Help/Advice for introductions

Graham18

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Hello everyone, I'm new to the site and reading a lot of posts has given me some great insight into introductions however, I still feel like I need some advice introducing my two cats. I'm sorry in advance for a potentially long post..

My resident cat, Sapphire, I adopted about ayear and a half ago. She is a 2 y.o. spayed female. Typically very calm and laid back and can be playful at times.
This February I adopted a 2 y.o neutered male cat named Fluffy. He was very calm at the Humane society and was with several other cats with no issues. Once home he became very playful with seemingly never-ending energy.

I followed slow introduction steps as Sapphire was very upset knowing there was another cat in the house and would hiss at the smell of Fluffy on my hand for about a week and after that progressively got better to the point where they could see eachother through baby gates without any issues after about a month of being seperate. At that point I tried to do a face to face introduction and Sapphire immediately ran away and Fluffy chased after her (I believe he thought she was playing) and one thing led to another and they had a small fight, Sapphire trying to defend herself and Fluffy then trying to defend himself realising she wasn't playing with him.

I went back to the beginning of the introduction process immediately after that and up until this point everything seemed to be progressing fairly smoothly again. They have now been separated for about 10 weeks. Fluffy comes out for a few hours each day while Sapphire is closed in her room. And they are fed together every day directly opposite baby gates with no issues and Sapphire will sometimes sit a few feet away and watch but never comes closer than that unless it's dinner time. Every now and then she will walk up to his closed safe room door, hiss and then walk away.

About two weeks ago I decided to try and let Fluffy out from behind the baby gates as both cats were calm and immediately as soon as he can without Sapphire even moving he would try and lunge at her/chase her (no aggressive sounds or posturing so I still believe he is trying to play) and she takes off upstairs (I caught Fluffy before he could get to her).

Within about an hour Sapphire would come out of hiding and back to her normal self. I returned to simply feeding for a few days and still no issues so I began to bring Fluffy out again, only holding him and about half the time Sapphire would hiss/growl and run away, the other half, she'll sit and stare for a minute or two then walk away casually. Fluffy will start to squirm in my arms as soon as he sees Sapphire. I then tried to bring Fluffy out on a leash to prevent him from chasing sapphire but she is still running away almost immediately.

Neither cat responds to treats or play or attention when they see the other. Sapphire continues to run away and Fluffy continues to try and chase her as soon as the baby gates aren't there. When they are up both cats are calm with minimal issues.

I'm looking for any advice or tips to try and help both these behaviors as I feel like nothing is working and I haven't been able to get through to the behavior department at my local humane society yet.

On a side note, I have two feliway diffusers going at all times. One near fluffy's room and one near Sapphire's. I have also tried leaving baby gates stacked in Fluffy's doorway for more visual exposure but he always try to climb over them if I'm not with him and in one test case he climbed to the second gate and pulled it down (Sapphire was away upstairs at the time).

Thank you in advance for any advice/tips/encouragement anyone can offer and I do apologize for the long post :)
 

kateallen

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Maybe you could try to turn off the diffusers so that both cats can familiarize themselves with each other's smell. You could also change their room designation maybe after two weeks and then introduce them to each other. Let's see if they will interact.
 
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FeebysOwner

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Hi. It sounds like you are using all the techniques in the TCS introduction articles, but I will provide a link to them anyway (see below). I would try a more secure type set up for the door instead of baby gates. It is an easy DIY project made of shelving you can get at most home improvements stores. The shelving is set on its side, and can be cut to lengths (heights) as tall as the door way so that Fluffy can't climb over the top. The shelving pieces are affixed together with zip ties that serve to make it like a folding door, for easy opening and closing. I have included an example pic below. The sides can even be secured to the doorway with easy to open clasps to make it even sturdier so if Fluffy does try to climb it he shouldn't be able to knock it over.

