Need help introducing two cats

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GHsaltie

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I'm back again, no real update regarding the introductions we are still working on getting closer to the door during mealtimes. I'm having a separate issue though, I recently started introducing canned food into their diet, wet in the morning dry in the afternoon. Leafy is perfectly fine with this, she loves wet food, but Summer is really giving me a hard time. The first week she was all for it but then this week she just doesn't want it anymore, she wants dry. I did figure out she doesn't like cold wet food, so I only gave her fresh then I figured out she doesn't like the fish flavor, which is fine because I had two other flavors she had liked. Now she won't touch any of it, and she's being aggressive about it. The past two days she has drawn blood on both my feet because she wants dry food. The second I stand up and start walking she is under my feet swatting. I'll admit I snapped this morning and smacked her on the butt after she scratched me again when I was trying to clean off the blood from the prior hit. She was back at it just moments later. I'm so fed up, everytime I meet resistance with her regarding anything she resorts to attacking me. I wanted her to have a healthier diet but I may just have to leave her on dry for the rest of her life. But now I'm questioning whether we just aren't a good match and I should give up. She's a young cat, she has plenty of years left and I can't help but think, what's going to happen when I have kids? We won't tolerate her swatting and scratching our kids over every little thing. I don't know what to do.
 

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There are good grain-free drys out there, you might try them to compromise......
As a last resort, I have been very successful with taking the cat by the loose skin on the back of the neck (scruffing) and hold them still to the ground for a few seconds or until they quiet, saying NO loudly or hissing. If they come back at you, you have to do it again, EVERY TIME. If they wrestle and squirm, lift their front feet off the ground until they quiet, hissing or telling them NO loudly. Never lift their back legs off the ground, that could hurt them. It is what mama cats do, called pinning, for discipline. I have had to use this radical approach when pilling one cat I had who was absolutely a nightmare to pill, two grown men couldn't hold him still. The vet ended up bloody. You notice vet assistants doing it to quiet the cat for the vets. She just needs some training, don't give up. She needs to learn you are alpha and she needs to listen to you and not hurt you. It will take a while until she learns, but she will, cats are smart. All the luck!
 

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...I did figure out she doesn't like cold wet food, so I only gave her fresh then I figured out she doesn't like the fish flavor, which is fine because I had two other flavors she had liked. Now she won't touch any of it, and she's being aggressive about it. The past two days she has drawn blood on both my feet because she wants dry food. The second I stand up and start walking she is under my feet swatting.
(Hi G GHsaltie ...my female cat does not like cold canned food from the fridge, either.
She prefers it at room temperature or warmer.
I have to add warm or hot water to it, and then mush it down to a pate style consistency...since she does not like anything but pate...and then make sure it is not too hot, either.
Another member on here, mentioned using small zip lock sandwich bags...and placing the wet food and water inside...and then mushing it up that way. It does work, too. )

Your biggest issue is not so much the food, though...but rather the 'biting your ankles' that Summer does.
That is in no way acceptable. :frown:

I read back in your thread...and this 'biting ankles issue'...seems to be a repetitive behaviour.

Along the lines of what Di and Bob...said...you definitely need to be the Alpha in your own home...and Summer has to know and respect that.
  1. I'm just wondering if Summer only bites your ankles...while in a particular place....like the bathroom...or laundry room?
  2. Do you think that any smells like cleansers, bleach, soaps, laundry smells...or smells like the food...or even lotions that you have on 'trigger' Summer to bite?

  3. Does she do this...only at a particular time? ..like only when hungry?...bored?
  4. are you wearing socks and slippers...or bare feet and bare ankles?
  5. Finally,...if you were to have a broom or mop in your other hand...and on the floor...would she attack the broom?
 
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GHsaltie

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cat nap cat nap yes the scratching and biting at my feet is a recurring behavior. She only does it when she's hungry and during high stress situations where she freaks out and redirects at me but it's frustrating. I know not to react when she redirects at me, and those instances seem to be getting better. I think I've been scared to assert myself with mealtime because I'm worried she'll lash out if I do. I don't know that she would, it's just a fear that I have. I think I have made the behavior worse in a way because when I get up in the morning she's already impatient for food so I hurry to get it so she doesn't go after my feet. She has very little patience when she's decided it's time for food. In regards to your questions, I don't think it's any particular smell as far as cleaner or lotion goes. I'm sensitive to a lot of scents etc so I have to be careful what I use and am very minimal. I'm usually barefoot when she does it but occasionally I have put shoes on and it deters her somewhat, but not all the way. I think there was one time when I used a broom to block her, she still would swat at it but I at least could keep her off my feet. I don't recall why I didn't try it more than once.
 

