Fixing an introduction between two adult rescue cats

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KittyCat_chitchat

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Okay, so a BIG update! I didn't get the chance to post before now as work was pretty intense this week...

So we tried going back to feeding them on either side of Cleo's door. It didn't work. Why? Because Ozzie walked right up to the door and he and Cleo touched noses through the opening. Then Cleo forced her way through it to get to him! Since then, they've been eating on either side of the oven and spending lots of time just hanging out together. They often greet each other by touching noses and/or sniffing each other's bottoms, they follow each other around, and while they don't cuddle up together, they're often in the same room. I get the impression that Cleo is learning to respect Ozzie's personal space bubble.

I personally haven't heard hissing for a few days now, and while there has been the occasional stand-off, it's mostly just an "Oy! Give me SPACE!", and nothing where I feel need to step in and break up. Cleo actually seems to be giving Ozzie confidence. He's now coming into the kitchen to eat, and today he took a few tentative steps into the sitting room!

So the question is: when will they be ready to be left alone unsupervised? Are they already there?

 
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Mamanyt1953

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Personally, I think they're there. Of course, to be safe, you can continue for a few days, but be VERY "in the background." But by the end of the weekend, if this keeps up, I'd call it done, and congratulations to EVERYONE, four footed and two!
 
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KittyCat_chitchat

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Thank you so much Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953 ! My only concern is that when Cleo is let out in the morning they greet each other, then after a bit of interaction Ozzie goes into his room and does some scratching, so he may still be finding her a bit stressful. That said, he's just trotting off, not running in fear or reacting aggressively, so it's more that he's decided he's had enough and needs space. Perhaps once they're in the same space all the time, there won't be as much of a problem because there'll just be a background level of Cleo, not an intense morning greeting, and both cats will be free to go and get some space if they need it.
 

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Great update! It does sound like they're accepting that they're going to be room mates. :catrub:

Also good that they have space to get away from each other when they need it.
 

Mamanyt1953

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LOL, I once had a roommate that affected me the same way that Cleo affects Ozzie. She was just SO exuberant that I'd need to take breaks, go in my room and read awhile, then come back to just BE some more. Luckily, she understood that, and we got along like kittens playing with a string. Let's hope that this is going to be the pattern for them, as well. It's so very workable for BOTH cats!
 
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KittyCat_chitchat

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Here's the latest. Ten days in, and Ozzie and Cleo are not being separated at night and are happily sharing space. They're pretty independent of each other but often greet each other with sniffing when they meet. A week ago they both came into my work den in the sitting room together and proceeded to do random cat things in what I'm pretty sure was a coordinated assault on my concentration!

They're still working on learning each other's boundaries and establishing a hierarchy. Last week Cleo tried to lick Ozzie and he hissed and walked off. This week he's tried to rub his head against her several times, the same way he does to greet us. Every time Cleo bops him on the nose with her front paw, and Ozzie just sits down and looks at me like, "Huh?". Because of this sort of thing, we're still getting the occasional small hiss. The difference is that there hasn't been escalation or confrontation. One cat will hiss, and the other one will take the hint and dial down what they're doing or walk off.

At the moment they're both coming into the kitchen for their meals as it's turned into a great opportunity for them to interact and build up a positive association with doing so. It's also made Ozzie way more invested in coming into more of the house than he was doing previously. Eventually, though, I'm hoping to feed them in different places as at the moment they often scrounge out of each other's bowls. The cats aren't showing any outward signs of stress or possessive behaviour, but it's made it much harder to regulate their food intakes and we're starting to get concerned about them putting on weight as a result. Our immediate response is going to be to increase the amount of wet food so individual meals are more filling for them.
Here they are earlier this evening, staging a peaceful protest about us reducing their kibble rations...
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rubysmama

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Excellent update! In fact, everything sounds just purr-fect. :catlove:
 
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KittyCat_chitchat

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It's been a while since I've been on here because life hasn't been easy. I lost my job unexpectedly, and a week later, I had to move into my grandmother's next door to us to help my mother care for her during what turned out to be her final illness. So I had a while where I couldn't directly supervise things between Cleo and Ozzie. I was coming in to see them at least once a day but was still worried they'd forget who I was!

Mum and I are back home now and the good news is that Cleo and Ozzie still know who I am and are happy with Mum too! Ozzie has been spending most of his time in his sanctuary room and the kitchen but is friendly with Mum, and Cleo has definitely accepted her. Mum and I spent yesterday evening by the fire together, with Cleo alternating between our two laps.

