Advice on Cat Introductions - Feeling a Bit Lost

calicosrspecial

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Hi C calicosrspecial and all! I have a couple of videos and will post tomorrow. One thing happened tonight though - I had swapped rooms for the cats and Hawthorne was in Florence's room. Sometimes when he gets annoyed being in there, he tips the water dish to express his displeasure. I realized I had forgotten to remove the water and so went back in quickly to grab it. The cats saw each other through the two pet gates and she hissed and got a big puffy tail and he tried to climb up the pet gate while snorting/huffing (you'll see an example of that in the video) to try to get to her. I moved past him to get out and he redirected his aggression and scratched my leg.

I don't mind the leg scratching but I wish it wouldn't be so aggressive between them - it was literally a ten second encounter. I felt a bit dejected. I know sometimes different moods affect things, and he was already annoyed at being in the room. But she got a big puffy tail and I didn't like that he was so worked up he attacked my leg instead.

Two hours before, he ate his supper in view of her no problem.

Anyways, maybe this is just a blip. She seemed to return to normal quite quickly (and I closed the door to the bedroom so I don't know how long it took Hawthorne but I'm guessing not super long as he was crying to get back out of the room in short order).

Is this a sign they still haven't accepted each other? Or just a bad mood moment?
"I have a couple of videos and will post tomorrow." - Great, that should help.

"One thing happened tonight though - I had swapped rooms for the cats and Hawthorne was in Florence's room. Sometimes when he gets annoyed being in there, he tips the water dish to express his displeasure. I realized I had forgotten to remove the water and so went back in quickly to grab it." - Ok

"The cats saw each other through the two pet gates and she hissed and got a big puffy tail" - Ok, since she wasn't in "her territory" I am not surprised as she is less confident there. We want to try to keep them from seeing each other when site swapping.

" and he tried to climb up the pet gate while snorting/huffing (you'll see an example of that in the video) to try to get to her." - Yes, he responded to her.

" I moved past him to get out and he redirected his aggression and scratched my leg." - Did you come from behind him or from in front of him? I suspect he saw your leg and thought it was a threat. Tells me he is feeling insecure.

"I don't mind the leg scratching but I wish it wouldn't be so aggressive between them - it was literally a ten second encounter." - Yes, agreed.

So the big question is, how did each of them act after this? When they were not in view of each other? Any low walking, cautiousness, avoiding, acting abnormally?

"I felt a bit dejected." - We all do when that happens. All that tells me is we have some work to do. During site swapping we want to be careful as since they are not in "their territory" they tend to be more insecure, more cautious, defensive, etc. BUT if this was the extent of the issues it is not an issues.

" I know sometimes different moods affect things, and he was already annoyed at being in the room." - Why was he annoyed? If he is not feeling good in there let's not do any site swapping for now.

" But she got a big puffy tail and I didn't like that he was so worked up he attacked my leg instead." - I would like to understand if he really did attack you or if he attacked something moving that he perceived as a threat,

"Two hours before, he ate his supper in view of her no problem." - And that is why I am not too worried. I think it has to do with him being in an "unowned" territory.

"Anyways, maybe this is just a blip." - I suspect it was.

"She seemed to return to normal quite quickly" - That is great!!!

" (and I closed the door to the bedroom so I don't know how long it took Hawthorne but I'm guessing not super long as he was crying to get back out of the room in short order)." - Ok. When something like this happens we want to reassure the cat that is most disturbed when we can't attend to both. And since Hawthorne is the resident cat and therefore the one with the biggest acceptance hurdle to overcome we should focus a bit more on him.

"Is this a sign they still haven't accepted each other?" - Yes, BUT yet. Which is not surprising.

" Or just a bad mood moment?" - I think one of those bad circumstances. It happens. BUT if they rebounded quickly (and I would like to know how Hawthorne acted after he got back into "his" territory) then I am not worried. SO also, if they act together well this morning (or the next feeding after this) then it is not worrying. The good news is, these things happen and since it wasn't really that bad it is not something I am worried about (it is not an existential thing to the intro).

"I should just answer my own question. I think a bad mood moment." - Ok

" Hawthorne was worked up from being in the room and without treats to distract they only had each other to stare at." - Ok, that makes sense. When we do change (like site swapping) we want to make it as positive as possible. So treats, or a toy, or calm, confident words, etc. Anything to say "everything is just fine".

" I still would have liked it to be a little more chill but so it goes." - OH yes, we always do BUT it is cats.

" The rest of the time (with treats) has been fine, or at least, mostly fine. :)" - In her room/territory?

Hang in there, these things happen and it doesn't sound like anything that is a real issue. It is common in intros. How they act over the next few days will tell us a lot. But it doesn't change my mind that they will be intro'd.
 
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Furmama22

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"I have a couple of videos and will post tomorrow." - Great, that should help.

"One thing happened tonight though - I had swapped rooms for the cats and Hawthorne was in Florence's room. Sometimes when he gets annoyed being in there, he tips the water dish to express his displeasure. I realized I had forgotten to remove the water and so went back in quickly to grab it." - Ok

"The cats saw each other through the two pet gates and she hissed and got a big puffy tail" - Ok, since she wasn't in "her territory" I am not surprised as she is less confident there. We want to try to keep them from seeing each other when site swapping.

" and he tried to climb up the pet gate while snorting/huffing (you'll see an example of that in the video) to try to get to her." - Yes, he responded to her.

" I moved past him to get out and he redirected his aggression and scratched my leg." - Did you come from behind him or from in front of him? I suspect he saw your leg and thought it was a threat. Tells me he is feeling insecure.

"I don't mind the leg scratching but I wish it wouldn't be so aggressive between them - it was literally a ten second encounter." - Yes, agreed.

So the big question is, how did each of them act after this? When they were not in view of each other? Any low walking, cautiousness, avoiding, acting abnormally?

"I felt a bit dejected." - We all do when that happens. All that tells me is we have some work to do. During site swapping we want to be careful as since they are not in "their territory" they tend to be more insecure, more cautious, defensive, etc. BUT if this was the extent of the issues it is not an issues.

" I know sometimes different moods affect things, and he was already annoyed at being in the room." - Why was he annoyed? If he is not feeling good in there let's not do any site swapping for now.

" But she got a big puffy tail and I didn't like that he was so worked up he attacked my leg instead." - I would like to understand if he really did attack you or if he attacked something moving that he perceived as a threat,

"Two hours before, he ate his supper in view of her no problem." - And that is why I am not too worried. I think it has to do with him being in an "unowned" territory.

"Anyways, maybe this is just a blip." - I suspect it was.

"She seemed to return to normal quite quickly" - That is great!!!

" (and I closed the door to the bedroom so I don't know how long it took Hawthorne but I'm guessing not super long as he was crying to get back out of the room in short order)." - Ok. When something like this happens we want to reassure the cat that is most disturbed when we can't attend to both. And since Hawthorne is the resident cat and therefore the one with the biggest acceptance hurdle to overcome we should focus a bit more on him.

"Is this a sign they still haven't accepted each other?" - Yes, BUT yet. Which is not surprising.

" Or just a bad mood moment?" - I think one of those bad circumstances. It happens. BUT if they rebounded quickly (and I would like to know how Hawthorne acted after he got back into "his" territory) then I am not worried. SO also, if they act together well this morning (or the next feeding after this) then it is not worrying. The good news is, these things happen and since it wasn't really that bad it is not something I am worried about (it is not an existential thing to the intro).

"I should just answer my own question. I think a bad mood moment." - Ok

" Hawthorne was worked up from being in the room and without treats to distract they only had each other to stare at." - Ok, that makes sense. When we do change (like site swapping) we want to make it as positive as possible. So treats, or a toy, or calm, confident words, etc. Anything to say "everything is just fine".

" I still would have liked it to be a little more chill but so it goes." - OH yes, we always do BUT it is cats.

" The rest of the time (with treats) has been fine, or at least, mostly fine. :)" - In her room/territory?

Hang in there, these things happen and it doesn't sound like anything that is a real issue. It is common in intros. How they act over the next few days will tell us a lot. But it doesn't change my mind that they will be intro'd.
Your words are always comforting! And you have it exactly right - he was in her territory and she was out in the main space, so both were not in their 'owned' territory. He hates being closed in ANY room and cries - but I think you're right that particularly in HER room he feels less confident. You are very wise! :)

I didn't go and check on him so I don't know how long it took him to calm down but I suspect not very long. When he came out about thirty minutes later and we switched them back (her back in her room) he ate his treats in view of her through the pet gate and was fine. She was fine within 1 minute of the incident - no low walking, no cautiousness, no avoiding. And then this morning for breakfast, back to being okay again - he ate his meal (or part of it) in view of her and she chowed down no problem.

