Need help introducing two cats

di and bob

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That is so nice to hear! Cats often gravitate towards certain people, my little Molly always seeks out my husband and the two boys always are on my lap. ANY kind of improvement or something positive is good!
 
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GHsaltie

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cat nap cat nap di and bob di and bob I've been rather lax the past several weeks. I think I just needed a breather but also have been struggling with classes and medical issues so unfortunately the cats have been on the back burner. Here's where we stand now. They eat meals "together", separate by probably 3-4 feet. Summer usually finishes first and at that point I have to put one or the other behind a door otherwise Summer immediately tries to go beat her up. Once or twice a week we have a quick session in the living room, my husband distracting Summer with treats and I with Leaf several feet away. Again as soon as treats are running low I remove Leafy because Summer will run over to try and get her. We are going to get back on the ball of having sessions out together multiple times a week. I've started having quick little sessions through the gate, just trying to reinforce nice moments. Summer is fine if there is a treat in front of her face. For instance with the video below, and this was my first time doing a video so I hope it worked, she was fine throughout with Leafy being up at the gate. But just prior to starting it, before I got the treats out, Summer twice ran up swatting and hissing because Leaf got close to the gate. I was inside the room and Leaf wanted to be with me. Also I apologize for the blur on the side, I propped it up against the arm of my chair but it started slipping so kind of messed things up at the end.


So I guess at this point I've just kind of lost my direction? I don't know how to proceed. I can't safely just let them go about even monitored because Summer is immediately trying to get after her. Any suggestions?
 

di and bob

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I can't remember if you tried putting Summer in a harness on a lead, that way you could pull them apart. It has been over a year now, you might need more advise then I can give. I wish an expert could help you. You have the patience of a saint, I wish Summer would get some too. I really don't know if she is all bluster or not. Please keep coming here, there might be somebody out there that could give you more help. You are doing EVERYTHING right, I don't know why it hasn't progressed more. Even if it didn't work before I would harness Summer until she got used to it and try that. I really wish you all the luck, please keep posting!
 
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GHsaltie

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di and bob di and bob still working on the harness with Summer. Again I have slacked on that too but we are making progress now. I can put it on her and I've only just started this weekend leaving it for a few minutes. I'm going to extend the time out now that it isn't an anomaly so she can get more comfortable. I am really hoping that will allow us to make progress.
 

di and bob

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Once she can wear it for an hour or two and doesn't mind it, you could attach a lead and get her used to that. I really think if you had a way to separate them quickly or keep them apart it would really help.
 

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Hi. Haven't piped in for a while (actually stopped receiving notices of posts to this thread). I tried to go back and read everything, but no doubt I have missed some stuff. You guys have been through a lot of changes, and I am sure that they are not all settled in Summer's mind. You moving in, and then introducing Leaf, and then you all moving again. Even if it has been a year now, that is still a whole lot of changes. I probably would have started all over again, letting each cat get used to their new home first, and left introductions on the back burner, so to speak.

Are you swapping their locations so that neither - especially Summer - is solely in one part of the house? I am sure you are, but just asking as I doubt I absorbed all of the details in trying to catch up with the posts. I also feel, based on that video, that you are re-enforcing Summer's behavior by keeping her pretty far from the gate and spending the entire time distracting her with treats. What cat in their right mind wouldn't lash out at another cat if they know it will result in getting treats?

I take it that you are on the side with Summer and that Leaf is the one on the other side of the gate? I would also involve your husband and swap out sides between the two of you and the two cats. I would also seriously consider letting them get closer to the gate, and if Summer tried to attack Leaf through the gate - 1.) watch Leaf's reaction, and 2.) if Summer doesn't stop, pull her away, pick her up and tell her no - and by all means don't give her treats to settle her down. Maybe your husband would have to be the first one to 'discipline' Summer in this fashion.

I personally think Summer is taking advantage of the situation. Not because she 'schemes' to do so - cat don't really do that per se - but she knows that she will get treats if she ignores Leaf.
 

di and bob

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I think you are trying to distract Summer with the treats. Maybe see how she does without treats and see how Leaf interacts when Summer attacks the gate. Maybe when she sees she can attack all she wants and no one cares she might give up. I would give her treats when she is nice and not attacking.
 
