Need help introducing two cats

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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.
When Summer runs up to the gate...what does Leafy do?
Does Leafy just sit near the gate...and try and fight Summer back?

There is actually nothing wrong with Summer running at the gate, if Leafy is protected.
At least Summer is getting all her aggression, fear or territorial aggression out of her system.
(As long as Summer is not 'redirecting' her aggression at you or your husband.)
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.
That is excellent.
Does Summer still have a huge reaction to anything with Leafy's Scent on it....like a cat blanket, cat toy, cat brush...sock, t-shirt...all with Leafy's Scent on it.?
Leave it by Summer's food dish...and see any reaction.
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?
Three hours is great.
But did you have to watch or listen all the time?
Or could you just leave it open...and walk away...and do something else.
Not pay any attention to Summer.
(maybe Summer is acting up....because she is also being watched.)

(Since the gate is a barrier...and offers protection...and if there is no way that either cat could jump across the gate...then why not just leave it open ...after work...and on weekends, too.?)
Does Summer do some sort of loud howling, or vocalizing...every time she is at ...or near the gate?
That would sound stressful...but if Summer eventually walks away...then that would be good.

If you do think that three hours is too long...and that it is stressing Leafy out too much...then just do smaller time increments...and increase them.
It all really depends on how Leafy is being affected.
What am I doing wrong? Is this just never going to happen?
You are doing absolutely nothing wrong.
Summer just sounds highly reactive, still, and very territorial.:frown:

**You might need to ask your Vet...if putting Summer on some calming medication ...would help her? 🤔
Just for the time of these intros.
Ask about Prozac, or Zylkene? Nutricalm liquid, or Composure.
See this thread:
see Post#24...Kitten Introduction to a Sassy Adult Cat - Help!
(And if you do a "advanced Search" ..you can bring up a few more threads, Search Results for Query: prozac for cat)

If you do want to try this route, then ask your Vet about the transdermal prozac, that is rubbed on the ear, or the chewable form:
Fluoxetine Twist-a-Dose Transdermal Gel

Members here, have mentioned using Composure, Zylkene, and gabapentin for various situations, too.
My main concern with medications being used in cats during cat intros...is side effects.
Medications for Cat Behavior Problems: Aggression, Anxiety, and More on MedicineNet

It would still be worth it to ask your Vet about any calming medications, though.
It might really help Summer, short term.

G GHsaltie ...is there any way that you can post a Video....of how Summer acts 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
 
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GHsaltie

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cat nap cat nap when Summer runs up Leaf will dart away from the gate and usually watch from a distance at that point until Summer leaves again. I'm just worried that it will become habit and Summer will feel like she needs to constantly chase Leaf away. I know she still feels threatened by her presence, but I don't know what to do to help her realize she doesn't need to feel threatened.
So far Summer hasn't redirected back at us in these moments. My husband can even pick her up talking to her and she will be perfectly fine. I'm usually a bit more cautious and will talk to her in a light voice to grab her attention and then start petting her and she'll be fine then. She'll follow me or go do something else but it's always right back to the gate if Leaf comes up.

No Summer doesn't react to her scent anymore that I have noticed, she acts like it's not even there.

We have a small apartment so I can't really not watch unless I go into the master bedroom, which I can try. My husband has suggested we just leave it open overnight, or all day and ignore it, but I think I'm too scared to try that yet. Leaf doesn't seem too affected but I'm worried if it goes on constantly all day then she will start to be afraid of coming out of the bedroom or associate Summer as bad.
As for vocalizing from Summer, only a couple times she would go into the master bedroom and meow kind of high-pitched and lost sounding? Not sure if that makes sense. But no yowling or angry meows.

I have thought about medicines, or some other means to calm Summer and perhaps I need to consider it more thoroughly. I was giving her calming treats but it didn't seem to do anything. I've also tried the Feliway diffuser and again, no change. My concern with meds like you is the side effects. I don't want to give her something that could cause issues.
I'll try to get a video sometime this week.
 
