Introducing Cats - Logistics Questions.

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Twylasmom

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At this point in time....are you more worried that Twyla will hurt Hooper, ....or that Hooper would hurt Twyla?

If you were to leave the doors open....would Hooper just escape....and look to bother Twyla again?
I mostly worry that it will turn into a full blown fight that I can't break up (like under a bed) where one or both might get hurt, though that hasn't happened yet. Their skirmishes usually only last a few seconds and are generally not as intense as they were a couple of weeks ago. Usually he either escapes or backs off when she swats him, but after a certain point she just gets so irritated that she will go after him repeatedly. This is usually because he gets so wound up and won't leave her alone. If I see him sneaking up on her I try and break his focus.

The interactive toy is noisy and they both are interested in it so I often turn it on when I want them to break focus.
 

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Yeah, that is a hard one, then.
Because at some point in time...they will most likely get into an actual fight...though...I'm hoping that since they have had all this contact...that it will be more of a rough 'playfight'...then actual hurting fight. Gentle playfight would be the best...but cannot predict it.
We just never know with our cats.

Is there a way that you can block off access to underneath the bed...or would that just cause them to move somewhere else?

Since you said that the 'intensity' has lessened ...then you're still on the right path.

I just wish I could think of something that would get Hooper more occupied with other things....and not so much with Twyla.
If they both listen to your voice, or the sound of you clapping your hands...then this would be good.

(ETA: I just realized that 'blocking access' to underneath the bed...is a stupid idea. Not only because you have more than one room,...but also because it might provide protection....for one cat if they have to escape, or run under it.
Just forget that dumb idea of mine. It's late here...so I better go to sleep...and think of something better, tomorrow. :hmmm::doh::dunno::sleep2:):paperbag:
 
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Twylasmom

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I have shut off my guest room because the bed in there is low to the ground and not moveable so if something happened I would not be able to do anything. The other bed has storage bins under it and is also easily moved so is less of a concern.

I can sometimes stop things by using my voice or clapping or blocking sight with a blanket. When he gets super crazy I drop a towel or blanket over Hooper. That calms him and allows me to pick him up if I need to. I have a wide variety of toys for them and they each get personalized play sessions at least twice a day. My plan is to just keep at it until it gets better. There have been days when I have avoided putting them together because I was too tired or frustrated so I don't think that has helped. So I am working on getting them together every day, in short sessions, or one longer one if it is going well.
 

calicosrspecial

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I think you are doing GREAT!!! They are going to get together. All the recent things I have read are actually REALLY positive. You are doing everything right.

Just keep making every encounter as positive as possible, keep making the positive associations. If you can end it on a positive note (even if it is for 2 minutes) it is a positive (obviously you are doing MUCH better than that).

It doesn't sound like anyone wants to hurt the other. It sounds like she is trying to communicate with him. Not all chasing, swatting, hissing, etc is negative.

You mentioned he was sleeping on you. I am a big believer in giving love (if it can be done safely) and getting a cat to sleep or purr with the other cat around. BUT only if you are not at risk of being hurt. That makes a positive association and let's everyone know that everything is "cool".

Also, anytime one of the cats get distracted and looks away from the other it is a positive. NO cat would take their eyes off a potential threat.

Always watch how the cats act after a "negative" encounter. The faster the rebound the less serious they think it is and the less serious it is.

Just stay calm and confident around them as cats take on our emotions. And keep working to build their confidence through Play, Food, Height and Love. Cat shelving could be an interesting option as it gives another "escape route" - though we might find out Twyla doesn't have as much arthritis at times..............

Your cats WILL get together, no doubt about it. The only question is when. You are doing FANTASTICALLY. It sounds like you are REALLY close. Everything you are experiencing is normal. I'll follow the thread but I am not at all worried about your intro. GREAT work!!
 
