Need help introducing two cats

Katy Perkins

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With a new cat, start by keeping them in separate rooms, take something that smells like each cat, and put it in the other cat's space. Then introduce them gradually to each other in the same room. Whenever they are both in the same room and just being quiet, give them each a treat. Then stop doing that, but provide them with a treat if they get closer to each other without spatting, then provide them with pleasure if they are on the same bed or the couch together without spatting. Just keep giving them treats the closer they get. Ensure that they can see that the other isn't getting more than they are. Be prepared that just getting them to be in the same room without spatting maybe the best you can hope. If that's as far as you got, then only don't pay much attention to them, and they may eventually work it out. As long as they're not scratching and biting each other, it's sometimes the best course of action to exercise benign indifference to their behavior.
 
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GHsaltie

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So we had our first session, and I feel completely disheartened. I've got everything set up, I fed Summer first and then opened the door and fed Leafy by the door. They were okay for a minute, Summer's back was to the door while Leafy was watching her and eating little bits. After a moment she stopped eating and hyperfocused on Summer, who then turned and looked at her. They both bowed up and Summer rushed up. They hissed at each other but Leafy backed down and I distracted Summer with a couple treats. Then she went back to her bowl and ate some more. I should have stopped here, but I was struggling with getting the door closed and before I could Summer rushed back again, this time trying to shove her head through the baby gate and swatting at Leafy. I got the plastic lid and eased it between her and the gate, but then she spat and attacked the lid. Once I got her off the gate she circled around me and scratched and spit at my arm then rushed and the gate again spitting and swatting. After a moment of blocking her with the lid and easing the door closed she eventually calmed down enough to go back to her food. I gave her some more treats and left two nearish the door, but I didn't try and touch her or anything. I feel like this was a huge fail, and I'm realising a major flaw in my barricade is I can't access Leafy to calm her or give treats unless she's within tossing range. I'm wondering if I'm just adding more stress than is necessary and I should just give up. They would both be so much happier alone. I don't know what to do.
 

cat nap

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I gave her some more treats and left two nearish the door, but I didn't try and touch her or anything. I feel like this was a huge fail, and I'm realising a major flaw in my barricade is I can't access Leafy to calm her or give treats unless she's within tossing range. I'm wondering if I'm just adding more stress than is necessary and I should just give up. They would both be so much happier alone. I don't know what to do.
Hello G GHsaltie ...please don't give up.:wave3:
there are so many things you can try to do...to make both cats feel more calm....it just takes a lot of time...and effort.
You sound like you have tons of patience....so that is a total plus.

With cat intros...these kinds of behaviours are to be expected....and actually they are quite good to see...even if they look so frightening.
Granted, ...you never want to get scratched or hurt...so there are a few things you can do....to make sure you are well protected...and that Summer won't re-direct her anger, fear, or frustration....at you.

Would you be able to post a photo...of both Leaf and Summer...and how the gate looks?
That way we can give you some pointers or suggestions...of what to do next.
 

pearl99

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I read through your thread, and I say what patience you've had! This is work and you've been doing a good job at it really, so thank you on behalf of the kitties!

I was wondering about feeding Leafy farther from the door, and feeding both Leafy and Summer at the same time with visual but more distance? So they both have food to concentrate on. Can you be in Leafy's room at the door to be able to close it more easily? Or maybe you were in Leafy's room.

I've used the stacked baby gates and they are a pain during intros, but have had success with them. I've safety pinned sheets/towels at the top and bottom so the cats can't get under the sheets for at will visual before they are ready.
Visuals are most always rough at first with what you described happening. Cats can calm down with repeated exposure, so all is not lost and what happened happens to probably all of us! They are communicating with each other and it's a necessary step. I don't mean they have to scream and charge etc. at every encounter, but if we can't get a barrier up or separate them when it starts all is not lost. It's good to avoid those kind of encounters but it does happen! And doesn't mean you've failed.

It took me 10 months to do an intro with Ziggy, female 14 years old- I adopted her last March and we are at the point of peaceful coexistence. I have 3 other cats, one male and two females. Ziggy still occasionally rushes at the others but they hiss/growl their displeasure and she stops. They don't all sit on the couch together, but have their own spaces they like to rest. At night Ziggy is in her room because the others would not be willing to share my bed with her at night.
 
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GHsaltie

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The pictures as requested, the first one is Leafy, second is Summer, and lastly the great and terrible Black Gate.
IMG_20201219_211521.jpg

IMG_20200816_110333.jpg

PXL_20210124_182124766.jpg

The sheet isn't hooked on in this picture, but it's pretty solid when it is. I'm going to try again this evening but will make a couple changes. I'm going to put Leafys bowl farther away and I'm going to move the grey bucket. It creates such a narrow area that I'm hoping once it's moved Summer won't feel as trapped and perhaps won't redirect at me since I was sitting right next to her.
 

