Introduction Anxiety

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Lindanyc

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Fantastic. GREAT job!!

30-40 minutes is really, really great.

And what is even better this - "We have paused to see what happens. They watch each other but are pretty easy to redirect.". The fact they don;t immediately go at each other shows trust has been built AND the fact they choose the distraction over the other cat is another great sign.

"Charmin seems to have no interest in chasing Trudie. Trudie’s body language seems pretty relaxed, but I still get the feeling if we don’t distract, she will charge." - Yes, probably. BUT that is why we distract and as Trudie doesn't charge (it builds Charmin's confidence) and as Charmin gets more confident it will discourage Trudie. Do you get a sense the charge is more of a play thing? Or a test of Charmin?

"When she moves too close to Charmin, Charmin will give just the tiniest hiss." - How does Trudie react to the hiss? Respects it? Or gets more aggressive and escalates the situation? Hissing is communication and a part of the intro process so it can be really helpful to teach the other cat acceptable boundaries.

"but I’m not comfortable trying it just yet." - I agree and would just keep doing what you are doing. The more they are together without incident the more trust and confidence is built. And the more trust and confident the less they will feel the need to defend or "eliminate" the other "threat".

You are doing an absolutely fantastic job. I am not at all worried, they are going to be intro'd. Not sure if it is next week or a few weeks but all sign point to success.

Keep watching their body language, keep doing what you are doing, and please update us and ask anything. Everything sounds great, keep up the great work!!
It seems more like Trudie testing Charmin than wanting to play. Trudie has responded to the hissing by getting loud a few times but also backing away right after. My husband feels confident that Trudie would back down quickly if there was a spat where we didn’t intervene immediately. Their ears have not been down, no crouching, etc. I feel much better and less anxious than when I first posted. I still can’t envision them just chilling in the same room without careful supervision, but I’m trying to look at all of the progress they’ve made.
 
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Lindanyc

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I am having almost the exact same issue as you are. But in my case it is the resident cat who is defending her territory. We have the new cat in a guest room with a baby gate, but whenever she comes close to the gate, resident cat comes running up to it to scare her away. They do eat together and snack together, but I stay really close. It is super stressful. We have had many cats in the past, but they were outdoors cats and we just threw them together and they figured it out. It's been a month now.
How are things going?
 

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It seems more like Trudie testing Charmin than wanting to play. Trudie has responded to the hissing by getting loud a few times but also backing away right after. My husband feels confident that Trudie would back down quickly if there was a spat where we didn’t intervene immediately. Their ears have not been down, no crouching, etc. I feel much better and less anxious than when I first posted. I still can’t envision them just chilling in the same room without careful supervision, but I’m trying to look at all of the progress they’ve made.
Yes, it is a hierarchy struggle it sounds like. VERY good that Trudie does respect and responds to Charmin. That suggests that Charmin is pretty confident. In intros we do our part and hope the resident cat does there. Sounds like Charmin is doing her part. That is very helpful for the process AND Trudie is respecting that. VERY good.

"My husband feels confident that Trudie would back down quickly if there was a spat where we didn’t intervene immediately." - That is possible. There are two trains of thought with regard to this. I am a believer in limiting any negative encounters to build trust and confidence so that they don;t feel the need to "fight it out". Others think that it is important to settle it among themselves. I believe that the way you have done it to date is very good. Distracting to avoid the negative and if they do get close Charmin warns and Trudie respects. I would personally continue down that path. I just believe in trying to limit/avoid negative encounters is the best way forward.

"Their ears have not been down, no crouching, etc." - This is great and tells me that their intro process is going well and that there is not a huge hurdle of distrust etc to overcome. Of course, there are always ups and downs in intros but you are well past the risk phase in my opinion.

I honestly have no doubt they will be intro'd and be able to be in the same room etc. I am not sure exactly how soon but I am not worried about it not happening. Your worry is understandable but I think the facts are much better than you may realize. I think they are doing great.

Just keep doing what you are doing, keep building confidence, positive associations, positive encounters, watch their body language, get them to look away from each other, etc. Keep up the great work. They are going to be fine.
 