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Twylasmom

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Help! We had a bit of a setback yesterday morning and today and I feel we have lost progress. They were doing their usual routine of nose touches, Hooper advancing on Twyla and her slapping him away when he came at her and they were both on their haunches slapping at each other when Twyla lost her balance and was on her back with Hooper on top of her. I was able to get them to stop by speaking sharply and then separated them. This was the scariest encounter they have had to date though neither was hurt and bounced back to normal fairly quickly. I was out until fairly late so they had no more contact yesterday. This morning Hooper was out in the house and Twyla was sleeping in my closet and I had the baby gates on the bedroom door and she never came out so no contact. Then I had a friend come over and Hooper hid in his room upstairs but Twyla came out. I confined Hooper while we were out and after my friend left I fed them both in their spaces and let Hooper out a short time later. He and Twyla gave a brief greeting and slapped at each other and Twyla wanted to end the encounter immediately. I put the gates back up on her room and after a while they ate treats right next to the gate and played a bit through the gate with Twyla hissing periodically and Hooper trying to climb the gate. However, they would also just sit and watch each other and Twyla had no reaction to Hooper climbing the gate. I then put Hooper in his room and Twyla came upstairs and they did a little footsie under the door, complete with more hissing. I feel like I rushed the encounter and let it go on too long since they hadn't had any contact in over 24 hours and they were both overstimulated and wanting to get their energy out on one another. After I put Hooper back in his room Twyla started batting a toy around almost immediately and I could hear him going crazy in his space. I went in to check on him and he was affectionate and playful, though he of course wanted out.

I am feeling so discouraged. We have been doing common space interactions for over a month and it feels like we are back at square one. I feel like I am not doing things right by not being able to be consistent with their visits, or hovering too much and not letting them work things out. I really don't want to fail and have to live in a divided house. Do I need to step back from same room interaction, or was this just a bad 36 hours? Will she ever accept him? I usually keep bedroom door shut or have gates up when she is sleeping so he won't go in and bother her, is that the right approach?
 

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Don't worry, this is not an issue and I will explain why shortly. But first I want to answer the questions in the last paragraph.

No, you do not need to step back. We need to fine tune some things but we don't need to step back. Havin the bedroom door closed or gates up while she is sleeping is the right approach. You are definitely not at square one. In my readings I see you doing all the right things and what you experienced in te last 36 hours is normal and not all that worrying which I will address shortly.

I would love to see video if at all possible. But I am guessing Hooper's intent is not to hurt Twyla. I do tend to like to distract when it starts to get a bit "slappy". Anytime we can stop a potential "negative" encounter it is a positive. It builds trust.

But to get to this encounter and why I think it actually is positive and tells me that they will get along. Hooper got on top of Twyla when she was on her back (I would love to hear about the body language) BUT you were able to separate them quickly (VERY positive) AND no one was hurt AND they bounced back quickly. And that tells me a lot about their relationship. IF Hooper really wanted to hurt her he absolutely could have but chose NOT TO hurt her. AND she could have feel really threatened AND really could have gotten very defensive and hurt him. BUT neither did which tells me that they should conscious restraint. That they didn't view this as an existential threat but rather more of an annoyance. That tells me there is more trust there than you may realize. Of course, we don;t want these encounters so we want to try to distract them before it gets to this BUT if it does happen this is what we want to see. So I actually take it as a positive and a positive sign of their relationship and it tells me it is not a question of IF they will get along but WHEN.

"This Morning" - Hooper waas out and Twyla sleeping. No contact. That is great. Again, shows that they are not "out to get" the other one. A positive "encounter" which is what we want.

Then Twyla and Hooper had a brief greeting then some slapping (the slapping is communication - it could be somewhat playish but it is most likely communicating "don't mess with me too much". Our goal it to then get them to focus on something else which is positive like food or play or just you (if you can safely). Anytime we can avoid any negativity or an escalation in negativity it is a positive and our main goal is to build those positives so that the trust gets built.

GREAT job on feeding treats at the gate. Anytime they are enjoying something positive near each other and they are not focused on each other and everything stays positive it is a positive. So anytime they are near each other but focused on you or something good it is positive. Even if for a brief time. ANd trying to leave them on a positive is a goal we try to achieve.

Sitting and watching each other (with no negativity) and Twyla not reacting to Hooper climbing the gate is positive. Keep trying to get those encounters.

Footsie and some hissing. That happens. Just try to keep making it positive. They could have been wanting play. It is always important to not confuse play energy and/or annoyance and communication with meanness. It is hard to see sometimes but it is important distinctions.

I am guessing Hooper was "going crazy" because he wanted to play with Twyla.

