Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost

pearl99

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I recently went through this through my daughter, who sold her condo and bought another place. I had her 2 cats (which by the way are all intro'd, not new to each other) who were new to my place while she was showing her condo.
She brought their toys, beds, food and water bowls, blankets...everything that she could of theirs. Cat towers, etc. I had them in my finished basement, so having as much of their stuff as possible with their scent on it is what you want to do.
It would pause things and may have to do some reintro-ing in your new place, so will take more time. But they can adjust.
C calicosrspecial and others will have more to say!
 
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I recently went through this through my daughter, who sold her condo and bought another place. I had her 2 cats (which by the way are all intro'd, not new to each other) who were new to my place while she was showing her condo.
She brought their toys, beds, food and water bowls, blankets...everything that she could of theirs. Cat towers, etc. I had them in my finished basement, so having as much of their stuff as possible with their scent on it is what you want to do.
It would pause things and may have to do some reintro-ing in your new place, so will take more time. But they can adjust.
C calicosrspecial and others will have more to say!
Thanks for these thoughts!! I will bring all cat-related objects/blankets/cat trees/scratchers that I can think of. And luckily my mom has two spare bedrooms so they can remain separate for that period of time. And then we'll go back to our intro process. :) I was quite stressed about the whole idea but I'm hanging on to the idea that cats are resilient and while not ideal, we can get through this.

On a positive note, this morning I let them both get close to the single pet gate and they ALMOST sniffed noses. Then, Hawthorne tried to poke his paw through to bonk her and she hissed and that was the end of that. But I consider the "almost" a reason to feel good.
 

pearl99

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Thanks for these thoughts!! I will bring all cat-related objects/blankets/cat trees/scratchers that I can think of. And luckily my mom has two spare bedrooms so they can remain separate for that period of time. And then we'll go back to our intro process. :) I was quite stressed about the whole idea but I'm hanging on to the idea that cats are resilient and while not ideal, we can get through this.

On a positive note, this morning I let them both get close to the single pet gate and they ALMOST sniffed noses. Then, Hawthorne tried to poke his paw through to bonk her and she hissed and that was the end of that. But I consider the "almost" a reason to feel good.
Definitely a reason to feel good!
 

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Hello C calicosrspecial and all! Thanks so much for checking in! It's been a busy week, but I'm glad you checked in because I had a couple of questions to ask.

Overall, things are going well here. Still some growling/occasional hissing through the pet gates when Florence sees Hawthorne but that's getting less now. Most of the time there seems to be an element of 'not caring,' which I think is what we're aiming for. Sometimes, if Florence is bored and I've stopped entertaining her, she'll go back to the pet gate (if the door is open) and growl at Hawthorne. I think it's a strange kind of entertainment for her. But generally, they're both content to leave each other alone/go for treats/have playtime, whatever. Distraction continues to be very easy and generally they don't seem surprised or fussed to see the other cat through the gate anymore. So I'm happy about that. I had been thinking of potentially trying an in person meeting in a week or so. I had ordered some harnesses/calming vests from Etsy but they haven't arrived yet. Do you have any advice for the first in person meeting?

Also, another question: we just bought a new house and are now in the process of getting this house ready to sell. This all happened last week. If we end up putting this house on the market and doing showings, our realtor has advised moving out for a week. We can go to my mom's and she has a bedroom for each cat, since I imagine they wouldn't be integrated by then. Will it set things back for them to separated for 5 days? Is there a way to minimize the stress of such a change? I wouldn't ordinarily want to do it but I want what is safe for the cats and safe for the people seeing the house (i.e. re: COVID). Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

Thank you as always!!
You are very welcome.

"Overall, things are going well here." - Great

" Still some growling/occasional hissing through the pet gates when Florence sees Hawthorne but that's getting less now." - Great, exactly what we are looking for.

" Most of the time there seems to be an element of 'not caring,' which I think is what we're aiming for." -Perfect!!! Yes, the "I know that cat, that cat is cool".

" Sometimes, if Florence is bored and I've stopped entertaining her, she'll go back to the pet gate (if the door is open) and growl at Hawthorne." - Yes, she probably wants to play but just can't get there yet. Not surprising, not worrying.