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Yes, it is a hierarchy struggle it sounds like. VERY good that Trudie does respect and responds to Charmin. That suggests that Charmin is pretty confident. In intros we do our part and hope the resident cat does there. Sounds like Charmin is doing her part. That is very helpful for the process AND Trudie is respecting that. VERY good.

"My husband feels confident that Trudie would back down quickly if there was a spat where we didn’t intervene immediately." - That is possible. There are two trains of thought with regard to this. I am a believer in limiting any negative encounters to build trust and confidence so that they don;t feel the need to "fight it out". Others think that it is important to settle it among themselves. I believe that the way you have done it to date is very good. Distracting to avoid the negative and if they do get close Charmin warns and Trudie respects. I would personally continue down that path. I just believe in trying to limit/avoid negative encounters is the best way forward.

"Their ears have not been down, no crouching, etc." - This is great and tells me that their intro process is going well and that there is not a huge hurdle of distrust etc to overcome. Of course, there are always ups and downs in intros but you are well past the risk phase in my opinion.

I honestly have no doubt they will be intro'd and be able to be in the same room etc. I am not sure exactly how soon but I am not worried about it not happening. Your worry is understandable but I think the facts are much better than you may realize. I think they are doing great.

Just keep doing what you are doing, keep building confidence, positive associations, positive encounters, watch their body language, get them to look away from each other, etc. Keep up the great work. They are going to be fine.
I totally agree with you about avoiding the negatives. I think hubby is just trying to reassure me that should they slip passed us accidentally, there wouldn’t be bloodshed. So many people have told me to let them fight it out, but that just doesn’t feel like the way to go. I want them both comfortable and secure. This board has been such a blessing. I think we would have thrown in the towel by now without the reassurance that slow is OK. I truly appreciate the support. Here are the girls at lunch today. Charmin tidies up after eating and watches Trudie dig a treat out of her Hi Tech good puzzle.
 

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calicosrspecial

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"I think hubby is just trying to reassure me that should they slip passed us accidentally, there wouldn’t be bloodshed." - Yes, actually agree with him. I do not get the sense they would hurt each other. It may look like they will but given the history I think the risk is pretty low unless it would escalate. But I agree with your hubby. With that said, I wouldn't encourage them to work it out that way but if they accidentally "slip past" I think the risk is low. But I would try to avoid it if possible.

"So many people have told me to let them fight it out" - Many people believe in that. It is just a different style. My style is to really avoid negatives. I personally think it is the best strategy but I know others have success in intros using a different style.

"I want them both comfortable and secure." - Absolutely. You have already come a long way. I think they are actually pretty comfortable and secure already. We just need to finish it off. You have done a really good job.

"This board has been such a blessing. I think we would have thrown in the towel by now without the reassurance that slow is OK. I truly appreciate the support." - That is so wonderful to hear. That is why we spend to time on here. To try to save lives. This statement makes my day and makes all the time and effort so worth it!! THANK YO for sticking by the cats, putting the effort in and saving their lives!!!

The cats are REALLY ADORABLE!! They look happy and great. Love it!!
 
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"I think hubby is just trying to reassure me that should they slip passed us accidentally, there wouldn’t be bloodshed." - Yes, actually agree with him. I do not get the sense they would hurt each other. It may look like they will but given the history I think the risk is pretty low unless it would escalate. But I agree with your hubby. With that said, I wouldn't encourage them to work it out that way but if they accidentally "slip past" I think the risk is low. But I would try to avoid it if possible.

"So many people have told me to let them fight it out" - Many people believe in that. It is just a different style. My style is to really avoid negatives. I personally think it is the best strategy but I know others have success in intros using a different style.

"I want them both comfortable and secure." - Absolutely. You have already come a long way. I think they are actually pretty comfortable and secure already. We just need to finish it off. You have done a really good job.

"This board has been such a blessing. I think we would have thrown in the towel by now without the reassurance that slow is OK. I truly appreciate the support." - That is so wonderful to hear. That is why we spend to time on here. To try to save lives. This statement makes my day and makes all the time and effort so worth it!! THANK YO for sticking by the cats, putting the effort in and saving their lives!!!

The cats are REALLY ADORABLE!! They look happy and great. Love it!!
You do a wonderful job!
 

calicosrspecial

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Thank you very much.

