Introductions and Normal Body Language

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hybriseris

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I think my concern is that generally, the interactions under the door are still a lot of Shadow playing whack-a-mole with Ghost's paws while hissing/spitting. It stinks because Ghost actually seems quite happy with the 4 - 5 hours spread out over the day that he gets out of his room, and goes back in there unprompted to nap, but I'd love to have a gate system with a sheet so he could at least be a little more involved with what he's hearing in the apartment. But it doesn't seem like Shadow is ready even though Ghost is. 😕 I can distract him fairly easily if he's getting sort of noisy, which from what you've written is a good sign.

Thanks for your compliments on the pictures! I've certainly acquired two characters that's for sure! Shadow is probably the softest cat I've ever been able to pet, and he always gets attention at the vet from the techs LOL. He can be a real turd - sort of a cranky old man vibe - but he can be very sweet when he wants to. Do you have pictures of any of yours?

Also, NEVER stupid questions. Those of us who love horses want nothing more than to infect others with our obsession! 🤣

As always, thank you for your advice and encouragement!
 
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Hissing is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just their way of letting each other know where their boundaries are. It sounds like things are going well!

I'll join in the horsey talk if anyone starts a thread about that.

:hyper:
Thanks for your advice! I know you said you had two cats that didn't get along at first - which is not necessarily what I think I have going on here (yet) but certainly one not enjoying a newcomer. I'm at three weeks now with Ghost in the apartment, two of which Ghost was "in quarantined". Would you say hissing/swatting under the door is still par for the course? I'm totally capable of patience, as long as I'm not seeing anything abnormal.

My horse's chiropractor is a small animal vet that is obsessed with cats and he's convinced me to get the Feliway Multicat as well so we'll see if that makes a difference.
 

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Would you say hissing/swatting under the door is still par for the course?
It's their way of saying, "Don't get any closer than that!" Nothing to worry about, but it means they're not ready to go onto the next stge of closer contact yet.

Are they able to make eye contact with each other? Holding a glare with eyes wide open and pupils dilated means they still see the other cat as a threat. A softer look, looking away or, best of all, a slow blink means they are relaxing around each other.
 
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Norachan Norachan No, right now they can't! There's a sizeable gap under the door they can stick their paws through but that's it for now. They've seen each other before but I backed off because of the hissing. Sometimes they'd touch noses, and once I got really lucky and Shadow tried to gently touch Ghost through the baby gate when I gave them short glimpses with the door open! But the hissing/slapping the gate made me worried and I stepped back to closed door/site swapping.
 

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I think my concern is that generally, the interactions under the door are still a lot of Shadow playing whack-a-mole with Ghost's paws while hissing/spitting. It stinks because Ghost actually seems quite happy with the 4 - 5 hours spread out over the day that he gets out of his room, and goes back in there unprompted to nap, but I'd love to have a gate system with a sheet so he could at least be a little more involved with what he's hearing in the apartment. But it doesn't seem like Shadow is ready even though Ghost is. 😕 I can distract him fairly easily if he's getting sort of noisy, which from what you've written is a good sign.
Yeah, whack-a-mole...can be tough...depending on how hard Shadow hits. :crash:

So, yes, it sounds like Shadow is not ready, yet, for the Visuals.
He just needs some more time...to relax..and get more used to having 'the Stranger' there. :blush: :wink:
I think you should actually write a 'book about the Adventures of Two Cats meeting'...or "Shadow the cat meets the Stranger".
(sounds like a best seller to me. :read: :lol:)

When you say that Shadow is getting 'sort of noisy'...is it just growling, hissing ?
Or does Shadow still vehemently spit, yowl, and do those loud vocalizations...where it sounds like you just stepped into a 'horror movie'...and some creature, in the basement is making those loud wailing, yowling sounds?

