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I Have More Trust Issues Than This Feral..

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Buffster7

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I just have to brag on Finn for a second.
Rather than doing another meet and greet tonight, I did a room swap. I put Finn in his carrier and brought him out into the house. Charlie sniffed around his carrier and hissed a couple times, hard. He was not in the mood, he's cranky today. I let Charlie go in Finn's room and shut the door, and let Finn have the run of the house.

Unfortunately, he brushed agains the arm rest of the couch and a big glob of doubt-stick tape stuck to his side. He freaked - backflips in the air and everything. I think he thought I did it by the way he looked at me. He started to panic and run around the housed I looked him in the eye and said "Stop. Come here" and held my hand out, and he stopped! He trusted me come close to him and the tape was wadded up by this time and stuck good. I had to rip it off of him, fur and all, while holding him still. Perfect opportunity to bite or scratch, and once again he did not! When it was time to switch rooms, I found Charlie laying on Finn's bed on his back, happy as a clam. Go figure. ;)
 

Jcatbird

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Uh oh. I figured there might be a tape incident. Poor Finn. He did great though and so did you. You were the big cat and took charge. He recognized that Mom would save him from the sticky monster. Maybe he will avoid the taped areas. Backflips? ;) They are amazing how they can move. I know you didn’t have much time to remove the tape but for future reference a warm soapy cloth tends to release the glue enough that you don’t have as much trouble getting it off. I guess it would have been a good idea to say that before now but it’s hard to remember every encounter we have had here. If you can pick Finn up and hold him unt you get the wet cloth, it helps. While i’m Giving warnings, running water can be scary too. Some cats like the faucet, others don’t. You might let him see running water before he ever has to be introduced to it by accident. Maybe he’ll like playing in it. That can be an advantage. I turn on the First and then pick the cat up to watch from a distance the first time.
Excellent on the space swapping! Moving right along!
 
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  • #485

Buffster7

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I know you didn’t have much time to remove the tape but for future reference a warm soapy cloth tends to release the glue enough that you don’t have as much trouble getting it off.
That is good to know! There's a possibility it might happen again. My bedroom furniture is my most valued along with formal dining, and there are 8 chairs that will be taped up. I'm hoping he likes his scratchers well enough that he'll leave them alone.

You might let him see running water before he ever has to be introduced to it by accident.
Another great idea! Once he's out of his room he's really skittish of me, it's interesting. it's like "Eek! Human in the wild!" and gives me a wide berth. But next time we're out of his room and he allows me access to him, I'll run a tap for him and see how it goes. Thanks!

Makes me reconsider using double-sided tape though. Think I'll stick with my foil for now. :lol:
Actually, it was my own dumb fault! I was introducing him to a new lounger/scratcher and dummy me put it right up against the couch with the tape on it! I didn't expect him to jump up from the side, and he pressed his body right into the tape on the armrest! I've moved the scratcher away from the couch, now.
 
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Buffster7

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Okay guys, quick question. We had our morning meet and greet this morning. Charlie might be a bully the same way he was with my dog. He's definitely stalking Finn, and I don't know what happened this morning; I turned my back for a minute and there was an interaction that had Finn climbing up the back of a chair. When Finn came back to his room, he was super jumpy.

Charlie is also exhibiting guarding behavior like he used to do with my dog. He would lay in front of her food and water bowl and not allow her access. He would lay in wait by doorways and terrorize her. If he could reach her, he would corner her and smack her repeatedly til she cried. She ws terrified of him.

Here's my question: can I scold Charlie when he is heading for Finn? or will that make it worse? He can't be redirected, I tried with Zoe and I tried this morning with Finn.