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The sheet isn't hooked on in this picture, but it's pretty solid when it is. I'm going to try again this evening but will make a couple changes. I'm going to put Leafys bowl farther away and I'm going to move the grey bucket. It creates such a narrow area that I'm hoping once it's moved Summer won't feel as trapped and perhaps won't redirect at me since I was sitting right next to her.
Thank you so much for these photos. It really helps us...to be able to see your set-up...and also your cats, too.
(I'm better able to distinguish your cats and thread...from others we all read...(at least for me...it helps) when I see actual photos...so thanks.).(Forgive me also for using the poor choice of words..."good to see"...I didn't mean that seeing cats charging at each other and spitting...is good to see...I only meant...that seeing their behaviour...during cat-intros...helps to move the process along.
When you observe each cat...and what it does...then their actions tell you how they are feeling...at that time. Still it was a poor choice of words on my part.:doh: )

Your cats are gorgeous looking.
They have such similar pretty colours, too. :loveeyes:
Now we just have to get them to act better towards each other...to peacefully co-exist.
  1. With your gate set up...(can you do what pearl99 pearl99 suggested) ...and drape another bed sheet or towel...over the 'gated portion of the door'. Keep the entire gate covered ...for next attempt at ...placing the food dishes....about six feet away from the gates...on either side.
Observe what each cat does.
(You won't be able to see Leafy...while the gate is blocked off by the sheet...but you will hear her.)
2. Then the next time...move the food dishes closer to the gate...only if...there was no terrible reactions from Summer or Leafy.
3. Raise the sheet ...an inch...and repeat the...Observations of both cats.

(Ps. Can you take a photo of the gate...while the white door is open...without Summer being there?
I'm guessing that the door handle is on the left side...but not sure?
Does the black gate...also swing open...the same way as the white door does?)
 
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GHsaltie

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So our second session went.. better I think? I'm not sure. I moved Leafys bowl several feet away and she seemed much more comfortable with that. Summer came over pretty much right as I opened the door and stepped away from the gate. She was bushed up but not hyperfocused or hissing at this point. I gave her plenty of treats and she was mostly okay. I should have stopped before Leafy finished but I wanted to get a treat to her too. Well that was foolish because as soon as she got done eating she came up to the door and that's when Summer got more upset and started hissing but she wasn't going ballistic like the first time. So I quickly shut the door, Summer redirected at me twice and then calmed down so I started talking to her and giving more treats. After she went away and started doing her own thing I waited a little longer to put her in the bedroom and let Leafy out. I wanted to make sure she was comfortable and not anxious about the living room space and I also wanted her to enjoy my company. Sorry cat nap cat nap I didn't see your suggestion about covering the gate until now. I might try that.
 

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You're doing great! Don't give up and don't feel disheartened.
Trust the people here because we want the same outcome as you. It all can seem overwhelming your first few times of introducing cats. I've had 5 for as long as I can remember and when one crosses the rainbow bridge, I take my time to mourn, and then find a kitty who needs a loving home. Every single time I have to start the introductions over, sometimes with blind cats who can't see, deaf cats who can't hear the hissing or arched backs, cats who are paralyzed who can't run if they're scared. But I've never, not once, come across a pair of cats who absolutely could not be in the same house together, whether they were adopted or feral, old or young. Having cats who don't eventually get along (or at least tolerate each other) is more rare than you think.
We're behind you in this. Stay strong!
 
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GHsaltie

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Mr. Meow Mr. Meow thank you for the words of encouragement. I'm always getting comments from others that i should just give up, two girl cats will never get along. So it's really nice to hear that there is in fact hope still.
 

pearl99

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Mr. Meow Mr. Meow thank you for the words of encouragement. I'm always getting comments from others that i should just give up, two girl cats will never get along. So it's really nice to hear that there is in fact hope still.
Oh girl cats can get along. I have 3. Mine don't snuggle up together but they co-exist just fine. They've found their hangouts that they like and do their own thing- no fighting.


Summer came over pretty much right as I opened the door and stepped away from the gate. She was bushed up but not hyperfocused or hissing at this point. I gave her plenty of treats and she was mostly okay. I should have stopped before Leafy finished but I wanted to get a treat to her too. Well that was foolish because as soon as she got done eating she came up to the door and that's when Summer got more upset and started hissing but she wasn't going ballistic like the first time. So I quickly shut the door,
Sounds like improvement! "mostly okay" is great! Not ballistic is great! Hissing is normal and will decrease with more exposure and positive meetings. Hissing is saying "I'm not comfortable so don't come closer."
 