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cat nap cat nap yes the scratching and biting at my feet is a recurring behavior. She only does it when she's hungry and during high stress situations where she freaks out and redirects at me but it's frustrating. I know not to react when she redirects at me, and those instances seem to be getting better. I think I've been scared to assert myself with mealtime because I'm worried she'll lash out if I do. I don't know that she would, it's just a fear that I have.
It's really good that you've noticed the times...when Summer does the biting at the [email protected]

Actually, I'm wondering...what would happen...if you did react to her biting you?
As in....what do you think Summer would do...if you 'yelped out loud'...or 'cried out in a high pitched sound'...(as when a kitten or puppy yelps...when their sibling bites them too hard?)

When she bites you...or even attempts to bite you or swat at you...then you can still be all dramatic...and pretend that she hurt you a lot. You don't have to do it too loudly. You can softly yelp, or whimper, or cry out softly...but exaggerate it...so that it seems that you are very, very hurt. Always have something in your other hands...for protection...as in a thick towel or pillow...so you can block her...if she comes at you again.

Then see what Summer does.
Does she stop momentarily, ...and listen?.
Do her ears flick forward, or back?

Still try to remain calm, and confident ...in your attitude...so Summer picks up that you are not ..at all scared...but rather...that you will just go on with your day...as if nothing has happened.
Very neutral...and calm in tone when you are talking to her.
I think I have made the behavior worse in a way because when I get up in the morning she's already impatient for food so I hurry to get it so she doesn't go after my feet. She has very little patience when she's decided it's time for food.
Leave some food out at night, then. Some dry food,..so she can nibble at it...and not get too hungry...or impatient in the morning.
(I know that you've mentioned... that you tried a 'timed feeder'...but that she took it apart.)
Perhaps a bit of dry left out...in a bowl...at night...would calm her down...from being so hungry.

I cannot remember if I posted this link to food Puzzle Feeders:
Homemade Puzzles - Food Puzzles for Cats
In regards to your questions, I don't think it's any particular smell as far as cleaner or lotion goes. I'm sensitive to a lot of scents etc so I have to be careful what I use and am very minimal. I'm usually barefoot when she does it but occasionally I have put shoes on and it deters her somewhat, but not all the way. I think there was one time when I used a broom to block her, she still would swat at it but I at least could keep her off my feet. I don't recall why I didn't try it more than once.
The way cats see things... is very different than we humans do.
They actually see movement...more so...than something that is right in front of them.
That is why I was originally thinking that Summer is going after your ankles...because they are moving.

But if Summer is doing it whenever she is hungry...or highly stressed...then I'm not so sure...if the movement is the trigger...or something else.

Would you be able to wear some socks and slippers...for a while...or shoes if you like...but place the scent of orange peels...or lemon scent on them.
Cats hate the smell of citrus...so I'm just wondering if having this scent on your socks...would cause her to avoid your ankles.
I'm hoping that she would avoid the ankles...but I'm not sure if it would work...or cause Summer even more stress...and agitation.
(Best case...is she avoids the smell...worse case...is she attacks the smell.) If you think that Summer would still attack the socks and ankles...then first place a sock...with the citrus scent...somewhere on the floor...near to where you are getting the food...or being bitten...and see how Summer reacts at first...to only the sock and scent.

Hopefully, with time, and repetition, ...Summer does relax more and more around you.
But you might have to introduce some 'calming treats'...from amazon...or pet stores...to see if some would work with her.
 
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GHsaltie

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cat nap cat nap you have a lot of helpful info and I'm going to expound upon it later when I have more time. I want to give a quick update first regarding our session this morning. I've starting moving Summer's bowl closer to the door, so she's been about 3ft closer but still several feet away for about three days now. This morning was the first time that she actually came straight up to the gate, like nose smashed up there and everything. Normally she creeps close but then will crouch down about a foot away and just watch Leafy. Pretty much right away she was sticking her foot through the gate, patting at the carpet and trying to squeeze her head through. She hasn't done these things before in a non-aggressive manner but this time I think she was calm? She wasn't getting anxious, no hissing or fur raising. I don't know if that was okay or the precursor to aggression? She was easily distracted by a treat but went right back to it so I ended the session a lot faster than normal because I was unsure and then she was meowing at my husband who was sitting nearby and rubbing against his legs. Then she went back to her breakfast. Currently she is wandering around meowing but it's kind of a quiet lonely sounding meow if that makes sense?
 

