Introducing two males

Alldara

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That is very true.

Hopefully I can desensitize him to the older guy's movements and presence a bit more. I'll also have the kids spend extra time playing with him so he has an outlet (which playtime he of course needs anyway). I'll take the reintroductions slowly. I can't think of much else to try. My kids are super attached to him (as am I), so I'm willing to play the long game here. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
That's great! Long game is good too. It took us 1 year to fully integrate Magnus and Nobel. Just slow and steady. And mostly the last 5 month stretch was just us not wanting them out together unsupervised.
 
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Janie834

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Hello, I am back with two questions. :)

I have been keeping the newcomer in his room (my room) for the past week. I haven't let them see each other. I have however continued to scent swap (I rotate the blankets from their respective areas), and I let the newcomer have the run of the house a little each day while the senior boy is sleeping (he naps most of the day, so I just move him to a room with a door that closes where he is normally comfortable, and he seems to not mind too much).

The newcomer loves the older boy's smell. Whenever I give him a "new" blanket from the older boy's space, he gets right on it and sniffs, purrs, rolls on it, etc. The older boy is perhaps a bit more apprehensive (or at least not as enthsiastic), but will lie on the newcomer's blankets and be okay with it.

The newcomer heard the older boy on the other side of the door today when the newcomer was out and about, while the senior boy was in a room with the door closed. The newcomer did that laser focus thing again. He clearly knew exactly who was on the other side of that door! He stayed by that door and crouched down and just stared intently. No hissing or growling or anything, but I have no doubt that if that door had been opened, he would have darted in and gone for my older boy.

We are now four weeks post-neuter for the new guy (and 6 weeks post-rescue from outside).

I'm wondering if this is from hormones and am hopeful it could get better with time. I know though that he was neutered late (this could not be helped of course since he came to us as a stray in distress, and we neutered him as soon as the vet said he was healthy enough for it), and that this could mean it is too late for behaviour/aggression etc to change.

Anyway, my questions.

First, do you think this is a lost cause? I know they are not well-matched, in age or temperament. I don't have a rescue or shelter to return him to since he came from outside. I don't want to surrender the poor little guy to a shelter, he has been through so much. But I can't let my lovely senior boy live in a home where he could be hurt, either. I am willing to play the long game, but do you think it is realistic to think this can actually work? That we could get to a point of peaceful tolerance?

My second question is, if I do keep doing this - should I stop scent swapping for now and just give them some time apart, or is scent swapping always a good thing? I have no intention of letting them see each other for at least a month.

Thank you so much.
 
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Janie834

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Just wanted to add three things:
1. The vet's best guess is that he was about 11 months old when he was neutered.
2. We do not do true site swapping (at least not yet), because my older boy gets very nervous and stressed when I have tried that. My focus right now is on trying to get the new guy to calm down and get used to my resident boy. But I am open to suggestions on all fronts!
3. I also now have feliway plugged in in the new guy's space, the senior boy's space, and on the main floor of the house.
 

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The hyperinterest is likely because the younger cat is seeking a playmate. Nobel was neutered very young and he always had hyper-focus at the door of the new cat, even if he wasn't ready to see the new cat face-to-face.

Basically, it's the wrestling play you're trying to prevent him doing so that he's not stressing out your older cat. He just needs some outlets for that and you'll continue on to slowly introduce them.

I agree that scent swapping is good. By letting the younger cat explore and put his scent in the rest of the house, you're doing site swapping as well which is great.
 
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Janie834

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Hello, back with a quick update and a question. :) Introductions are going very well, my resident boy is now quite comfortable around the newcomer (through the screen door, and even when I have recently let the two of them interact a bit without the screen). He used to be very nervous around him (perhaps even fearful) so this is good progess.

The newcomer remains fascinated and very focused on the resident senior. He was doing so well through the screen and had had more exposure to seeing my senior guy walk around, etc (this was triggering a chase instinct before) so I figured I would try letting them see each other without the screen. I've done this 3 times over the past two days and it has good very well. I feed them treats together. They purr, sniff each other, walk around each other without incident. However, as soon as my resident boy tries to walk away or really move at all, the newcomer is right on top of it and tries to chase him. I've stopped him each time, but planning ahead, I'm wondering how to handle this and any scenarios where he actually does jump on him. Do I just separate them then without any reaction (so no negative reaction or reassurance to the newcomer), or should I say "no!" or make some other noise of disapproval to the newcomer before separating them, so he learns not to do that? My senior boy is unlikely to teach manners himself.