"I think it's a strange kind of entertainment for her." - Could be but I suspect that she wants to play but just still isn't there yet. Might be a bit of teaching as well.

"But generally, they're both content to leave each other alone/go for treats/have playtime, whatever." - Perfect!!

" Distraction continues to be very easy and generally they don't seem surprised or fussed to see the other cat through the gate anymore. So I'm happy about that." - Awesome!! Yes, me too!!

"I had been thinking of potentially trying an in person meeting in a week or so. I had ordered some harnesses/calming vests from Etsy but they haven't arrived yet." - Sounds like they could. I personally don't think a harness, vests are needed. Since they are "different" or a change it may cause some uncertainty.

"Do you have any advice for the first in person meeting?" - Yes, do it in a territory both are most comfortable in or where the cat with the least confidence is most confident in. Distraction, distraction, distraction. Treats/food. Keep it short, positive. Quality over quantity.

"Also, another question: we just bought a new house and are now in the process of getting this house ready to sell. This all happened last week. If we end up putting this house on the market and doing showings, our realtor has advised moving out for a week. We can go to my mom's and she has a bedroom for each cat, since I imagine they wouldn't be integrated by then. Will it set things back for them to separated for 5 days? Is there a way to minimize the stress of such a change? I wouldn't ordinarily want to do it but I want what is safe for the cats and safe for the people seeing the house (i.e. re: COVID). Any thoughts you have would be appreciated." - Oh. Well, cats do not like change and that is a lot of change AND cats are territorial and they will be losing their territory (and confidence). Being separated for 5 days should not be an issue. You can do scent swapping to ease it. Make sure you bring all their beds, cat trees, litter boxes etc to ease the ownership issues. We will have work to do when you move into the new house. Sometimes it is easier since both cats do not own the territory but sometimes it causes some confidence issues. We'll have some work but we can handle it.

I am inclined to hold off on a face to face meeting for now.

Don't worry, we can handle it. We'll see how they respond and do what is needed.
 

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Thanks for these thoughts!! I will bring all cat-related objects/blankets/cat trees/scratchers that I can think of. And luckily my mom has two spare bedrooms so they can remain separate for that period of time. And then we'll go back to our intro process. :) I was quite stressed about the whole idea but I'm hanging on to the idea that cats are resilient and while not ideal, we can get through this.

On a positive note, this morning I let them both get close to the single pet gate and they ALMOST sniffed noses. Then, Hawthorne tried to poke his paw through to bonk her and she hissed and that was the end of that. But I consider the "almost" a reason to feel good.
Sorry, didn't realize there were updates.

"I will bring all cat-related objects/blankets/cat trees/scratchers that I can think of." - Perfect. That will help them feel like they "own" the territory to some degree.

" And luckily my mom has two spare bedrooms so they can remain separate for that period of time." - Great. Let's see how well they adjust and then think of what else to do.

" And then we'll go back to our intro process. :) " - Yes.

"I was quite stressed about the whole idea but I'm hanging on to the idea that cats are resilient and while not ideal, we can get through this." - I think they have a good base of trust so we will get through it.

"On a positive note, this morning I let them both get close to the single pet gate and they ALMOST sniffed noses." Awwwwww

"Then, Hawthorne tried to poke his paw through to bonk her" - Quickly or more slowly?

" and she hissed and that was the end of that." - Yep, hiss expected.

" But I consider the "almost" a reason to feel good." - It is fine, they are doing great. :)
 
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Sorry, didn't realize there were updates.

"I will bring all cat-related objects/blankets/cat trees/scratchers that I can think of." - Perfect. That will help them feel like they "own" the territory to some degree.

" And luckily my mom has two spare bedrooms so they can remain separate for that period of time." - Great. Let's see how well they adjust and then think of what else to do.

" And then we'll go back to our intro process. :) " - Yes.

"I was quite stressed about the whole idea but I'm hanging on to the idea that cats are resilient and while not ideal, we can get through this." - I think they have a good base of trust so we will get through it.