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...I want to give a quick update first regarding our session this morning. I've starting moving Summer's bowl closer to the door, so she's been about 3ft closer but still several feet away for about three days now. This morning was the first time that she actually came straight up to the gate, like nose smashed up there and everything. Normally she creeps close but then will crouch down about a foot away and just watch Leafy. Pretty much right away she was sticking her foot through the gate, patting at the carpet and trying to squeeze her head through. She hasn't done these things before in a non-aggressive manner but this time I think she was calm? She wasn't getting anxious, no hissing or fur raising. I don't know if that was okay or the precursor to aggression? She was easily distracted by a treat but went right back to it so I ended the session a lot faster than normal because I was unsure and then she was meowing at my husband who was sitting nearby and rubbing against his legs. Then she went back to her breakfast. Currently she is wandering around meowing but it's kind of a quiet lonely sounding meow if that makes sense?
That sounds really good, G GHsaltie .:yess: :cheerleader:
Sounds like good progress to me. :thumbsup:

Try to do more of those sessions, ...and see if you can get similar results.
Way to go, team Summer and team Leafy. :catrub:
Oh, and team GHsaltie, too. :cool2:
 
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GHsaltie

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I'm back again and I think we are making progress I'm just not sure about some things. So through about half of march we just worked on getting comfortable closer to the gate. Once they seemed good with that about three weeks ago I started having sessions of opening the door throughout the day for short periods. Initially I would be in the room with Leafy and my husband was with Summer so we would play and give them treats. We started weaning off the treats and just kind of letting them do their own thing and they seemed to be doing well. Summer was comfortable being up by the gate but not Leafy. So this past week I started removing myself from the situation to see how they would progress of their own devices. They are definitely curious about each other but very cautious. Summer occasionally will stalk leaf through the gate and she gets very uncomfortable of she jumps up on the desk, but she's also gotten to the point where she will wander off and do her own thing. Leafy will not come up to the gate until Summer leaves. My predicament is this, when Summer notices her at the gate she will rush up there and twice now has thwacked Leafy on the head. It wasn't super hard, and still no hissing, raised hair or anything but there is definitely tension. I'm not sure if I should intervene or just let things play out, I'm a bit confused right now. Or maybe I'm going too fast now and need to go back a step or two?
 

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No, it sounds perfectly normal. Whacks, swats, hisses, and growls are all normal and the only way they have to communicate for the other cat to back off. There are bound to be a few roll around on the floor skirmishes at this point until they establish their hierarchy in the house. If Leafy didn't fight back when whacked, all is good. they have had plenty of time now to establish themselves. I would let them together for longer and longer times now. Never force them to come out, just observe, fights MAY happen, but should be very brief and produce no blood or deep bites. All the luck!
 
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GHsaltie

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Thank you for the reassurance di and bob di and bob , I'm horribly nervous because I don't want them to get hurt or hate each other but I know they have to sort things out eventually. Leafy has so far backed off either when Summer comes to the gate or whacks her on the head. Even after that I feel like Summer is just really trying to figure her out more than wanting to beat her up. I will keep going as we are currently until they show they are ready for the next step.
 
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GHsaltie

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I think yesterday went pretty well. Left the door open for probably close to two hours. They ate their dinner and for the most part ignored each other just doing their own thing. Summer was going nuts playing with a zip tie. Once she rushed the gate and tried to whack Leaf, but the next two times when Leaf came up she only sat back and was watching her or continued playing with the zip tie. Near the end she did jump up on the counter near the bedroom door and was watching Leaf come up to gate and wander about the room, she just sat there for a good 10-15 minutes studying her.
 

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Hi G GHsaltie ....it does sound like Summer's aggression is lessening.
It's good that Summer can sit and watch Leaf.

Do you see Summer as being less afraid, or less aggressive, in her rushing at the gate? as compared to previous times.
Does Summer get easily startled by sounds? and movements?
I'm just wondering if Summer is equally territorial, mixed with fear...and then lashes out to try and chase Leaf away.

Could you also try some 'Room Swaps'....where Leaf is let out to explore the rest of the home, while Summer is placed inside the room?

Is Summer treating you better? More bonding.
 