And yes, when we do the treat time, it's always with her in her room, and him out in the main space. So I guess both in their most 'comfortable' territory.

Both are back to regular behaviour again today.

I'll get to work posting the videos! :) Thank you as always!
 
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Furmama22

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Your words are always comforting! And you have it exactly right - he was in her territory and she was out in the main space, so both were not in their 'owned' territory. He hates being closed in ANY room and cries - but I think you're right that particularly in HER room he feels less confident. You are very wise! :)

I didn't go and check on him so I don't know how long it took him to calm down but I suspect not very long. When he came out about thirty minutes later and we switched them back (her back in her room) he ate his treats in view of her through the pet gate and was fine. She was fine within 1 minute of the incident - no low walking, no cautiousness, no avoiding. And then this morning for breakfast, back to being okay again - he ate his meal (or part of it) in view of her and she chowed down no problem.

And yes, when we do the treat time, it's always with her in her room, and him out in the main space. So I guess both in their most 'comfortable' territory.

Both are back to regular behaviour again today.

I'll get to work posting the videos! :) Thank you as always!
I created an album with the videos and am just figuring out how to share it....

Apologies in advance for my video skills. It's tricky to get both of them in the screen while trying to pay attention and ensure nothing negative happens. I would say these videos represent the way their interactions are most of the time. They've had a few more positive interactions and a few more negative, but this is kind of where we're at lately, for the most part.

I hope these are somewhat informative! :) And yes, I'm in my pyjamas for most of them. The joys of working from home.
 

calicosrspecial

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Your words are always comforting! And you have it exactly right - he was in her territory and she was out in the main space, so both were not in their 'owned' territory. He hates being closed in ANY room and cries - but I think you're right that particularly in HER room he feels less confident. You are very wise! :)

I didn't go and check on him so I don't know how long it took him to calm down but I suspect not very long. When he came out about thirty minutes later and we switched them back (her back in her room) he ate his treats in view of her through the pet gate and was fine. She was fine within 1 minute of the incident - no low walking, no cautiousness, no avoiding. And then this morning for breakfast, back to being okay again - he ate his meal (or part of it) in view of her and she chowed down no problem.

And yes, when we do the treat time, it's always with her in her room, and him out in the main space. So I guess both in their most 'comfortable' territory.

Both are back to regular behaviour again today.

I'll get to work posting the videos! :) Thank you as always!
"Your words are always comforting! And you have it exactly right - he was in her territory and she was out in the main space, so both were not in their 'owned' territory." - Yes, that creates some insecurity.

"He hates being closed in ANY room and cries" - And THAT (having territory "taken away" adds to the insecurity. So combine that with her being seen and the hissing and we get an "encounter".

"- but I think you're right that particularly in HER room he feels less confident. You are very wise! :)" - Yes, he feels less confident in there. BUT we will build it.

"I didn't go and check on him so I don't know how long it took him to calm down but I suspect not very long. When he came out about thirty minutes later" - Ok

" and we switched them back (her back in her room) he ate his treats in view of her through the pet gate and was fine." - And THAT is a great sign. He saw her but chose treats over confronting her which tells me he doesn't worry about her THAT much. Exactly what we want to see. This is a big reason why i am not worried. IF there were real issues he would not be eating those in view of her, he would be totally focused and going after her or hiding and avoiding that area.

"She was fine within 1 minute of the incident - no low walking, no cautiousness, no avoiding." - Great, that is helpful for their intro process as well..

"And then this morning for breakfast, back to being okay again - he ate his meal (or part of it) in view of her and she chowed down no problem." - PERFECT!!

"And yes, when we do the treat time, it's always with her in her room, and him out in the main space. So I guess both in their most 'comfortable' territory." - Yes, we do that because we try to build trust when they are most confident in territory they feel like they "own" which gives them a good base of confidence.

"Both are back to regular behaviour again today." - Yes, that is great and tells me it was just a blip.

"I'll get to work posting the videos! :) Thank you as always!" - I'll take a look at it now.

"I created an album with the videos and am just figuring out how to share it...." - I have no idea how to even take a video let alone put it up on here BUT I see you have.

"Apologies in advance for my video skills. It's tricky to get both of them in the screen while trying to pay attention and ensure nothing negative happens." - No apology needed, I know it is tough.

" I would say these videos represent the way their interactions are most of the time. They've had a few more positive interactions and a few more negative, but this is kind of where we're at lately, for the most part." - Great, it will help.

"I hope these are somewhat informative! :) And yes, I'm in my pyjamas for most of them. The joys of working from home." - I am sure they will be. I will look and respond right now. Yes, one benefit of these horrible times.

Now to the videos.

Firstly, my goodness are they GORGEOUS cats!!! Oh my, I LOVE them!!!

VIdeo 1 - PERFECT!!! Body language is great from both. Relaxed. Hawthorne is just fine here.

I would like to remove the cardboard on the gate closest to him if possible so he can see her more.

Video 2 - The hiss did not seem like an issue AND Hawthorne didn't even get fazed which is great. The growl wasn't really an issue, she wasn't fazed either (I am assuming Hawthorne growled, I may be wrong though). Body language remained good. I am thinking we should remove all the cardboard at eye level on both gates. I think more visual should be fine now. Hawthorne's eye looked fine as did his ears, etc. So the growls are coming from her? But look how fast they can be distracted. So growl etc and nothing bad happens. THAT is good. I think Florence is growling for a treat, not him. And he isn't really responding. This is really good so far. He is doing really well here. Then he response a bit to her growling then gets distracted. Keep distracting/reassuring him at that point. I suspect she is growling because you are with him. His body language remains great through this so far. Overall, I am ecstatic at this and the previous videos.

I would sit in between the gates and give treats going forward. Let's see how that works. Then if it goes well I am going to remove one of the gates (I know we have to be careful because they will want to escape.

Video 3 - His curiosity has good body language, relaxed. Florence's body language looks great. I am not bothered by the hissing and he isn't really responding negatively. His body language looks great. He is not at all worried. She is so funny, reminds me of a cat I work with. Her body language does not match the growling (which is great). Another great video.

Video 4 - SO far so good. Then she is making some sounds and Hawthorne comes to the gate but pretty relaxed, no body language issues. When you say he wants to stare look at his tail, relaxed. That looking is totally fine. And all goes well.

So overall, I expected a lot of issues given your posts BUT I didn't see anything concerning. SO I am very pleasantly surprised. I guess we would like to see less hissing from her and therefore not have Hawthorne respond BUT his response is so tame. And given her body language the hissing doesn't seem serious. And I think Hawthorne knows it.

I would like to do treat time with you between the gates if safe and possible and see how they do. Also, I think we can remove the cardboard at their eye level. And fairly soon I think we can take the second gate away (if you feel like you can get in and out without one of them slipping past (which I know is hard).

But overall, they are doing just fine and much better than I imagined given your posts (I ever thought they had issues though BUT I thought they had more negative body language, etc (which I didn't see at all in these videos).

And one other thing I like is the treats get thrown it creates a bit of a hunting response and the other cat handles that well (the fast movements). If you sit in between the gates just place them (safely) so keep the movements more subdued so as not to trigger any response.

So overall, I am smiling here not only because they are GORGEOUS cats BUT because what I saw tells me that you are much further along than you may realize. I am not at all worried. The only thing I need to figure out is how to get rid of the second gate so they can be closer to each other. We will see an uptick in negativity at that point but it will also help us move forward. But we will do this only after removing the eye level cardboard so they can see each other better and when we figure out how to get in and out without one of them sneaking past.

GREAT job!!! There are a lot of things in here so feel free to ask anything. But overall, I am ecstatic with where they are at and I think we can push them a bit more soon.
 
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Furmama22

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"Your words are always comforting! And you have it exactly right - he was in her territory and she was out in the main space, so both were not in their 'owned' territory." - Yes, that creates some insecurity.

"He hates being closed in ANY room and cries" - And THAT (having territory "taken away" adds to the insecurity. So combine that with her being seen and the hissing and we get an "encounter".

