch rather than go full out test (like let them be etc). So I would be doing meals in the main room and then distracting when they finish. If one is a faster eater and the problem then try to get them to slow down with a slow feeder, etc.

I do think they are a lot closer than you think. But I want you to see it, believe it. But the only way we can do that is to test them. And be really "on" with our distraction. I think he will chose a treat (in his play way) over her every time. And I think he will chose a meal (when he is hungry) over her every time. And she will see he has no intention of going after her and get that confidence.

So far since you came back I have not read one negative thing really. So I think, no closed doors, mealtime in the main room, treats at the gate, distract as needed. If you see them locking on each other distract. If you can diffuse the tension it is a big win. See if she'll play in front of him. If she runs try to get him distracted and if he doesn't chase her it is a huge win. If he does chase try to get him to back off (safely) and watch how fast they rebound from it. Even a chase and a batting incident (if better than feared) can be a confidence builder. OF COURSE we don't want that but if it happens it doesn't always have to be a setback.

Please try not to putt too much pressure on yourself and the cats. At this point I just do not believe Hawthorne is going to harm her. Or course there is a 1% chance maybe or some small chance but I just don't see him as a mean cat wanting to eliminate her. We have to trust them to some degree so they trust themselves and each other. She jumped the gate the other day and nothing happened. THAT tells me a lot. IF he really had issues with her she would not have jumped the gate and if she did he would have done something other than he did.

Hang in there, they are really close. Once you see him walk away from her a few times I think your confidence will skyrocket (as will Florie's). You are doing great, if you weren't we would not be here debating them having more face to face access. :)
 
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Furmama22

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"Hello! Hope you're having a good week!" - Hello

"Nothing much to report " - Ok

"- we did another before bed treat session last night and she was willing to come a little bit into the main room (and out of the hallway), though not far. Hawthorne did keep focussed on his treats." - GREAT!!!! :yess: :hyper: :clap2:

"The rest has been all the same - a bit of site swapping," - Great

" though I do still close her in our bedroom for a bit in the afternoon and in her own room a bit after supper." - Ok

" I notice she really only likes to use the litterbox when she is alone in her own room. I think in the ten months I've had her I've seen her actually pee only once. Otherwise it always happens behind closed doors. So she needs a bit of time (at least at this point) so she goes to the bathroom." - OK, that i not uncommon. If there is a more private place you can add a litter box (since some cats do like privacy) that might be helpful.

""Anyways, she hasn't jumped the gate again but that's largely because I haven't given her the opportunity to jump the gate again - by closing the door to whatever room she is in, if she isn't in the main space for her time to be 'out'." - Ok. I really hope we can keep the door open and the gates up if at all possible. I don't want her to feel insecure feeling territory is being closed off, etc. If she decides to jump it she is telling us she is ok with it.

"She's also been sleeping in our bedroom overnight. My partner was wondering if that's harmful to her progress in any way - making her less independent. I didn't think so, but wanted your thoughts." - As long as Hawthorne is ok with it it is perfectly fine. In fact probably builds her confidence.

"I have tried to work with Hawthorne on the harness but, to my disappointment (but not utter shock), I don't think that's going to work. He's not a cat who likes to be handled really even at the best of times, and he does not like to have his belly touched, and this harness velcros underneath at the belly. I've been trying to use treats to make the harness a positive association, but today I tried to lay it on him and just clasp it underneath and he hissed at me and got worked up. So I don't know it's worth the frustration." - I don't think it is necessary at all. And if it causes him stress it will actually cause more issues.

Remember in your first line - "Hawthorne did keep focussed on his treats.". He is not all out after her if he choses treats or over. He doesn't need a harness.

"So that leaves us back where we were before. Is there anything else I can be doing?" - Just let them move forward. We need them to realize that the other cat is not a threat. But we need them to be with each other.

" We will keep doing face-to-face bedtime treats. " - Great

"We can try, where possible, to do face-to-face supper." - Absolutely do this as often as possible. I would really like to see them out in the main room eating a meal.

