Cat Intros Month 11

saharahoshi

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Brief synopsis of other threads:
  1. August 2020 - Brought 1 year old Jellybean home - male, neutered. We have a 7-9 year old cat named Ruthie, she's the resident cat. Her buddy died in 2020 and she was acting really sad so we talked to our vet and our vet said, "Maybe a second cat isn't a bad idea." At the shelter, JB was challenged by two other declawed cats Ruthie's age and backed down. We're like, "This is great, this might work." We checked with our vet because Ruthie has had idiopathic cystitis in the past but vet didn't think it would be an issue.
  2. September 2020 - Jellybean manages to escape the master bedroom twice, two fights break out - we immediately separate them and go back to introduction step 1, we get both cats checked out for injuries/medical issues, they're fine.
  3. October-December - Intros continue mostly with the door shut. We consult two vet behaviorists and follow their advice. Also plan on following the Cat Site advice about "exposure therapy" and now letting them see each other.
  4. October - July 2021 - A bunch of stuff comes up - we both get COVID bad, I almost lose my job from COVID economy, family member in the hospital, etc. JB develops a food allergy, weird growth in mouth, sees kitty dentist, then our main vet has x-rays and ultrasound done - finally we get him on the right food - Hills z/d (we tried id/other diets and wasn't working)
That brings us to now - we have the baby gates set up and are letting them see each other BUT they are both stressed and hiding. We've got Feliway, rescue remedy going as well as kitty Prozac for both of them as prescribed by the vet behaviorist (they've been on it for 2 months). Not sure if we just keep pushing through or what to do - they hide basically.
 

ArtNJ

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This is a not uncommon thing with folks that have big houses, and also folks that have indoor/outdoor cats. Basically, if they can, and are motivated to, avoid seeing the other cat entirely, you don't have exposure therapy and likely won't make progress. The questions is what to do about it. One idea is to find different home base areas for the cats, so that staying away from the gates wasn't as effective. Not sure how feasible that is in your home. Luring them to the gate through mealtime food, treats or play is another idea. That may not be effective enough to work right off the bat. You might, for example, need to start the mealtime food fairly far away from the gate so they will actually eat it, and only gradually move the food dishes closer over many days.
 

rubysmama

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Sorry this has been going on for so long, and sorry for all the stress you have dealt since October. One thing to keep in mind is that cats can pick up on their human's stress, so if you are still stressed, and that's completely understandable, it might unfortunately be adding to your cats' stress levels.

I'm thinking as long they are both stressed, the introductions will proceed slowly.
You've probably read it, but here's the link to the TCS article on Stress in Cats – The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles.

There's also How To Fix An Unsuccessful Cat Introduction – TheCatSite Articles which you may also have read.

Not sure what to suggest, other than spend time, individually, with both cats, and try lessen their stress levels. And yours, as well.

Good luck. Hope things eventually work out between them.
 
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saharahoshi

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I total get what you're saying. I'm just kind of banging my head against the wall at this point (figuratively). The 2nd behaviorist (the first one was....not helpful), said the gates are worth a shot but I never considered they'd both want to hide. They know the other one is there so...maybe we try the food first with the door shut? IDK - worst case we accept that they have to live separate, they don't have bad lives (3 cat towers, all the toys, etc).
 
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saharahoshi

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I'm running into an issue with the 2-year old where basically he's lost interest in playing, we've tried Da Bird, several foraging toys, the Ripple Rug, he has a cat tower etc. I rotate toys daily so that there's always a different toy to play with while the others are kept away in a closet. The only thing he seems to be into lately is the laser pointer which I don't like using because I don't want to encourage aggression or sometimes I can use cat nip to help him get his zoomies out but I don't like using that overly much, even when he's outside of "his" room, he's still looking for our other cat, I just worry if we're not getting him to play we're not helping his confidence and we might be revving him up towards another play aggression scenario.
 
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saharahoshi

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Welp we are on month 13 and they are still separated. We let them see each other once and she hissed
So overwhelmed right now. I appreciate everyone's help/advice
 

BowserRocky

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Other than the hissing, is there any other reaction when they come close or are in the same room? I wonder if you need to just let them be “free” and get used to each other that way. It may not work but 13 months is a long time and I don’t think it would set you back too far to try.
 
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