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GHsaltie

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cat nap cat nap I haven't quite figured out what I'm seeing with Summer yet. I do feel like she doesn't feel as threatened by Leafy, but I can still see tension in her body when she is watching her as if she's trying to determine whether Leaf is still a threat or not. I'm sure it's not helped by the fact that I'm struggling to deter the outside cats from our patio so that has her on edge randomly. I figured out there are three cats that frequent the patio, a female from upstairs, she doesn't seem to cause any issues but Summer doesn't like her. Then there are two toms that make their rounds yowling and spraying by our door and they both will try and fight Summer through the patio door. I have been trying a couple things that help a bit with deterring them, but not 100% so that stress is still there.
Summer is not easily frightened, she is pretty stoic in most of her behaviors. Even when she gets frightened by a random noise or something she pretty quickly follows up with investigation. Leafy on the other is easily spooked and usually needs human reassurance to regain her confidence.
Is there a way I can upload a video? Maybe if y'all can see their interactions it could shed some light on how they are doing.
I think I'm going to try the room swapping soon. I believe the mystery of the "Room she can't explore" is bugging Summer a bit.
As far as how she is treating me, about the same I think. We still have issues with the foot swatting when she's hungry, I'm working on that with the suggestions given. Twice now I have scruffed her, told her "No" loud and stern and then just hold her still until she stops squirming and fussing and I see a shift in demeanor at that time. She's a bit quieter, respects my space a bit more but it doesn't last through to the next meal. I expect it will be a process and not an immediate change. I have been playing with her more in the mornings when she feels up to. She has a crinkle tube that she loves to use as an ambush site so I've been tossing toys in to her and using the wand, and now zip tie, to play. I think we are getting a better understanding and patience for each other, but of course she always prefers my husband when it comes to cuddling and pets.
 

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Is there a way I can upload a video? Maybe if y'all can see their interactions it could shed some light on how they are doing.
I think I'm going to try the room swapping soon. I believe the mystery of the "Room she can't explore" is bugging Summer a bit.
Yes, I think that the 'Room Swapping' will help both cats... getting their Scents in every corner within the home, cheek marking, paw marking, rubbing, ...and feeling more Confident in the entire space... which will eventually help with sharing all the territory.
It does make sense, like you say, that the "room she can't explore' may be bugging Summer a bit. 🤔
We humans don't actually realize how Scent is so crucial to cats, and how they take in all the messages, and act upon all the different smells.

Remember to also....leave something that belongs to Leafy...a t-shirt, sock, cat blanket....near or underneath Summer's food bowl...to further make those positive associations with food and Leafy's Scent. (Do the same for Leaf, too. Even if she does not seem as bothered by Summer being near the gate.)

*As far as uploading videos...see if this explains it:
How To Upload And Add Videos To Your Posts – TheCatSite Articles
It does mention that it needs to be in MP4 format and only 25MB...which is rather short...so they recommend this video file reducer:
Reduce Video File Size Online, Make Video Smaller (MP4, AVI, MOV, MPEG) | VideoSmaller
(which is mentioned in the above Article).

**Mostly I think that members upload their videos onto youtube, giphy, or other outside video sites...and then "embed" the videos into their posts:
Embed videos
 

cat nap

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cat nap cat nap I haven't quite figured out what I'm seeing with Summer yet. I do feel like she doesn't feel as threatened by Leafy, but I can still see tension in her body when she is watching her as if she's trying to determine whether Leaf is still a threat or not. I'm sure it's not helped by the fact that I'm struggling to deter the outside cats from our patio so that has her on edge randomly. I figured out there are three cats that frequent the patio, a female from upstairs, she doesn't seem to cause any issues but Summer doesn't like her. Then there are two toms that make their rounds yowling and spraying by our door and they both will try and fight Summer through the patio door. I have been trying a couple things that help a bit with deterring them, but not 100% so that stress is still there.
Uhh....outside cats are difficult, especially the toms, if they are constantly riling up Summer and causing her stress.
Have you tried placing some type of deterrents like lemon citrus spray, citrus peels,...motion activated noise makers, like they sell at halloween or christmas time (dancing santa claus)...something that will scare the cats away.
(I would try the cheapest ones first, and then go up from there.)
(of course, if the sound is annoying, it might annoy Summer, too,...so not so sure how that would work out.:musicnote:)
Amazon.com : motion sensor noise maker for cats