Keep making positive associations and keep building confidence with lots of play. Everything you are experiencing is normal and will be overcome. Let's fine tune some things and get them intro'd. I think you are much closer than you think. Please feel free to share anytime and video (if you can) is always helpful to see the body language.

Hang in there, things are going to be fine.
 

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was this just a bad 36 hours? Will she ever accept him? I usually keep bedroom door shut or have gates up when she is sleeping so he won't go in and bother her, is that the right approach?
Personally I also think she will eventually, and I also think allowing her to sleep in peace is a good idea. Maybe down the road/in the future try an open door now and then to see what he does? If it's too chaotic, just go back to keeping the door closed.
 
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Twylasmom

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Today was still pretty bad, but not quite as bad as the last two days. I left Twyla in the bedroom with the gates up and let Hooper out of his room. They interacted a couple of times at the gates, ate treats super close and pawed at each other through the gates with Twyla hissing a couple of times. During the next 5 hours or so Hooper tried to climb the gates a couple of times and she just sat and watched from a distance. After he was played out and seemingly calm (including a nap on my lap) and Twyla was awake I let her out. They greeted each other and there was some swatting at each other but I was able to distract them by going into the kitchen and giving them wet food, which they ate peaceably about two feet apart, she wasn't even disturbed when he tried to check out her bowl. After a couple of minutes of me watching them and distracting where needed Hooper started going after Twyla multiple times, at first backing away and then jumping on her. I had to break them up (by yelling No and waving something or dropping a blanket between them) several times in the space of five minutes. A couple of times they really tussled, rolling around and Twyla yowling. He is stalking and treating her like prey and she is defending herself or just trying to get away. After a pause, he just comes back. When I had a safe moment I scooped Hooper up and put him in his room, but this meant that their encounter didn't end on a positive note, which is what I am striving for. Afterwards, Hooper cried and ran around in his room for a bit and Twyla is sitting next to me. (Side note: I am very skilled at picking up cats when they don't want to be - one of my previous cats was semi-feral and I learned how to pick her up by scooping my hand under her front legs and tucking the haunches under my arm, I have been carrying Hooper like that since I first got him and he knows not to struggle, and I use a small blanket when necessary, so I don't get scratched or bitten. I was bitten by a cat once and have no interest in it happening again).

So we have gone from being able to spend over an hour peaceably together to barely fifteen minutes total. In my observation, it is mostly Hooper's stalking from behind and chasing that is the big issue. I realize that to him it is most likely play, but it isn't fun for her. Since it has been such a slow process introducing them he has continued to get bigger and bolder and is turning the tables on her somewhat. She is not as fast as he is and can't always get away and she doesn't jump quickly because of her arthritis. I am feeling really bad for her. I have ordered an additional cat tree to see if that will help.

Any suggestions on how to stop or minimize the predatory behavior? That seems to be the main issue (and yes, he is neutered). Once he gets focused he is not easily distracted. I am also dealing with a space layout that has lots of places where he can sneak up on her (kitchen island and large sectional).

I haven't been able to get videos because I am too busy being referee, but will if I can. However, here is Twyla about 30 minutes post encounter.

IMG_0142.JPG
 
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calicosrspecial

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I actually think that is really good.

"interacted a couple of times at the gates, ate treats super close and pawed at each other through the gates" eating close = positive association. Pawing is something cats do, depends on the body language but I am guessing it wasn't serious. "hissing a couple of times" that is communication like a "knock it off". Of course young male cats tend not to listen to other cats. :( I think everything here is either great or fine.

"During the next 5 hours or so Hooper tried to climb the gates a couple of times and she just sat and watched from a distance" that is great because she knows he has no bad intent. It is all about seeing how they interpret things. If she was hiding, or running at it and hitting the gate and hissing etc it would be a totally different interpretation.

"After he was played out and seemingly calm (including a nap on my lap) and Twyla was awake I let her out. They greeted each other and there was some swatting at each other but I was able to distract them by going into the kitchen and giving them wet food, which they ate peaceably about two feet apart" - FANTASTIC :yess: Exactly what we want to do!!! WELL DONE!!! IF there was s problem between them they would not have been easily distracted AND they would not have eaten together.