Have you tried 'cracking the door open just a tiny bit, and wedging it with something...so that both cats can just barely see each other?
(I guess it depends on how your door opens, and if you can attach a string to the handle, too.
Thanks for your compliments on the pictures! I've certainly acquired two characters that's for sure! Shadow is probably the softest cat I've ever been able to pet, and he always gets attention at the vet from the techs LOL. He can be a real turd - sort of a cranky old man vibe - but he can be very sweet when he wants to. Do you have pictures of any of yours?
"cranky old man vibe"...:crackup:
I can't really see that being sweet, but okay. :lol:
I guess the softness of his fur, makes him a bit irresistible then

(I do have pictures of my two cats, but I am so rubbish at taking photos. I'll try and find at least two good ones...which are not blurry blobs, or glowing eyes. Both my cats are black, and I can blame the cell phone camera all I want, but really it's just me that cannot take a good photo. If I was stranded on a desert island, and it was my only way off,...I still could not do it. :dunno::paperbag: o_O)
Also, NEVER stupid questions. Those of us who love horses want nothing more than to infect others with our obsession! 🤣
:crackup::flail:Okay, then. Well that is reassuring. :lol:
It sounds like a good obsession though, so that's a positive.
As always, thank you for your advice and encouragement!
No problem. Anytime. :blush:
 
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cat nap cat nap By "noisy" I just mean hissing and occasional growling! He can spit when he's doing whack-a-mole but he also sometimes spits when he's playing with a string toy so that doesn't seem to mean much.

There is NO Nightmare On Elm Street Pt. 6 style yowling/screeching, and I would say his body language stays fairly neutral when he's hissing - ears forward, no back arched or poofy fur. Sometimes his tail is a little low, but it doesn't get overly twitchy.

I would have to get or make a wedge for the door because Ghost is pretty good about pulling things open with his paws. 🤣

I do think dramatizing their introductions would be a hilarious book idea! The Stranger In The Guest Room: New Roommate & Why I Don't Trust Him Yet.
 

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By "noisy" I just mean hissing and occasional growling! He can spit when he's doing whack-a-mole but he also sometimes spits when he's playing with a string toy so that doesn't seem to mean much.
Your Shadow spits when he plays with a string toy?? :crazy:
What's up with that?
So your Shadow...is one of those cats...that takes the 'cat toy game' seriously...and basically wants to 'hunt, capture, kill' his prey (toy).
hahaha. :eek2: :lol:
That must be hilarious to watch. :spew::crackup::biggrin:

(my guy Tripp, gets into playing intensely, too, so that's normal,...but I've never seen Tripp spit at his cat toys.) :think:
Although, Tripp does 'huff' and basically flops down, and wants me to just 'move the wand toy over his head':jive:
My male cats is somewhat of a lazy cat player, who gets bursts of energy,...but then lays down,...and wants the human to chase the ping pong ball,...and roll it back to him. Tripp is 7yrs old.) :woohoo::rolleyes2:

(First photo is Tripp, male dsh, 7yrs)...(and second photo is his sister sibling, Tepaul, female, dsh, 7yrs.)
(They may have the same colour, but they are like 'night and day, in their personalities'...which I love about cats.
No two cats are ever the same.:cloud9:)
tripp on ottoman and sofa.JPG tepaul with white whisker.jpg
There is NO Nightmare On Elm Street Pt. 6 style yowling/screeching, and I would say his body language stays fairly neutral when he's hissing - ears forward, no back arched or poofy fur. Sometimes his tail is a little low, but it doesn't get overly twitchy.
Those are all good signs..in Shadow's body language.

So it's not so much the hissing that bothers you,...but rather the spitting. :think:
Spitting is more of an elevated 'agitation sign'..than hissing would be.

Like Norachan said, "hissing in cats, is one cat telling the other, where their boundaries are".
Basically communicating, in a "take immediate notice", and "respect what I'm saying", type of way.
They are just making their wishes, and intentions, known to other cats, or people.
Even some kittens hiss much of the time...until they get more comfortable, and Confident.

**We will just have to find ways of increasing Shadow's Confidence levels. :bluepaw:
Mostly this is done through Play, play, and play,...since it often 'releases any pent up energy'...and let's the cat get his frustrations out.

*Also, with making Positive Associations between the two cats. :greenpaw:
So whenever you see Shadow, lay by the door, or approach the door, and be in a neutral body stance, or not hissing,...and even if you look over and notice that the 'paw play...is lessening in intensity, or they are both getting tired'...then give Shadow a treat.
Slide a Treat, over to Ghost as well.