"- but I think you're right that particularly in HER room he feels less confident. You are very wise! :)" - Yes, he feels less confident in there. BUT we will build it.

"I didn't go and check on him so I don't know how long it took him to calm down but I suspect not very long. When he came out about thirty minutes later" - Ok

" and we switched them back (her back in her room) he ate his treats in view of her through the pet gate and was fine." - And THAT is a great sign. He saw her but chose treats over confronting her which tells me he doesn't worry about her THAT much. Exactly what we want to see. This is a big reason why i am not worried. IF there were real issues he would not be eating those in view of her, he would be totally focused and going after her or hiding and avoiding that area.

"She was fine within 1 minute of the incident - no low walking, no cautiousness, no avoiding." - Great, that is helpful for their intro process as well..

"And then this morning for breakfast, back to being okay again - he ate his meal (or part of it) in view of her and she chowed down no problem." - PERFECT!!

"And yes, when we do the treat time, it's always with her in her room, and him out in the main space. So I guess both in their most 'comfortable' territory." - Yes, we do that because we try to build trust when they are most confident in territory they feel like they "own" which gives them a good base of confidence.

"Both are back to regular behaviour again today." - Yes, that is great and tells me it was just a blip.

"I'll get to work posting the videos! :) Thank you as always!" - I'll take a look at it now.

"I created an album with the videos and am just figuring out how to share it...." - I have no idea how to even take a video let alone put it up on here BUT I see you have.

"Apologies in advance for my video skills. It's tricky to get both of them in the screen while trying to pay attention and ensure nothing negative happens." - No apology needed, I know it is tough.

" I would say these videos represent the way their interactions are most of the time. They've had a few more positive interactions and a few more negative, but this is kind of where we're at lately, for the most part." - Great, it will help.

"I hope these are somewhat informative! :) And yes, I'm in my pyjamas for most of them. The joys of working from home." - I am sure they will be. I will look and respond right now. Yes, one benefit of these horrible times.

Now to the videos.

Firstly, my goodness are they GORGEOUS cats!!! Oh my, I LOVE them!!!

VIdeo 1 - PERFECT!!! Body language is great from both. Relaxed. Hawthorne is just fine here.

I would like to remove the cardboard on the gate closest to him if possible so he can see her more.

Video 2 - The hiss did not seem like an issue AND Hawthorne didn't even get fazed which is great. The growl wasn't really an issue, she wasn't fazed either (I am assuming Hawthorne growled, I may be wrong though). Body language remained good. I am thinking we should remove all the cardboard at eye level on both gates. I think more visual should be fine now. Hawthorne's eye looked fine as did his ears, etc. So the growls are coming from her? But look how fast they can be distracted. So growl etc and nothing bad happens. THAT is good. I think Florence is growling for a treat, not him. And he isn't really responding. This is really good so far. He is doing really well here. Then he response a bit to her growling then gets distracted. Keep distracting/reassuring him at that point. I suspect she is growling because you are with him. His body language remains great through this so far. Overall, I am ecstatic at this and the previous videos.

I would sit in between the gates and give treats going forward. Let's see how that works. Then if it goes well I am going to remove one of the gates (I know we have to be careful because they will want to escape.

Video 3 - His curiosity has good body language, relaxed. Florence's body language looks great. I am not bothered by the hissing and he isn't really responding negatively. His body language looks great. He is not at all worried. She is so funny, reminds me of a cat I work with. Her body language does not match the growling (which is great). Another great video.

Video 4 - SO far so good. Then she is making some sounds and Hawthorne comes to the gate but pretty relaxed, no body language issues. When you say he wants to stare look at his tail, relaxed. That looking is totally fine. And all goes well.

So overall, I expected a lot of issues given your posts BUT I didn't see anything concerning. SO I am very pleasantly surprised. I guess we would like to see less hissing from her and therefore not have Hawthorne respond BUT his response is so tame. And given her body language the hissing doesn't seem serious. And I think Hawthorne knows it.

I would like to do treat time with you between the gates if safe and possible and see how they do. Also, I think we can remove the cardboard at their eye level. And fairly soon I think we can take the second gate away (if you feel like you can get in and out without one of them slipping past (which I know is hard).

But overall, they are doing just fine and much better than I imagined given your posts (I ever thought they had issues though BUT I thought they had more negative body language, etc (which I didn't see at all in these videos).

And one other thing I like is the treats get thrown it creates a bit of a hunting response and the other cat handles that well (the fast movements). If you sit in between the gates just place them (safely) so keep the movements more subdued so as not to trigger any response.

So overall, I am smiling here not only because they are GORGEOUS cats BUT because what I saw tells me that you are much further along than you may realize. I am not at all worried. The only thing I need to figure out is how to get rid of the second gate so they can be closer to each other. We will see an uptick in negativity at that point but it will also help us move forward. But we will do this only after removing the eye level cardboard so they can see each other better and when we figure out how to get in and out without one of them sneaking past.

GREAT job!!! There are a lot of things in here so feel free to ask anything. But overall, I am ecstatic with where they are at and I think we can push them a bit more soon.
Haha, thank you for saying they are gorgeous! I think they are too! :) I love them both dearly.

And thanks for being so positive about the videos. I'm very glad that overall it's looking good. Here are my follow-up thoughts and questions:
  • I'm happy to sit between and do the treats. That's easy enough and I feel perfectly safe. I'll switch to that now. And I'll try to place them more instead of tossing them.
  • It's always Florence doing the growling and hissing. Hawthorne does that snorting/huffing thing (and likes to deliver bonks, if he can), but interestingly he doesn't growl or hiss.
  • I'm happy to remove the eye level cardboard and give that a try. We had it up because in addition to jumping the gate, Florence figured out how to squeeze THROUGH the bars. So the cardboard is meant to prevent her from doing that. But, she did it mostly when I would leave the door open for the two of them to look at each other (I was trying that a few weeks ago, before we moved to my mom's for that week). I don't think she'll try to go out during the 5 minute treat time. She's too busy snacking.
  • Same with the first pet gate. I'm willing to try just one gate, or the other option is to keep both in place and during treat times just keep one open, so Hawthorne can come closer to the single gate if he wants. At night, they each get a Churro paste and they are totally absorbed in that, so maybe that's a good time to leave the one gate open so they can be closer.
  • How would you interpret his response to her growling/hissing? He sort of snorts, or approaches the gate. Is that curiousity? Or apprehrension? I've never been certain how to understand his reaction.
Thanks for saying great job! That means a lot. I'll keep going with this for now!!
 

calicosrspecial

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Haha, thank you for saying they are gorgeous! I think they are too! :) I love them both dearly.

And thanks for being so positive about the videos. I'm very glad that overall it's looking good. Here are my follow-up thoughts and questions:
  • I'm happy to sit between and do the treats. That's easy enough and I feel perfectly safe. I'll switch to that now. And I'll try to place them more instead of tossing them.
  • It's always Florence doing the growling and hissing. Hawthorne does that snorting/huffing thing (and likes to deliver bonks, if he can), but interestingly he doesn't growl or hiss.
  • I'm happy to remove the eye level cardboard and give that a try. We had it up because in addition to jumping the gate, Florence figured out how to squeeze THROUGH the bars. So the cardboard is meant to prevent her from doing that. But, she did it mostly when I would leave the door open for the two of them to look at each other (I was trying that a few weeks ago, before we moved to my mom's for that week). I don't think she'll try to go out during the 5 minute treat time. She's too busy snacking.
  • Same with the first pet gate. I'm willing to try just one gate, or the other option is to keep both in place and during treat times just keep one open, so Hawthorne can come closer to the single gate if he wants. At night, they each get a Churro paste and they are totally absorbed in that, so maybe that's a good time to leave the one gate open so they can be closer.
  • How would you interpret his response to her growling/hissing? He sort of snorts, or approaches the gate. Is that curiousity? Or apprehrension? I've never been certain how to understand his reaction.
Thanks for saying great job! That means a lot. I'll keep going with this for now!!
"Haha, thank you for saying they are gorgeous! I think they are too! :)"- Oh my, they are absolutely GORGEOUS!! Easy to say!!!

" I love them both dearly." - I can see that AND I think it is easy to love them. They seem so wonderful!!

"And thanks for being so positive about the videos." - It is very easy to tell the truth.