"On a positive note, this morning I let them both get close to the single pet gate and they ALMOST sniffed noses." Awwwwww

"Then, Hawthorne tried to poke his paw through to bonk her" - Quickly or more slowly?

" and she hissed and that was the end of that." - Yep, hiss expected.

" But I consider the "almost" a reason to feel good." - It is fine, they are doing great. :)
Thanks so much for this! Yes ok, perhaps hold off face to face until the house showings/time at my mom's part is done and then I can re-evaluate where they are at once back in this house. We move into the new house mid-March, so they might be intro'd by then although you're right, it will be very new. It's not ideal timing...alas, life! The new house has a better space for them, I think - better for two cats to each have space to live together and yet not have to bump into each other everywhere. And lots of awesome windows. My current house is a bit more cramped. So I'm hopefully that in the end it will be a positive.

And in regards to the almost nose sniff...I would say he put his paw through the gate more slowly....but she didn't care for that extra move. :)
 

calicosrspecial

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Thanks so much for this! Yes ok, perhaps hold off face to face until the house showings/time at my mom's part is done and then I can re-evaluate where they are at once back in this house. We move into the new house mid-March, so they might be intro'd by then although you're right, it will be very new. It's not ideal timing...alas, life! The new house has a better space for them, I think - better for two cats to each have space to live together and yet not have to bump into each other everywhere. And lots of awesome windows. My current house is a bit more cramped. So I'm hopefully that in the end it will be a positive.

And in regards to the almost nose sniff...I would say he put his paw through the gate more slowly....but she didn't care for that extra move. :)
"Thanks so much for this! " - You are welcome.

"Yes ok, perhaps hold off face to face until the house showings/time at my mom's part is done and then I can re-evaluate where they are at once back in this house." - Yes, good idea.

" We move into the new house mid-March" - Ok, great. THAT is very helpful.

" so they might be intro'd by then although you're right, it will be very new." - I expect they will be intro'd by then. But they may have some issues we will need to deal with after the move.

" It's not ideal timing...alas, life!" - Actually, it is not that bad. I think it is absolutely manageable. I actually find the timing much betteer than I thought.

"The new house has a better space for them, I think - better for two cats to each have space to live together and yet not have to bump into each other everywhere. And lots of awesome windows. My current house is a bit more cramped. So I'm hopefully that in the end it will be a positive." - It will be a positive for all. I am not at all worried.

"And in regards to the almost nose sniff...I would say he put his paw through the gate more slowly....but she didn't care for that extra move. :)" - Awwwww, I suspect he wanted to play. I wonder if it was pretty sweet.
 
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"Thanks so much for this! " - You are welcome.

"Yes ok, perhaps hold off face to face until the house showings/time at my mom's part is done and then I can re-evaluate where they are at once back in this house." - Yes, good idea.

" We move into the new house mid-March" - Ok, great. THAT is very helpful.

" so they might be intro'd by then although you're right, it will be very new." - I expect they will be intro'd by then. But they may have some issues we will need to deal with after the move.

" It's not ideal timing...alas, life!" - Actually, it is not that bad. I think it is absolutely manageable. I actually find the timing much betteer than I thought.

"The new house has a better space for them, I think - better for two cats to each have space to live together and yet not have to bump into each other everywhere. And lots of awesome windows. My current house is a bit more cramped. So I'm hopefully that in the end it will be a positive." - It will be a positive for all. I am not at all worried.

"And in regards to the almost nose sniff...I would say he put his paw through the gate more slowly....but she didn't care for that extra move. :)" - Awwwww, I suspect he wanted to play. I wonder if it was pretty sweet.
You are always so positive! I really appreciate it. I'm pretty excited for them, actually. The new house has several really big windows that go almost to the ground, so there will be lots for them to see.

I will check in as we go!
 

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You are always so positive! I really appreciate it. I'm pretty excited for them, actually. The new house has several really big windows that go almost to the ground, so there will be lots for them to see.

I will check in as we go!
Positive is an outcome of the facts. So in this case it is easy to be positive.

"I'm pretty excited for them, actually. The new house has several really big windows that go almost to the ground, so there will be lots for them to see." - I am excited for them and your family. Sounds wonderful.