Some members (di and bob, I think) also mentioned using the undersides of those clear carpet runners, with the pointy end up...which cats would not like to walk on. Placing the plastic runners outside, pointy side up, near the patio doors might work.
ES Robbins Clear 27 in. x 10 ft. Vinyl Ribbed Rug Runner-184013 - The Home Depot
or the pointy garden mats:
Amazon.com : motion sensor noise maker for cats
Summer is not easily frightened, she is pretty stoic in most of her behaviors. Even when she gets frightened by a random noise or something she pretty quickly follows up with investigation. Leafy on the other is easily spooked and usually needs human reassurance to regain her confidence.
This is good to know.
As far as how she is treating me, about the same I think. We still have issues with the foot swatting when she's hungry, I'm working on that with the suggestions given. Twice now I have scruffed her, told her "No" loud and stern and then just hold her still until she stops squirming and fussing and I see a shift in demeanor at that time. She's a bit quieter, respects my space a bit more but it doesn't last through to the next meal. I expect it will be a process and not an immediate change. I have been playing with her more in the mornings when she feels up to. She has a crinkle tube that she loves to use as an ambush site so I've been tossing toys in to her and using the wand, and now zip tie, to play. I think we are getting a better understanding and patience for each other, but of course she always prefers my husband when it comes to cuddling and pets.
Yeah, with cats it definitely is a process...over plenty of time.
You do end up seeing little changes, though,....but yes, it takes loads of patience and repetition.
It's good that you're spending time Playing with her.:)
Even if she prefers your husband for cuddles and pets...more than likely she relies on you for food and play...and in turn will build more trust and bonding with you, too.
 
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GHsaltie

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I haven't gotten a video but here's a picture of how they normally act, which is basically just sitting there staring at each other.
PXL_20210421_232916359.jpg
PXL_20210421_233016882.jpg
Ignore the mess at the back of the room, I'm in the process of organizing 😬
I had a motion sensor deterrent arrive today so here's to hoping that eases the patio tension.
 

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That is excellent, G GHsaltie .:thumbsup:
That looks to be about five or six feet away...from each other.
Can you leave the door open all the time...so that both cats get more and more used to each other.?

If all they do is stare at each other...and no aggressive body language...then offer them some treats...from time to time...to encourage good feelings.
Any hissing, fur up, growling ...at the gate?
 
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GHsaltie

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The only aggressive behavior is if Leafy is at the gate then Summer will rush up and try to smack her, but even then there hasn't been any hissing, growling or raised hair. Pretty much our routine at this point is I feed breakfast at 6:00, open the door until I leave for work at 7:00. Then I get home at 6:30, feed supper and open the door for maybe an hour before putting Summer up and giving Leafy some time in the rest of the apartment. Weekends I can stretch sessions out for a lot longer since I'm home but I haven't yet tried for more than maybe two and a half hours. I'm curious to know how they would react with an entire day of having the door open.
 

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...Weekends I can stretch sessions out for a lot longer since I'm home but I haven't yet tried for more than maybe two and a half hours. I'm curious to know how they would react with an entire day of having the door open.
Yes, I'm curious, too.
Try this weekend, if you can.
Since the door is there...they are both protected...and it really helps them to see each other.
Leafy looks very relaxed. And they both are able to look away from each other...which is good.

Also, remember to Play with them near the gate...so that they associate Play with each other, too.
Anything good like food, or treats,...Play...or even just sitting and reading calmly...will help them relax, too.

**Another member mentioned ...that taking a brush...and brushing each cat with the one brush...also helped them when they introduced their cats. It transferred the Scent of one cat to the other.
Maybe try that...and see if either cat is bothered.

Do you think that in the future...you could try and "harness train" both Summer and Leaf.
Not to take them for walks...but it might help....when they eventually will meet...to prevent one cat from lunging at the other.
Just think about it...and if you can get those soft fabric harnesses...that might help, too.
 
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I don't feel like we making progress anymore, if anything I feel like things are regressing. Summer is getting worse about trying to attack Leaf through the gate. If she is anywhere close Summer will run up and claw at her, and I have noticed an increase in bushed fur and a hiss or two from Summer. I have been letting Summer explore Leafs bedroom this week, have still been swapping scents, playing and offering treats by the gate to try and reinforce positive. I tried to leave the door open Saturday before last at least most of the day, it was very stressful and I feel like they were getting worse the longer I left it open so I think it ended up being maybe three hours? What am I doing wrong? Is this just never going to happen?
 
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