"I'm confident he will still want to chase her." - Maybe. It will depend on the success of the distraction, her behavior. It has been a while since he chased her and he has had opportunities so............................. If they eat a meal in the main room and then you guide them (not pick them up, etc) with a toy or treats and do that a few times I think you will see some good things.

Is he playing at all?

"Is there any way to get around that (clicker training? something else?)," - I don't do clicker training but I know people use that successfully. I would use his treat/play way, use a toy if possible, words, etc.

"or is it just something that needs to be got through, until she stands up to him?" - The ultimate solution will be for her to hold her ground, make him stop in his tracks and then they look away, walk away. I don't think she is there yet BUT I am not convinced he is going to chase every time. I do think he would chase down a treat before he is "locked" on to her.

" If it's something we just need to work through, then really me postponing them having more time together isn't really helping. It's more just...delaying the inevitable. :) " - Well, I think it is helping though very marginally. Anytime we have no negative encounters it builds trust and confidence. BUT at some point we have to take the test. Now my method is reinforce but push a touch rather than go full out test (like let them be etc). So I would be doing meals in the main room and then distracting when they finish. If one is a faster eater and the problem then try to get them to slow down with a slow feeder, etc.

I do think they are a lot closer than you think. But I want you to see it, believe it. But the only way we can do that is to test them. And be really "on" with our distraction. I think he will chose a treat (in his play way) over her every time. And I think he will chose a meal (when he is hungry) over her every time. And she will see he has no intention of going after her and get that confidence.

So far since you came back I have not read one negative thing really. So I think, no closed doors, mealtime in the main room, treats at the gate, distract as needed. If you see them locking on each other distract. If you can diffuse the tension it is a big win. See if she'll play in front of him. If she runs try to get him distracted and if he doesn't chase her it is a huge win. If he does chase try to get him to back off (safely) and watch how fast they rebound from it. Even a chase and a batting incident (if better than feared) can be a confidence builder. OF COURSE we don't want that but if it happens it doesn't always have to be a setback.

Please try not to putt too much pressure on yourself and the cats. At this point I just do not believe Hawthorne is going to harm her. Or course there is a 1% chance maybe or some small chance but I just don't see him as a mean cat wanting to eliminate her. We have to trust them to some degree so they trust themselves and each other. She jumped the gate the other day and nothing happened. THAT tells me a lot. IF he really had issues with her she would not have jumped the gate and if she did he would have done something other than he did.

Hang in there, they are really close. Once you see him walk away from her a few times I think your confidence will skyrocket (as will Florie's). You are doing great, if you weren't we would not be here debating them having more face to face access. :)
Ok I'll try to do a little more with the gates!! When I'm working, it's difficult for me to monitor/pay attention to the gates and my office is at the one end of the hallway while the gate is at the other end. Do you think I should still do the gates up even if I can't be there (immediately) to distract if she jumps it?

I'm confident she will jump. I've noticed the last two meals she growls at Hawthorne when she is done (if he isn't) because she wants him to leave. Then, I think, if given the opportunity, she would jump the gate. As you noted, I'm not sure she necessarily wants to interact with him (and sometimes I think she's not quite sure what she would do if she encountered him - she hasn't really thought the plan out that far), but she also wants her liberty and to go where she wants. :)

My partner is also working quite a lot lately, so mealtimes will be just me! I have to get the courage to maybe try a meal face-to-face even it's just me. Perhaps I'll sit between them. :)

I agree I think he'll choose a treat or meal over her, but when the treat/meal is over, that's when she becomes more interesting to him again. :)
 
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calicosrspecial

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Ok I'll try to do a little more with the gates. When I'm working, it's difficult for me to monitor/pay attention to the gates and my office is at the one end of the hallway while the gate is at the other. Do you think I should still do the gates up even if I can't be there (immediately) to distract if she jumps it?

I'm confident she will jump. I've noticed the last two meals she growls at Hawthorne when she is done (if he isn't) because she wants him to leave. Then, I think, if given the opportunity, she would jump the gate. As you noted, I'm not sure she necessarily wants to interact with him (and sometimes I think she's not quite sure what she would do if she encountered him - she hasn't really thought the plan out that far), but she also wants her liberty and to go where she wants.
"Ok I'll try to do a little more with the gates." - Great

" When I'm working, it's difficult for me to monitor/pay attention to the gates and my office is at the one end of the hallway while the gate is at the other." - Yes, I totally understand. Is anyone with you in the office while you are working? Or is it too distracting?