Yes, please do. We have a little more work but we will get there.
 

pearl99

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You are always so positive! I really appreciate it. I'm pretty excited for them, actually. The new house has several really big windows that go almost to the ground, so there will be lots for them to see.

I will check in as we go!
Oh windows, they will absolutely love it!
 
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Hi all!

Hope you are all well! I wanted to check in and ask for some more advice. We are putting are current house on the market in about a week and we will move into my mom's house for five days. The cats each get their own bedroom.

I will bring all of their cat trees/toys/blankets/everything and try to set them up as comfortably as possible.

My questions are around their time during the week and managing stress. If they want to come out of the room and explore (separately, of course), is that ok? Or should I consider their room like a sanctuary room and just try to keep them in the room for all five days? What would make for less stress?

We will sleep in one of the rooms (likely with Hawthorne, as he is used to sleeping on the bed at night) and I will work in one of the rooms during the day (likely with Florence).

I will try to do playtime with each of them as well. But my main question is about exploring - is it more stressful or less to let them explore the house? My mom has no other pets, so that's not an issue.

We had to go to my mom's briefly a few days about for about an hour, while someone got an early viewing of the house, and both cats (while scared) wanted to come out of their rooms within about fifteen minutes of being there. Florence came out and explored; then she wanted to go back IN the room, hahah.

Anyways, thanks for your thoughts. I wish we didn't have to go through this but hopefully it's all worth it in the end.
 
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Also pearl99 pearl99 , just wanted to add that your kitties are so beautiful! Each one different than the other and so many unique colours. :)
 

pearl99

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Also pearl99 pearl99 , just wanted to add that your kitties are so beautiful! Each one different than the other and so many unique colours. :)
Oh thanks! They are all different aren't they. Gracie is a tortoiseshell point siamese, she has really pretty markings on her feet and legs. Ziggy is a Manx, she only has a rumpy stump of a tail and it's quite funny when she gets her stump of a tail going. Mooshoo has one entire black front leg and one entire white front leg.
 

pearl99

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Hi all!

Hope you are all well! I wanted to check in and ask for some more advice. We are putting are current house on the market in about a week and we will move into my mom's house for five days. The cats each get their own bedroom.

I will bring all of their cat trees/toys/blankets/everything and try to set them up as comfortably as possible.

My questions are around their time during the week and managing stress. If they want to come out of the room and explore (separately, of course), is that ok? Or should I consider their room like a sanctuary room and just try to keep them in the room for all five days? What would make for less stress?

We will sleep in one of the rooms (likely with Hawthorne, as he is used to sleeping on the bed at night) and I will work in one of the rooms during the day (likely with Florence).

I will try to do playtime with each of them as well. But my main question is about exploring - is it more stressful or less to let them explore the house? My mom has no other pets, so that's not an issue.

We had to go to my mom's briefly a few days about for about an hour, while someone got an early viewing of the house, and both cats (while scared) wanted to come out of their rooms within about fifteen minutes of being there. Florence came out and explored; then she wanted to go back IN the room, hahah.

Anyways, thanks for your thoughts. I wish we didn't have to go through this but hopefully it's all worth it in the end.
My thinking is that if they want to explore let them separately, it may help them seeing what's beyond the closed door since they will hear noise and smell new scents? It may be they may just explore a little then want back in their rooms like Florence did.
Hopefully they won't decide they desparately want out all the time and make a ruckus at the closed doors.
 

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Hi all!

Hope you are all well! I wanted to check in and ask for some more advice. We are putting are current house on the market in about a week and we will move into my mom's house for five days. The cats each get their own bedroom.

I will bring all of their cat trees/toys/blankets/everything and try to set them up as comfortably as possible.

My questions are around their time during the week and managing stress. If they want to come out of the room and explore (separately, of course), is that ok? Or should I consider their room like a sanctuary room and just try to keep them in the room for all five days? What would make for less stress?

We will sleep in one of the rooms (likely with Hawthorne, as he is used to sleeping on the bed at night) and I will work in one of the rooms during the day (likely with Florence).

I will try to do playtime with each of them as well. But my main question is about exploring - is it more stressful or less to let them explore the house? My mom has no other pets, so that's not an issue.