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I still haven't gotten a video. I can't seem to catch them in the moment but still working on it. Yesterday I had the door open for a good 4-5 hours I think? It was mostly okay, the normal stuff. I even went into town for almost two hours, no clue how they did then. Towards the end I noticed leaf at the door and Summer was stalking her, so I quickly grabbed the treats and caught Summers attention. I used that to drag the moments out allowing Summer to look at Leaf up at the gate and right before I felt like she was focusing to much I'd distract with a treat. Did that maybe three times and then I put Summer away to let Leaf out. That went really well, it's the best Summer has been so far I think, and we were only a couple feet from the gate.
This morning however was very... charged and went terrible. I started with breakfast and left the door open. After Summer finished she immediately crouched down right up at the gate and was watching Leaf as she finished. Once she did finish she slinked farther away and then started wandering around the room and meowing. She was also antsy to get out as I normally let her out after breakfast on the weekends, this I feel was my major mistake. So only a few minutes after breakfast Leaf came up to the gate meowing quietly, Summer had walked off at this point but came running up and was not happy at all. She was trying hard to get her this time, ears flat, fur up, spitting and hissing. I was able to distract her with treats after the initial moment passed and led her into our bedroom to chill. This was about three hours ago now and Leaf has been having time out.
I'm just not sure where to go at this point. It feels like every time we make slight progress we then take a big step back.
 

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I still haven't gotten a video. I can't seem to catch them in the moment but still working on it. Yesterday I had the door open for a good 4-5 hours I think? It was mostly okay, the normal stuff. I even went into town for almost two hours, no clue how they did then. Towards the end I noticed leaf at the door and Summer was stalking her, so I quickly grabbed the treats and caught Summers attention. I used that to drag the moments out allowing Summer to look at Leaf up at the gate and right before I felt like she was focusing to much I'd distract with a treat. Did that maybe three times and then I put Summer away to let Leaf out. That went really well, it's the best Summer has been so far I think, and we were only a couple feet from the gate.
Sounds good. :)
Now....
Try to do more of that...where...you leave full Visual access...with the gate there...and no supervision.

(It does not matter if Summer is stalking Leafy...behind the Gate...since she cannot get to Leaf...all she can do is walk back and forth...and wear herself down...wearing off more of her adrenaline.)

When you say "stalking her"..is that what you are meaning?
Summer walking back and forth...at the gate?
Hitting the gate?
Trying to intimidate Leafy?

Also, Summer might be 'expecting' treats...from you now...each and every time she does 'stalk at the gate'.
**Don't reward her with any.
Only reward Summer...if she behaves well.


If you have to lead Summer away, to another room,...then try with a wand toy, first,...(and then reward with a treat...when she is finally at the location you want her to be).
(It is really good, that you know you can Distract Summer with Treats, ...just make sure it is not given as a reward for behaviour you don't want to see, or right after a negative behaviour,....Only for behaviour that you do want to see.)
Building up the Positives.
This morning however was very... charged and went terrible. I started with breakfast and left the door open. After Summer finished she immediately crouched down right up at the gate and was watching Leaf as she finished. Once she did finish she slinked farther away and then started wandering around the room and meowing. She was also antsy to get out as I normally let her out after breakfast on the weekends, this I feel was my major mistake. So only a few minutes after breakfast Leaf came up to the gate meowing quietly, Summer had walked off at this point but came running up and was not happy at all. She was trying hard to get her this time, ears flat, fur up, spitting and hissing. I was able to distract her with treats after the initial moment passed and led her into our bedroom to chill. This was about three hours ago now and Leaf has been having time out.
I'm just not sure where to go at this point. It feels like every time we make slight progress we then take a big step back.
I'm not really seeing any major mistakes, here.
I'm a bit confused.🤔
Isn't Leafy acting her usual self.
And Summer is acting...her usual self...by rushing at the gate, ears flat, spitting and hissing?

Since you were able to Distract Summer with the treats...after the 'spitting incident' had passed...and led her into her bedroom to chill...then why are you thinking that ...no progress is being made?
Cat intros are like this...always going back and forth....up and down.
**The only thing I'd suggest is ...only giving treats...well after Summer has calmed down...so that she does not expect treats...after each time she is behaving with aggression towards Leafy.