"Do you think I should still do the gates up even if I can't be there (immediately) to distract if she jumps it?" - Great question. I think so. Ideally is she can be with you in the office that would be great BUT I assume it may be distracting.

"I'm confident she will jump." - Ok. Well, that tells me she doesn't fear him that much. I am a little surprised they both aren't sleeping since not much is probably going on. :/

"I've noticed the last two meals she growls at Hawthorne when she is done (if he isn't) because she wants him to leave." - Or just telling him not to try anything. And if he is behaving that is fine. If it causes him to get agitated then it is a bit silly for her to do it. How does he react to the growling?

"Then, I think, if given the opportunity, she would jump the gate. " - So she growls at him (with the gate there) then you think she would jump the gate if he wasn't there? Maybe you are right, she is telling him "move" so I can go out there. Hahahaha. I think that is pretty good. That might be a bit of confidence showing.

"As you noted, I'm not sure she necessarily wants to interact with him (and sometimes I think she's not quite sure what she would do if she encountered him - she hasn't really thought the plan out that far), " - No, she doesn't want to fight him, etc.

"but she also wants her liberty and to go where she wants." - Yes, she is ready. And that tells me her "liberty" is more of a positive payoff then her fear of him. THAT is what we want to see.

So, I want to ask you. What are you biggest fears? I assume your first is they fight and injury happens. I would assume the next is they have a negative encounter and it sets them back a lot for the intro process. Any others? Personally I think both are minuscule risks. I don't see them wanting the hurt each other (I think they know the line and have respect) and I think they are well past the intro risk point (they will live together in harmony). But do you have any other fears?

Hang in there. Don't overthink or stress too much about all this. :) They are going to be just fine. Of course it will not be prefect (it very rarely is) but if we can have them loving life, etc it is a win. And I think they are doing great so far and once we get them to be able to roam about we'll be there fully. :) We are really close!!! :)
 
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Furmama22

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"Ok I'll try to do a little more with the gates." - Great

" When I'm working, it's difficult for me to monitor/pay attention to the gates and my office is at the one end of the hallway while the gate is at the other." - Yes, I totally understand. Is anyone with you in the office while you are working? Or is it too distracting?

"Do you think I should still do the gates up even if I can't be there (immediately) to distract if she jumps it?" - Great question. I think so. Ideally is she can be with you in the office that would be great BUT I assume it may be distracting.

"I'm confident she will jump." - Ok. Well, that tells me she doesn't fear him that much. I am a little surprised they both aren't sleeping since not much is probably going on. :/

"I've noticed the last two meals she growls at Hawthorne when she is done (if he isn't) because she wants him to leave." - Or just telling him not to try anything. And if he is behaving that is fine. If it causes him to get agitated then it is a bit silly for her to do it. How does he react to the growling?

"Then, I think, if given the opportunity, she would jump the gate. " - So she growls at him (with the gate there) then you think she would jump the gate if he wasn't there? Maybe you are right, she is telling him "move" so I can go out there. Hahahaha. I think that is pretty good. That might be a bit of confidence showing.

"As you noted, I'm not sure she necessarily wants to interact with him (and sometimes I think she's not quite sure what she would do if she encountered him - she hasn't really thought the plan out that far), " - No, she doesn't want to fight him, etc.

"but she also wants her liberty and to go where she wants." - Yes, she is ready. And that tells me her "liberty" is more of a positive payoff then her fear of him. THAT is what we want to see.

So, I want to ask you. What are you biggest fears? I assume your first is they fight and injury happens. I would assume the next is they have a negative encounter and it sets them back a lot for the intro process. Any others? Personally I think both are minuscule risks. I don't see them wanting the hurt each other (I think they know the line and have respect) and I think they are well past the intro risk point (they will live together in harmony). But do you have any other fears?

