- May 5, 2021
I definitely wouldn't let him be with her without his harness yet even with supervision, especially with how mischievous he's been these last two days. When referring to letting them figure it out, I was more so thinking when they are pawing at eachother when he's under control of the harness and leash. I guess I've already been taking this approach to a small extent by letting him move closer and closer to her when he's calm. I just have to be more cautious because more times than not he won't give any indication he's about to jump."I believe the part of me that isn't fully convinced Fluffy isn't be aggressive stems from how different he acts when he's playing with toys vs being around Sapphire." - Ok, let's see.
" He's very obviously excited when he is playing or wants to play and is very talkative." - Yes, great
" When he's around her, other than the odd tail thrash, he doesn't act excited." - OK, probably him trying to be diplomatic and show her he isn't a threat.
" I thought it may have just been the harness but after having that thought I've noticed he's the same way when he's behind the gates." - Yes, I would guess it is him trying to "behave" as much as he can.
" If she comes near them or even a few feet away, he'll stop whatever he is doing and either just lay/sit there silent staring at her," - Awwwwwwwwww.
" or he'll pace back and forth against the gate." - He may be a bit frustrated he can't play with her.
I am not seeing those reasons as anything negative or concerning etc. In fact, I think that is really good of him.
"This morning Fluffy tried to instigate playing by pawing at Sapphire" - Awwwwwwwwww
" and she starts hitting him and growling as usual but didn't run away." - Yes but great she didn't run. There is trust building.
" I kept Fluffy out on his harness for about half an hour looking out the window behind my couch." - Ok
" At one point Sapphire did come over on the floor nearby to watch him" - WHOA. So he was off his leash with her around?
" and I held him to make sure he wouldn't try and jump on her." - Ok. He didn't "fight" to get out of your arms? If so that is really good.
"Before I brought Fluffy upstairs to my bedroom for the morning I let him go see his sister on the floor again. He was fairly calm but then I noticed him starting to raise his butt a little before he tried to pounce again (to no luck because of his harness)." - Ok, good. SO he was on the harness. Yes, I am sure he wanted to play with her.
"Again Sapphire kind of just backed up a little and wrapped her tail around herself as she sat and growled but didn't run away." - GREAT!!!
" She did follow upstairs after I brought him up there and just sat in her room across the hall watching him." - Awwwwww, yes, she is doing great. She doesn't seem bothered to much by him wanting to play.
"I'm still more convinced that Fluffy is trying to play more than trying to be aggressive " - Totally agree
"but I'm just not sure and I'm worried that it's not going to really stop and then lead to an escalation." - Understandable. I don't get a sense he would intentionally hurt her but she has to believe that and trust it so it doesn't escalate from her side. She is getting there just not yet. But she will.
"The behaviour department at the rescue where I got both of them has assured me that both behaviours are normal for young male and female cats" - Totally agree
" and has told me that I can try letting the small spats and tussles play out in a supervised and controlled manner." - Well, this is where it is more art than science. There are many ways to success. Your rescue and ArtNJ tend to be on that side, I tend to be on the other (only letting them tussle when I am sure they are past any risk point). The difficult part is the "controlled" part. The more trust and confidence they have the less likely it escalates. There will be "spats and tussles" probably at times all through their lives together (not often and not serious) so it is just part of multiple at houses but with trust and respect they work out just fine. We just need to get a bit more trust and respect. A lot is already there we just need a bit more. And we will get it.
"I definitely don't think that they or myself are ready" - I agree but that is my style.
" but I'm worried that with how close they were getting a few days ago to Fluffy now feeling that Sapphire will play with him, that things aren't going to change from this point. " - I wouldn't worry about that. I actually don't have any worries (other than length of time it takes and that isn't really a worry). All indications are they are going to be just fine. He is doing great, she is coming along really nicely building trust and confidence. Just keep doing what you are doing. I think we are pretty close to doing a face to face no restraint. Not there yet but I think we are really close.
Try not to worry, just enjoy the cats, enjoy life and keep up the great work. I really am not worried in the least.
I gave them a break from the treat introductions tonight as Sapphire was seeming somewhat anxious today, hiding under the bed, eating very little of her kibble, etc (she's better now). I brought him out on his harness to look out the window and wander around while Sapphire laid up top of her cat tree watching so no issues.