You are doing really well.:)
It's just so stressful...to hear a cat when they are being all hissing and spitting.
**If you are actually standing there...and happen to be in between Summer and the gate...then use a large piece of cardboard..or towel...to break Summer's line of sight.

If you are not between Summer and the gate..then...
**Clap your hands...throw a small pillow, or cat toy...towards Summer's direction...(but not at her)...and see if this will Distract her enough...to break her out of her hissy fit.

The Gate Visuals, ...are done so that both cats can observe...and study the movements of the other cat.
Leafy seems very Confident..no matter what Summer does. :bluepaw:
Now it's just a matter of building up Summer's confidence...so she no longer has to be afraid...or fear Leafy.

You're really doing well, G GHsaltie ...and should take a lot of credit...for all the efforts you are making.
Not to mention all the Patience you have. :)
The big part now...is the constant Routine.
And allowing the cats to do their own thing...by the gate.
when you need a break...just shut the door....and re-energize yourself.
My husband has suggested we just leave it open overnight, or all day and ignore it, but I think I'm too scared to try that yet. Leaf doesn't seem too affected but I'm worried if it goes on constantly all day then she will start to be afraid of coming out of the bedroom or associate Summer as bad.
Since Leaf already knows what Summer is like.
Then, yes, your husband's suggestion is really good.
The more they see of each other...the more the cats will get used to each other.
 
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cat nap cat nap thank you for the encouragement, it helps to know that this is all normal. What you said about the treats makes complete sense, I don't know why it didn't occur to me that she could see it as a reward for bad behavior. I'll try to change things up some as to how I handle the situation.
I guess I felt Summer was worse yesterday morning because so far she hadn't been doing a lot of hissing and spitting, whereas that one time she did.
When I say she stalks Leaf this is what I mean
PXL_20210509_232955660.jpg
She doesn't pace at the gate, but she will stalk from across the room and then either run at the gate if Leaf is there or crouch in front of it.
The rest of yesterday she did well, we left home again for about an hour and Summer was oddly sedate? When we got home she was lying on top of the cat chair which is directly across the living room from Leafys bedroom. Leaf was sitting there at the gate talking to me and Summer didn't care! She was just watching her from the chair, didn't even lift her head up. I have no clue what was the deal with that but it felt good.
 

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That is a fantastic photo, G GHsaltie .
I could see that as stalking, for sure.
Cats do Play like that, too,...the stalking, pouncing, play thing...but they don't spit...when playing...so yeah...we just have to find a way to get all that aggression out of Summer's system.
If you can do Full Visuals at night, like your husband suggested,...that may help.

Quick question:
When you put Summer into Leaf's room, and have the gate there...with Full Visuals,...does Summer also try to run up to the gate, hiss, spit...and act all defensive, or offensive?
If Summer is placed in Leafy's room...does her behaviour change at all?
Being that she is now in Leafy's territory...her room...(with the gate in place.)...I was wondering if Summer gets more calm, curious, or still aggressive.
 
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Sorry cat nap cat nap I forgot to reply to your question. Summer has only just gotten comfortable exploring Leafys room last week, so this weekend I'm going to try switching them for an hour or two to see how they react.
So far they seem to be doing okay, still about the same maybe slightly better. Leaf I think is becoming more comfortable knowing Summer can't get her through the gate. She will dart away when Summer tries to swat but comes back to the gate only minutes after.
Summer seems to be relaxing a little bit too. I've noticed her sitting and watching a bit more instead of immediately running up to the gate. I haven't succeeded yet in being able to distract her during these moments.
The door has been left open over overnight since I think Wednesday of last week? And Friday-Sunday it was open pretty much all day. I haven't yet left it open while we are gone for work but I'm going to start that this weekend I just need to re-secure the gate.
I do have a conundrum that I'm not sure how to navigate. We are moving to a different apartment in two months. My husband suggested that we try to fully introduce them since it will be new turf for them both. I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that because I can easily see Summer targeting Leaf with them both being insecure. I don't know if we should try that, or go with the same set up we have now, or even switch them and start Summer in the spare bedroom. It's been nine months now and we are both getting worn out with all the cat shuffling but I don't want to mess up at this stage.
 