I'm very glad that overall it's looking good. Here are my follow-up thoughts and questions:
  • "I'm happy to sit between and do the treats. That's easy enough and I feel perfectly safe. I'll switch to that now. And I'll try to place them more instead of tossing them." - Perfect. This will give them a bit of a distraction and additional positive association since both love you. Tossing the treats was not an issue at all. Not at all saying anything negative about that.
  • "It's always Florence doing the growling and hissing. Hawthorne does that snorting/huffing thing (and likes to deliver bonks, if he can), but interestingly he doesn't growl or hiss." - Ok, I suspect that is "just her". And his reaction is very tame. ESPCIALLY for a resident cat. I am REALLY PROUD of Hawthorne as he really behaved well which is VERY positive.
  • "I'm happy to remove the eye level cardboard and give that a try. We had it up because in addition to jumping the gate, Florence figured out how to squeeze THROUGH the bars. So the cardboard is meant to prevent her from doing that. But, she did it mostly when I would leave the door open for the two of them to look at each other (I was trying that a few weeks ago, before we moved to my mom's for that week). I don't think she'll try to go out during the 5 minute treat time. She's too busy snacking." - Ahhhhhhh, she is a tricky one. I guess she doesn't fear him that much. I understand now. Sometimes when visual is somewhat blocked it can cause some uncertainty and result in some hissing, being surprised, etc. Hmmmmmm, yes, I don't want her squeezing through but I would like to get more full visual to avoid the hide n seek surprise ambush viewing.
  • "Same with the first pet gate. I'm willing to try just one gate, or the other option is to keep both in place and during treat times just keep one open, so Hawthorne can come closer to the single gate if he wants. At night, they each get a Churro paste and they are totally absorbed in that, so maybe that's a good time to leave the one gate open so they can be closer." - GREAT idea.
  • "How would you interpret his response to her growling/hissing? He sort of snorts, or approaches the gate. Is that curiousity? Or apprehrension? I've never been certain how to understand his reaction." - His reaction is very subdued. His body language remained positive, he was not aggressively going to the gate. The noises are just communication. I suspect he doesn't interpret the hissing as threatening. Just reassure him, distract him and if possible do the same for her. The fact he looks away from her quickly after the hissing (and even during I think I saw) tells me he doesn't seem to threatened by it.
"Thanks for saying great job! That means a lot. I'll keep going with this for now!!" - You deserve it, they are doing great.

The key is the nuance in body language, reactions, the way they act after the action (hiss, bonk, etc), eating, ability of being distracted, etc.

I suspected before there weren't issues, I questioned myself with some of the updates but still didn't read anything, and now I am absolutely certain they have normal intro issues (nothing insurmountable). There would have been clues in the videos if there were real issues and I saw none. And in fact, I saw many positives.

We'll learn more with the improved visibility and 1 gate time.

Do they ever go on laps, etc?

So overall, I say great job and it seems like time to advance their interactions. We'll have some ups and downs but that will tell us how much work we have. Just keep focusing on positive associations (food, etc) and positive encounters (limiting or avoiding negatives by distracting and reassuring as needed). There is a lot of trust between them already so we just have to continue building it.

Keep up the great work!!! And ask anything, any time.
 
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"Haha, thank you for saying they are gorgeous! I think they are too! :)"- Oh my, they are absolutely GORGEOUS!! Easy to say!!!

" I love them both dearly." - I can see that AND I think it is easy to love them. They seem so wonderful!!

"And thanks for being so positive about the videos." - It is very easy to tell the truth.

I'm very glad that overall it's looking good. Here are my follow-up thoughts and questions:
  • "I'm happy to sit between and do the treats. That's easy enough and I feel perfectly safe. I'll switch to that now. And I'll try to place them more instead of tossing them." - Perfect. This will give them a bit of a distraction and additional positive association since both love you. Tossing the treats was not an issue at all. Not at all saying anything negative about that.
  • "It's always Florence doing the growling and hissing. Hawthorne does that snorting/huffing thing (and likes to deliver bonks, if he can), but interestingly he doesn't growl or hiss." - Ok, I suspect that is "just her". And his reaction is very tame. ESPCIALLY for a resident cat. I am REALLY PROUD of Hawthorne as he really behaved well which is VERY positive.
  • "I'm happy to remove the eye level cardboard and give that a try. We had it up because in addition to jumping the gate, Florence figured out how to squeeze THROUGH the bars. So the cardboard is meant to prevent her from doing that. But, she did it mostly when I would leave the door open for the two of them to look at each other (I was trying that a few weeks ago, before we moved to my mom's for that week). I don't think she'll try to go out during the 5 minute treat time. She's too busy snacking." - Ahhhhhhh, she is a tricky one. I guess she doesn't fear him that much. I understand now. Sometimes when visual is somewhat blocked it can cause some uncertainty and result in some hissing, being surprised, etc. Hmmmmmm, yes, I don't want her squeezing through but I would like to get more full visual to avoid the hide n seek surprise ambush viewing.
  • "Same with the first pet gate. I'm willing to try just one gate, or the other option is to keep both in place and during treat times just keep one open, so Hawthorne can come closer to the single gate if he wants. At night, they each get a Churro paste and they are totally absorbed in that, so maybe that's a good time to leave the one gate open so they can be closer." - GREAT idea.
  • "How would you interpret his response to her growling/hissing? He sort of snorts, or approaches the gate. Is that curiousity? Or apprehrension? I've never been certain how to understand his reaction." - His reaction is very subdued. His body language remained positive, he was not aggressively going to the gate. The noises are just communication. I suspect he doesn't interpret the hissing as threatening. Just reassure him, distract him and if possible do the same for her. The fact he looks away from her quickly after the hissing (and even during I think I saw) tells me he doesn't seem to threatened by it.
"Thanks for saying great job! That means a lot. I'll keep going with this for now!!" - You deserve it, they are doing great.

The key is the nuance in body language, reactions, the way they act after the action (hiss, bonk, etc), eating, ability of being distracted, etc.

I suspected before there weren't issues, I questioned myself with some of the updates but still didn't read anything, and now I am absolutely certain they have normal intro issues (nothing insurmountable). There would have been clues in the videos if there were real issues and I saw none. And in fact, I saw many positives.

We'll learn more with the improved visibility and 1 gate time.

Do they ever go on laps, etc?

So overall, I say great job and it seems like time to advance their interactions. We'll have some ups and downs but that will tell us how much work we have. Just keep focusing on positive associations (food, etc) and positive encounters (limiting or avoiding negatives by distracting and reassuring as needed). There is a lot of trust between them already so we just have to continue building it.

Keep up the great work!!! And ask anything, any time.
Hello!! Thought I would write with a quick update. We've been doing treat times a few times a day, and I've let them interact through a single gate on a few of those occasions.

In general, the meal times are the same as in the videos - they eat pretty peaceably for the most part and Hawthorne leaves when he is done. When I open the door for treat times, she still hisses once when she sees Hawthorne (also interestingly she does NOT hiss when I open the door for breakfast, largely because she is mostly concerned about the plate in my hand) and then she is distracted by treats. He is distracted too. It feels pretty calm, aside from when she growls and then he does his snuffing/snorting thing.

Oh, and I've removed all cardboard from the gates so they can see each other fully. I'm happy with that. When monitored she doesn't try to jump over the gate so that reduces one worry.

In terms of the single gate, I've tried on those occasions to really keep them distracted. If he gets too close, she growls more loudly than usual and I think, if given the chance, he would try to reach through and try to bonk her/they'd exchange some swats. When distracted with treats, I can prevent that from happening.

Should I be trying to get to a place where no bonking will occur? She is showing no signs of stopping her growling (mostly when she feels he is getting too close) and that sometimes sets him off.

Shall I just keep working on this? We move in about a month, so it will be stable (minus packing) for a little bit more. :)

We've got a pretty good schedule going now (both cats are used to it) so we can all keep going like this if it's where we need to be. :)
 

calicosrspecial

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Hello!! Thought I would write with a quick update. We've been doing treat times a few times a day, and I've let them interact through a single gate on a few of those occasions.

In general, the meal times are the same as in the videos - they eat pretty peaceably for the most part and Hawthorne leaves when he is done. When I open the door for treat times, she still hisses once when she sees Hawthorne (also interestingly she does NOT hiss when I open the door for breakfast, largely because she is mostly concerned about the plate in my hand) and then she is distracted by treats. He is distracted too. It feels pretty calm, aside from when she growls and then he does his snuffing/snorting thing.

