Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost

calicosrspecial

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Hello!! Knock on wood, the cats seem to be good! The incident seems to have had no effect on Hawthorne - he's as half spicy/half uninterested as ever. He seems exactly the same.

Florie is doing a bit more growling, especially when I throw the treats for both of them and he starts running/chasing the treats. She is very suspicious of him then. But I could still get them to do bedtime treat pastes about a foot apart (through the bars of the gate - I have one paste for her in one hand and one paste for him through the gate in the other hand) and that was fine before she started growling when I threw the greenies treats.

So basically all as was before, with her occasionally growling at something he is doing that she might have not growled at before. I presume she is just warning him - 'don't try anything, I see you there, back off'. Sometimes he doesn't appear to be doing anything, so I'm not entirely clear on her rubric for deciding when to growl.

But on the whole, all good. She's using her litterbox no problem, eating and drinking.

So despite the serious nature of the fear pooping, we seem to be ok! I will pick up face-to-face intros in a week maybe - I start my new job on Monday, so the cats will first have to adjust to being alone for the better part of the day.

Also, yesterday morning Florie found the mouse back that she lost - it was in the roller thing at the top of the blinds!! I could see it's little tail sticking out. *Shudder*. My partner carried it outside. Anyways, I am guessing that's why she jumped back in through the gates on that day - she wanted to find the mouse again.

Also, last comment - I noticed Hawthorne's nails are a bit long, so I'll trim them. But it's additional confirmation that he could have seriously hurt her and didn't. So I'm keeping the faith that we can still get them to get along, or at least, just leave each other alone. :)

Thanks for checking in!!! Hope you have/are having a lovely weekend!
"Hello!! Knock on wood, the cats seem to be good! " - Great

"The incident seems to have had no effect on Hawthorne - he's as half spicy/half uninterested as ever. He seems exactly the same." - PERFECT!!!! THAT tells me he is accepting her and doesn't view her as a threat and THAT is REALLY important for the resident cat since it is "their" territory being "invaded"/threatened. FANTASTIC news!!!

"Florie is doing a bit more growling," - Ok, not surprising but as long as nothing negative is happening it is fine.

" especially when I throw the treats for both of them and he starts running/chasing the treats. She is very suspicious of him then." - Yes but if he is behaving it shows her that he is not a threat and her fears are greater than the reality.

"But I could still get them to do bedtime treat pastes about a foot apart (through the bars of the gate - I have one paste for her in one hand and one paste for him through the gate in the other hand) and that was fine before she started growling when I threw the greenies treats." - Perfect!!! They are fine. :)

So far so good!!!

"So basically all as was before, with her occasionally growling at something he is doing that she might have not growled at before." - Terrific. And as long as he is behaving it is fine. As lng as it stays positive and her fears re not realized it will give her trust and confidence.

I am SO PROUD of Hawthorne!!!!

"I presume she is just warning him - 'don't try anything, I see you there, back off'. Sometimes he doesn't appear to be doing anything, so I'm not entirely clear on her rubric for deciding when to growl." - Exactly!!! Just fear. We don;t know what her history is so there might be trauma from the past. BUT he is behaving and being REALLY GREAT!!!

"But on the whole, all good. She's using her litterbox no problem, eating and drinking." - Great

I actually wonder if that was a "watershed" moment in their relationship.

"So despite the serious nature of the fear pooping, we seem to be ok!" - YES!!! AGREED!!!

" I will pick up face-to-face intros in a week maybe" - Ok, let's see. IF you have time I think you could do face to face today.

" - I start my new job on Monday, so the cats will first have to adjust to being alone for the better part of the day." - Ok. That will be a big change. So maybe we just watch them, let's see how they do and we'll figure out when it best based on how they are acting.

Good luck on the new job!! Hope you love it!!

"Also, yesterday morning Florie found the mouse back that she lost - it was in the roller thing at the top of the blinds!! I could see it's little tail sticking out. *Shudder*. My partner carried it outside. Anyways, I am guessing that's why she jumped back in through the gates on that day - she wanted to find the mouse again." - Ahhhhh, yep.

"Also, last comment - I noticed Hawthorne's nails are a bit long, so I'll trim them. But it's additional confirmation that he could have seriously hurt her and didn't." - Totally agree. He did not want to hurt her because he easily could have if he wanted to (long nails or not).

"So I'm keeping the faith that we can still get them to get along, or at least, just leave each other alone. :)" - I am even more confident now they are going to be just fine, intro'd successfully. There is a lot more acceptance and trust than you may realize.

"Thanks for checking in!!! Hope you have/are having a lovely weekend! " - You are welcome. You too!! :)
 
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"Hello!! Knock on wood, the cats seem to be good! " - Great

"The incident seems to have had no effect on Hawthorne - he's as half spicy/half uninterested as ever. He seems exactly the same." - PERFECT!!!! THAT tells me he is accepting her and doesn't view her as a threat and THAT is REALLY important for the resident cat since it is "their" territory being "invaded"/threatened. FANTASTIC news!!!

"Florie is doing a bit more growling," - Ok, not surprising but as long as nothing negative is happening it is fine.

" especially when I throw the treats for both of them and he starts running/chasing the treats. She is very suspicious of him then." - Yes but if he is behaving it shows her that he is not a threat and her fears are greater than the reality.

"But I could still get them to do bedtime treat pastes about a foot apart (through the bars of the gate - I have one paste for her in one hand and one paste for him through the gate in the other hand) and that was fine before she started growling when I threw the greenies treats." - Perfect!!! They are fine. :)

So far so good!!!

"So basically all as was before, with her occasionally growling at something he is doing that she might have not growled at before." - Terrific. And as long as he is behaving it is fine. As lng as it stays positive and her fears re not realized it will give her trust and confidence.

I am SO PROUD of Hawthorne!!!!

"I presume she is just warning him - 'don't try anything, I see you there, back off'. Sometimes he doesn't appear to be doing anything, so I'm not entirely clear on her rubric for deciding when to growl." - Exactly!!! Just fear. We don;t know what her history is so there might be trauma from the past. BUT he is behaving and being REALLY GREAT!!!