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Sorry cat nap cat nap I forgot to reply to your question. Summer has only just gotten comfortable exploring Leafys room last week, so this weekend I'm going to try switching them for an hour or two to see how they react.
So far they seem to be doing okay, still about the same maybe slightly better. Leaf I think is becoming more comfortable knowing Summer can't get her through the gate. She will dart away when Summer tries to swat but comes back to the gate only minutes after.
Summer seems to be relaxing a little bit too. I've noticed her sitting and watching a bit more instead of immediately running up to the gate. I haven't succeeded yet in being able to distract her during these moments.
No worries. Things sound like the Full Visuals are helping to slowly, slowly...get Summer more used to seeing Leaf. (and vice versa).

Don't worry about trying to Distract Summer ...from the gate.
Let Summer get all her aggression out...at the gate...as much as she wants.
For now, at least,...since Summer has no way of reaching Leafy...she might just tire herself out...and settle down on her own, and become calmer.

Full Visuals are done...so that each cat gets to observe and see one another...and lessen the fear they have.
But also to get fully used to...how each cat moves, looks, acts...so they are not startled by each other.
The more they see of each other....the better.
The door has been left open over overnight since I think Wednesday of last week? And Friday-Sunday it was open pretty much all day. I haven't yet left it open while we are gone for work but I'm going to start that this weekend I just need to re-secure the gate.
Fantastic.
Leaving it open...with the gate in place...will allow Full Visuals.
I do have a conundrum that I'm not sure how to navigate. We are moving to a different apartment in two months. My husband suggested that we try to fully introduce them since it will be new turf for them both. I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that because I can easily see Summer targeting Leaf with them both being insecure. I don't know if we should try that, or go with the same set up we have now, or even switch them and start Summer in the spare bedroom. It's been nine months now and we are both getting worn out with all the cat shuffling but I don't want to mess up at this stage.
That is a difficult question.
I don't think they are ready ...for face to face meeting, yet.
But I do understand the exhaustion, stress, and frustration...you are feeling after nine months...of doing the cat to cat introductions.
The problem...is exactly what you said...if it goes badly...and they fight once more...then you are back to 'square one'.

It is so much harder to introduce cats...once they have gotten into a fight...because then they are more 'on guard', and fearful of each other.
They seem to have a harder time getting over a previous 'fight incident'...and it takes even longer...for them to try and relax around one another.

**What about "harness training" both cats...so that you can have some control...over their movements..(when they do meet)? :bluepaw:
(the vest harnesses look the most comfortable...but the strap ones...might be all you need to keep the cats safe and secure...if they don't figure out a way to get out of them.)

G GHsaltie ...I actually think you should create a 'new thread'...call it something specific and unique...like..."Moving in two months, and Cats are Still at Full Visual Gate Stage"...or...."Any Tips when moving Two Cats that are still at Visual Gate Stage".
Something where you can get other members opinions...or advice...about what they think might work better...(and not mess up all the progress you have made, so far.)
I'd be curious, too.
And will follow both threads. :)
 
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cat nap cat nap do you mean a harness like this one?
"The True Adventurer" Reflective Cat & Kitten Harness and Leash Set for Adventure Cats

I think that's a good idea about using a harness for the first face to face meet, that will make me feel a lot more comfortable. I'll just have to figure out how to get them both used to harnesses.
I'll make another thread like you suggested, that's a good idea and I'll tag you to it.
Wow. That harness is a nice one. I've never seen that one before...but yes...something like that, where you can easily put it on, ..and it's secure...and comfortable with the vest idea...looks great.

Another member, here, is using another type of harness for their cat...and has a video...so you can see their cat wearing it:
Post #28....of Newly introduced cats: attack or rough play incident?

(Thank you. I'll appreciate the tag in. Makes it easier to find.)
 