Hang in there. Don't overthink or stress too much about all this. :) They are going to be just fine. Of course it will not be prefect (it very rarely is) but if we can have them loving life, etc it is a win. And I think they are doing great so far and once we get them to be able to roam about we'll be there fully. :) We are really close!!! :)
I think those are my fears! A fight and a set back, or chasing that goes on forever (like, becomes bullying and she becomes unhappy), or anything that sets us back, although other than it being stressful to have this unfinished process hanging over us, both are happy and living a very nice life, even with all the swapping spots and so on. So at worse, a setback sets us back to...where we are right now!

And with the fighting, I don't want any injury, but honestly Hawthorne and Tennyson used to play/fight/get a bit rough (mostly Hawthorne instigating) and twice Hawthorne had a cheek abscess from their encounters, but they were otherwise totally fine! So I know fighting can happen even with cats that get along.

So really the fears aren't rational. I just seem to get anxious/nervous when they are close together and then I think about how I'm anxious/nervous. So I might try some deep breathing! :)
 

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I think those are my fears! A fight and a set back, or chasing that goes on forever (like, becomes bullying and she becomes unhappy), or anything that sets us back, although other than it being stressful to have this unfinished process hanging over us, both are happy and living a very nice life, even with all the swapping spots and so on. So at worse, a setback sets us back to...where we are right now!

And with the fighting, I don't want any injury, but honestly Hawthorne and Tennyson used to play/fight/get a bit rough (mostly Hawthorne instigating) and twice Hawthorne had a cheek abscess from their encounters, but they were otherwise totally fine! So I know fighting can happen even with cats that get along.

So really the fears aren't rational. I just seem to get anxious/nervous when they are close together and then I think about how I'm anxious/nervous. So I might try some deep breathing! :)
"I think those are my fears!" - Ok, great

"A fight and a set back, " - Yes, those are usually the fears. So I tend to think about those all the time when doing intros (trying to avoid them).

"or chasing that goes on forever (like, becomes bullying and she becomes unhappy)," - Yes, that is very rare and usually can be handled. There are at times chases and disagreements and even some paw batting but if it is an issue we handle it and mitigate it or solve it.

" or anything that sets us back, " - The catch all ;) Yes, anything else. :)

"although other than it being stressful to have this unfinished process hanging over us, " - I get a sense it is a lot more stressful for the humans than the cats. ;) It usually is so it is a safe assumption on my part. ;)

"both are happy and living a very nice life, even with all the swapping spots and so on." - Exactly. Which IF there would be issues would not be happening.

"So at worse, a setback sets us back to...where we are right now!" - Exactly or slight back which is absolutely able to be handled.

"And with the fighting, I don't want any injury," - EXACTLY!!! THAT is the biggest thing I watch for. I don't want any animal or human injured. That is one of the reasons why I take it slowly.

" but honestly Hawthorne and Tennyson used to play/fight/get a bit rough (mostly Hawthorne instigating)" - Yes. The key is to know where the line is and respect it and not cross it.

"and twice Hawthorne had a cheek abscess from their encounters," - Wow, I did not know that. Probably an accident. It happens.

" but they were otherwise totally fine! So I know fighting can happen even with cats that get along." - Exactly. Disagreements can happen and things can happen BUT it usually is pretty noticeable when it is a passing moment vs something more serious.

"So really the fears aren't rational." - I disagree. It is rational I just think overblown. But I find a lot of people have the same issues, you are no different. We want them to be safe, happy, we love them so we fear things.

" I just seem to get anxious/nervous when they are close together" - A LOT of people do. That is normal. The key is to find the balance. What do the anxiety/nerves accomplish? Other than create negative energy for the cats really nothing. Of course, it is easier said than done to manage them. Before Covid I would go out with newbies and deal with ferals. And I would see how emotions (fear, anxiety) would feed the cats and cause issues. I would then do the same actions (with calm and confidence) and the ferals would be totally different, the person couldn't understand. It is amazing how emotions impact the cats (though honestly I think in your situation your fears aren't impacting Florie and Hawthorne that much - because they are doing so well). IF you were really as anxious as you think I would think it would impact the cats more, they would be having a lot more issues. So either you are not as anxious as you think or they handle it pretty well.