Edit: I took Finn back out with his favorite toy. I let Charlie watch as we played and ran through the house with it, knowing I could lure Finn right back into his room. That felt successful until I tried to leave the room and Finn escaped. As Charlie and he came face to face, Charlie swatted him on top of the head, not a hard swat. Finn actually swatted Charlie back and went toward him and Charlie backed away. I was afraid of an altercation and I had nothing near me to break it up, so I said "No!" and they both stopped.
I went back to Finn's room to retrieve his toy and a towel, and thank goodness he followed me. Now Finn is wailing mournfully and Charlie is meowing back at him through the door. Now I don't know what to make of what just happened. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Feral Mom

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ah ha, i have been gone for days, and i can see, i have Much to catch up on! Last i read, you had not yet let cats 'meet' yet,
and now, they have!
I will go back and catch up. i got no advice, just support, this is so nice of you!!
how exciting. hope it goes more smoothly soon.

bet it will.

I may be in your same shoes soon, so i am interested in how this is going.
 
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Buffster7

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ah ha, i have been gone for days, and i can see, i have Much to catch up on! Last i read, you had not yet let cats 'meet' yet,
and now, they have!
I will go back and catch up. i got no advice, just support, this is so nice of you!!
how exciting. hope it goes more smoothly soon.

bet it will.

I may be in your same shoes soon, so i am interested in how this is going.
Ah, thanks. I haven't let them be together again since then, wanted to wait for feedback. I just don't know if I'm supposed to intervene when they start showing signs of getting physical. I also don't know how much of a disadvantage Charlie would be at. He's twice Finn's size but fat and slow and has no claws. Finn is fast, agile, clawed, and bites. What's the likely outcome?
Also, at what point do I step back and let them sort things out? If they fight now, will it set them back a month - is it too soon? Somebody please help. :please:
 
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Buffster7

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I may be in your same shoes soon, so i am interested in how this is going.
Really?? I need to go find your thread and catch up, then! I will be following your progress as well. I tried to read all I could yesterday on friction between cats during introductions, but I got discouraged. I hope that your introductions go as smoothly as cat introductions can go!
 

shadowsrescue

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I think you are moving too fast. Remember introductions can take time. When cats show signs of distress ( ears going flat, tail swishing, growling, hissining, etc...) you have gone too far. Each meet and greet should be short and end on a positive note. You cannot expect them to have a meet and greet and just really like each other. They need time to see each other, watch each other and observe the other. I used to leave my barrier up and the door open during the day. This way, the cats could observe each other. I was always there to watch and intervene if needed. If there was hissing or growling, I would then just close the door.

I would do more of the putting one of the cats in a carrier and allowing the other cat to safely sniff. I would try to do this multiple times each day as long as there wasn't any distress. Also are you using food rewards at every interaction? You want the cats to think that "hey when I see you, I get something really good?"

Remember that cats move on "cat time" not human time. The biggest mistake people make when introducing cats is moving too fast. We so want them to be together and like each other. Our "human time" does not mesh with "cat time". I would advise you to slow down and back up. Some times you have to give the cats a complete break from each other. Also be sure that you are giving both cats equal amounts of your time. When you finish playing/interacting with Finn go do the same with Charlie. Remember Charlie is first cat. It's his territory and Finn is the newbie. He needs to adapt to Charlie's home. There may be a struggle at some point for Alpha cat. There has to be one and it's not always the oldest cat or the resident cat. It also can change throughout their life span.
 
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Buffster7

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Hi! Thanks for your response - I do need input. I haven't let them around each other since yesterday morning. I've just been doing room swapping instead. There was zero hissing and nothing but friendliness prior to the meeting, and the first meeting was accidental but went so well, I thought they were ready to have short meetings.
I used to leave my barrier up and the door open during the day. This way, the cats could observe each other. I was always there to watch and intervene if needed. If there was hissing or growling, I would then just close the door.
I tried to do this, but Finn is a climber. I have the 6-ft shelving and the extra tall baby gate. He jumps the baby gate effortlessly, and last time I turned my back I heard a ruckus, and Finn had scaled 3/4 of the shelving and was almost to the top, and Charlie was on the other side waiting for him.

Also are you using food rewards at every interaction?
Yes, food rewards at every meeting.