"But on the whole, all good. She's using her litterbox no problem, eating and drinking." - Great

I actually wonder if that was a "watershed" moment in their relationship.

"So despite the serious nature of the fear pooping, we seem to be ok!" - YES!!! AGREED!!!

" I will pick up face-to-face intros in a week maybe" - Ok, let's see. IF you have time I think you could do face to face today.

" - I start my new job on Monday, so the cats will first have to adjust to being alone for the better part of the day." - Ok. That will be a big change. So maybe we just watch them, let's see how they do and we'll figure out when it best based on how they are acting.

Good luck on the new job!! Hope you love it!!

"Also, yesterday morning Florie found the mouse back that she lost - it was in the roller thing at the top of the blinds!! I could see it's little tail sticking out. *Shudder*. My partner carried it outside. Anyways, I am guessing that's why she jumped back in through the gates on that day - she wanted to find the mouse again." - Ahhhhh, yep.

"Also, last comment - I noticed Hawthorne's nails are a bit long, so I'll trim them. But it's additional confirmation that he could have seriously hurt her and didn't." - Totally agree. He did not want to hurt her because he easily could have if he wanted to (long nails or not).

"So I'm keeping the faith that we can still get them to get along, or at least, just leave each other alone. :)" - I am even more confident now they are going to be just fine, intro'd successfully. There is a lot more acceptance and trust than you may realize.

"Thanks for checking in!!! Hope you have/are having a lovely weekend! " - You are welcome. You too!! :)
Hello hello! Just checking in and giving a quick update. And that update is that there are no changes, haha. I started my new position two weeks ago and it's been a whirlwind - very busy, plus having to go back to the office some of the days of the week. The cats have been adjusting reasonably well to that, although they are both kind of needy when I get home and both want to be out in the main room and not in the other territory. I definitely notice both are more anxious on the days I've been gone to the office.

They are doing pretty well in general still - Hawthorne mostly can leave Florence alone, even when she is sitting right up against the gate (which she likes to do now, because as noted above, she wants to be out in the main space as often as possible and not in the bedroom area, if we aren't in there). Hawthorne's preferred water bowl is in a room where he has to walk right past her sitting at the gate, and she sets up a mighty hiss and growl, and he can still usually walk past. Other times, they encounter each other at the gate and it's the usual growl/hiss/snarl/spit from her, and snorts from him, and she backs up a foot or two, and then that's that.

If I'm switching the territories, I can now pretty much always do it with treats. I give each a treat in a certain spot and then can guide each one around with treats to different areas until they've kind of moved locations and one has moved into the hallway area and the other out and then I close the gate and boom! they're switched. That said, Florence is still definitely scared/uncertain of him. He is typically busying paying attention to treats and she goes for the treats as well but I can tell she is also paying attention to his location in the room.

On one occasion while we were doing the switch, Hawthorne's treat went rogue and kind of went flying towards her and that quick movement/proximity scared her and she ran away a few feet. He just went for the treat and looked back at me again, so that was good. But I did notice after that for a few days, she would growl even when he started to chase/run after the treats, even if it wasn't nearby her.

Anyways, she has a hair trigger for these things, which we already knew.

Pretty much I'm the one holding things up at this point - just not having the energy in the evenings. But they both very badly want to be out with us after we get home from work, so I know it's only fair to return to getting them together.

So the same update as usual! I hope to gather my energy and try the face-to-face regime soon, and then get into a pattern.
 

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Sorry if I’m jumping into this thread late without all the details, but noticed “other territory” - are you separating them at times?
 
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Furmama22

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Sorry if I’m jumping into this thread late without all the details, but noticed “other territory” - are you separating them at times?
Hello there! Yes, they have been separated the entire time - we split the house into two territories, so they can see each other whenever they want and come together for meals etc, but they are separated by a gate.
 

calicosrspecial

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Hello hello! Just checking in and giving a quick update. And that update is that there are no changes, haha. I started my new position two weeks ago and it's been a whirlwind - very busy, plus having to go back to the office some of the days of the week. The cats have been adjusting reasonably well to that, although they are both kind of needy when I get home and both want to be out in the main room and not in the other territory. I definitely notice both are more anxious on the days I've been gone to the office.

They are doing pretty well in general still - Hawthorne mostly can leave Florence alone, even when she is sitting right up against the gate (which she likes to do now, because as noted above, she wants to be out in the main space as often as possible and not in the bedroom area, if we aren't in there). Hawthorne's preferred water bowl is in a room where he has to walk right past her sitting at the gate, and she sets up a mighty hiss and growl, and he can still usually walk past. Other times, they encounter each other at the gate and it's the usual growl/hiss/snarl/spit from her, and snorts from him, and she backs up a foot or two, and then that's that.

If I'm switching the territories, I can now pretty much always do it with treats. I give each a treat in a certain spot and then can guide each one around with treats to different areas until they've kind of moved locations and one has moved into the hallway area and the other out and then I close the gate and boom! they're switched. That said, Florence is still definitely scared/uncertain of him. He is typically busying paying attention to treats and she goes for the treats as well but I can tell she is also paying attention to his location in the room.

On one occasion while we were doing the switch, Hawthorne's treat went rogue and kind of went flying towards her and that quick movement/proximity scared her and she ran away a few feet. He just went for the treat and looked back at me again, so that was good. But I did notice after that for a few days, she would growl even when he started to chase/run after the treats, even if it wasn't nearby her.

Anyways, she has a hair trigger for these things, which we already knew.

Pretty much I'm the one holding things up at this point - just not having the energy in the evenings. But they both very badly want to be out with us after we get home from work, so I know it's only fair to return to getting them together.

So the same update as usual! I hope to gather my energy and try the face-to-face regime soon, and then get into a pattern.
"Hello hello! Just checking in and giving a quick update. And that update is that there are no changes, haha." - Hello, great.

" I started my new position two weeks ago and it's been a whirlwind - very busy, plus having to go back to the office some of the days of the week." - I figured you were very busy.

" The cats have been adjusting reasonably well to that," - That is GREAT!!!!