"and then I think about how I'm anxious/nervous." - Yep, and it can feed on itself. :/

" So I might try some deep breathing! :) " - :) Or just look at them and feel the love you have for them. It is like when we feel something (a pain, or hunger or something ) and then we get our mind on something else and forget what we were thinking about.

:) Don't worry, they are just fine and going to be intro'd. I think they might just surprise you.

I have another funny story that I have heard multiple times. Worried cat parents. Where a parent is in another room or they leave the house for a bit. The cats are "put away". And they walk back into the home or room and find the cats sleeping in the same room. No blood, no broken stuff, etc. And they think "what was I so worried about"!!! I have heard that one quite a few times............ :)

Not that I recommend that. I do like a bit of supervision. ;)
 
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Furmama22

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"I think those are my fears!" - Ok, great

"A fight and a set back, " - Yes, those are usually the fears. So I tend to think about those all the time when doing intros (trying to avoid them).

"or chasing that goes on forever (like, becomes bullying and she becomes unhappy)," - Yes, that is very rare and usually can be handled. There are at times chases and disagreements and even some paw batting but if it is an issue we handle it and mitigate it or solve it.

" or anything that sets us back, " - The catch all ;) Yes, anything else. :)

"although other than it being stressful to have this unfinished process hanging over us, " - I get a sense it is a lot more stressful for the humans than the cats. ;) It usually is so it is a safe assumption on my part. ;)

"both are happy and living a very nice life, even with all the swapping spots and so on." - Exactly. Which IF there would be issues would not be happening.

"So at worse, a setback sets us back to...where we are right now!" - Exactly or slight back which is absolutely able to be handled.

"And with the fighting, I don't want any injury," - EXACTLY!!! THAT is the biggest thing I watch for. I don't want any animal or human injured. That is one of the reasons why I take it slowly.

" but honestly Hawthorne and Tennyson used to play/fight/get a bit rough (mostly Hawthorne instigating)" - Yes. The key is to know where the line is and respect it and not cross it.

"and twice Hawthorne had a cheek abscess from their encounters," - Wow, I did not know that. Probably an accident. It happens.

" but they were otherwise totally fine! So I know fighting can happen even with cats that get along." - Exactly. Disagreements can happen and things can happen BUT it usually is pretty noticeable when it is a passing moment vs something more serious.

"So really the fears aren't rational." - I disagree. It is rational I just think overblown. But I find a lot of people have the same issues, you are no different. We want them to be safe, happy, we love them so we fear things.

" I just seem to get anxious/nervous when they are close together" - A LOT of people do. That is normal. The key is to find the balance. What do the anxiety/nerves accomplish? Other than create negative energy for the cats really nothing. Of course, it is easier said than done to manage them. Before Covid I would go out with newbies and deal with ferals. And I would see how emotions (fear, anxiety) would feed the cats and cause issues. I would then do the same actions (with calm and confidence) and the ferals would be totally different, the person couldn't understand. It is amazing how emotions impact the cats (though honestly I think in your situation your fears aren't impacting Florie and Hawthorne that much - because they are doing so well). IF you were really as anxious as you think I would think it would impact the cats more, they would be having a lot more issues. So either you are not as anxious as you think or they handle it pretty well.

"and then I think about how I'm anxious/nervous." - Yep, and it can feed on itself. :/

" So I might try some deep breathing! :) " - :) Or just look at them and feel the love you have for them. It is like when we feel something (a pain, or hunger or something ) and then we get our mind on something else and forget what we were thinking about.

:) Don't worry, they are just fine and going to be intro'd. I think they might just surprise you.

I have another funny story that I have heard multiple times. Worried cat parents. Where a parent is in another room or they leave the house for a bit. The cats are "put away". And they walk back into the home or room and find the cats sleeping in the same room. No blood, no broken stuff, etc. And they think "what was I so worried about"!!! I have heard that one quite a few times............ :)

Not that I recommend that. I do like a bit of supervision. ;)
I think I'd be delighted if that happened, hahaha!
 