But you deserve all the credit. You have done a great job. We have a little more to go but success is on the horizon.

Keep up the great work.
 
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Things have continued pretty normally. We haven’t had more than a slight hiss from each. Trudie seems to respect the hiss from Charmin but will occasionally give one of her own. We are seeing Charmin go about her business more after eating or playing and kind of ignoring that Trudie is out. She does check back in after a bit and walk around Trudie’s area. I think she’s testing the waters. We’ve continued to just break any staring that lingers. So far, so good. We feel a bit stuck about how to make that move to them walking around without being occupied. Our stress level is down which I feel has put the cats at ease. Thanks for the continued help!
 

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Our stress level is down which I feel has put the cats at ease.
This is fantastic, good for you!!

We feel a bit stuck about how to make that move to them walking around without being occupied.
Personally I think this will be a natural progression, a bit of time and you'll see it happen.

You rock, this is such a great success!!
 

calicosrspecial

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AWESOME!!!

"Trudie seems to respect the hiss from Charmin but will occasionally give one of her own." - That is fine. Just communication and if it is respected it is great.

"We are seeing Charmin go about her business more after eating or playing and kind of ignoring that Trudie is out." - Awesome!!

"She does check back in after a bit and walk around Trudie’s area." - Totally normal and if nothing negatives happens it is really positive and builds confidence.

"We’ve continued to just break any staring that lingers." - Exactly the right thing to do as anytime they look away and nothing negative happens than it builds confidence and is a positive.

"We feel a bit stuck about how to make that move to them walking around without being occupied." - You aren't really "stuck" you are reinforcing positive encounters. So every time nothing negative happens it is another step towards success. Building trust and confidence. Keep doing what you are doing, you are doing great.

It really does help. We get less stressed and they get less stressed which helps us reduce stress which helps them reduce stress. A great feedback loop.

You are welcome. Thank you for all your are doing!! Making it really easy for us!! You are getting very close.

Please be safe out there.
 
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:thumbsup:

How are things going?
It’s probably partly the stress from the virus on the news everywhere and being home so much, but I'm feeling a bit discouraged today. The cats have meal/snack/play sessions of about 30-35 minutes 2-3 times daily with no negativity. I still find myself going into panic mode when Trudie starts to wander. Charmin is totally relaxed and grooms, walks away, even closes her eyes. Trudie still seems (although it could be my interpretation) to want to chase when unoccupied. Wearing her out with play is still a challenge. We still haven’t found anything she enjoys as much as food. Hubby thinks i need to go for a walk and let him observe what happens when they wander. I’m not sure how i feel about that. As has always been the case, my anxiety takes over at times and I picture worst case scenario where one would get injured. That may be irrational, but it’s a real fear of mine for some reason.
This morning went well. Trudie played with a food puzzle and they were together for half an hour. Trudie even walked away a few times and went back into her home base room then came back out. I’m still taking it a day at a time. Thanks for checking in.
 

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"The cats have meal/snack/play sessions of about 30-35 minutes 2-3 times daily with no negativity." - FANTASTIC!!!

"I still find myself going into panic mode when Trudie starts to wander." - This is totally normal. We all go through this at points. Whether we have a lot of experience or less. As time goes by and nothing negative happens it will ease your concerns. You love them, you don't want anyone to get hurt. It is totally understand. Just do your best to watch how they act. Which goes to the next point.

"Charmin is totally relaxed and grooms, walks away, even closes her eyes." - This is REALLY positive. Charmin is telling us she is fine with Trudie. I awlays try to let the cats tell me what they are thinking. Grooming is a sign of being comfortable. Walking away, fantastic. Closing her eyes??? WOW!!! NO CAT would EVER close their eyes to a threat.

"Trudie still seems (although it could be my interpretation) to want to chase when unoccupied." - Chasing per se is not exactly negative. It is what happens when the chase stops. Some cats LOVE to chase. It can be play driven to intimidation to elimination and everything in between. So the fact that Trudie isn't even getting to that interaction part is a positive and the fact Charmin is acting so well is great. I just do not get a feeling Trudie would get into a serious fight with Charmin. There seems to be a lot of respect and trust there already. I still think it is good to distract when possible just to reinforce that trust. Remember, a confident cat is less likely to attack or be attacked and their confidence is definitely getting better and better. I honestly think you are well, well past the risk point. We can never say never but I think it would be a one in a million chance things would go bad. I see no evidence of any real risk. Just keep reinforcing those positive associations and positive encounters.