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So our second session went.. better I think? I'm not sure. I moved Leafys bowl several feet away and she seemed much more comfortable with that. Summer came over pretty much right as I opened the door and stepped away from the gate. She was bushed up but not hyperfocused or hissing at this point. I gave her plenty of treats and she was mostly okay. I should have stopped before Leafy finished but I wanted to get a treat to her too. Well that was foolish because as soon as she got done eating she came up to the door and that's when Summer got more upset and started hissing but she wasn't going ballistic like the first time. So I quickly shut the door, Summer redirected at me twice and then calmed down so I started talking to her and giving more treats. After she went away and started doing her own thing I waited a little longer to put her in the bedroom and let Leafy out. I wanted to make sure she was comfortable and not anxious about the living room space and I also wanted her to enjoy my company. Sorry cat nap cat nap I didn't see your suggestion about covering the gate until now. I might try that.
It sounds like the second session ...was a good improvement.

Are you able to Play with wand type toys...or fishing pole type toys...with Summer?

Something similar to the rainbow cat charmer...Or make your own...where you use a strong rod...and attach a string with cat toy at the end? (online youtube videos show you these, too.)
17 Best Toys For Lazy Cats – TheCatSite Articles
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002DHV16/?tag=thecatsite
Verify your identity(cat teaser toys from walmart...don't know why it links it as 'verify identity')

Check out this Cat Site Article: Playing With Your Cat: 10 Things You Need To Know – TheCatSite Articles
 
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GHsaltie

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cat nap cat nap I can try playing with her. I'm still struggling to figure out what she likes, she's rather independent and likes to play by herself. I got a wand with a detachable mouse and she loves the mouse, but not on the string. She also likes hairbands, bottle caps and lollipops (in the wrapper of course, it's the way they roll) but I haven't found anything yet that I can initiate play with. Leafy is a lot easier but if I'm in the room with her I can't deflect Summer from getting upset and Leafy gets hyperfocused a lot easier and it's hard to break her out of it. I'll need to do some experimenting with it.

Another question I thought of, should I be having sessions with them every day or give them a break now and then until things get easier?
 

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Another question I thought of, should I be having sessions with them every day or give them a break now and then until things get easier?
Yes, do have the sessions everyday.

If you find that you cannot do it ...at every mealtime...or that they are too, too upset...then just back up the food dishes...a little bit more. That's why using a bed sheet is recommended...and raising it one inch per day...or one inch higher.... from when you noticed the cats are calmer. (It allows the cats to Slowly, slowly...see one another....and not see the other one as moving,.. or too large.)

The more you do it,...the more Repetition...the more results you will get.
I'm still struggling to figure out what she likes, she's rather independent and likes to play by herself. I got a wand with a detachable mouse and she loves the mouse, but not on the string.
Can you attach the mouse on some other long piece of fabric...say...a flat ribbon...or attach a few flat long pieces of fabric belts together, or different types of rope, maybe.
Again, experiment with what Summer will like to Play with.

The reason I asked...is because if you can get Summer to actually Play with you....with the wand, or string toy....then you won't need to use just food...to get her feel happier around the black gate.
Playing releases a lot of energy...both positive and negative....so if you were to get Summer a bit tired....before eating...with a good Play session...then feed at the gate...she may relax...more and more.
Does that makes sense.
Leafy is a lot easier but if I'm in the room with her I can't deflect Summer from getting upset and Leafy gets hyperfocused a lot easier and it's hard to break her out of it. I'll need to do some experimenting with it.
That's okay.
You are doing a great job. :thumbsup:
Taking turns with each cat is wonderful.
It's okay if you are with Leafy...and Summer is on the other side getting upset.
As long as she eventually calms down, ..and does not 're-direct' at you...then it's okay.

Leafy might be also trying to protect you...so it's okay if she gets hyperfocused... for now.
In time, while doing these sessions...as both cats get used to seeing each other...then things will calm down more.
Yes, definitely experiment ...with some other toys...that you think Leafy...would like ...to Distract her with. :bluepaw:
 
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GHsaltie

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I wasn't able to have a session yesterday but this morning went pretty well I think, although short. Went through the normal routine and again Summer came right up when I opened the door, but she wasn't bushed up at all this time. I let her watch for a couple minutes while giving treats every now and then but this time I tossed a treat to Leafy and closed the door before she finished eating. Leafy was facing Summer the entire time so she got to watch her at the gate and didn't hiss or bush up either. As long as things keep going well along this line next week I will try being with Leafy. I want to lengthen the sessions until she is done eating and then if I'm with her hopefully I can distract her with treat and toys. Then I will start feeding them closer to the gate. But for now I'll take it one step at a time and let them tell me when they are ready for more.
 

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Two girl cats may not be buddies, but they WILL bond and become family. Girls seem to be more independent. They will live together and have all the usual squabbles that sisters do. By the way sisters from the same litter grow up independent too!
 
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GHsaltie

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Guys guess what happened this morning! When I opened the door at breakfast Summer glanced over and if she could talk I feel like it would have been "forget that noise, food is more important" and kept eating! She glanced behind her a couple times because she kept her back to Leafy but otherwise she didn't move until she finished eating. And even then she walked up and was cool as a cucumber the whole time. I feel like it wasn't a huge step but nonetheless I am so stoked right now!
 
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