We had to go to my mom's briefly a few days about for about an hour, while someone got an early viewing of the house, and both cats (while scared) wanted to come out of their rooms within about fifteen minutes of being there. Florence came out and explored; then she wanted to go back IN the room, hahah.

Anyways, thanks for your thoughts. I wish we didn't have to go through this but hopefully it's all worth it in the end.
"My questions are around their time during the week and managing stress. If they want to come out of the room and explore (separately, of course), is that ok?" - Yes, just make sure they don't get into something or get out or are able to hide out of reach etc.

"Or should I consider their room like a sanctuary room and just try to keep them in the room for all five days? What would make for less stress?" - They will be totally fine in their own room. I think it depends on each as to which s better. Personally, I would try to keep them in the room but it is ok to let them safely explore. It is only 5 days so being in a room with all their stuff they should do fine. Just play it by ear and feel free to update us and we'll adjust as needed.

"We will sleep in one of the rooms (likely with Hawthorne, as he is used to sleeping on the bed at night) and I will work in one of the rooms during the day (likely with Florence)." - Great, that will be very helpful.

"I will try to do playtime with each of them as well. But my main question is about exploring - is it more stressful or less to let them explore the house? My mom has no other pets, so that's not an issue." - Well, it is new territory so I am not sure it will help ease stress but I don't think it would hurt. Just make sure there is no place they can get into trouble, or hide, etc as it could be stressful to get them back into their room.

The more I think of it the more I think I would just keep them in their rooms

"We had to go to my mom's briefly a few days about for about an hour, while someone got an early viewing of the house, and both cats (while scared) wanted to come out of their rooms within about fifteen minutes of being there. Florence came out and explored; then she wanted to go back IN the room, hahah." - Yes, that is normal. Since the rooms were probably not filled with their stuff. Just play it by ear and try to spend some time with them. And they will sleep and settle so it shouldn't be too bad for them.

"Anyways, thanks for your thoughts. I wish we didn't have to go through this but hopefully it's all worth it in the end." - It will be worth it.

Just don't worry and overthink this. They will be just fine with the temporary move to your mother's home. We will be able to adjust as needed if there are any issues.
 
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"My questions are around their time during the week and managing stress. If they want to come out of the room and explore (separately, of course), is that ok?" - Yes, just make sure they don't get into something or get out or are able to hide out of reach etc.

"Or should I consider their room like a sanctuary room and just try to keep them in the room for all five days? What would make for less stress?" - They will be totally fine in their own room. I think it depends on each as to which s better. Personally, I would try to keep them in the room but it is ok to let them safely explore. It is only 5 days so being in a room with all their stuff they should do fine. Just play it by ear and feel free to update us and we'll adjust as needed.

"We will sleep in one of the rooms (likely with Hawthorne, as he is used to sleeping on the bed at night) and I will work in one of the rooms during the day (likely with Florence)." - Great, that will be very helpful.

"I will try to do playtime with each of them as well. But my main question is about exploring - is it more stressful or less to let them explore the house? My mom has no other pets, so that's not an issue." - Well, it is new territory so I am not sure it will help ease stress but I don't think it would hurt. Just make sure there is no place they can get into trouble, or hide, etc as it could be stressful to get them back into their room.

The more I think of it the more I think I would just keep them in their rooms

"We had to go to my mom's briefly a few days about for about an hour, while someone got an early viewing of the house, and both cats (while scared) wanted to come out of their rooms within about fifteen minutes of being there. Florence came out and explored; then she wanted to go back IN the room, hahah." - Yes, that is normal. Since the rooms were probably not filled with their stuff. Just play it by ear and try to spend some time with them. And they will sleep and settle so it shouldn't be too bad for them.

"Anyways, thanks for your thoughts. I wish we didn't have to go through this but hopefully it's all worth it in the end." - It will be worth it.