When cats show signs of distress ( ears going flat, tail swishing, growling, hissining, etc...) you have gone too far.
The meetings went well until Finn passed by Charlie too closely, then Charlie hissed. The final meeting took place when Finn escaped (He is getting REALLY hard to contain). Charlie thumped him on top of the head, and Finn thumped Charlie back.

I can do site swapping for a while, face-to-face through carrier, but my available time is about to drop down to nearly nothing. The program I'm in is accelerated and it's intense. I am not going to have time to sit in Finn's room for an hour - I might have a half hour to split between Finn and Charlie some days. There will be days I'll be gone all day, and evenings will be mandatory studying. This is why I questioned even bringing Finn inside after his neuter.

Please bear with me for a few more questions:
1. When it does come time to do face-to-face introductions again, I assume that some hissing is inevitable. At what point do I intervene?

2. With a 17.4 lb cat with no claws and a cat less than 1/2 his size WITH claws - what would be the likely outcome if they got into it? Which one of these would be most in danger?

3. Can Charlie be redirected? Can I say, "Charlie no" when he bullies? I saw signs of bullying that he displayed with my dog that he displayed with Finn yesterday morning - stalking, guarding, blocking, swatting.

4. Normally a new cat doesn't challenge the resident cat right away, do they? Finn's retaliation yesterday when Charlie swatted him - he wasn't blocked, he had an escape route. Yet he challenged Charlie anyway. Does this mean I have 2 alphas on my hand?

Once again, thank you so much for your input! Trying to gather all the info now while I can, because very soon my time will all have to go toward school.
 

shadowsrescue

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I do understand that your time soon will be limited, but your cats just don't understand that! You really have to move at their pace even if it means they aren't fully together for months. I will try to give some of my input on your questions:

1. Yes, hissing is inevitable. You watch for ears going flat, ears going back, swishing tail, posturing and growling. I usually allow a hiss or two, then verbally redirect of have a toy on hand to redirect.

2. Usually the cat who has claws will do the most damage. Yet, Charlie may choose to use his teeth. Usually one of the cats will back down after a back and forth swatting. It's just all new unchartered territory for them both.

3. Yes, you can say "no" firmly to them both. I often keep a very close eye and do my best to verbally warn, redirect and if all else fails, I offer a short time out. I used to offer 10-15 minutes of time out in a room. Then try again. If it happens again, the time out is longer (30-60 minutes). Then try again. If it happens a 3rd time, it's 3 strikes and visits are done for the day.

4. When I first brought Marvin into the house, he challenged Jake after a few weeks. They have to work it out for themselves on who will be alpha. It's common for males to have a few challenges along the way.

What you don't want to happen, is an all out brawl where someone gets hurt. Cat bites and scratches can abscess and require vet attention.

I really would try to step back and just do one cat in a carrier and then switch. Over and over until you feel confident that both cats are relaxed. Then try more face to face. I also have used a harness on one of the cats.

This is a process and there is no time frame. Some cats get along right from the start and others take time time time.

Even if you are busy, remember that Finn is safe. He is now inside a home and out from the dangers of outside. He and Charlie may not be buddies yet, but give it time and patience. The angst you are feeling will transfer to the kitties. Every single time that I have tried to rush the process, it has ended up back firing in my face and the process takes much much longer than if I had just watched the cues and allowed the cats to progress more slowly.
 
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Buffster7

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Thank you, shadowsrescue shadowsrescue !

Last question - I was wondering if, once I trust Finn around the house a bit more, an option for when I'm gone all day at school might be to alternate days for the cats to have run of the house. One day have Charlie stay in my room and let Finn have run of the house, and the next day have Finn confined to his room and Charlie the run of the house. Yet everything I've read says resident cat gets run of the house, and new cat is confined. Thoughts?
 

shadowsrescue

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That is something to consider. Maybe try it now while you are home and see how it works. You just want to be sure that it doesn’t stress Charlie out.

You are correct that usually the resident cat is out and new cat confined.