If you can get Shadow to come to the 'gate door' with you, and he is not having much of a reaction...give him a treat.
(just don't give treats...when Shadow is being agitated, or acting aggressive.)
I would have to get or make a wedge for the door because Ghost is pretty good about pulling things open with his paws. 🤣
Ahhh, yes, the smart cats who figure how to get around any 'obstacles that humans put in front of them'...when given the chance.
Outsmarting your Ghost, will be a fun adventure.:thumbsup:

Perhaps, you can make a wedge out of 'flat cardboard pieces'...or even using a small pillow, that you don't mind, if a cat gets his claws into.
Old books, or pieces of wood work best, too.

(zip ties, and 'eye hooks' are also good, except they will put holes in the door frame, with screws,..that you might have to 'fill, with wood filler, or sawdust pieces and glue,...and paint to match door frame.' That can be a lot of work, if you don't like doing that sort of stuff.)
I do think dramatizing their introductions would be a hilarious book idea! The Stranger In The Guest Room: New Roommate & Why I Don't Trust Him Yet.
Omg...I love your title even more. :clap:
It's way better than what I thought.
It has that 'mystery, psychological thriller vibe'. :eek2: :paranoid: :jawdrop: :shocked:

And the Best part..is that you don't even know that it's talking about 'two cats'...hahahah :spew::crackup::lol:
I mean, I could already see the 'movie script'...in the works. :cool2:
Yah! :agree: :popcorn:
 
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cat nap cat nap So I did a little research and found the exact noise that Shadow makes when he plays. I would say the one he makes at Ghost's paws is somewhere between this and a true spitting sound? But this is what he does occasionally when he's playing and extra in to it.


Sound is in the last 7 seconds of the video.

I don't know if it's exclusive to Bengals as the title suggests, but if so, I guess it's possible this little ex-feral guy has some in his blood somewhere!

Your cats are ADORABLE. I especially love Tepaul's cheeks. Tripp reminds me of the cat I grew up with and am very fond of - many ways to get the humans to do the playing for them! 🤣
 

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Your cats are ADORABLE. I especially love Tepaul's cheeks. Tripp reminds me of the cat I grew up with and am very fond of - many ways to get the humans to do the playing for them! 🤣
Thanks.
Yeah, Tepaul's cheeks are fluffy and cute.
(as a kitten, she had a huge head, and smaller body.
I don't know if you've ever watched 'the Flintstones'...but Tepaul looked like the character "Gazoo"...who was an alien green guy, that visited Fred.
We nicknamed her Gazoo for a while, until her body grew more, and balanced out the head.) :biggrin:

And Yes, you're exactly right about Tripp.
I guess I should give him more credit, since he does get his 'humans' to do the 'playing for him'. :cheerleader:
Like having a 'personal trainer'...but in the form of a cat. :blackcat:
cat nap cat nap So I did a little research and found the exact noise that Shadow makes when he plays. I would say the one he makes at Ghost's paws is somewhere between this and a true spitting sound? But this is what he does occasionally when he's playing and extra in to it.
....
.....
Sound is in the last 7 seconds of the video.

I don't know if it's exclusive to Bengals as the title suggests, but if so, I guess it's possible this little ex-feral guy has some in his blood somewhere!
I was expecting some very aggressive 'spitting sounds'...not at all like the Bengal in the video...at the 1:03 mark. :think:
I mean,...that Bengal...sounded like he got a 'hair' stuck in his throat, and had to spit it out. lol. :lol:
That did not sound, or look intense...at all. 😸

I expected the Bengal to atleast 'kill the toy'.
The Bengal is super fast, but I don't think he's living up to his 'reputation' of being 'high energy' at all.
He just looks and plays, like a regular cat. :catrub:

Spitting is quite common, in some cats, too, so no, I don't think your Shadow, ex-feral guy, has any bengal blood in him. :blush:
I think that your Shadow, is probably just a very 'expressive cat'.
And since he is the Resident cat, then naturally Shadow does not want the Newcomer, to invade his territory,...just yet.

Could also be that Shadow is getting a little 'frustrated by the paw under the door game'...and really wants to 'see Ghost'...to size him up some more, too. :dunno:
You will know, once you go to the Visual stage.
That will give you more information, about body language, tenseness, Eye-staring, maybe some charging, and posturing.
This will all be expected,...even after doing the Scent swaps, and Site swaps, too.