Just don't worry and overthink this. They will be just fine with the temporary move to your mother's home. We will be able to adjust as needed if there are any issues.
The cats had an unpleasant interaction this morning. I could tell Hawthorne was in a bad/anxious mood but I just kind of let it go, and then I let them interact with just the one pet gate instead of two. Hawthorne was doing a lot of staring and Florence hissing (the usual) and then I was able to distract her with treats. It took longer to distract him. He was very fixed on her. So, eventually, he decided to go for some treats, which took him away from the gate and she felt confident to go for a treat closer to the gate, at which point Hawthorne returned and they really both swatted each other through the gate with lots of hissing on her part. My partner Michael tried to get Hawthorne away from the gate, so Hawthorne bit his foot (a little redirected aggression, I think). Michael is fine, although the skin did break a little.

I watched for recovery - she was a bit startled but ok within a shorter period. Hawthorne was a bit anxious/meowing but also ok in a shorter period (although he's very anxious so much of the time it's hard to tell).

I guess sometimes there are just days when it doesn't go as smoothly, right? It's frustrating but I suppose everyone (including Hawthorne) has a bad mood kind of day.

But otherwise....argh!!
 
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Just to add - they both seem ok now (about thirty minutes later) but she is growling a bit more actively now, even at him from a distance (I briefly opened the door to check how she was doing and she saw him from a distance). And she is a bit more scared to come to the gate.
 

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The cats had an unpleasant interaction this morning. I could tell Hawthorne was in a bad/anxious mood but I just kind of let it go, and then I let them interact with just the one pet gate instead of two. Hawthorne was doing a lot of staring and Florence hissing (the usual) and then I was able to distract her with treats. It took longer to distract him. He was very fixed on her. So, eventually, he decided to go for some treats, which took him away from the gate and she felt confident to go for a treat closer to the gate, at which point Hawthorne returned and they really both swatted each other through the gate with lots of hissing on her part. My partner Michael tried to get Hawthorne away from the gate, so Hawthorne bit his foot (a little redirected aggression, I think). Michael is fine, although the skin did break a little.

I watched for recovery - she was a bit startled but ok within a shorter period. Hawthorne was a bit anxious/meowing but also ok in a shorter period (although he's very anxious so much of the time it's hard to tell).

I guess sometimes there are just days when it doesn't go as smoothly, right? It's frustrating but I suppose everyone (including Hawthorne) has a bad mood kind of day.

But otherwise....argh!!
"The cats had an unpleasant interaction this morning." - Ok, let's see.

"I could tell Hawthorne was in a bad/anxious mood but I just kind of let it go, and then I let them interact with just the one pet gate instead of two." - Ok

"Hawthorne was doing a lot of staring and Florence hissing (the usual)" - Ok

" and then I was able to distract her with treats." - Great

" It took longer to distract him. He was very fixed on her." - Ok

" So, eventually, he decided to go for some treats, which took him away from the gate" - Great

" and she felt confident to go for a treat closer to the gate, at which point Hawthorne returned and they really both swatted each other through the gate with lots of hissing on her part." - Ok, that will happen. My guess is she moved towards him a little quickly (normal) and he felt a bit threatened and encounter. It happens. Let's see how they do after.

" My partner Michael tried to get Hawthorne away from the gate, so Hawthorne bit his foot (a little redirected aggression, I think). Michael is fine, although the skin did break a little." - :/ Yes. Really important to be very careful. Use a piece of carboard or a pillow to block when they are in that mode rather than trying to pick him up.

"I watched for recovery - she was a bit startled but ok within a shorter period." - Good. How long was it?

" Hawthorne was a bit anxious/meowing but also ok in a shorter period (although he's very anxious so much of the time it's hard to tell)." - Ok, good. How long for Hawthorne?

"I guess sometimes there are just days when it doesn't go as smoothly, right?" Absolutely especially with the moving, etc. It causes unease which causes the potential for issues so I am not too surprised and this wasn't all that bad.

"It's frustrating but I suppose everyone (including Hawthorne) has a bad mood kind of day." - Yes. Hawthorne did go over to your mother's house before this incident, correct?

"But otherwise....argh!!" - Oh, I know, but I don't think that is a big deal. Cats do not like change so it is not surprising something like this happened. BUT it doesn't sound like it was that bad. When it happens reassure, de-escalate, etc.