Oh, and I've removed all cardboard from the gates so they can see each other fully. I'm happy with that. When monitored she doesn't try to jump over the gate so that reduces one worry.

In terms of the single gate, I've tried on those occasions to really keep them distracted. If he gets too close, she growls more loudly than usual and I think, if given the chance, he would try to reach through and try to bonk her/they'd exchange some swats. When distracted with treats, I can prevent that from happening.

Should I be trying to get to a place where no bonking will occur? She is showing no signs of stopping her growling (mostly when she feels he is getting too close) and that sometimes sets him off.

Shall I just keep working on this? We move in about a month, so it will be stable (minus packing) for a little bit more. :)

We've got a pretty good schedule going now (both cats are used to it) so we can all keep going like this if it's where we need to be. :)
"We've been doing treat times a few times a day, and I've let them interact through a single gate on a few of those occasions." - Great

"In general, the meal times are the same as in the videos - they eat pretty peaceably for the most part and Hawthorne leaves when he is done." - Perfect

"When I open the door for treat times, she still hisses once when she sees Hawthorne (also interestingly she does NOT hiss when I open the door for breakfast, largely because she is mostly concerned about the plate in my hand) and then she is distracted by treats. He is distracted too." - That is fine that she hisses when she first sees him. That is communication. If he is like "whatever" and it doesn't escalate then it is communicated correctly and respected. That is fine. Being distracted is really good as it tells us that the other cat is not perceived to be a serious threat.

"It feels pretty calm, aside from when she growls and then he does his snuffing/snorting thing." - Are there any other body language clues? Anything negative? On the video when he did his sound it was very non-threatening.

"Oh, and I've removed all cardboard from the gates so they can see each other fully. I'm happy with that. When monitored she doesn't try to jump over the gate so that reduces one worry." - Great!!! And they are accepting it well?

"In terms of the single gate, I've tried on those occasions to really keep them distracted." - Great

" If he gets too close, she growls more loudly than usual" - That is normal. She is just warring him "not to try anything". It doesn't sound like he is going after her so he is respecting the communication. Again, it is really if it escalates etc that really is what matters.

" and I think, if given the chance, he would try to reach through and try to bonk her/they'd exchange some swats." - Possibly

"When distracted with treats, I can prevent that from happening." - And THAT is the key. IF they thought the other was an existential threat then they could not or would not be distracted. And everytime they are together and there isn't true negativity then it builds trust and confidence.

"Should I be trying to get to a place where no bonking will occur?" - Yes but it will in time. And even when they are intro'd it may happen. It is really what happens with how they act after that tells us the severity of it.

"She is showing no signs of stopping her growling (mostly when she feels he is getting too close) and that sometimes sets him off." - Yes, so distract them, reassure them, etc. The fact it "only" sometimes sets him off that is progress. He will learn (as she will) that the other isn't really a threat so it should reduce in time.

"Shall I just keep working on this? We move in about a month, so it will be stable (minus packing) for a little bit more. :)" - Yes, keep doing what you are doing. Use distraction, reassuring to try to reduce the hissing, the swatting/bonking. Watch the body language. Try to avoid the negativity. Get them to look away from each other. Etc. It really is just repetition. But it sounds really positive.

"We've got a pretty good schedule going now (both cats are used to it) so we can all keep going like this if it's where we need to be. :)" - Perfect, that is helpful as well. Cats like routines.

It sounds like things are going really well. Just keep it up and try to distract, reassure, get them to look away, keep up the positive associations (food, treats) and maximize the positive encounters while minimizing or avoiding negative encounters. If you get hissing but he looks away or calmly walks away that is a positive encounter, not negative.

Keep up the great work!!! Sounds like it is going great.
 
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Furmama22

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"We've been doing treat times a few times a day, and I've let them interact through a single gate on a few of those occasions." - Great

"In general, the meal times are the same as in the videos - they eat pretty peaceably for the most part and Hawthorne leaves when he is done." - Perfect

"When I open the door for treat times, she still hisses once when she sees Hawthorne (also interestingly she does NOT hiss when I open the door for breakfast, largely because she is mostly concerned about the plate in my hand) and then she is distracted by treats. He is distracted too." - That is fine that she hisses when she first sees him. That is communication. If he is like "whatever" and it doesn't escalate then it is communicated correctly and respected. That is fine. Being distracted is really good as it tells us that the other cat is not perceived to be a serious threat.

"It feels pretty calm, aside from when she growls and then he does his snuffing/snorting thing." - Are there any other body language clues? Anything negative? On the video when he did his sound it was very non-threatening.

"Oh, and I've removed all cardboard from the gates so they can see each other fully. I'm happy with that. When monitored she doesn't try to jump over the gate so that reduces one worry." - Great!!! And they are accepting it well?

"In terms of the single gate, I've tried on those occasions to really keep them distracted." - Great

" If he gets too close, she growls more loudly than usual" - That is normal. She is just warring him "not to try anything". It doesn't sound like he is going after her so he is respecting the communication. Again, it is really if it escalates etc that really is what matters.

" and I think, if given the chance, he would try to reach through and try to bonk her/they'd exchange some swats." - Possibly

"When distracted with treats, I can prevent that from happening." - And THAT is the key. IF they thought the other was an existential threat then they could not or would not be distracted. And everytime they are together and there isn't true negativity then it builds trust and confidence.

"Should I be trying to get to a place where no bonking will occur?" - Yes but it will in time. And even when they are intro'd it may happen. It is really what happens with how they act after that tells us the severity of it.

"She is showing no signs of stopping her growling (mostly when she feels he is getting too close) and that sometimes sets him off." - Yes, so distract them, reassure them, etc. The fact it "only" sometimes sets him off that is progress. He will learn (as she will) that the other isn't really a threat so it should reduce in time.

"Shall I just keep working on this? We move in about a month, so it will be stable (minus packing) for a little bit more. :)" - Yes, keep doing what you are doing. Use distraction, reassuring to try to reduce the hissing, the swatting/bonking. Watch the body language. Try to avoid the negativity. Get them to look away from each other. Etc. It really is just repetition. But it sounds really positive.

"We've got a pretty good schedule going now (both cats are used to it) so we can all keep going like this if it's where we need to be. :)" - Perfect, that is helpful as well. Cats like routines.

It sounds like things are going really well. Just keep it up and try to distract, reassure, get them to look away, keep up the positive associations (food, treats) and maximize the positive encounters while minimizing or avoiding negative encounters. If you get hissing but he looks away or calmly walks away that is a positive encounter, not negative.

Keep up the great work!!! Sounds like it is going great.
Ok we will keep at it!! Good thing they are both food motivated, hahaha.:)

I was wondering for your thoughts on something else, which is the fact that Florence is still mostly in her 'safe room'. I feel guilty about the fact that it's been 3 1/2 months and she still has to spend so much time in that room. Do you think she minds? She gets to come out three times a day for 1.5 hours each time - morning, afternoon, evening (so a total of about 4 1/2 hours per day out of the room) - and I play with her each time, for at least ten minutes, so that's about 30 minutes of play per day. Her 'safe room' has cozy bedding, a cat tree, a window, etc. Monday to Friday I work in her room (which is my office) so she also has company for much of the day. Do you think that's ok? I feel guilty that perhaps she feels bored or confined. Obviously once they are intro'd she will have free reign of the house with Hawthorne. So I'm holding out that this might be temporary pain for long-term gain.
 

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Ok we will keep at it!! Good thing they are both food motivated, hahaha.:)

I was wondering for your thoughts on something else, which is the fact that Florence is still mostly in her 'safe room'. I feel guilty about the fact that it's been 3 1/2 months and she still has to spend so much time in that room. Do you think she minds? She gets to come out three times a day for 1.5 hours each time - morning, afternoon, evening (so a total of about 4 1/2 hours per day out of the room) - and I play with her each time, for at least ten minutes, so that's about 30 minutes of play per day. Her 'safe room' has cozy bedding, a cat tree, a window, etc. Monday to Friday I work in her room (which is my office) so she also has company for much of the day. Do you think that's ok? I feel guilty that perhaps she feels bored or confined. Obviously once they are intro'd she will have free reign of the house with Hawthorne. So I'm holding out that this might be temporary pain for long-term gain.
Being food motivated is VERY helpful. :)

"I was wondering for your thoughts on something else, which is the fact that Florence is still mostly in her 'safe room'. I feel guilty about the fact that it's been 3 1/2 months and she still has to spend so much time in that room. Do you think she minds?" - There is no need to feel guilty at all. It has to be done and is the right thing for both of them. I don't think she minds to any meaningful degree. . I don't she anything in her body language to suggest otherwise. She seems like a happy cat. It is only for a temporary amount of time and she will have full access in time. So, that is not a thing to worry about at all.