" although they are both kind of needy when I get home" - Understandable, that is a big change.

" and both want to be out in the main room and not in the other territory." - That is actually great. We can work off of that.

"I definitely notice both are more anxious on the days I've been gone to the office." - Totally. Cats do not like change so that is expected. But if it is just anxious and not bad behavior then it is ok.

"They are doing pretty well in general still" - Great, let's see

" - Hawthorne mostly can leave Florence alone, even when she is sitting right up against the gate" - THAT is AMAZING!!!

" (which she likes to do now, because as noted above, she wants to be out in the main space as often as possible and not in the bedroom area, if we aren't in there)." - THAT is a great sign that she knows he is out there ands till wants to be out there.

" Hawthorne's preferred water bowl is in a room where he has to walk right past her sitting at the gate, and she sets up a mighty hiss and growl, and he can still usually walk past." - If he is walking past confidently that is good.

" Other times, they encounter each other at the gate and it's the usual growl/hiss/snarl/spit from her, and snorts from him, and she backs up a foot or two, and then that's that." - Great, they are working it out, doing their part.

"If I'm switching the territories, I can now pretty much always do it with treats. I give each a treat in a certain spot and then can guide each one around with treats to different areas until they've kind of moved locations and one has moved into the hallway area and the other out and then I close the gate and boom! they're switched." - Well THAT is GREAT too!!!

" That said, Florence is still definitely scared/uncertain of him." - Yes. Though it sounds better.

" He is typically busying paying attention to treats and she goes for the treats as well but I can tell she is also paying attention to his location in the room." - Ok that is fine as long as he is behaving. She will learnt o trust in time.

"On one occasion while we were doing the switch, Hawthorne's treat went rogue and kind of went flying towards her and that quick movement/proximity scared her and she ran away a few feet. He just went for the treat and looked back at me again, so that was good." - THAT is AMAZING!!! He has no interest in attacking her. BTW, "treat gone rogue" is a HILARIOUS way to put it!!! Actually made me laugh!!! :)

"But I did notice after that for a few days, she would growl even when he started to chase/run after the treats, even if it wasn't nearby her." - Ok BUT what did he do about it? That is the key, how he perceives it.

"Anyways, she has a hair trigger for these things, which we already knew." - Yes BUT if he is not responding, not being bad it is fine.

"Pretty much I'm the one holding things up at this point " - :) It sounds like you are correct AND I am really glad to hear you acknowledge that. Soudns like they are totally ready. :)

"- just not having the energy in the evenings." - Yes, understandable.

"But they both very badly want to be out with us after we get home from work," - That is great. So they want freedom more than fearing the other cat. THIS IS A BIG DEAL, BIG SIGN they are ready as well. :) This is FANTASTIC!!

"so I know it's only fair to return to getting them together." - :) PLEASE don't put so much pressure on yourself. They are showing signs of trusting each other so hopefully you can channel that and trust them as well. :)

"So the same update as usual!" - TOTALLY DISAGREE!!! This is a fantastic update and serious progress has been made. I actually think the "room incident" advanced their relationship. I am convinced of that.

" I hope to gather my energy and try the face-to-face regime soon, and then get into a pattern. " - Yes and maybe even just let them into the main area when you come home and do your thing.

I think they are totally ready!!! I am SO EXCITED about this update!!!! :)

Greenmyrtle - Yes, she still is separating them most of the time but I suspect not for long. :)
 

Greenmyrtle

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Hello there! Yes, they have been separated the entire time - we split the house into two territories, so they can see each other whenever they want and come together for meals etc, but they are separated by a gate.
I get the anxiety of cat intros. Many here have more experience than I, and there’s some good advice given.

BUT I don’t think the separation should continue. Will there be growling? Yes. 🥴 however I believe the human control of their location and environment (past the initial standard introduction protocol) is causing stress not alleviating it. Long explanation follows!

1. Cats have a very complex language w each other that we can barely discern : barely audible sounds, little muscle movements of the lip, different tail movements, different eye contacts, negotiations of personal space, body position in relation to one another, scenting (not referring to spraying, but face rubbing objects, scratch post marking etc), personal space negotiations…. Not to mention more obvious language (nose touching, butt sniffing, hissing, swatting [my elder cat just tapped one of our foster kittens on the head with her paw to express some disapproval about… whatever!], upto chasing, and even unfriendly wrestling.

by separating them you are removing their ability to communicate, to negotiate, convey their needs and boundaries and to get familiar in all other ways through cat language. those cats know what each other smell like by now, the blanket-switching Is your human attempt to facilitate scent communication without knowing that language, and you may be making faux pas for example by imposing a blanket that says “get away, this is MY blanket” !

2. House cats are extraordinarily territorial, you are trying to break that with the territory-switching. What you are unwittingly doing is
A) not allowing each cat to establish safe territory for themselves that they can consistentlygo back to (as soon as one feels safe on this chair or that pillow or behind that couch, you remove that safety net and put them in a different territory that the other cat has just marked out. Cats get VERY stressed if they are in a territory they think they shouldn’t be in - if you put cat1 in catbed belonging to cat2 it will leap right out if)

B) potentially make them think that in each territory they can each do anything without negotiating it (eg cat1 in ter1 sleeps on chair1, territory switches, now cat2 in ter1 thinks SHE can sleep on chair1. territory switches, cat1 goes to chair1, it smells wrong and is no longer safe. Stress.

If they were both in that space, they’d Figure out that chair1 is territory of cat1, and cat2 will not cross that boundary and settle on chair2. Peace!