"she wasn't even disturbed when he tried to check out her bowl" AWESOME!!!! Again a great sign that she is feeling more secure. I don't care if she might have been satisfied, it is a GREAT sign!!! That she can accept the "new" cat like that.

"Hooper started going after Twyla multiple times, at first backing away and then jumping on her" - I am getting a sense he really wants to play. I would love to see the body language. How did they react after? Fast rebound? Any hiding? Avoiding? Walking low?

"A couple of times they really tussled, rolling around and Twyla yowling" - Was Twyla hurt in anyway?.

"He is stalking and treating her like prey and she is defending herself or just trying to get away" - I am guessing it is play since he is not hurting her. It is good she is defending herself. Less good that she does run because that is what he wants - the fun chase.

"After a pause, he just comes back" - Yep, that is what they do when they enjoy the other cat ESPECIALLY when they are young with loads of energy.

"So we have gone from being able to spend over an hour peaceably together to barely fifteen minutes total. In my observation, it is mostly Hooper's stalking from behind and chasing that is the big issue. I realize that to him it is most likely play, but it isn't fun for her." - Yes, he is getting more comfortable and confident AND he is not fearing her WHICH is great. It is 15 minutes because he just wants to play with her. Of course, she has different energy levels so doesn't enjoy it. Keep distracting as needed. Feel free to step in with a toy and get him to play with a toy rather than Twyla (I know it is hard but try). Also, use any other distraction technique. The problem is another cat is always more interesting than most things. But do your best. Anytime you can get his focus off of her it is a positive.

I don't think this is predatory behavior. This seems like "I have a friend I can trust and play with". If it was serious we would see Twyla avoiding him, hiding, acting differently, etc. I don't get a sense she is doing that. She may be annoyed by him which is VERY common but I don't get a sense she fears him.

So how to stop the chasing etc - play with him then feed them together. Then hopefully he feels a bit comfortable and decides to sleep. He probably wont though. So then try to get him playing again with Twyla somewhere out of the way. Keep using words to distract him. If you can safely have either of them and give some love while the other is around that can be good. BUT I don't want you to do that unless you are sure you will not get hurt (most likely scratched) in any way. Give them places to get focused on so looking outside. Eliminate any dead ends or tight spaces. Think about multiple exits using cat trees or cat shelving etc. Get toys that maybe Hooper can play with on his own (I use a ball that they can't grip on and throw through a window or anything). Just try different things to get him focused on something else. Looking out the windows (if can be done safely) to watch the world. To some degree the novelty of a new playmate will wear off and at some point Twyla will communicate her annoyance and he will "get it" but it does take some time. This is like a kid with a new bike. The kid wants to ride it 24/7.

What you are experiencing is totally normal and there are a lot of positives. They can be together, they do eat together, they don't hurt each other, they rebound quickly (which tells me what they think of everything). Sure she gets annoyed, that is normal for a mature cat. But I don't get a sense she is being affected by it. Now, of course we want to limit the play but it has to be both us and Twyla that does it. She is doing her part and you are doing yours. It will work.

Twyla is GORGEOUS!! She sure looks like she is happy and confident. If there were real issues she would not be sleeping like that.

So just try to distract him and try to get him to focus on something other than Twyla so she can get a break and keep making those positive associations with play. If you sense it is getting "too much" just do your best to distract. We don't want her arthritis to be an issue for her with him jumping on her and making her run too much etc.

Don't worry, you are going to be fine. Everything you are experiencing is normal and I am not at all worried. We will get them together. Please let me know if you have any questions. Every time you get him to not chase or to stop it is a big positive. I think you just have an energetic youngster that is loving life and loves his playmate. He just needs to understand that she is not his age with his energy. Both you and Twyla will communicate that.
 

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I apologise if this has been mentioned before but do you have any way to take him for walks? Or room for a cat wheel?
 

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....Or room for a cat wheel?
Great minds think alike..lol. :lol:
I was thinking about this 'cat wheel'....but wow....are they expensive. (aren't they just made of plastic and stuff. lol)
At that price....I would want a step counter, mileage, self-learning feature....etc. :blush:
 
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Twylasmom

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Thanks for all the insight and suggestions! I will just keep trying and hope for incremental progress. I agree with you that she doesn't actually feel threatened because she isn't trying to hide, in fact she appears to be trying to ignore him. She did not appear to be hurt. After each encounter she would just walk away but not hide.