(PS. I did create that 'riding a horse questions' thread.
It's right here, Learning to Ride a Horse is on my Bucket List
(...in case you did not get the 'at mentions'...or 'tag in'.)
I just figured that you get pretty busy with your horse on weekends, and won't have time to answer it, until the weekdays, depending on your schedule. Plus, of course, having to do some 'cat-to-cat intros', too. There's not enough hours in the day, for all the stuff we'd like to do. :blush: )
 
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cat nap cat nap Thanks for telling me because I actually didn't get the tag and I'm excited to participate and see everyone's horse pics and stories!

That's good to know. 🤔 It's true, when Shadow makes the sound it's more of a "snap", and definitely seems more like a warning sound with his hissing and not necessarily aggressive. I appreciate your feedback because cat to cat "language" is something I'm yet to be fluent in. Sounds angry to me, but obviously it isn't!

I do agree, at some point they may need little glimpses again. Once I've had a few days with the Multicat diffuser going (started today) I might get brave and see how a peek goes with treats at the ready for a good interaction.

Gazoo! 🤣🤣 Now THAT is funny!

Thanks again!
 

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cat nap cat nap Thanks for telling me because I actually didn't get the tag and I'm excited to participate and see everyone's horse pics and stories!
(for the @ mentions,...you might have to go to your 'Account Preferences'...and see if you 'unchecked the boxes'...where it lists the 'mentions you in a message' boxes. (I think most of mine are ticked, since I don't remember changing them, but cannot remember anymore.)
Did Someone Mention… You? – TheCatSite Articles
Some members, do disable them, so as not to get so many 'notifications' through their emails.
It's just your preference, as to what you like.

But yeah, I am so excited reading the posts, and seeing the horse photos, too. :cloud9:
That's good to know. 🤔 It's true, when Shadow makes the sound it's more of a "snap", and definitely seems more like a warning sound with his hissing and not necessarily aggressive. I appreciate your feedback because cat to cat "language" is something I'm yet to be fluent in. Sounds angry to me, but obviously it isn't!
It's hard to say, sometimes 'spitting' can be a bit more aggressive...but it's usually done in Fear, and basically, the cat is just telling you 'that you've crossed the line'...and did not 'respect the Hiss'...so the 'spit will follow'.

(I did have my aunt's previous cat, actually 'hiss and spit' at me,..because the poor guy, was so upset, when we tried to 'trim his claws'. He just never trusted anyone for doing this.
So I figured if we just would try 2 claws, at a time, and he would not mind. Nope.
He basically got so upset, that we just had to stop, and then offer him Treats, and leave him for a while.)

(Poor guy, just started 'spitting/hissing and spitting'...and I thought he was going to have a heart attack, at how upset he got.
Interestingly, when he was sleeping, and fully relaxed, then we managed to do a few.
I think with him, the problem was it was better, if he 'did not see' the nail-clippers')
I do agree, at some point they may need little glimpses again. Once I've had a few days with the Multicat diffuser going (started today) I might get brave and see how a peek goes with treats at the ready for a good interaction.
I realized that it's only 3 weeks today.
Somehow, I thought it was more. :crazy:

So, yeah, I think you're doing just fine, with the pace you are going at,...and allowing your Shadow, plenty of Time...to Adjust.
"Slow as molasses"...or 'glacially slow'...is what some other members have said about cat intros.

(It will be interesting to see how the multicat diffuser pheromone works.
I've read that it either does, or does not,...so hopefully, your fur crew,...is in the first bunch.) :crossfingers:
Gazoo! 🤣🤣 Now THAT is funny!

Thanks again!
:biggrin: 👽:cutecat:
 
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Last night there was actual friendly footsies played under the door! I tossed them both a treat and they naturally went about their business with no hissing. Shadow is still pretty vocal, but it's this short meow that almost sounds surprised or a warning? Almost like, "I'm enjoying this, but I could slap you at any moment, don't forget it!" 🤣 Kind of like a cranky sound but he plays.

This is the best video I could get, as I really didn't want to disturb them having a positive interaction.