C) it prevents the mapping of territory cat style: In a home a territory element for cats can be the size of a postage stamp if the cat decides so! and multi cat environment the territories may be a carefully negotiated patchwork/ jigsaw puzzle that the cats figure out between them using invisible cat language eg : cat1: right half of 2 seater couch, bottom left quadrant of bed, the purple catbed, back-left hideyhole under spare bed etc. they need to figure this out TOGETHER. They can’t do that separately, and your lines (the gates) are artificial. That’s why they don’t want to respect the gates. Cats - even in our very small house, generally don’t mess with each other’s invisible boundaries once established. If your gates meant anything to them they wouldn’t want to cross them!

conclusion: let them be out together. what might happen:
1. There may be hissing and growling esp as they determine the territory map.
2. Worst case an altercation, but they aren’t gonna be out to hurt each other, just to establish boundaries.
2. A new cat may go into hiding.; We have an open plan cabin; can’t shut cats in rooms, with new cats I’ve done the intro protocol w covered crate, but that can’t go on for more than a few days, so let cat out - s/he’ll find a safe hiding place of her choosing, s/he’ll observe the household, who’s who, what’s what, and come out after a few hours, days … or more… to settle in. Just have food litter and water by hiding place so s/he doesn’t have to cross enemy territory for physical needs. Cats are FINE in a safe-feeling hiding space for as long as they want it. They come out when they feel safe, so they control that and are not stressed. Humans can’t figure that for them

let them work it out. If they aren’t natural buds this could take a long time, but you’ll watch the incremental progress over time.
 
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Furmama22

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I get the anxiety of cat intros. Many here have more experience than I, and there’s some good advice given.

BUT I don’t think the separation should continue. Will there be growling? Yes. 🥴 however I believe the human control of their location and environment (past the initial standard introduction protocol) is causing stress not alleviating it. Long explanation follows!

1. Cats have a very complex language w each other that we can barely discern : barely audible sounds, little muscle movements of the lip, different tail movements, different eye contacts, negotiations of personal space, body position in relation to one another, scenting (not referring to spraying, but face rubbing objects, scratch post marking etc), personal space negotiations…. Not to mention more obvious language (nose touching, butt sniffing, hissing, swatting [my elder cat just tapped one of our foster kittens on the head with her paw to express some disapproval about… whatever!], upto chasing, and even unfriendly wrestling.

by separating them you are removing their ability to communicate, to negotiate, convey their needs and boundaries and to get familiar in all other ways through cat language. those cats know what each other smell like by now, the blanket-switching Is your human attempt to facilitate scent communication without knowing that language, and you may be making faux pas for example by imposing a blanket that says “get away, this is MY blanket” !

2. House cats are extraordinarily territorial, you are trying to break that with the territory-switching. What you are unwittingly doing is
A) not allowing each cat to establish safe territory for themselves that they can consistentlygo back to (as soon as one feels safe on this chair or that pillow or behind that couch, you remove that safety net and put them in a different territory that the other cat has just marked out. Cats get VERY stressed if they are in a territory they think they shouldn’t be in - if you put cat1 in catbed belonging to cat2 it will leap right out if)

B) potentially make them think that in each territory they can each do anything without negotiating it (eg cat1 in ter1 sleeps on chair1, territory switches, now cat2 in ter1 thinks SHE can sleep on chair1. territory switches, cat1 goes to chair1, it smells wrong and is no longer safe. Stress.

If they were both in that space, they’d Figure out that chair1 is territory of cat1, and cat2 will not cross that boundary and settle on chair2. Peace!

C) it prevents the mapping of territory cat style: In a home a territory element for cats can be the size of a postage stamp if the cat decides so! and multi cat environment the territories may be a carefully negotiated patchwork/ jigsaw puzzle that the cats figure out between them using invisible cat language eg : cat1: right half of 2 seater couch, bottom left quadrant of bed, the purple catbed, back-left hideyhole under spare bed etc. they need to figure this out TOGETHER. They can’t do that separately, and your lines (the gates) are artificial. That’s why they don’t want to respect the gates. Cats - even in our very small house, generally don’t mess with each other’s invisible boundaries once established. If your gates meant anything to them they wouldn’t want to cross them!

conclusion: let them be out together. what might happen:
1. There may be hissing and growling esp as they determine the territory map.
2. Worst case an altercation, but they aren’t gonna be out to hurt each other, just to establish boundaries.
2. A new cat may go into hiding.; We have an open plan cabin; can’t shut cats in rooms, with new cats I’ve done the intro protocol w covered crate, but that can’t go on for more than a few days, so let cat out - s/he’ll find a safe hiding place of her choosing, s/he’ll observe the household, who’s who, what’s what, and come out after a few hours, days … or more… to settle in. Just have food litter and water by hiding place so s/he doesn’t have to cross enemy territory for physical needs. Cats are FINE in a safe-feeling hiding space for as long as they want it. They come out when they feel safe, so they control that and are not stressed. Humans can’t figure that for them

let them work it out. If they aren’t natural buds this could take a long time, but you’ll watch the incremental progress over time.
Thanks for offering your feedback and thoughts! I appreciate it. :)

We are struggling in the intro process with chasing - the resident cat chasing our 'newer' cat. Some of our previous face to face sessions (i.e. together in the same space) have ended with a chase, although not all (in those cases, I have been able to end it).

Do you still recommend letting them out together and just monitor as best I can? Would you start with short visits first?
 
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Furmama22

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Thanks for offering your feedback and thoughts! I appreciate it. :)

We are struggling in the intro process with chasing - the resident cat chasing our 'newer' cat. Some of our previous face to face sessions (i.e. together in the same space) have ended with a chase, although not all (in those cases, I have been able to end it).

Do you still recommend letting them out together and just monitor as best I can? Would you start with short visits first?
As a note we just tried a face to face right now - about 8 minutes. He was fine for a few minutes (ate his snack, had some treats) then noticed her and wanted to chase her/stare at her, and when I discouraged him, he went and hid under the sofa. Then I'm not sure what to do - she sits and growls, while he is under the sofa. And I don't want him to them jump out on her. So I'm uncertain how to proceed and keep them both safe.
 

calicosrspecial

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As a note we just tried a face to face right now - about 8 minutes. He was fine for a few minutes (ate his snack, had some treats) then noticed her and wanted to chase her/stare at her, and when I discouraged him, he went and hid under the sofa. Then I'm not sure what to do - she sits and growls, while he is under the sofa. And I don't want him to them jump out on her. So I'm uncertain how to proceed and keep them both safe.
"As a note we just tried a face to face right now - about 8 minutes." - GREAT!!!