What this will allow, once you've tested it for your own comfort, is to put the shelving in place and walk away so you don't feel like you have to be monitoring the cats the whole time. You not being there to watch over them might actually help as the tension you most likely feel could be impacting their own feelings.
How To Fix An Unsuccessful Cat Introduction – TheCatSite Articles
How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
Shelving blockade.png
 
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Graham18

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I'm sorry for the late reply! I ended up getting an indoor/outdoor playpen to put my new cat in, in hopes my resident cat will come by and see him but so far no luck. As soon as new cat is anywhere but in his room either with the door closed or baby gates up, resident cat won't leave her room upstairs and will hide under the bed until she can no longer hear my new cat. She will sometimes come close to his baby gate but it is rare and will usually only come to eat and then takes off to her room again even when new cat is laying down relaxing. I'm worried will never get to proper face to face introductions if my resident cat continues to run away and hide constantly and my new cat tries to chase her as soon as he is out.
 

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Graham18

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Sorry the introductions are still going very slowly.

Not sure if there'd be anything applicable in these, or not, but here are 2 TCS articles that might have something to help your girl feel less fearful around the new cat.

16 Top Cat Experts Share Tips For Dealing With Timid Cats – TheCatSite Articles
10 Must-know Tips For Happy Living With A Shy Cat – TheCatSite Articles
Thank you! I'm really trying to boost my resident cat's confidence so she will be willing to spend more time at or at least in visual range of the new cat's gates when he is visible as right now it only happens very briefly for meal times twice per day.
 
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Graham18

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Just an update on the two cats.
For the passed few days, resident cat has been coming over to the baby gates a foot or two away and both cats have been fairly calm, eating treats, etc. Yesterday while my new cat was in my bedroom (he goes in there sometimes during the day so he has a small window to look out of), I opened the door a crack and both cats were pawing through the crack with only a few hisses and growls from my resident cat but no other aggressive body language.

I built the shelving gate yesterday and it seems to be holding up, but my resident cat will not go near it currently. If she comes downstairs she'll run passed it fast and low to the ground usually letting out a hiss or two while she does it. I'm guessing this is normal as new cat is constantly crying to be let out and it's something new for my resident cat to get used to.
 

rubysmama

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Some introductions just go slower than others. But the pawing at each other, with only a few hisses and growls, sounds like maybe minor progress.
 
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Graham18

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Some introductions just go slower than others. But the pawing at each other, with only a few hisses and growls, sounds like maybe minor progress.
My resident cat Sapphire will vary day by day with how she is. Some days she will sit and watch Fluffy from a few feet away with no issues, other days she will hiss and avoid his sight as much as possible and/or hide under the bed in her room. Usually whenever I move fluffy to my room (right across from Sapphires room) she gets curious and that's when I can crack the door a bit for some pawing. No aggressive body language from either one, just hissing from sapphire but ears still forward etc.

I'm really not sure when to attempt a face to face introduction most likely putting a harness on Fluffy as he tends to bolt towards Sapphire to try and play.
 

rubysmama

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This is just a thought, but you mentioned the indoor/outdoor playpen, and putting Fluffy in it, but that Sapphire didn't come near to check it out. What if you put Sapphire in the playpen, so that Fluffy could come "visit", but not be able to chase her. Or do you think that would stress her out? You'd have to do a trial run first, to make sure she didn't freak out just by being in the playpen. And probably cover up most of the top and sides with a blanket or something, so she didn't feel vulnerable. Again, not sure if it would be helpful, or not, but thought I'd mention it since it came to my mind.
 