"Just to add - they both seem ok now (about thirty minutes later)" - OK, great, fast rebound. Great sign.

"but she is growling a bit more actively now, even at him from a distance (I briefly opened the door to check how she was doing and she saw him from a distance). And she is a bit more scared to come to the gate." Yes, that is normal and expected. It just tells us we have some work to do. Just keep doing what you are doing and try to avoid those negative encounters and if you sense some unease or tension just hold off on a gate meeting. It is all about quality rather than quantity.

With all the changes going on and I am assuming the general stress it is understandable Hawthorne might have some issues. If you sense he is a bit uneasy just hold off on a gate meeting and just try to play with him then give him some treats (alone) instead.

It is just a blip, I am not worried.
 
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Furmama22

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"The cats had an unpleasant interaction this morning." - Ok, let's see.

"I could tell Hawthorne was in a bad/anxious mood but I just kind of let it go, and then I let them interact with just the one pet gate instead of two." - Ok

"Hawthorne was doing a lot of staring and Florence hissing (the usual)" - Ok

" and then I was able to distract her with treats." - Great

" It took longer to distract him. He was very fixed on her." - Ok

" So, eventually, he decided to go for some treats, which took him away from the gate" - Great

" and she felt confident to go for a treat closer to the gate, at which point Hawthorne returned and they really both swatted each other through the gate with lots of hissing on her part." - Ok, that will happen. My guess is she moved towards him a little quickly (normal) and he felt a bit threatened and encounter. It happens. Let's see how they do after.

" My partner Michael tried to get Hawthorne away from the gate, so Hawthorne bit his foot (a little redirected aggression, I think). Michael is fine, although the skin did break a little." - :/ Yes. Really important to be very careful. Use a piece of carboard or a pillow to block when they are in that mode rather than trying to pick him up.

"I watched for recovery - she was a bit startled but ok within a shorter period." - Good. How long was it?

" Hawthorne was a bit anxious/meowing but also ok in a shorter period (although he's very anxious so much of the time it's hard to tell)." - Ok, good. How long for Hawthorne?

"I guess sometimes there are just days when it doesn't go as smoothly, right?" Absolutely especially with the moving, etc. It causes unease which causes the potential for issues so I am not too surprised and this wasn't all that bad.

"It's frustrating but I suppose everyone (including Hawthorne) has a bad mood kind of day." - Yes. Hawthorne did go over to your mother's house before this incident, correct?

"But otherwise....argh!!" - Oh, I know, but I don't think that is a big deal. Cats do not like change so it is not surprising something like this happened. BUT it doesn't sound like it was that bad. When it happens reassure, de-escalate, etc.

"Just to add - they both seem ok now (about thirty minutes later)" - OK, great, fast rebound. Great sign.

"but she is growling a bit more actively now, even at him from a distance (I briefly opened the door to check how she was doing and she saw him from a distance). And she is a bit more scared to come to the gate." Yes, that is normal and expected. It just tells us we have some work to do. Just keep doing what you are doing and try to avoid those negative encounters and if you sense some unease or tension just hold off on a gate meeting. It is all about quality rather than quantity.

With all the changes going on and I am assuming the general stress it is understandable Hawthorne might have some issues. If you sense he is a bit uneasy just hold off on a gate meeting and just try to play with him then give him some treats (alone) instead.

It is just a blip, I am not worried.
Thanks C calicosrspecial !

I think it is definitely possible Hawthorne senses the energy of the house - lots of activity, things changing locations, furniture disappearing, etc.

So far in terms of the moving, we spent one hour at my mom's on Monday evening (and today is Saturday). But in about a week, we go there for five days. So I know more things will be unsettled, plus in the next week we're painting and so on to get the house ready to sell, and someone will be coming to replace some floors - so lots going on.