" He was fine for a few minutes (ate his snack, had some treats) " - Great

"then noticed her and wanted to chase her/stare at her, and when I discouraged him, he went and hid under the sofa." - Ok, that isn't too bad. Try to stay calm and confident and trust them. They were in that room together and he didn't kill her so I don't think that is his intent.

"Then I'm not sure what to do - she sits and growls, while he is under the sofa. " - Ok, try to reassure, act like nothing is wrong, etc. They need to work it out.

"And I don't want him to them jump out on her." - But maybe he wont?

" So I'm uncertain how to proceed and keep them both safe." - Reassure, stay calm and confident, act like all is fine, let them negotiate.

The cats have more trust in each other than you may realize.

Keep up the great work!!
 
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Furmama22

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"As a note we just tried a face to face right now - about 8 minutes." - GREAT!!!

" He was fine for a few minutes (ate his snack, had some treats) " - Great

"then noticed her and wanted to chase her/stare at her, and when I discouraged him, he went and hid under the sofa." - Ok, that isn't too bad. Try to stay calm and confident and trust them. They were in that room together and he didn't kill her so I don't think that is his intent.

"Then I'm not sure what to do - she sits and growls, while he is under the sofa. " - Ok, try to reassure, act like nothing is wrong, etc. They need to work it out.

"And I don't want him to them jump out on her." - But maybe he wont?

" So I'm uncertain how to proceed and keep them both safe." - Reassure, stay calm and confident, act like all is fine, let them negotiate.

The cats have more trust in each other than you may realize.

Keep up the great work!!
Argh, well, I guess I tried too much today. I tried another face to face now - he was sleeping on some warm laundry and she wanted out, so I let her out, and he was ok for a minute or two and then big eyes and he went right for her (around the table, of course, so I couldn't intervene) and chased her into the bedroom and all around with big tails and then I was able to get in the middle and stop it. She is downstairs now hiding. He went under the bed after I said some stern words, which I hate doing.

I will pay attention to the rebound. Hawthorne seems ok - he was out already from under the bed and is now resting on on the bed, maybe ten minutes later. So he's calming down.

I'll go check on her now.

She makes a terrible racket during these chases - it sounds awful. My adrenaline shoots sky high.

I'm getting confused now - should I be intervening? Or not intervening?
 

Greenmyrtle

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As a note we just tried a face to face right now - about 8 minutes. He was fine for a few minutes (ate his snack, had some treats) then noticed her and wanted to chase her/stare at her, and when I discouraged him, he went and hid under the sofa. Then I'm not sure what to do - she sits and growls, while he is under the sofa. And I don't want him to them jump out on her. So I'm uncertain how to proceed and keep them both safe.
It is hard I know. F Furmama22 said some key things:
"They need to work it out"
"the cats have more trust in each other than you think"
"let them negotiate"

I also saw your concern about "Keeping them safe" and above "I don't want him to jump out on her". I believe they wil not injur each other. But easy to say I know.

So yes, I think you need to let them figure it out. some techniques
1. Felaway (Feliway?) - probably the plug in (don't leave on all the time it's expensive and goes down fairly quick - perhaps run it at night? in main common rooms (bedroom livingroom?)

2. If you're there between them, use your hand to interrupt staring behavior. ie if a cat is tring to stare out the other, put your hand in front of his/her field of vision. Then he/she cant exert dominance in that moment, and you'll see them visibly both relax. (Worked when my 2 were negotiating who could cuddle with me in bed, or if one was sitting on my lap, or if 2 were trying to sit on my lap but about to quarrel about it.)

3. Water spray bottle. Because you worry about the encounter:
a) choose a time you can have some hours of it (eg perhaps you can put yourself in front of TV - this will help relax you too!!)
b) have spray bottle handy, let them chase/hide/hiss/growl, but if anyone ACTUALLY jumps anyone to fight, you can spray. NOT before.
c) make sure doors are open so either cat can choose to exit the encounter.
d) if there's a chase to another room, follow quietly behind (ie don't become part of the drama) with spray bottle, just in case. Again. Don't use it preemptively. ONLY IF there is an aggressive tackle.

4. You said a cat ran when you scolded him. Cats are HYPER sensitive to your words/gestures. Use a quiet "Pssst" with eye contact, or body position (blocking, wave of hand). This will communiate without scaring the cat. Never shout. That just triggers "Scared" not any behavior modification.

(eg: our foster kitten keeps barging in on older cat's food. If I even shoo her away with my hand, my older cat leaves her food and looks at me like she's done something wrong too, so I need to keep kitten away by other means. When kitten jumps up on TV or counter, i just look at her, say "psst" and gesture with my hand and she instantly jumps down - she hasn't had to go to obediance school or lived with me long to understand this - in my experience, cats are HIGHLY social and constantly tracking communications in-group as well as trying to figure out the group rules... and sometimes how to break them LOL)
 

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Argh, well, I guess I tried too much today. I tried another face to face now - he was sleeping on some warm laundry and she wanted out, so I let her out, and he was ok for a minute or two and then big eyes and he went right for her (around the table, of course, so I couldn't intervene) and chased her into the bedroom and all around with big tails and then I was able to get in the middle and stop it. She is downstairs now hiding. He went under the bed after I said some stern words, which I hate doing.

I will pay attention to the rebound. Hawthorne seems ok - he was out already from under the bed and is now resting on on the bed, maybe ten minutes later. So he's calming down.

I'll go check on her now.

She makes a terrible racket during these chases - it sounds awful. My adrenaline shoots sky high.

I'm getting confused now - should I be intervening? Or not intervening?
A TOTALLY alternative thought from my other posts - on reading this above;

since he's SO aggressive... I wonder about crating him while she's out (eg for an hour or two at a time, in a common room, with his favorite food/treats and cat bed, in the crate, at least daily - or 2x a day if poss, so he can see her but not chase her - until his behavior in the crate changes from hyper-focussed on her & hyper-vigilant, to relaxed and disinterested. Also until she is not acting afraid of hime? Guess it could take a number of days... weeks? In this case you could do it in livingroom with door closed?