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Furmama22

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Agreed!!!! :)
I was thinking about it yesterday and I realized one other fear too - that somehow they just won't get along ever and I'll have to rehome Florie. That's the real fear at the bottom of this whole thing. I love her too much to have that happen! :)

Last night treat session was good - she came a little further out to get some treats. Hawthorne stayed focussed on his treats. They both ate breakfast together at the gate. I can't really get them closer than say, four feet (two feet on each side of the gate) but I figure that's ok. :)

We're also trying to figure out a way to prevent her from jumping the gate in the hallway. That would give me some peace of mind, especially overnight or when (in September) I have to go back to the office. She seems to understand she can knock cardboard away so I'm trying to think of other options. Then I'll feel comfortable leaving her door open and doing gates up all of the time.
 

calicosrspecial

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I was thinking about it yesterday and I realized one other fear too - that somehow they just won't get along ever and I'll have to rehome Florie. That's the real fear at the bottom of this whole thing. I love her too much to have that happen! :)

Last night treat session was good - she came a little further out to get some treats. Hawthorne stayed focussed on his treats. They both ate breakfast together at the gate. I can't really get them closer than say, four feet (two feet on each side of the gate) but I figure that's ok. :)

We're also trying to figure out a way to prevent her from jumping the gate in the hallway. That would give me some peace of mind, especially overnight or when (in September) I have to go back to the office. She seems to understand she can knock cardboard away so I'm trying to think of other options. Then I'll feel comfortable leaving her door open and doing gates up all of the time.
"I was thinking about it yesterday and I realized one other fear too - that somehow they just won't get along ever and I'll have to rehome Florie." - I forgot that one as well because I already put that to bed. :/ Maybe that is a .0000000001% risk.

"That's the real fear at the bottom of this whole thing." - Ok, that is good to know. I personally think we passed that risk a long time ago but we need to prove that to you. Good to know.

"I love her too much to have that happen! :) " - Agreed!!! But honestly I don't think that is anywhere on the radar. There is not one thing that makes me think that is anywhere near a possibility.

"Last night treat session was good - she came a little further out to get some treats." - GREAT!!!

" Hawthorne stayed focussed on his treats." - This tells us everything. If the above risk was anywhere near on the radar there is NO WAY this would be happening.

"They both ate breakfast together at the gate. I can't really get them closer than say, four feet (two feet on each side of the gate) but I figure that's ok. :) " - Totally fine. Not an issue at all. If they eat and all is good then it is positive.

"We're also trying to figure out a way to prevent her from jumping the gate in the hallway." - Ok, but honestly I would not worry too much about it. She needs to think about the risk vs reward. I actually want her to think more about that.

" That would give me some peace of mind," - Ok, I understand. BUT I do think it is best to keep it like it is for now if at all possible.

Is she with you in the office at all or is she in a different room (or Hawthorne?)?

" especially overnight" - So how is it now overnight?

"or when (in September) I have to go back to the office." - Or maybe we will be intro'd by then. ;) But I understand IF we get to that point then yes, we can do something to prevent her from jumping. BUT I am not sure that is something we are going to need to deal with.

"She seems to understand she can knock cardboard away" - Hahahahaha, yep, they do figure it out. Now, if she was that afraid of him...................

"so I'm trying to think of other options." - Ok

I do guess they will be sleeping and watching birds etc when you are gone but it is good to think of an option.

"Then I'll feel comfortable leaving her door open and doing gates up all of the time. " - Ok. I understand. I do think we'll have them intro'd by then but it is good to have a backup plan.

Who do you think is more worried, you or Florie?

I am again not reading anything to suggest any issues with them. We do need to get them out in the main room (her playing, them eating, or chasing treats (a form of playing), hanging out, etc). The hall is problematic because there is only one way of escape (well 2, through him or retreat). She is doing amazingly well there but it does make it harder. BUT they are doing great with it. I do think out in the main room will give a better setup.

How are they playing? If she can play in front of him and he watches that would be huge as well.

Hang in there. They are doing great. We are going to get there. :)
 
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