I'm feeling more hopeful than before, but still apprehensive and a bit worried about my older boy's safety/comfort. He has stress-triggered health issues and has also recently been diagnosed with arthritis. He also has a congenital hip/leg issue which makes it hard for him to run or jump quickly. They are still mostly separated, other than for supervised interactions, which have only recently progressed beyond the screen door stage again.

Thanks as always for any input. :).
 
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Alldara

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Your littler one needs to get that chase and wrestle energy out. If you can put your older guy in a safe room for 20 to 30 minutes, maybe with a lick mat or something, I'd recommend that you play hide and seek chase with the you get one. It might take him some time to catch on. But don't forget to make some sort of play-sound at him like mimic a cat burring and do lots of slow blinks so he knows you're playing.

Magnus still enjoys that game with us at age 3.
 
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Janie834

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Your littler one needs to get that chase and wrestle energy out. If you can put your older guy in a safe room for 20 to 30 minutes, maybe with a lick mat or something, I'd recommend that you play hide and seek chase with the you get one. It might take him some time to catch on. But don't forget to make some sort of play-sound at him like mimic a cat burring and do lots of slow blinks so he knows you're playing.

Magnus still enjoys that game with us at age 3.
That is a good idea, thanks! One of my kids does do something similar with him now. They play with him a ton when it is his turn out and about in the main part of the house. The favourite toys are a laser pointer and a feather toy on a fishing pole type thing. He plays so hard he pants sometimes. He definitely has an outlet, but perhaps he still needs more of that. We'll keep it up and I'll try to get the kids to do it even more.
 

Alldara

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That is a good idea, thanks! One of my kids does do something similar with him now. They play with him a ton when it is his turn out and about in the main part of the house. The favourite toys are a laser pointer and a feather toy on a fishing pole type thing. He plays so hard he pants sometimes. He definitely has an outlet, but perhaps he still needs more of that. We'll keep it up and I'll try to get the kids to do it even more.
Great for the kids too! Awesome.

The hyper focus on the other cat should dissipate with time. Right now he doesn't see RC (resident cat) much so of course he's still an object of interest.

If you can do the intros after a big play session...if new cat settles in the main area after a big play, it's a good idea to let RC out then and stay close to NC. Lots of praise if NC stays settled, if he goes to pounce, just put him in his room. He'll learn quickly then.
 
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Janie834

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The newcomer went straight for the senior boy's neck again this afternoon. I intervened before he actually bit him but it was very obvious what he was trying to do. He approached in a "stalking" manner and went right for his neck. *sigh*. I just don't get it.
 

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He wants to play with another cat. He's likely used to having that. It's a big part of why many rescues have moved to adopting out two kittens at a time.
 
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Janie834

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He wants to play with another cat. He's likely used to having that. It's a big part of why many rescues have moved to adopting out two kittens at a time.
I hear you. I hope you are right (that it is playful rather than true aggression). Either way, I am just worried about my older boy. I know they are not well matched (he chose us, not the other way around :) ). I'm just hoping we can get to a point where they can both live here, freely roaming the house. I don't want to re-home him.
 
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Janie834

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Some pretty amazing progress this morning - they spent 1.5 hours or so together and were even lying peacefully beside each other at times.The newcomer seemed poised to try to bite him a few times this morning while sitting together, etc., but was he easily distracted and deterred. Otherwise very friendly and social with each other, purring and rubbing against each other even.

Here is a photo:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/53445582937_c4f36db830_b.jpg
 
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Janie834

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I'm sorry for my delay in replying! They are doing great. They are still separated at night and when they are unsupervised, but otherwise they share the house freely. They play fight a lot, usually in the morning or evening. It is mostly good natured. They are not truly aggressive with each other; I can tell the difference clearly now having witnessed them see a raccoon through the window together. THAT was real aggression. I think the older boy is happy to have a feline friend again. He is more playful and active as well, which is great for him. The younger boy does annoy him at times (his energy level is much higher and he wants to play when the older boy does not sometimes). I still think on balance that he is happy to have him here though. The younger boy adores the older boy. They groom each other and sleep together or near to each other frequently. It just took time. :)
 
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