I think I've seen ceasar Milan do this between a cat and a dog? or between 2 dogs? can't remember. You'd be looking for the "Calm Relaxed" thing in your male cat before they can be out together.

Interested what others on this thread think. If it were me I'd definitely try this.
 
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Furmama22

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A TOTALLY alternative thought from my other posts - on reading this above;

since he's SO aggressive... I wonder about crating him while she's out (eg for an hour or two at a time, in a common room, with his favorite food/treats and cat bed, in the crate, at least daily - or 2x a day if poss, so he can see her but not chase her - until his behavior in the crate changes from hyper-focussed on her & hyper-vigilant, to relaxed and disinterested. Also until she is not acting afraid of hime? Guess it could take a number of days... weeks? In this case you could do it in livingroom with door closed?

I think I've seen ceasar Milan do this between a cat and a dog? or between 2 dogs? can't remember. You'd be looking for the "Calm Relaxed" thing in your male cat before they can be out together.

Interested what others on this thread think. If it were me I'd definitely try this.
Interesting ideas for sure! We don't have a crate, but of course I'd be happy to get one. C calicosrspecial what do you think?
 

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Interesting ideas for sure! We don't have a crate, but of course I'd be happy to get one. C calicosrspecial what do you think?
"Argh, well, I guess I tried too much today. I tried another face to face now - he was sleeping on some warm laundry and she wanted out, so I let her out," - Ok

" and he was ok for a minute or two and then big eyes and he went right for her (around the table, of course, so I couldn't intervene)" - Ok. Did she kind of surprise him? Does it seem to work better when she is in the main territory and he comes in?

" and chased her into the bedroom and all around with big tails" - Ok. Yep, big tails.

" and then I was able to get in the middle and stop it." - Ok, good

" She is downstairs now hiding. " - Ok, let's see how she rebounds.

"He went under the bed after I said some stern words, which I hate doing." - Well, we want to de-escalate not escalate so een though it is frustrating try not to use stern words. Just go back to normal best you can and act like it is not a big deal.

"I will pay attention to the rebound." - Great, that is the key.

" Hawthorne seems ok - he was out already from under the bed and is now resting on on the bed, maybe ten minutes later. So he's calming down." - Great

"I'll go check on her now." - Great, let us know. She might be a bit cautious but she will rebound in time. Try to get back to normal, make it positive for her, etc.

"She makes a terrible racket during these chases - it sounds awful. My adrenaline shoots sky high." - Yes, it most always sounds worse than it really is.

"I'm getting confused now - should I be intervening? Or not intervening? " - Yes, this is where it is more art than science. I am a believer in intervening, reassuring, etc. But there are many ways to success.

"Interesting ideas for sure! We don't have a crate, but of course I'd be happy to get one. C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial what do you think?" - I would not use a crate for the reasons it will make him feel like prey, vulnerable, no escape route, territory being taken away. Imagine if you fear another being and you are stuck in a spot. I think it will only make it worse. That is my personal opinion, I am sure people find success with it but I would not chose that for Hawthorne.

She needs to have the confidence to say "hey, not today buddy". He will back down if she stands up. We need her to get that confidence. I believe we do that through play, positive associations, positive encounters, going high, being loved, being around calm and confident humans.

I do think we should try to have her out and then bring him in and see if that helps.

But they also need to get it out of their system, etc.

Let's see how she rebounds. Just let her feel the love you have for her.

Hang in there and let's see how she does and move forward. But I am not really bothered by this chase. It is just part of the negotiating process. Sure, it is not perfect, not what we want but we have to break some eggs to make a cake.

They really are going to be fine. I have no doubt about it. We just need to get them over this last hurdle.
 

Greenmyrtle

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Interesting ideas for sure! We don't have a crate, but of course I'd be happy to get one. C calicosrspecial what do you think?
I hear the concern from C calicosrspecial about him feeling trapped or like pray in a crate. That's a real thing.
Maybe it can be mitigated by;
a) cloth over crate to cover top and 3 sides (so hes not 'vulnerable' from all directions), - ie throw a blanket over it, except one side. and
b) something in the crate he can retreat to where he's not visible - eg a box on it's side with opening facing a covered side of the crate, or an igloo type cat bed (again open towards a covered side of crate) - so he's not FORCED to be "in the open".

Since I can't contain cats in rooms (open plan) this is how I've introduced new cats. Admittedly, that is crating the new cat, not the existing. So it may be stressful til he gets used to it... if he gets used to it :( ... personally I think I'd still give it a try

If he's food motivated, pop treats in regularly. Good associations.

In general do try not to vocally scold him - that's bad association (new cat = being scolded). Water spray the moment of bad behavior probably better?.
 

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Throwing in my own two cents regarding the crate idea I'm not sure it's the best option in this situation. For the same reasons mentioned before about the cats not being able to effectively communicate and navigate their territory/boundaries with each the cat being in the crate also keeps their interactions of limited value, no better than through a gate and with the added stress of the crated cat not having a safe space to retreat to. They have more opportunities to communicate IMO through the gate than with one in a crate, since they both have a safe space to retreat to away from the gate. I would personally continue with the gate and short (for now) face to face visits, since the chasing is so frequent.

It's really a hard call on whether to intervene or not. We know they didn't injure each other when they got together before which is a good sign. With that knowledge if it were me I may try to observe and only intervene if they were rolling with loud vocalizations and fur flying. A short quiet tussle that breaks up on its own can do more for them to communicate and come to their own terms. Learning "oh hey this other cat really doesn't like this" IMO is more valuable than "the human doesn't like us being together" that they may get when we're always intervening. The key though is making sure they take that and learn not to push each other's buttons rather than taking that and terrorizing the others. And it's nerve wracking trying to trust them and walking that line of wanting them not to hurt each other when we can't mind read whether things are escalating or breaking up on their own.