 

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Last night there was actual friendly footsies played under the door! I tossed them both a treat and they naturally went about their business with no hissing.
Excellent!
"Friendly footsies" is great. Better than 'whack-a-mole'. :clap:
...Shadow is still pretty vocal, but it's this short meow that almost sounds surprised or a warning? Almost like, "I'm enjoying this, but I could slap you at any moment, don't forget it!" 🤣 Kind of like a cranky sound but he plays.
"Almost like, "I'm enjoying this, but I could slap you at any moment, don't forget it!" 🤣 "

:lol:"I'm enjoying this, but I could slap you at any moment
"... The "Don't forget it" part..IS priceless.:crackup:
That is basically what the "growl", "hiss" and "spit" actually do mean.
"Take heed of my Warnings"..."listen to me"...and "don't forget it"....:lol:

(Some cats actually do "hiss" more often, especially when they get 'surprised'...or even in some usual communications.
I think some cats are more comfortable with the 'hiss' ...and NOT actually 'swearing like sailors'...I hope.
(Similar to the singer "Adele"...(who I do love, but if you ever hear her talk in interviews, or between sets...it's pretty much like a sailor)
(maybe your Shadow, was a sailor in a previous life.):lol: :dunno: 🤔 :winkcat:

It's great that you are seeing this, and seeing improvements, and seeing a 'diminishing' of Shadow's irritation.

Willingness to Play, is a great sign
. :bluepaw:

This is the best video I could get, as I really didn't want to disturb them having a positive interaction.
I love videos.
I cannot really tell what is going on in this one, so I'm glad that you explained it up above.
Ghost looks to be really enjoying himself. :blush:
It's awesome when cats Play.

And you are absolutely right,...it's so hard to take videos, since our cats...often stop what they are doing, when they notice the humans are watching them. 😏

Right at the 0.18 mark, you try to move for a better angle,...and Ghosts notices you immediately. :lol:
It's so cute.
What is really good, is that Ghost continues to Play, anyways. :thumbsup:

I hope you get more of these type of interactions, all week long. :clover:
 
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Some cats actually do "hiss" more often, especially when they get 'surprised'...or even in some usual communications.
Funny you should mention this, because they played again last night - and it seemed very much to be play because Shadow was laying on his side, back feet splayed out and belly exposed while he reached under the door - but occasionally hissed too! I imagine he feels like he's on a rollercoaster: having fun, but also at least a little unsure!

This morning I allowed them a teeny peek at each other through the cracked door/baby gate barrier and Shadow gently tried to reach out and touch him but also hissed. He's a mixed signals kinda guy LOL. It was definitely going to be a gentle touch and not a swat because he reaches out to me the exact same way.

As to him being a sailor in a previous lifetime, that's not a stretch for me to believe! 🤣 My horse's chiropractor referred to cats hissing as swearing at each other, and now that's how I imagine it when it happens.
 
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I'm in a similar situation right now! New cat, anxiety disorder, the whole kit and kaboodle! I've got the same stuff happening, so hopefully it will put us both at ease that the hissing and growling and (at least in my case) the grumpy-looking first cat are all pretty standard. My two are the resident 5 year old cat and the newbie 9 month old kitten. They've done scent-exchange, site-swapping, meals on either side of the door... They saw each other through a screen for the first time at dinner last night. Mozzie (resident cat) hissed and growled a bit, but it was more of a startled reaction from seeing him for the first time, and she settled down to her food pretty easily, just kept an eye on him. The newbie, Catrick, was cool as a cucumber and totally respectful. Mozzie's very used to his scent by now, and I think her reactions to him usually only happen because she's on edge about the "intrusion" of her territory. I'm hoping to get them in a room together for supervised playtime soon, after some more visual time together and positive reinforcement with food! But yeah, I definitely get the struggle to tamp down your own anxiety so they don't feed off of it. At a certain point I just got so tired that I reached the "who even cares about fear" sweet spot and that helped a lot lol
 
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At a certain point I just got so tired that I reached the "who even cares about fear" sweet spot and that helped a lot lol
Yeah, I actually think I'm reaching this! I'm still worried whether or not they'll eventually get along but now when I hear the hissing/spitting I'm like yeah yeah okay LOL. Here's hoping we'll both have good results soon, glad to know we're about in the same spot!
 
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Here's some more video, looks promising to me!

However, interesting thing I've noticed. Shadow is much more willing to interact in a friendly/playful way when he's the one shut away, either in my room or the guest room. If he's the one out and about, he'll hiss and spit if Ghost comes near the guest room door. Territorial maybe?

 

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Here's some more video, looks promising to me!