The cats have settled into a sort of 'occasionally argumentative siblings' dynamic. They spend a lot of time curled up in different places in Ozzie's room and always come trotting into the kitchen together when we call them for a meal. Ozzie often tries to lick Cleo's head, but she doesn't seem to like this as she always bops him on the nose with her paw when he tries! He doesn't seem to mind this and it doesn't escalate. There's occasionally hissing, but it never goes past that. The nearest they came to a spat was when, for the first time in his life, Ozzie jumped onto what I think Cleo considers to be HER windowsill. She fluffed out her tail and acted annoyed, but he ignored her so it didn't go much further than that.

It's been a difficult time for us, but having two happy, peaceful cats is a great comfort.

 

rubysmama

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So sorry about your job. And condolences on the loss of your grandmother. I hope you're doing ok, as those are 2 of the major life stressors one can experience. 🤗

Glad to hear, though, that Cleo and Ozzie are doing well, and bonding. :catlove:
 

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My sincere condolences on the loss of your Grandma and I'm sorry about the job too bit usually after all is said and done its has made way to a much better job -I certainly hope your next update will bd to tell us you have been too busy at a new job ❤

How are Ozzie & Cleo and you and your Mom doing? You've been in my prayers
 
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Hello Kwik Kwik and sorry I didn't get back to your very kind post straight away. I got an email notification of your post and was really touched by it, so I should have replied straight away. I just needed to step away from everything for a while and take some time to myself to process everything. My family and I are all doing well and just being quiet for now - except Cleo, who doesn't do 'quiet'...! 😅

Ozzie has been using the rest of the house more and coming into the living room for attention. He and Cleo are mostly cohabiting nicely. They're not cuddly apart from greeting each other by touching noses and sniffing, but they're relaxed and comfortable sharing the same space. Ozzie has been happily on his back for belly rubs in Cleo's presence. I'm not sure if there's a hierarchy yet, and there is the occasional spat. Generally they're just short, 'we need to sort this out' things where there'll be some hissing and swatting, and then they both just walk off calmly in different directions. When I see one that looks like it might be escalating beyond that, I break it up by saying "No" loudly and firmly, which seems to do the trick. I've never seen biting, just bopping with paws, hissing, and meowing, and it's never lasted long.

They'd got into the habit of sitting by their bowls in the run-up to meals, and this sort of argument seemed to be happening a lot while they were waiting. I thought waiting for their food and/or eating together might be a source of stress for them, (especially as they've never stopped scrounging out of each other's bowls!), so we've now started feeding them in different places - Cleo in the kitchen and Ozzie in the adjoining utility room.

I'm also not sure they're comfortable playing with toys at the same time, in the same space yet. They seem to have the same favourite types of toy (namely fishing rods, ping pong balls, and catnip mice), and it's happening more and more that I'll be playing with one and then the other one will arrive and join in. One time when this had happened, Ozzie was 'killing' a catnip mouse, Cleo walked past him on her way somewhere else, and he jumped up and grabbed her very roughly, completely unprovoked. I assume he'd just got really hyper. Not sure if he was defensive about the toy or just playing, but Cleo didn't look like she was enjoying it, so I broke it up. I know that play can look rough, but I'm also paranoid about fights escalating as they've been doing so well the rest of the time.

TL;DR: Ozzie and Cleo are mostly cohabiting peacefully and doing really well for two unrelated cats introduced as adults. If anything, I'd like some advice on how to minimise aggression when both cats are playing with me.
 

Kwik

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Hello Kwik Kwik and sorry I didn't get back to your very kind post straight away. I got an email notification of your post and was really touched by it, so I should have replied straight away. I just needed to step away from everything for a while and take some time to myself to process everything. My family and I are all doing well and just being quiet for now - except Cleo, who doesn't do 'quiet'...! 😅

Ozzie has been using the rest of the house more and coming into the living room for attention. He and Cleo are mostly cohabiting nicely. They're not cuddly apart from greeting each other by touching noses and sniffing, but they're relaxed and comfortable sharing the same space. Ozzie has been happily on his back for belly rubs in Cleo's presence. I'm not sure if there's a hierarchy yet, and there is the occasional spat. Generally they're just short, 'we need to sort this out' things where there'll be some hissing and swatting, and then they both just walk off calmly in different directions. When I see one that looks like it might be escalating beyond that, I break it up by saying "No" loudly and firmly, which seems to do the trick. I've never seen biting, just bopping with paws, hissing, and meowing, and it's never lasted long.