"She gets to come out three times a day for 1.5 hours each time - morning, afternoon, evening (so a total of about 4 1/2 hours per day out of the room) - and I play with her each time, for at least ten minutes, so that's about 30 minutes of play per day." - Wow, that is great. Even if she didn't get out I wouldn't worry but with that much time out that is definitely not a worry.

"Her 'safe room' has cozy bedding, a cat tree, a window, etc. Monday to Friday I work in her room (which is my office) so she also has company for much of the day. Do you think that's ok?" - Absolutely. In fact, that is terrific. She is lucky you can spend so much time with her.

" I feel guilty that perhaps she feels bored or confined." - Cats tend to sleep a lot anyway. She has the world there (and safety) so I don't think there is a confined issue at all. If you were staying in your house long term I think you would find her spending a fair amount of time in there even after being intro'd. Again, you have no reason to feel guilty at all.

"Obviously once they are intro'd she will have free reign of the house with Hawthorne. So I'm holding out that this might be temporary pain for long-term gain." - It is absolutely short term (I wouldn't say pain though since they both seem happy and content). IF there was pain you would have behavioral issues which we do not see at all.

There will be long term gain and they will be successfully intro'd. I have no doubt about it. And hopefully health allows them 10-20 years of future happiness between them.

I am not at all worried that they will be intro'd successfully and will lead happy lives together. They are going to be fine.

Don't worry, you are doing great!!
 
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Furmama22

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Being food motivated is VERY helpful. :)

"I was wondering for your thoughts on something else, which is the fact that Florence is still mostly in her 'safe room'. I feel guilty about the fact that it's been 3 1/2 months and she still has to spend so much time in that room. Do you think she minds?" - There is no need to feel guilty at all. It has to be done and is the right thing for both of them. I don't think she minds to any meaningful degree. . I don't she anything in her body language to suggest otherwise. She seems like a happy cat. It is only for a temporary amount of time and she will have full access in time. So, that is not a thing to worry about at all.

"She gets to come out three times a day for 1.5 hours each time - morning, afternoon, evening (so a total of about 4 1/2 hours per day out of the room) - and I play with her each time, for at least ten minutes, so that's about 30 minutes of play per day." - Wow, that is great. Even if she didn't get out I wouldn't worry but with that much time out that is definitely not a worry.

"Her 'safe room' has cozy bedding, a cat tree, a window, etc. Monday to Friday I work in her room (which is my office) so she also has company for much of the day. Do you think that's ok?" - Absolutely. In fact, that is terrific. She is lucky you can spend so much time with her.

" I feel guilty that perhaps she feels bored or confined." - Cats tend to sleep a lot anyway. She has the world there (and safety) so I don't think there is a confined issue at all. If you were staying in your house long term I think you would find her spending a fair amount of time in there even after being intro'd. Again, you have no reason to feel guilty at all.

"Obviously once they are intro'd she will have free reign of the house with Hawthorne. So I'm holding out that this might be temporary pain for long-term gain." - It is absolutely short term (I wouldn't say pain though since they both seem happy and content). IF there was pain you would have behavioral issues which we do not see at all.

There will be long term gain and they will be successfully intro'd. I have no doubt about it. And hopefully health allows them 10-20 years of future happiness between them.

I am not at all worried that they will be intro'd successfully and will lead happy lives together. They are going to be fine.

Don't worry, you are doing great!!
I forgot to write back to this, my apologies! I wanted to thank you for the comforting words. I felt a lot better thinking that Florence didn't mind being in the room. You are always very kind and generous with your time, offering support! I really appreciate it.

We move in just under three weeks, so I'm holding things steady for now. Everything is the same. Once we actually do move, of course, I'll check in with updates. For now, I'm doing just the basic treat and meal times.

Once we get to the new house, they'll each get a bedroom as a home base. I'm guessing we'll have to take a step or two back in the introduction process? Let them each explore the house separately and get settled before we start letting them see each other again? Maybe even do some room swapping?
 

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I forgot to write back to this, my apologies! I wanted to thank you for the comforting words. I felt a lot better thinking that Florence didn't mind being in the room. You are always very kind and generous with your time, offering support! I really appreciate it.

We move in just under three weeks, so I'm holding things steady for now. Everything is the same. Once we actually do move, of course, I'll check in with updates. For now, I'm doing just the basic treat and meal times.

Once we get to the new house, they'll each get a bedroom as a home base. I'm guessing we'll have to take a step or two back in the introduction process? Let them each explore the house separately and get settled before we start letting them see each other again? Maybe even do some room swapping?
That is ok, I understand. Oh my, you are very welcome. But I do want you to know that my words are what I believe and they are comforting only because that is what I believe.

I absolutely am not worried about Florence being in the room. AND she has an added benefit of being out for longer periods of time and of course your company. So even if that wasn't happening I wouldn't be worried because of how she behaves, acts, etc. But with that her arrangements are absolutely fine (and her suite is well furnished).

I am happy to help so never feel any concerns about that. I am always her for you all.

"We move in just under three weeks, so I'm holding things steady for now. Everything is the same. Once we actually do move, of course, I'll check in with updates. For now, I'm doing just the basic treat and meal times." - Great. Moving in to a "neutral" territory could be an advantage though the move will be a bit stressful. The good news is we can handle whatever happens. I am not worried.

How are they doing with single gate, more visual, etc?

"Once we get to the new house, they'll each get a bedroom as a home base." - Ok, we'll have to figure out the best way. I would like to try to expand each of their new territory. But the set up will be the question. We will figure it out.

"I'm guessing we'll have to take a step or two back in the introduction process?" - I don't think so. But we'll see. It will depend on how well adjusted (stressed) they are from the move.

"Let them each explore the house separately and get settled before we start letting them see each other again?" - It will be dependent on hw stressed they are. If they handle it well I may try an intro right away, no gates, etc. But it will all be dependent on how they are (and how they are together going into the move).

"Maybe even do some room swapping?" - Yes, possibly. Again, I am thinking this might be an opportunity to do a face to face (if they handled the move well) and if going in to the move they are doing well).

Just keep up the great work. IF things go well we may do a no gate before the move. It just all depends on how they are doing. Based on the videos I saw they are doing great.

The good news is, there isn't a need to rush. We can go at whatever pace. I do think they are really close. (But that assumes things have been going well since the last post/videos).

Exciting. :)
 
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That is ok, I understand. Oh my, you are very welcome. But I do want you to know that my words are what I believe and they are comforting only because that is what I believe.

I absolutely am not worried about Florence being in the room. AND she has an added benefit of being out for longer periods of time and of course your company. So even if that wasn't happening I wouldn't be worried because of how she behaves, acts, etc. But with that her arrangements are absolutely fine (and her suite is well furnished).

I am happy to help so never feel any concerns about that. I am always her for you all.

"We move in just under three weeks, so I'm holding things steady for now. Everything is the same. Once we actually do move, of course, I'll check in with updates. For now, I'm doing just the basic treat and meal times." - Great. Moving in to a "neutral" territory could be an advantage though the move will be a bit stressful. The good news is we can handle whatever happens. I am not worried.

How are they doing with single gate, more visual, etc?

"Once we get to the new house, they'll each get a bedroom as a home base." - Ok, we'll have to figure out the best way. I would like to try to expand each of their new territory. But the set up will be the question. We will figure it out.

"I'm guessing we'll have to take a step or two back in the introduction process?" - I don't think so. But we'll see. It will depend on how well adjusted (stressed) they are from the move.

"Let them each explore the house separately and get settled before we start letting them see each other again?" - It will be dependent on hw stressed they are. If they handle it well I may try an intro right away, no gates, etc. But it will all be dependent on how they are (and how they are together going into the move).

"Maybe even do some room swapping?" - Yes, possibly. Again, I am thinking this might be an opportunity to do a face to face (if they handled the move well) and if going in to the move they are doing well).