However, interesting thing I've noticed. Shadow is much more willing to interact in a friendly/playful way when he's the one shut away, either in my room or the guest room. If he's the one out and about, he'll hiss and spit if Ghost comes near the guest room door. Territorial maybe?
That is interesting.
Which side of the door are you on, ..when Shadow is hissing and spitting?
Do you think he may be trying to protect you, at all?
 

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Funny you should mention this, because they played again last night - and it seemed very much to be play because Shadow was laying on his side, back feet splayed out and belly exposed while he reached under the door - but occasionally hissed too! I imagine he feels like he's on a rollercoaster: having fun, but also at least a little unsure!
Lol. Being on a rollercoaster is a good analogy.
Shadow IS having a little fun...but does not know what's around the next turn, or dip.

Or actually...maybe Shadow DOES know...through Scent and pheromones,...and just has to be "Sure"...that the 'newcomer'...learns all the 'house rules'...and 'who to respect'.
Top cat hierarchy.
This morning I allowed them a teeny peek at each other through the cracked door/baby gate barrier and Shadow gently tried to reach out and touch him but also hissed. He's a mixed signals kinda guy LOL. It was definitely going to be a gentle touch and not a swat because he reaches out to me the exact same way.

As to him being a sailor in a previous lifetime, that's not a stretch for me to believe! 🤣 My horse's chiropractor referred to cats hissing as swearing at each other, and now that's how I imagine it when it happens.
"He's a mixed signals kinda guy."
:spew::lol: :crackup:
That's hilarious.

But actually very normal with cats,...especially ones who are establishing their Bonds,...and still getting to know the other cat.
What is great is,..that Shadow was willing to 'reach out and touch him'...so soon.

The 'reaching out' behaviour is rather interesting...in the sense that some cats reach out rather 'tentatively', and slowly,...extremely slowly,...to see what the other cat will do.
The fact that your Shadow hissed while doing it,...may just mean that 'he changed his mind'...in how 'fast'...he wants Ghost to move.

Many older cats will do this 'first touch'...and expect the other cat NOT to move...and if the other cat does move, or twitches a whisker, ear, etc...the Resident Cat will hiss.
It's kind of an interesting thing to notice.

Almost like the Resident cat,...wants to get closer to the 'new cat'...but at the same time...wants the new cat to 'freeze and not move'.
It must have to do, with the survival instinct, in cats,...and not really wanting to fight.
The Resident cat still feels threatened...by any sudden movements.

I like your horse's chiropractor's interpretation of cats...plus he or she...likes cats...so in my book, that makes them even better. :biggrin:

(I should not have put that 'idea of sailors'...into your head, though,...since my aunt's former cat, would hiss while walking, if we managed to walk too fast behind, or beside him,...or while occasionally petting him, and even when just getting up, from sitting down.
I think he didn't like any 'sudden movements' at all.)

I don't think your Shadow is 'swearing',..but rather only 'reminding the Newcomer'...in a Hiss that will get Everyone's attention, that "he better NOT forget"...whose place/territory/home...the new cat is being invited in to.
The "new guy better behave",...in an appropriate manner, according to Shadow.

Your two guy cats will be okay. :)
These are just still early days of getting to know each other,...and 'how each cat moves', too.
 
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hybriseris

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Do you think he may be trying to protect you, at all?
It's definitely possible! Most of the time I'm either sitting in the living room so not immediately near that door, or I'm in the guest room with Shadow outside, so while I'm not directly in eyesight maybe it's something about "don't come out here near my Mom!" He does show curiosity outside of the guest room door, and relaxed body language, and when I site swap them he goes in VERY curiously of his own volition with a friendly ears and tail. But it seems to be where if he's going to get overwhelmed, he does.

There is a very funny story of Shadow attacking a full size dog to "defend" (the dog was sitting quietly by its owner) my Grandmother so he is a little guard kitty for sure! And I know I'm never getting a dog while he's with me, he is extremely aggressive at the mere sight of my sister's dog. Not so with cats, which is what led me down this bumpy road in the first place!

But the behavior has made me wonder about trying visuals when Shadow is in my room looking out, since that seems to be where he interacts in the most curious/brave way. Either way, I'm going to stick at this stage until the weekend so as not to rush things!

As far as the image of him swearing...it's honestly kind of funny. With Shadow's personality sometimes I even feel like he's swearing at me with the glares he's capable of. "You #!$%*(, where'd you go all day!?" LOL
 
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