"Wearing her out with play is still a challenge." - Yes, that happens often. just do your best. And play builds confidence as well so there is a positive.

"We still haven’t found anything she enjoys as much as food." - Hahahaha, some are like that. Just use food in a measured way to reinforce those positive encounters and positive associations.

"my anxiety takes over at times and I picture worst case scenario where one would get injured. That may be irrational, but it’s a real fear of mine for some reason." - This is totally normal. I don;t think it is irrational. We have experience so we have gone through this, seen it. I take care of a feral colony. Sometimes an interloper comes by and my ferals get very territorial. That is a situation ripe for a fight.My anxiety goes soaring as an intact strong male could do serious damage to be neutered cats. But they work it out. Sometimes 2 intact interlopers come by. I go out to diffuse it. As I distract I can reduce the tension and get them to go in opposite ways. My point is, cats tend not to chose to kill unless it is really a last resort, serious defense of territory or food or to their own safety.

Trudie and Charmin have shown all signs of restraint, trust, respect. YES, it can go off but getting a cat to get seriously aggressive is a pretty high bar. It has to be an existential type threat. Which I just don't suspect is in play in your situation. IF they would get into it I think they would be very restrained. It might look and sound bad but I suspect there wouldn't be lasting injury. I know I haven't been in person with your cats but everything that you tell us tells me I think that is the case.

"This morning went well. Trudie played with a food puzzle and they were together for half an hour. Trudie even walked away a few times and went back into her home base room then came back out." - This data point supports my thoughts. This is REALLY a GREAT thing. Being able to focus on the puzzle tells me there is not territory issue, no feeling of existential threat from Charmin. Especially Trudie walking away. Tells me she is feeling confident which is really positive. More of these encounters will help you get more confident that they are going to be fine. Sometimes we focus on the cats so much we don't focus enough on the humans. It really is important to focus on both when needed as human emotions impact the cats emotions.

With that said, you must not be too stressed because the cats are doing really well. So they can't be sensing too much stress from you AND/OR they are so confident they can handle a little more stress from you. Either way, I really am happy with how they are doing. I think you will move closer to our feelings than us to yours.

Hang in there, you are doing great!!

Most importantly, PLEASE be safe from this virus. Social distance if you do go for a walk. I am much, much more worried about the virus then I am about your cats getting together. Your cats are going to be fine. They are already about 98% intro'd. They will be intro'd.
 
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"The cats have meal/snack/play sessions of about 30-35 minutes 2-3 times daily with no negativity." - FANTASTIC!!!

"I still find myself going into panic mode when Trudie starts to wander." - This is totally normal. We all go through this at points. Whether we have a lot of experience or less. As time goes by and nothing negative happens it will ease your concerns. You love them, you don't want anyone to get hurt. It is totally understand. Just do your best to watch how they act. Which goes to the next point.

"Charmin is totally relaxed and grooms, walks away, even closes her eyes." - This is REALLY positive. Charmin is telling us she is fine with Trudie. I awlays try to let the cats tell me what they are thinking. Grooming is a sign of being comfortable. Walking away, fantastic. Closing her eyes??? WOW!!! NO CAT would EVER close their eyes to a threat.

"Trudie still seems (although it could be my interpretation) to want to chase when unoccupied." - Chasing per se is not exactly negative. It is what happens when the chase stops. Some cats LOVE to chase. It can be play driven to intimidation to elimination and everything in between. So the fact that Trudie isn't even getting to that interaction part is a positive and the fact Charmin is acting so well is great. I just do not get a feeling Trudie would get into a serious fight with Charmin. There seems to be a lot of respect and trust there already. I still think it is good to distract when possible just to reinforce that trust. Remember, a confident cat is less likely to attack or be attacked and their confidence is definitely getting better and better. I honestly think you are well, well past the risk point. We can never say never but I think it would be a one in a million chance things would go bad. I see no evidence of any real risk. Just keep reinforcing those positive associations and positive encounters.