You're absolutely right, I should have held off letting them be at the gate given his mood. I had grown so confident that he would be tentative that I thought it would be ok, and then suddenly he was not so tentative. :)

He's had a lot to contend with in the last six months - my other cat passing away, then a new cat showing up, and now 'moving type' activities. So, I'm trying to be patient. :)

And lastly, you'd asked about how long for recovery - what do I look for in that regard? I would say within five minutes both were able to lie down and settle, BUT, it's now 10 hours later and she is still growling at him much more and from a much greater distance. And they briefly encountered each other a little while ago at the gate (she slipped out while I was going into the room) and she kind of froze and tried to retreat very very slowly. In the past, she had a lot more confidence about it. I think his pissy behaviour this morning surprised her too.
 

calicosrspecial

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Thanks C calicosrspecial !

I think it is definitely possible Hawthorne senses the energy of the house - lots of activity, things changing locations, furniture disappearing, etc.

So far in terms of the moving, we spent one hour at my mom's on Monday evening (and today is Saturday). But in about a week, we go there for five days. So I know more things will be unsettled, plus in the next week we're painting and so on to get the house ready to sell, and someone will be coming to replace some floors - so lots going on.

You're absolutely right, I should have held off letting them be at the gate given his mood. I had grown so confident that he would be tentative that I thought it would be ok, and then suddenly he was not so tentative. :)

He's had a lot to contend with in the last six months - my other cat passing away, then a new cat showing up, and now 'moving type' activities. So, I'm trying to be patient. :)

And lastly, you'd asked about how long for recovery - what do I look for in that regard? I would say within five minutes both were able to lie down and settle, BUT, it's now 10 hours later and she is still growling at him much more and from a much greater distance. And they briefly encountered each other a little while ago at the gate (she slipped out while I was going into the room) and she kind of froze and tried to retreat very very slowly. In the past, she had a lot more confidence about it. I think his pissy behaviour this morning surprised her too.
"I think it is definitely possible Hawthorne senses the energy of the house - lots of activity, things changing locations, furniture disappearing, etc." - Agreed. Cats are creatures of habit, don't like change. So any changes in territory, emotions, etc can put them on edge.

"So far in terms of the moving, we spent one hour at my mom's on Monday evening (and today is Saturday)." - OK. It probably is te other stuff (emotions, getting ready for the listing, etc) that is causing some unease. They are very perceptive.

" But in about a week, we go there for five days. So I know more things will be unsettled, plus in the next week we're painting and so on to get the house ready to sell, and someone will be coming to replace some floors - so lots going on." - Yes, given that I suspect Hawthorne will be struggling a bit. So just try to make him as happy as possible, try to keep to play and feeding routines. And keep any interactions between them short (or even if you sense anxiety hold off). And when things settle down we can get back to it. Just try to make Hawthorne's life as "normal" as possible and spend some extra time and attention on him if possible.

"You're absolutely right, I should have held off letting them be at the gate given his mood. I had grown so confident that he would be tentative that I thought it would be ok, and then suddenly he was not so tentative. :)" - That is fine we only know after. It is not a big deal so no need to worry.

"He's had a lot to contend with in the last six months - my other cat passing away, then a new cat showing up, and now 'moving type' activities. So, I'm trying to be patient. :)" - Yes, but he is going to be fine and Florence is going to be a positive for him (as wil the new house). He has been through a lot BUT cats are resilient. He is going to be just fine.

"And lastly, you'd asked about how long for recovery - what do I look for in that regard?" - A return to "normal" defined by body language, not avoiding certain areas, eating normal, etc.

"I would say within five minutes both were able to lie down and settle," - OK, great. That is really good.

" BUT, it's now 10 hours later and she is still growling at him much more and from a much greater distance." - Yes, that will happen but as she sees him behaving it will give her confidence all is well.

"And they briefly encountered each other a little while ago at the gate (she slipped out while I was going into the room)" - SO they had no barrier between them?

" and she kind of froze and tried to retreat very very slowly." - That is fine, she was telling him she doesn't mean any harm or threat. It is actually great.

Did he attack her at all? How was his body language?

"In the past, she had a lot more confidence about it." - Yes BUT she did the exact right thing to tell him she doesn't mean harm or to be a threat. I am not at all bothered by that.

"I think his pissy behaviour this morning surprised her too." - I am sure it did. BUT it sounds like it was really nothing more than a blip. I don't get a sense it is anything really.

This was a test and they actually did pretty well. I don't think is an issue at all. We are going to be just fine.
 
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