When intervening I am not a fan of the water bottle. That can startle the cats out of their fight BUT it also risks them associating that startle and that punishing sensation with the other cat or becoming scared of you, making them more scared around each other and possibly increasing the aggression instead of distracting them out of it. I much prefer the physical barrier (blanket, big piece of cardboard, towel) to break them up if needed. This physically separates them so further aggression is less likely in the moment. It's also something that can be used preemptively to block their sight if you see one about to pounce or if a chase has started, used before the chaser catches up to the chased.
 
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Furmama22

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Throwing in my own two cents regarding the crate idea I'm not sure it's the best option in this situation. For the same reasons mentioned before about the cats not being able to effectively communicate and navigate their territory/boundaries with each the cat being in the crate also keeps their interactions of limited value, no better than through a gate and with the added stress of the crated cat not having a safe space to retreat to. They have more opportunities to communicate IMO through the gate than with one in a crate, since they both have a safe space to retreat to away from the gate. I would personally continue with the gate and short (for now) face to face visits, since the chasing is so frequent.

It's really a hard call on whether to intervene or not. We know they didn't injure each other when they got together before which is a good sign. With that knowledge if it were me I may try to observe and only intervene if they were rolling with loud vocalizations and fur flying. A short quiet tussle that breaks up on its own can do more for them to communicate and come to their own terms. Learning "oh hey this other cat really doesn't like this" IMO is more valuable than "the human doesn't like us being together" that they may get when we're always intervening. The key though is making sure they take that and learn not to push each other's buttons rather than taking that and terrorizing the others. And it's nerve wracking trying to trust them and walking that line of wanting them not to hurt each other when we can't mind read whether things are escalating or breaking up on their own.

When intervening I am not a fan of the water bottle. That can startle the cats out of their fight BUT it also risks them associating that startle and that punishing sensation with the other cat or becoming scared of you, making them more scared around each other and possibly increasing the aggression instead of distracting them out of it. I much prefer the physical barrier (blanket, big piece of cardboard, towel) to break them up if needed. This physically separates them so further aggression is less likely in the moment. It's also something that can be used preemptively to block their sight if you see one about to pounce or if a chase has started, used before the chaser catches up to the chased.
Thanks all for the feedback! We will try again tonight with a short face-to-face visit. I'm trying to achieve the art of "acting normal and like nothing is wrong" while also lurking around with some cardboard to prevent a chase, haha. Once Hawthorne beelines for her in some fashion, it's hard to get in-between. They are fast. So I will do my best.

What I can definitely work on is not becoming instantly frustrated/upset when a chase happens. So far, it's true, no one has been injured. Florie gets scared and unhappy and extra-growly but there have been no injuries. It's hard to remember that in the moment when it sounds like she is being murdered. Snarls, and growls, and spits and the works. But I can work on trying to stay calm(er). I don't want to contribute to the fiasco.

It's actually Florie's one year anniversary with us on November 8th. So we've been at this for awhile. Although, we moved houses in March, so sometimes I count more from March - so 7 months in the new house. But we still can't seem to shake this chasing thing.

C calicosrspecial , you had asked if Florence was doing anything that might have provoked Hawthorne in yesterday's chase. Hawthorne was lying on warm laundry and, after I let her out, she was on the other side of the room just sitting. But I think sometimes she sits and stares at him and growls. It's possible that's just too activating/enticing for him to resist sometimes.

Oh, and as for rebound after the chase. She was hunched downstairs growling when I checked on her, and then about ten minutes later she found a laundry stack downstairs and was sleeping on that. So, she stayed downstairs (which is unusual) for about 4 or 5 hours, sleeping, but I think in part she felt safe and cozy. Then she was a bit uncomfortable when I put her back in the bedroom territory (where the chase happened) - she slunk around looking scared, but after about 10 minutes, she came and ate supper. She was also a bit scared this morning to go past Hawthorne at the gate, but eventually she did and they worked on their puzzles. And they both ate treat pastes a foot apart last night no issues.

I'm finding with her that her rebound happens in fits and starts - like the treat pastes will be fine, but then later she will be scared to walk past him at the gate. And then she might not be scared to walk past him another time, but she's scared of the empty bedroom where the chase happened.

Anyways, moral of the story, she seems to be mostly fine. A little more scared and wary, but otherwise in tact. :)
 

calicosrspecial

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I hear the concern from C calicosrspecial about him feeling trapped or like pray in a crate. That's a real thing.
Maybe it can be mitigated by;
a) cloth over crate to cover top and 3 sides (so hes not 'vulnerable' from all directions), - ie throw a blanket over it, except one side. and
b) something in the crate he can retreat to where he's not visible - eg a box on it's side with opening facing a covered side of the crate, or an igloo type cat bed (again open towards a covered side of crate) - so he's not FORCED to be "in the open".

Since I can't contain cats in rooms (open plan) this is how I've introduced new cats. Admittedly, that is crating the new cat, not the existing. So it may be stressful til he gets used to it... if he gets used to it :( ... personally I think I'd still give it a try

If he's food motivated, pop treats in regularly. Good associations.

In general do try not to vocally scold him - that's bad association (new cat = being scolded). Water spray the moment of bad behavior probably better?.
"Since I can't contain cats in rooms (open plan) this is how I've introduced new cats. " - Exactly, sometimes something needs to be tried. On a thread furmama follows they used a playpen and it was for the new cat. I wasn't a big fan but it worked well.

Intro's really are a lot more art than science. Yes, there are some basic guidelines, etc but the right ways are the ones that work.

" Admittedly, that is crating the new cat, not the existing." - Exactly. Since they don't own the territory it is less stressful, etc.

Discussions like these are great as it makes us think, question, think, etc. I know my way is not the only way so having varying opinions is fantastic.
 

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Thanks all for the feedback! We will try again tonight with a short face-to-face visit. I'm trying to achieve the art of "acting normal and like nothing is wrong" while also lurking around with some cardboard to prevent a chase, haha. Once Hawthorne beelines for her in some fashion, it's hard to get in-between. They are fast. So I will do my best.

What I can definitely work on is not becoming instantly frustrated/upset when a chase happens. So far, it's true, no one has been injured. Florie gets scared and unhappy and extra-growly but there have been no injuries. It's hard to remember that in the moment when it sounds like she is being murdered. Snarls, and growls, and spits and the works. But I can work on trying to stay calm(er). I don't want to contribute to the fiasco.

