Actually, you just reminded me of something I read before but didn't fully think about.(My cats do not eat right beside each other. There is at least 3-4 feet between bowls, because I want them to have their own space, and notice how much each of them eats.)
The intro guides emphasize the 'getting the bowls closer' for cats to feel more trust and acceptance, but nothing really wrong about 2-3 feet of space.
There are guides where they say something along the lines of, "If you have more than one cat, don't put their food bowls next to each other, because most cats actually don't like eating close to one another." And I'd kept that in mind for "eventually" - when both K and T were out, we plan to feed on opposite sides of the kitchen - but I never thought about that possibly affecting eating at the gate.
So maybe K and T already accept each other (at least for eating), and now K doesn't want to be so close? Food for thought, pun intended.
Anyway, we've kept K mostly at the same place, like two feet and a stair away, and she's dutifully finished each time.
Though K's style of playing is much more rougher than T's.
I wonder if that's part of what's causing trouble - that K is much rougher than T. Is it play or is it aggression? Both? I have a video to upload for you, I'll do that after I write this.I think the challenge will be to get both K and T's play styles to mesh.
You're still building confidence in both cats, and giving plenty of positive associations.
You're right. I have to give K more credit, she is doing well. I have to keep reminding myself to think from a cat's point of view instead of my own.K might look like she's taking more time in warming up to T, but actually K has been fairly consistent in adapting to the small and large changes that you are making.
For instance, in changing territories, or site swaps, these are huge changes for cats, and they don't really like huge changes, ...so by K adapting, even if it looks to be tremendously slow...she's still doing it. It shows a lot of progress.
Also, K might not be willing to play at all times like T does, but as long as you can still get her to play half the time, or more, then you are still making progress.
K continually asks to play but then will only pounce once, look at the toy, then ignore the toy. She definitely doesn't play half the time. I feel like a quarter might even be too generous...I don't know what's up with her and we didn't have her long enough to know if T is affecting it. She doesn't play even if T isn't around/the gate isn't up, but I wouldn't be surprised if T's existence is part of the reason...not sure what to do about it though.
I have a video from earlier tonight that I'd love your perspective on, uploading shortly.