I don't think I am ready to invest in a cat wheel yet (but I do have room!) and would prefer to not take him on walks because I don't want to reintroduce the outdoors to him, however I do exercise him pretty vigorously, including running up and down the stairs and chasing toys the length of the downstairs. He also loves to play fetch with his spring toys. They both have the ability to watch the birds I feed on the back porch as well as other activity in the neighborhood. I also try to rotate toys and find other things to keep him entertained.

I will keep you updated on our progress! I am fortunate in that I work in higher education and our long winter break is about to start so I will be home more and able to give them more attention.
 

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You will see progress. Hope is not needed. They are going to be fine. Just keep trying to make every encounter as positive as possible and keep making positive associations. Distract in a positive way as needed. Between you and Twyla, Hooper will understand what is acceptable and what is not. I know it is not going as fast as you like BUT there is nothing here to suggest there are any issues that will prevent them from getting along. You are pretty much 90-95% of the way to having them intro'd. You have done the "heavy lifting" and now it is just the fine tuning.

You have done a great job and are doing a great job. Don't worry, they are going to be fine. I have no doubt about it.

Please ask anything anytime.
 
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Not too good today. Tried to follow same procedure as yesterday. After a promising start with treats and greetings at the gate it was nonstop chasing and attacking. I fed them but only Twyla was interested in eating - she jumped up on the island and Hooper left her alone (with some distraction from me) but he was more interested in her than me or his food. It was mostly Hooper going after Twyla, but she went after him a little too. It was about ten minutes tops. So I would classify it as a negative encounter, Similar to yesterday, but not even as good. How can we make progress if they can't be in the same space for two minutes without going after each other? They are fine with gates up, she sleeps on my bed and he periodically goes and checks to see if she is up while having his time in the rest of the house, and interact well at the gate. But once they are together it escalates immediately. I realize it is at least partially play because they bounce back quickly when separated, but it is not good to let them go after each other repeatedly, is it? And this also means we aren't ending on a positive note.

I try to start with a positive attitude every day, but I end up feeling discouraged. I would try to enlist someone else to help, but Hooper is so scared of other people that he hides the entire time so that won't help.
 

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You said Twyla instigated a little? What if, once in a while, let them have at it?
 

calicosrspecial

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"After a promising start" - Excellent They can get along. Positive.

"she jumped up on the island and Hooper left her alone (with some distraction from me)" - GREAT that he left her alone and responded to distraction - Positive

"she went after him a little too" - Would like to understand exactly how but I actually take this as a positive as she either was defending herself or trying to play with him. Either way I take that as as positive.

"nonstop chasing and attacking" - that is what cats do - depends on what the intent Play or Something worse. The fact Hooper was able to be distracted tells me the chasing wasn't serious. I wouldn't call it negative necessarily.

"bounce back quickly when separated" - this tells me that THEY don't think it is as negative as we humans tend to.

"it is not good to let them go after each other repeatedly" - It depends. It is more art than science. Watch Twyla and try to distract Hooper. Any time you distract him it is a win.

I wouldn't get too hung up on ending on a positive note. I don;t see this situation as that negative. There are worry negatives and just mild negatives. Not all negative encounters are created equal. What you described is not worrying to me. Of course we don't want it to happen but it is not really an issue in the progress.

This is not discouraging to me. It is normal and part of the process. You don't need to bring someone else in. We can solve this. You are doing much better than you think. Just keep doing your best to distract Hooper and play with him to try to drain some energy. Keep feeding them near each other (I am guessing Hooper wasn't that hungry today). Twyla is a part of communicating what is acceptable and I am very happy to here that she is standing up to him (or instigating).
 

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... I realize it is at least partially play because they bounce back quickly when separated, but it is not good to let them go after each other repeatedly, is it? And this also means we aren't ending on a positive note.

I try to start with a positive attitude every day, but I end up feeling discouraged.....
Hi Twylasmom Twylasmom ...Just so you don't get too discouraged. :alright:
Watch this video, ...Post #36... of this thread:
Cat Intro Going Really Badly

Then read post #1...of this update thread:
There’s always hope!

Your cats will go from :argue: to :salam:....It will just take more Time.
 
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