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I have an update! I finally left the door open while gone at work for the first time last week, per my husband when he got home Summer was very on edge and jumpy. This was Thursday then I gave them, or maybe me, a break over the weekend. The door has been left open since Sunday evening. Monday was okay when I got home, Summer was a little edgy but her aggression at the gate seemed a bit more tired? And I also witnessed two times I think when Summer was laying on top her chair and she didn't get up to smack Leaf at the gate. Today however, today I feel really good and I hope it keeps getting better from here. Once this morning during breakfast she ignored Leaf pawing through the gate, and this evening when I got home Leaf was all over the gate, Summer stared at her for a minute and then followed me into the kitchen! And then she did it again a second time following me into the bathroom instead of messing with Leafy! This is the first that she made the decision to turn away, she didn't even stalk her a little bit. I'm trying not to get my hopes up a lot because I know there tends to be a step back anytime progress is made, but this just feels really good to look back from where we started and see how far my girls have come.
On another note Leafs harness training is going well, she isn't a fan of it but she's getting used to it. We've gotten to the point of strapping it on during mealtimes and soon I will be moving on to leaving it on for longer periods so she can get used to the feel. Summer hasn't started yet because hers was too small so I'm still waiting on that. I'm undecided yet how I'm going to proceed when we move next month. The general consensus on the other thread was to intro them on harnesses a few days after move in. I'm still not sure I'm comfortable with that but I'm going to play by ear for now and see how the next few weeks go.
 
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Fantastic thing happened last night! I was saying goodnight to Leafy and giving her some head scritches through the gate. I didn't realize when I stood up that Summer was right behind me. I thought she was going to swat because she has regressed some from my last post like I expected, but she didn't she just stayed crouched at the gate with Leaf right there. And then they sniffed! There were still a few inches away from each other but I noticed a very slight extension of the neck from both of them as they smelt each other. It lasted maybe a few seconds, felt like eternity, and then Leaf walked away. Of course Summer is back to being a bully this morning but in general she seems worse in the morning times.
 
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My husband let me know that they sniffed each again today before I got home. Summer still has times of swatting and running up to the gate but more and more I'm noticing her choosing to ignore Leaf or just watch from afar. Is there anything I can be doing to further encourage this good or at least neutral encounters?

cat nap cat nap di and bob di and bob
 

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The longer they can observe each other the easier things will get. I take it you are exchanging blankets too that they lay on to get them used to each other's scent? The harness thing is a really good plan, I used that with a dog that killed small prey and it worked well. I could pull her up short and scold her when she lunged. They became good friends. Putting one cat and then the other in a cage or kennel is a good way to get them used to each other in different rooms. Make sure you have a small box or something in there so they can hide and feel safe. My blended family took almost a year to finally accept each other, I think you are close to being there.
 
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I'm facing a separate issue with Summer currently. Every time she is waiting on breakfast/dinner she has taken to making the spraying motion either on the bathroom closet door where the food is or on the cabinets next to it. Yesterday for the first time I noticed she did it on the couch next to my legs. She's not actually peeing, yet, but I'd really like to discourage this behavior before it gets to that point. Any suggestions?

As far as the two of them go, we've regressed some and feels like hit a stalemate. Summer is back to rushing the gate just about every time she sees Leaf and I haven't noticed anymore progressive behavior like the sniffing of each other. They are still getting each other's scent everywhere, although I have been lax about putting Summer in Leafs bedroom. They are eating only feet away on either side of the gate and I try to play with them when I can. They've just stalled with any progression and I feel like I'm missing something.
Pics of my girls for tax!
PXL_20210612_002930425.jpg
PXL_20210611_164155753.jpg
 

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It may be needed to get one used to a harness (takes about two weeks of daily putting it on) so you have control of them when they are together. You can stop a charge this way or pull them to safety. You don't want them to get into the habit of charging each other. The spraying motion is usually just a habit, i have had cats do that for years and never actually spray. if they do, that means they are marking their territory and are stressed.
 

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It may be needed to get one used to a harness (takes about two weeks of daily putting it on) so you have control of them when they are together. You can stop a charge this way or pull them to safety. You don't want them to get into the habit of charging each other. The spraying motion is usually just a habit, I have had cats do that for years and never actually spray. if they do, that means they are marking their territory and are stressed.
 
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I'm not sure how that third attachment got on there :confused:
 
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Well Leafy is doing very well I think with the harness. I only just started with Summer today, I expect she will be more resistant.
PXL_20210704_154252705.jpg
PXL_20210704_154128295.jpg
It accentuates her "fluff" a bit 🤣
 
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