I usually don’t let a new cat out for an entire day fir quite awhile. I do try short bursts when I leave to run errands. My resident cat hated to be confined and it created more issues.

Sometimes you just have to keep trying new ideas and see how the cats respond. I am usually more cautious since I have had a new cat attack another cat. It was all about territory.

Definitely do try Finn in Charlie’s space. It is good to get Finns sent mixed within the house. Jackson Galaxy always suggests the idea of extending base camp. That means taking objects of Finns and placing them within your household.

I have also used a brush technique. I take a brush and brush top of head, under chin and to mid back. 5 or so strokes each place. Then I take that brush to the other cat and allow him to sniff. Next brush the 2nd cat the same way. You end taking the brush back to 1st cat and allowing him to sniff. You do this 2-3x each day. It helps to mix their scents.
 

Jcatbird

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All the above is right on the money. Carrier visits prevent hitting, biting in the beginning. I know Finn is hard to contain but slow and steady wins every time. I don’t think letting Finn have the run of the house will make things any easier. It may just make him resent being shut up on the days it’s his turn. Right now he kind of accepts it. The more he runs free, the more he will want to. This is one of the reasons I transition to a cage eventually, then to the house once everyone feels totally secure with each other. Not before. However, Finn is pretty happy in his room right now. I know you feel a time pressure because of school but Finn doesn’t have that pressure. He can hang around where he is and be far better off than he was. Finn may want to change the rules but you just have to keep things on a smooth and even pace. He jumped ahead on you. Pretty slick trick on his part. Lol He’s trying to own the world. ;) Cats will do that. We don’t want Charlie to feel overwhelmed by this flying Finn. Try not to stress about Finn being in the room. It’s really a luxury to him. He’s just wanting more of a good thing. It’s better if they are longing for each other’s company. Curiosity is a very strong tool for you to use in this case. Always leave them wanting more. It’s much easier to add than to take away so add to Finns territory slowly.
You’re doing great! Look how far you have gotten! Just weeks ago Finn was a sick kitty that you were afraid you wouldn’t be able to catch. Awesome!
 
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Buffster7

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Okay, that really did help me a lot. Thank you ladies so much. It's also helped me not feel quite so guilty about Finn being "trapped" in that room for so long. To me it seems that after having the whole great outdoors to roam and explore, that being cooped up in a small room would be an awful feeling. But he also had to fear for his safety; hopefully the tradeoff is worth it for him. I'll also not do the trading days thing. You're also right, Jcatbird, in that it's easier to add to than take away from Finn's territory. He's already been much more discontent in the room since we've done room-swapping.

Phew. Okay. Thank you guys again. :heartshape:
 

Talien

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Okay, that really did help me a lot. Thank you ladies so much. It's also helped me not feel quite so guilty about Finn being "trapped" in that room for so long. To me it seems that after having the whole great outdoors to roam and explore, that being cooped up in a small room would be an awful feeling. But he also had to fear for his safety; hopefully the tradeoff is worth it for him. I'll also not do the trading days thing. You're also right, Jcatbird, in that it's easier to add to than take away from Finn's territory. He's already been much more discontent in the room since we've done room-swapping.

Phew. Okay. Thank you guys again. :heartshape:
He doesn't sound like he's longing to be back outside, and if he was it wouldn't be for much longer. Cats are smart, and the first couple times he gets to watch a thunderstorm from inside through a window he's going to catch on that he's not getting soaked and doesn't have to hide under something all day to avoid it.
 
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Buffster7

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One more thing. How WILL I know when they are ready for introductions? So far Charlie stands outside the barrier and watches us with interest when we play. He rubs his face on the barrier. They eat face to face with no hissing. By all appearances he looks ready, but evidently is not. So how will I know when the are ready for a meet and greet?
 
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Buffster7

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Lunch time interaction. This is why I cannot leave the barrier unattended. I've since closed the bedroom door:

Amazon Photos

And here is them eating lunch just before that, so you can see how closely they eat without hesitation or hissing:


So how will I know when they are ready - what do I look for?
 
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