Just keep up the great work. IF things go well we may do a no gate before the move. It just all depends on how they are doing. Based on the videos I saw they are doing great.

The good news is, there isn't a need to rush. We can go at whatever pace. I do think they are really close. (But that assumes things have been going well since the last post/videos).

Exciting. :)
Okay, wow, fascinating!! I never considered a face-to-face at the new house but you're right, it could be a neutral territory. What signs would I look for that they are handling things well?

I would say right now my assessment is that they're doing the same. I haven't noticed any enormous forward progress. I do use the single gate sometimes but only with highly supervised interactions (i.e. lots of treats). I think I'm afraid of a negative encounter - that Hawthorne will reach through and try to bonk her. I've been trying to prevent that, and in trying to prevent it, they only have brief encounters through a single gate. I guess I do have to keep challenging them though....

Tomorrow I'll try doing treats through the single gate a few more times and see how it goes. If they do have a swat (which I will try to prevent with ample treats), should I close the door and let them settle, or try to distract with treats and end it on a positive note?
 
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I guess to this I would quickly add that while they are generally very distractable with treats, they are certainly not friendly with each other. Is friendly behaviour something we hope for in the intro, or more likely down the line once they know each other?
 

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I guess to this I would quickly add that while they are generally very distractable with treats, they are certainly not friendly with each other. Is friendly behaviour something we hope for in the intro, or more likely down the line once they know each other?
"Okay, wow, fascinating!! I never considered a face-to-face at the new house but you're right, it could be a neutral territory." - Since cats are territorial sometimes going to a neutral can really be advantageous.

" What signs would I look for that they are handling things well?" - Acting reasonably normal, so moving around fairly normal (tail position, height, speed, etc), eating normal, using the litter box, sleeping, resting. There will be exploring and uncertainty but there are signs. Getting video of them could be very helpful.

"I would say right now my assessment is that they're doing the same." - OK, great. If they are like in the video that is perfect.

" I haven't noticed any enormous forward progress." - It will be fairly subtle given where they are now. They are doing really well.

" I do use the single gate sometimes but only with highly supervised interactions (i.e. lots of treats)." - Ok, try to keep doing it and use words as distraction I would like to see how easily distracted they are, etc.

" I think I'm afraid of a negative encounter" - Understandable. But there are degrees and fast rebounds can be really telling (good). Of coruse we want to avoid negative encounters BUT we also want to test where they are.

" - that Hawthorne will reach through and try to bonk her." - Depending on how it is and the response that may not be all that negative. So an aggressive bonk with a lot of "going after" then a lot of avoiding, hiding etc after would be very negative (which we want to avoid) BUT a kinda playful bonk with a "whatever" response or no lingering negativity is actually fine.

" I've been trying to prevent that, and in trying to prevent it, they only have brief encounters through a single gate." - That is understandable and fine. We want to prevent it but we also have to see if we fear something that may not happen or if it does happen it isn't that bad. It is more art than science. The safe route is your route and that is fine as no negativity is a positive and it builds trust. So I have no issue with that. And if you feel uncertain than it may be the best route. I just saw the videos and see them a bit more advanced. But we'll do what you feel most comfortable with. I am not at all worried, they are going to be intro'd.

" I guess I do have to keep challenging them though...." - Yes. BUT your emotions will have an impact so if you are feeling anxiety then they could and it could escalate. So let's take it slow and get you feeling more confident and just progress a bit at a time. So let's see if words and reassurance can distract them and keep it positive.

"Tomorrow I'll try doing treats through the single gate a few more times and see how it goes." - Great. And use words and reassurance and let's see how they do. And try to be as calm and confident as possible as cats take on our emotions.

"If they do have a swat (which I will try to prevent with ample treats), should I close the door and let them settle, or try to distract with treats and end it on a positive note?" - Try to distract with treats and words first. If they are really negative and it is looking bad then it will be time to just end it. But if it is like anything in the videos then just use words and treats. I don't get a sense it will go badly and out of control. I just didn't see anything on the videos to suggest that. But the videos could be misleading. And watch how they act after any negativity. If it lingers and three is poor body language, hiding. avoiding, eating differently, etc then it was more negative. But if there was some swatting and hissing BUT they can be distracted (look away) by treats or words and then they act normal after then that is fine.

Hopefully that makes some sense. It is more art than science. But I am not worried, they are much more advanced and fine than where I would be worried. If you want, take more video and I will happily look at it and we can assess where they are and how they are doing.

If they are doing the same as the videos they are doing well.

"I guess to this I would quickly add that while they are generally very distractable with treats," - Which is GREAT!! Since IF there were real issues no food or treats would be able to distract them.

" they are certainly not friendly with each other." - That is fine. Though on the videos the body language looked really good to me. More "friendly or accepting" than you may realize.

"Is friendly behaviour something we hope for in the intro, or more likely down the line once they know each other?" - Oh we hope but it is not a prerequisite. We can't force friendship, etc on cats BUT we can create a trusting and positive environment that allows for it to happen. In some cat families just acceptance (and quality, happy lives) is the goal while most homes will find friendship. But we just never know. Some cats are cat cats while other are more "loners" or human cats.
 
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"Okay, wow, fascinating!! I never considered a face-to-face at the new house but you're right, it could be a neutral territory." - Since cats are territorial sometimes going to a neutral can really be advantageous.

" What signs would I look for that they are handling things well?" - Acting reasonably normal, so moving around fairly normal (tail position, height, speed, etc), eating normal, using the litter box, sleeping, resting. There will be exploring and uncertainty but there are signs. Getting video of them could be very helpful.

"I would say right now my assessment is that they're doing the same." - OK, great. If they are like in the video that is perfect.

" I haven't noticed any enormous forward progress." - It will be fairly subtle given where they are now. They are doing really well.

" I do use the single gate sometimes but only with highly supervised interactions (i.e. lots of treats)." - Ok, try to keep doing it and use words as distraction I would like to see how easily distracted they are, etc.

" I think I'm afraid of a negative encounter" - Understandable. But there are degrees and fast rebounds can be really telling (good). Of coruse we want to avoid negative encounters BUT we also want to test where they are.

" - that Hawthorne will reach through and try to bonk her." - Depending on how it is and the response that may not be all that negative. So an aggressive bonk with a lot of "going after" then a lot of avoiding, hiding etc after would be very negative (which we want to avoid) BUT a kinda playful bonk with a "whatever" response or no lingering negativity is actually fine.

" I've been trying to prevent that, and in trying to prevent it, they only have brief encounters through a single gate." - That is understandable and fine. We want to prevent it but we also have to see if we fear something that may not happen or if it does happen it isn't that bad. It is more art than science. The safe route is your route and that is fine as no negativity is a positive and it builds trust. So I have no issue with that. And if you feel uncertain than it may be the best route. I just saw the videos and see them a bit more advanced. But we'll do what you feel most comfortable with. I am not at all worried, they are going to be intro'd.

" I guess I do have to keep challenging them though...." - Yes. BUT your emotions will have an impact so if you are feeling anxiety then they could and it could escalate. So let's take it slow and get you feeling more confident and just progress a bit at a time. So let's see if words and reassurance can distract them and keep it positive.

"Tomorrow I'll try doing treats through the single gate a few more times and see how it goes." - Great. And use words and reassurance and let's see how they do. And try to be as calm and confident as possible as cats take on our emotions.

"If they do have a swat (which I will try to prevent with ample treats), should I close the door and let them settle, or try to distract with treats and end it on a positive note?" - Try to distract with treats and words first. If they are really negative and it is looking bad then it will be time to just end it. But if it is like anything in the videos then just use words and treats. I don't get a sense it will go badly and out of control. I just didn't see anything on the videos to suggest that. But the videos could be misleading. And watch how they act after any negativity. If it lingers and three is poor body language, hiding. avoiding, eating differently, etc then it was more negative. But if there was some swatting and hissing BUT they can be distracted (look away) by treats or words and then they act normal after then that is fine.

Hopefully that makes some sense. It is more art than science. But I am not worried, they are much more advanced and fine than where I would be worried. If you want, take more video and I will happily look at it and we can assess where they are and how they are doing.

If they are doing the same as the videos they are doing well.

"I guess to this I would quickly add that while they are generally very distractable with treats," - Which is GREAT!! Since IF there were real issues no food or treats would be able to distract them.