They'd got into the habit of sitting by their bowls in the run-up to meals, and this sort of argument seemed to be happening a lot while they were waiting. I thought waiting for their food and/or eating together might be a source of stress for them, (especially as they've never stopped scrounging out of each other's bowls!), so we've now started feeding them in different places - Cleo in the kitchen and Ozzie in the adjoining utility room.

I'm also not sure they're comfortable playing with toys at the same time, in the same space yet. They seem to have the same favourite types of toy (namely fishing rods, ping pong balls, and catnip mice), and it's happening more and more that I'll be playing with one and then the other one will arrive and join in. One time when this had happened, Ozzie was 'killing' a catnip mouse, Cleo walked past him on her way somewhere else, and he jumped up and grabbed her very roughly, completely unprovoked. I assume he'd just got really hyper. Not sure if he was defensive about the toy or just playing, but Cleo didn't look like she was enjoying it, so I broke it up. I know that play can look rough, but I'm also paranoid about fights escalating as they've been doing so well the rest of the time.

TL;DR: Ozzie and Cleo are mostly cohabiting peacefully and doing really well for two unrelated cats introduced as adults. If anything, I'd like some advice on how to minimise aggression when both cats are playing with me.
I continue to pray for but I had the feeling you were taking time to " process" all that has happened- grief does have a process,I'm not sure that process is ever really finished,,sort of molds and shapes us and though time goes on we keep some sorrow,some joy'-until we meet again.... no need to apologize,I'm happy to know you are doing well

And yay- great news about Ozzie and Cleo- coming along nicely.....when one is " playing:" theyre in " hunt mode" - when another walks by its instinctual to go after what moves( prey)-so it's usually not possessiveness over a toy - its a very natural response

Keep doing what you're doing with your firm "No" and being so very aware of what looks like it escalate- thsts great,ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure... distraction is always 2nd runner up.... you are doing a fantastic job and as you can see ,in TIME they are sorting out their respective place
Really good to hear from you,I hope to hear about that great new & better job very soon too🩷
 
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KittyCat_chitchat

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Okay, so BIG update: Last night, Cleo and Ozzie were hanging out in the living room, close together but mostly doing their own things. At one point, Cleo was sitting on a sofa in a 'cat loaf' position and Ozzie was lying on his side directly below it. Cleo was able to look over the edge of the sofa at him from where she was. Ozzie started rolling over on his back and batting at Cleo with his paw, clearly trying to initiate play. It was adorably kitteny behaviour for a seven-year-old cat! Unfortunately, I think Cleo either didn't get the idea or wasn't impressed, because she just sat there looking at him as if he was crazy, with her ears flattened and sticking out to either side of her head. He eventually got worked up all on his own and dashed out of the room.

They've also been doing a lot of greeting each other when they meet in the same room. They sniff, bump, and rub each other, and I've recently seen Cleo letting Ozzie lick her head with apparently no objection from her - although equally I do still occasionally see her put one of her front paws on his head. You couldn't call it swatting him anymore, but it's like she's saying "That's enough, get off me!" Today she also fluffed out her tail when she was standing on the sofa and he came into the living room quite suddenly.

Despite all Cleo's tortitude, dare I say that we might be seeing the beginnings of a bonded pair here?
 

Kwik

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Okay, so BIG update: Last night, Cleo and Ozzie were hanging out in the living room, close together but mostly doing their own things. At one point, Cleo was sitting on a sofa in a 'cat loaf' position and Ozzie was lying on his side directly below it. Cleo was able to look over the edge of the sofa at him from where she was. Ozzie started rolling over on his back and batting at Cleo with his paw, clearly trying to initiate play. It was adorably kitteny behaviour for a seven-year-old cat! Unfortunately, I think Cleo either didn't get the idea or wasn't impressed, because she just sat there looking at him as if he was crazy, with her ears flattened and sticking out to either side of her head. He eventually got worked up all on his own and dashed out of the room.

They've also been doing a lot of greeting each other when they meet in the same room. They sniff, bump, and rub each other, and I've recently seen Cleo letting Ozzie lick her head with apparently no objection from her - although equally I do still occasionally see her put one of her front paws on his head. You couldn't call it swatting him anymore, but it's like she's saying "That's enough, get off me!" Today she also fluffed out her tail when she was standing on the sofa and he came into the living room quite suddenly.

Despite all Cleo's tortitude, dare I say that we might be seeing the beginnings of a bonded pair here?
Great progress- yep,that's what you're seeing the beginnings of relationship..... Slow n steady is the cat walk. BRAVO!
 
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