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Graham18

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This is just a thought, but you mentioned the indoor/outdoor playpen, and putting Fluffy in it, but that Sapphire didn't come near to check it out. What if you put Sapphire in the playpen, so that Fluffy could come "visit", but not be able to chase her. Or do you think that would stress her out? You'd have to do a trial run first, to make sure she didn't freak out just by being in the playpen. And probably cover up most of the top and sides with a blanket or something, so she didn't feel vulnerable. Again, not sure if it would be helpful, or not, but thought I'd mention it since it came to my mind.
Thank you for the suggestion. I may try it if all else fails but I have tried putting Sapphire in before while Fluffy was in his room and she did not like it. I think she really likes knowing she can run and hide under her bed if she wants to.
 

rubysmama

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Thank you for the suggestion. I may try it if all else fails but I have tried putting Sapphire in before while Fluffy was in his room and she did not like it. I think she really likes knowing she can run and hide under her bed if she wants to.
Yeah, she definitely could feel trapped in the playpen. So probably best to carry on as you are, and hope in time she gains some confidence.
 
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Graham18

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Sapphire seems to be getting less and less scared of Fluffy though she still won't get any closer to the gate than about four or five feet and she just sits there watching except for the odd treat but she usually backs up immediately. Fluffy will lay on the ground or sit and watch her and pur, meow, or roll around but he does seem to get very excited whenever he sees her still. I'm so stressed and worried that he will chase her or pounce on her during a face to face that I have been avoiding moving on from the current introduction step.
 

rubysmama

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I guess you'll just have to go with your own gut, or instinct, and go as slow as you think Sapphire needs to go. Getting less scared is good. Is she acting normal now, except for when she sees Fluffy?
 
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Graham18

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I guess you'll just have to go with your own gut, or instinct, and go as slow as you think Sapphire needs to go. Getting less scared is good. Is she acting normal now, except for when she sees Fluffy?
Yes. She did sit and watch him for about half an hour today and then even went right up to his gate though growling and pawing at his paw while he stuck it through to try and play but it is the first time she has gone up on her own and still no ears back or other aggressive body language.
 

rubysmama

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So she's showing more interest, which is good, as it will give you something to work with. Maybe have some yummy treats to share between them, next time she "visits" him.
 
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Graham18

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So she's showing more interest, which is good, as it will give you something to work with. Maybe have some yummy treats to share between them, next time she "visits" him.
She is definitely more interested. Sapphire will now casually go up to his gate though with some small hissing and a little growling sometimes. Tonight after dinner, she went right up to the gate and they touched noses for a brief moment. Fluffy then rolled over and began to gently try and paw at her through the gate (very gentle, play like) and Sapphire responded with a small hiss and growl and then walked about a foot away and just sat there. While I was holding Fluffy outside of his room he did start to squirm seeming like he was trying to jump at her so I put him back away.
A little later, she came back to his gate and was doing some swatting through the gate with some hissing and growling and of course, Fluffy just thought she was playing and was pawing back. At that point I gave them some treats together and then put Fluffy to bed but Sapphire didn't seem scared or upset.
I'm viewing any interaction at this point as progress, though, I'm still worried about Fluffy's automatic instinct to lunge/jump at Sapphire however because so far he doesn't seem to understand that she is trying to teach him manners.
 

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Sounds like things are proceeding well, albeit still slowly. Since Fluffy is an adult cat, I'm not so sure that Sapphire is trying to teach him manners, like she would to a kitten, but more "putting him in his place", and letting him know she's the queen of the home. I know you would love it, if things would proceed faster, but I think your patience will pay off in the end. So keep going, as it is, and hopefully before too long, you'll be able to let them come face to face without the gates.
 
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Graham18

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Sounds like things are proceeding well, albeit still slowly. Since Fluffy is an adult cat, I'm not so sure that Sapphire is trying to teach him manners, like she would to a kitten, but more "putting him in his place", and letting him know she's the queen of the home. I know you would love it, if things would proceed faster, but I think your patience will pay off in the end. So keep going, as it is, and hopefully before too long, you'll be able to let them come face to face without the gates.
Thank you for your kind words and support I really appreciate it as these few months have been very difficult for me :) tonight was a little more hissing and pawing at eachother but I hope things get better.
 
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