" they are certainly not friendly with each other." - That is fine. Though on the videos the body language looked really good to me. More "friendly or accepting" than you may realize.

"Is friendly behaviour something we hope for in the intro, or more likely down the line once they know each other?" - Oh we hope but it is not a prerequisite. We can't force friendship, etc on cats BUT we can create a trusting and positive environment that allows for it to happen. In some cat families just acceptance (and quality, happy lives) is the goal while most homes will find friendship. But we just never know. Some cats are cat cats while other are more "loners" or human cats.
Hello C calicosrspecial ! Thank you as always for this great information. I will be sure to take some videos when we move to the new house - in that first week - so that you can see how they are doing. They did pretty well transitioning to my mom's for that one week so I have reasonably high hopes it will be the same at the new house.

Until then I'll keep doing single gate treat interactions whenever possible and keep trying to build goodwill, or at least, reduce negative stuff.

If I can, I'll try also to get another video of them this week through the single gate, so you can see how that's going. :)

Hope you are well!
 
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Hello C calicosrspecial ! Thank you as always for this great information. I will be sure to take some videos when we move to the new house - in that first week - so that you can see how they are doing. They did pretty well transitioning to my mom's for that one week so I have reasonably high hopes it will be the same at the new house.

Until then I'll keep doing single gate treat interactions whenever possible and keep trying to build goodwill, or at least, reduce negative stuff.

If I can, I'll try also to get another video of them this week through the single gate, so you can see how that's going. :)

Hope you are well!
I wanted to add, too...when we were at my mom's, the cats did very well individually acclimatizing to the new surroundings. But, when Hawthorne went past the room Florie was staying in, he would be kind of curious and do the same behaviours he does here - sometimes watching, staring at the door, a bit of snorting; Florie, on the other hand, would growl loudly when going past the room Hawthorne was in.

Maybe I'm speculating too far in advance but that would have been a neutral territory, and they didn't seem any more accepting of each other (granted, through doors). I was feeling very positive about the potential of the new house working in our favour, but thinking about my mom's makes me feel a bit more worried again.

I must just keep positive! :) Get through the next two weeks packing and moving and keep the cats happy and comfortable (and doing the single gate interactions) and go from there.
 

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Hello C calicosrspecial ! Thank you as always for this great information. I will be sure to take some videos when we move to the new house - in that first week - so that you can see how they are doing. They did pretty well transitioning to my mom's for that one week so I have reasonably high hopes it will be the same at the new house.

Until then I'll keep doing single gate treat interactions whenever possible and keep trying to build goodwill, or at least, reduce negative stuff.

If I can, I'll try also to get another video of them this week through the single gate, so you can see how that's going. :)

Hope you are well!
"Thank you as always for this great information. I will be sure to take some videos when we move to the new house - in that first week - so that you can see how they are doing. They did pretty well transitioning to my mom's for that one week so I have reasonably high hopes it will be the same at the new house." - You are welcome. Yes, the videos are helpful as the nuance can be seen. I think the transition should be fine.

"Until then I'll keep doing single gate treat interactions whenever possible and keep trying to build goodwill, or at least, reduce negative stuff." - Perfect.

"If I can, I'll try also to get another video of them this week through the single gate, so you can see how that's going." - Great

"I wanted to add, too...when we were at my mom's, the cats did very well individually acclimatizing to the new surroundings. But, when Hawthorne went past the room Florie was staying in, he would be kind of curious and do the same behaviours he does here - sometimes watching, staring at the door, a bit of snorting;" - OK, that is fine. When we have change it is unsettling so the cats will be on edge. If what he does is like the videos it is fine.

"Florie, on the other hand, would growl loudly when going past the room Hawthorne was in." - Yes, a growl is a warning so if Hawthorne is respecting it and it doesn't escalate then it is fine. It would not be a negative encounter and given no escalation I would call it positive since the communication was respected. Of course, we do want the growling to subside.

"Maybe I'm speculating too far in advance but that would have been a neutral territory, and they didn't seem any more accepting of each other (granted, through doors). I was feeling very positive about the potential of the new house working in our favour, but thinking about my mom's makes me feel a bit more worried again." - But were they actually less accepting of each other? Doesn't sound like it. I am not at all worried about the move. There may be some small steps back due to the change BUT I suspect it will resolve quickly and just might be a positive. We'll see but I am not worried about them. I don't see anything that makes me worried. They will be successfully intro'd just when is the question.

"I must just keep positive! :) " - Yes because it helps the cats since the cats take on our emotions. BUT we have to be realistic as well. IF we see something worrying we'll address it. But I really don't see anything. Don't worry, it is going to be just fine.

"Get through the next two weeks packing and moving and keep the cats happy and comfortable (and doing the single gate interactions) and go from there." - Yes. And given all the change (packing, etc) and the stress of moving and everything it would not be surprising for the cats to be more on edge. But their base is pretty solid so it will be a blip. once things settle down in the new house we can more more forward. But given the videos I have seen I don't see any reason to be worried or negative.

Things will be just fine.
 
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"Thank you as always for this great information. I will be sure to take some videos when we move to the new house - in that first week - so that you can see how they are doing. They did pretty well transitioning to my mom's for that one week so I have reasonably high hopes it will be the same at the new house." - You are welcome. Yes, the videos are helpful as the nuance can be seen. I think the transition should be fine.

"Until then I'll keep doing single gate treat interactions whenever possible and keep trying to build goodwill, or at least, reduce negative stuff." - Perfect.

"If I can, I'll try also to get another video of them this week through the single gate, so you can see how that's going." - Great

"I wanted to add, too...when we were at my mom's, the cats did very well individually acclimatizing to the new surroundings. But, when Hawthorne went past the room Florie was staying in, he would be kind of curious and do the same behaviours he does here - sometimes watching, staring at the door, a bit of snorting;" - OK, that is fine. When we have change it is unsettling so the cats will be on edge. If what he does is like the videos it is fine.

"Florie, on the other hand, would growl loudly when going past the room Hawthorne was in." - Yes, a growl is a warning so if Hawthorne is respecting it and it doesn't escalate then it is fine. It would not be a negative encounter and given no escalation I would call it positive since the communication was respected. Of course, we do want the growling to subside.

"Maybe I'm speculating too far in advance but that would have been a neutral territory, and they didn't seem any more accepting of each other (granted, through doors). I was feeling very positive about the potential of the new house working in our favour, but thinking about my mom's makes me feel a bit more worried again." - But were they actually less accepting of each other? Doesn't sound like it. I am not at all worried about the move. There may be some small steps back due to the change BUT I suspect it will resolve quickly and just might be a positive. We'll see but I am not worried about them. I don't see anything that makes me worried. They will be successfully intro'd just when is the question.

"I must just keep positive! :) " - Yes because it helps the cats since the cats take on our emotions. BUT we have to be realistic as well. IF we see something worrying we'll address it. But I really don't see anything. Don't worry, it is going to be just fine.

"Get through the next two weeks packing and moving and keep the cats happy and comfortable (and doing the single gate interactions) and go from there." - Yes. And given all the change (packing, etc) and the stress of moving and everything it would not be surprising for the cats to be more on edge. But their base is pretty solid so it will be a blip. once things settle down in the new house we can more more forward. But given the videos I have seen I don't see any reason to be worried or negative.

Things will be just fine.
Hi C calicosrspecial ! I've just posted four new videos of the cats single gate interactions. Thank you in advance for your thoughts! I don't think they uploaded in order but they are labelled 5, 6, 7 and 8. :)

Here is the link! Hawthorne & Florence - Introductions Single Gate March 2021

A couple of quick notes - videos 7 and 8 were supposed to be one video but I accidentally hit the 'stop button' in-between. The part that was missed was Hawthorne swatting my leg when I approached the gate. I think you said that could be because he is feeling insecure. He sometimes will follow me when I'm going back into Florence's room and try to swat me when I open the gate. He's a bit testy about that.

Second note is that generally, even after all hissing/growling etc, the cats recover very quickly. I would say Florence recovers the fastest (like, instantaneous) and Hawthorne sometimes paces around a bit or hides for a second in the bathroom but is often back to normal very quickly too.

And I know I'm still throwing the treats sometimes instead of placing them, hahaha. I'm trying to keep them from getting too close.

Anyways, hopefully these make for some enlightening watching. :)
 
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