"Wearing her out with play is still a challenge." - Yes, that happens often. just do your best. And play builds confidence as well so there is a positive.

"We still haven’t found anything she enjoys as much as food." - Hahahaha, some are like that. Just use food in a measured way to reinforce those positive encounters and positive associations.

"my anxiety takes over at times and I picture worst case scenario where one would get injured. That may be irrational, but it’s a real fear of mine for some reason." - This is totally normal. I don;t think it is irrational. We have experience so we have gone through this, seen it. I take care of a feral colony. Sometimes an interloper comes by and my ferals get very territorial. That is a situation ripe for a fight.My anxiety goes soaring as an intact strong male could do serious damage to be neutered cats. But they work it out. Sometimes 2 intact interlopers come by. I go out to diffuse it. As I distract I can reduce the tension and get them to go in opposite ways. My point is, cats tend not to chose to kill unless it is really a last resort, serious defense of territory or food or to their own safety.

Trudie and Charmin have shown all signs of restraint, trust, respect. YES, it can go off but getting a cat to get seriously aggressive is a pretty high bar. It has to be an existential type threat. Which I just don't suspect is in play in your situation. IF they would get into it I think they would be very restrained. It might look and sound bad but I suspect there wouldn't be lasting injury. I know I haven't been in person with your cats but everything that you tell us tells me I think that is the case.

"This morning went well. Trudie played with a food puzzle and they were together for half an hour. Trudie even walked away a few times and went back into her home base room then came back out." - This data point supports my thoughts. This is REALLY a GREAT thing. Being able to focus on the puzzle tells me there is not territory issue, no feeling of existential threat from Charmin. Especially Trudie walking away. Tells me she is feeling confident which is really positive. More of these encounters will help you get more confident that they are going to be fine. Sometimes we focus on the cats so much we don't focus enough on the humans. It really is important to focus on both when needed as human emotions impact the cats emotions.

With that said, you must not be too stressed because the cats are doing really well. So they can't be sensing too much stress from you AND/OR they are so confident they can handle a little more stress from you. Either way, I really am happy with how they are doing. I think you will move closer to our feelings than us to yours.

Hang in there, you are doing great!!

Most importantly, PLEASE be safe from this virus. Social distance if you do go for a walk. I am much, much more worried about the virus then I am about your cats getting together. Your cats are going to be fine. They are already about 98% intro'd. They will be intro'd.
Thank you for the continued support and understanding of my fear. I admire the work you do with ferals.

Rather than take a walk, I sat in the car and listened to some music while my husband fed them dinner. I needed a little break from the introductions. He let Trudie wander a little closer to Charmin, who gave a little hiss. Trudie turned around and walked back to her food puzzle. He said she didn't hiss back. Charmin has been a little sneezy, so she may not be feeling her best. We made sure that Trudie had plenty of time out to explore the house today without Charmin.

I will definitely keep the social distancing to heart. Please stay safe and healthy!
 

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You are very welcome. I see what you are going through all the time. And it is really an incredible feeling when the parents move from fear to being comfortable. You will get there as well.

"Rather than take a walk, I sat in the car and listened to some music while my husband fed them dinner. I needed a little break from the introductions." - I also think this was a great idea.

"He let Trudie wander a little closer to Charmin, who gave a little hiss. Trudie turned around and walked back to her food puzzle. He said she didn't hiss back." - This is fantastic. Charmin communicated to "watch it" with a hiss. And then the REALLY IMPORTANT part. Trudie turned around and chose the puzzle over interacting with Charmin. No desire to escalate. Trudie respected Charmin's desires. PERFECTION!! EXACTLY what we are looking for. That tells me you are doing great. The more that happens the more trust will be developed between the cats AND the more secure you will feel about their relationship. I can't stress how great this encounter is. This is exactly what we look for.

Then watch how they act after this encounter. If they go back to "normal" right away it is really great.

Don't worry, you are like 99% of the way there. You are doing great as is your husband!!! Keep up the great work!!

Thank you. We too are shelter in place so let's hope it stops the virus. Please stay safe.
 
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