It's actually Florie's one year anniversary with us on November 8th. So we've been at this for awhile. Although, we moved houses in March, so sometimes I count more from March - so 7 months in the new house. But we still can't seem to shake this chasing thing.

C calicosrspecial , you had asked if Florence was doing anything that might have provoked Hawthorne in yesterday's chase. Hawthorne was lying on warm laundry and, after I let her out, she was on the other side of the room just sitting. But I think sometimes she sits and stares at him and growls. It's possible that's just too activating/enticing for him to resist sometimes.

Oh, and as for rebound after the chase. She was hunched downstairs growling when I checked on her, and then about ten minutes later she found a laundry stack downstairs and was sleeping on that. So, she stayed downstairs (which is unusual) for about 4 or 5 hours, sleeping, but I think in part she felt safe and cozy. Then she was a bit uncomfortable when I put her back in the bedroom territory (where the chase happened) - she slunk around looking scared, but after about 10 minutes, she came and ate supper. She was also a bit scared this morning to go past Hawthorne at the gate, but eventually she did and they worked on their puzzles. And they both ate treat pastes a foot apart last night no issues.

I'm finding with her that her rebound happens in fits and starts - like the treat pastes will be fine, but then later she will be scared to walk past him at the gate. And then she might not be scared to walk past him another time, but she's scared of the empty bedroom where the chase happened.

Anyways, moral of the story, she seems to be mostly fine. A little more scared and wary, but otherwise in tact. :)
Excellent post kakers. Kakers is doing a great job in their intro.

I also want to make sure everyone knows, Florie is de-clawed which is a source of her insecurity and fear. I also suspect she had a tougher life before getting to he wonderful forever home with furmama. BUT she is doing great imo.

"Thanks all for the feedback! We will try again tonight with a short face-to-face visit." - Great

" I'm trying to achieve the art of "acting normal and like nothing is wrong" while also lurking around with some cardboard to prevent a chase, haha. " - Great. I think I have been a source of anxiety from the beginning when I mentioned using a cardboard, being safe etc. I think I put too much worry and anxiety in you and this has had a lasting effect sadly. :( Our emotions are so important as cats take on our emotions. If all is well but the human gets anxious and anticipates problems problems can follow. So finding that balance to accept all is going well then react when it starts to get out of control is a fine balance and important.

"Once Hawthorne beelines for her in some fashion, it's hard to get in-between. They are fast. So I will do my best." - Yes but then they need to do their part. Florie is showing a lot more confidence than she was before. Of course it is not perfect yet BUT she has come a long way. Being near her and proving some security is a good way as well. Just hanging out, relaxed, confident etc can deter him chasing as well as distracting him.

"What I can definitely work on is not becoming instantly frustrated/upset when a chase happens." - Yes it is hard BUT important.

" So far, it's true, no one has been injured." - THIS is a BIG DEAL and great.

" Florie gets scared and unhappy and extra-growly but there have been no injuries." - Exactly.

" It's hard to remember that in the moment when it sounds like she is being murdered. Snarls, and growls, and spits and the works. But I can work on trying to stay calm(er). I don't want to contribute to the fiasco." - Very hard but the fact you are aware and trying to trust is really great.

"It's actually Florie's one year anniversary with us on November 8th. So we've been at this for awhile. Although, we moved houses in March, so sometimes I count more from March - so 7 months in the new house." - Awwwwww, Florie, Happy Anniversary!!! :)

" But we still can't seem to shake this chasing thing." - But chasing is not the worst thing and not that abnormal in households. It is how they act after that matters.

I am so interested to hear how Florie rebounded but have not heard yet. am guessing she was fine but I am sure it is down below soon.

" C calicosrspecial C calicosrspecial , you had asked if Florence was doing anything that might have provoked Hawthorne in yesterday's chase. Hawthorne was lying on warm laundry and, after I let her out, she was on the other side of the room just sitting. " - Ok, that is really good.

"But I think sometimes she sits and stares at him and growls. It's possible that's just too activating/enticing for him to resist sometimes." - Totally agree. AND cats sometimes like to have fun with other cats. And chasing is fun to a lot of cats.

"Oh, and as for rebound after the chase. She was hunched downstairs growling when I checked on her, and then about ten minutes later she found a laundry stack downstairs and was sleeping on that. " - :yess: :hyper: :clap2: So she got over it in 10 minutes, fantastic!!!! The fact he didn't continue to go after her is a big deal and she realized it is not that big a deal. Great

"So, she stayed downstairs (which is unusual) for about 4 or 5 hours, sleeping, but I think in part she felt safe and cozy. " - NOt an issue, I think you were right, if you are comfy why go somewhere else?

"Then she was a bit uncomfortable when I put her back in the bedroom territory (where the chase happened) - she slunk around looking scared," - Normal, expected

"but after about 10 minutes, she came and ate supper." - Perfect

" She was also a bit scared this morning to go past Hawthorne at the gate," - Ok, understandable

" but eventually she did and they worked on their puzzles. " - Great

"And they both ate treat pastes a foot apart last night no issues." - Perfect. So she got over it, and it was a learning experience.

I think she did great AND he did great by not going after her, focusing on her, etc.

This is a sign they are going to be fine.

"I'm finding with her that her rebound happens in fits and starts - like the treat pastes will be fine, but then later she will be scared to walk past him at the gate. And then she might not be scared to walk past him another time, but she's scared of the empty bedroom where the chase happened." - That is normal. But the fact she is not hiding, etc is the important thing. And IF the fear is not realized she will learn to trust more and be more confident (which will reduce the risk of more chases).

"Anyways, moral of the story, she seems to be mostly fine. A little more scared and wary, but otherwise in tact. :) " - FANTASTIC!! They were tested and they passed. SO what could have been negative is actually a positive experience (that they dealt with it and moved on). That is a big step in the process. I really believe they are MUCH CLOSER to being intro than you realize.

Keep up the great work. They are doing their part now as well. :)
 
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