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GHsaltie

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FeebysOwner FeebysOwner thank you, this makes sense although its kind of what I was afraid I was doing. Summer swatting through the gate has always been an issue, and I've never really known what to do about it. I was worried the behavior would become the norm. I was hoping by giving treats during peaceful times with Leaf right at the gate it would help to leave a positive note, but maybe I have reinforced bad behavior. Leaf never really seems bothered by it.
For instance before I did the video when I was in the room with Summer, Leaf came up to the gate and Summer ran up there swatting and hissing. Leaf darted away, Summer came back in my direction and then Leaf was right back at the gate again. Summer didn't go at her again. She doesn't seem to get too fazed by it, but its not a good behavior to become habit. I will try to be more mindful of when I'm giving treats so as to not reinforce negative behavior.
As far as some of your other points, when we moved in August I did go back some steps but thinking back on it would have been wiser to start from the beginning. They both get time out, Leaf has rein during the night and until my husband gets around early afternoon and then Summer is let out until bedtime.
The one thing I just realize is that I haven't been swapping their rooms, so perhaps that has some play in the gate issue since Summer is in "her" room when they fuss at the gate.
Ughhhh
 
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GHsaltie

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Also, I really appreciate the time you guys have put into reading and responding all this time. Its very frustrating and lonely dealing with this, so its nice to know I'm not alone.
 

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I've been rather lax the past several weeks. I think I just needed a breather but also have been struggling with classes and medical issues so unfortunately the cats have been on the back burner. Here's where we stand now. They eat meals "together", separate by probably 3-4 feet. Summer usually finishes first and at that point I have to put one or the other behind a door otherwise Summer immediately tries to go beat her up.
Hi G GHsaltie ...I just wanted to say that the video you posted above...is super helpful...and very useful.
It is so interesting...because both cats can be so close to each other...say about 2-3 feet...and both can be Distracted with treats...But Summer (being on your side)...does not seem to show any aggressive fur raising, growling, or charging at the gate.

1) ..My suggestion would be to use the food bowls...or treats...and Try and get Summer to step and sit...even closer...to where Leafy is sitting...right by the gate.
Even if Summer gets bothered...by Leafy right on the other side of the Gate,...she cannot get to her.

So...causing Summer a little stress...(or moving her comfort zone)...to as near as possible...to Leafy who is safely behind the Gate...will perhaps get Summer to Associate only good things...with Leafy.
Or at least...being given food or treats...as near to each other as possible...may allow Summer to experience...and see...that being near Leafy...will become a fairly boring and good place to be.

(Some cats never do like to sit beside... or near each other. (my male and female sibling cats...age 6 now...never do...and prefer to sleep in separate rooms. They totally relax...when they are apart...and have total different styles of Play...with the male cat chasing the female...and wanting to tackle her...while she rather hates any form of wrestling, and will chase him...but only to tag and run...never stop and wrestle.)

What is interesting...is that in 'cat to cat intros'...we actually want to get the cats...as near as possible to each other...or at least have them observe each other...so that each cat is not afraid of the other...and do not automatically go into their 'fight mode'...(versus 'flight mode').

2)...The harness training for Summer would be ideal...since she is the one...who sounds like has the most Energy...and her being 3 years old versus Leafy being 7 years...may actually make a difference...in her Energy levels, too.
Getting a Vest type of harness...may help with Summer...since it may be similar to using a "thunder shirt"...and providing Summer with some extra calming or relaxing effects. (not sure if it is true...since I've never used the cat thunder shirt...but it may be worth a try.)

3)...You may have to find different ways ...to wear off some of that high Energy...from Summer...through Play, ping pong balls, those crinkle toys she likes...or even making some Treat Puzzle boxes.
Homemade Puzzles - Food Puzzles for Cats

4) I really liked di and bob di and bob 's previous suggestion....of using a 'dog kennel'...or ' dog crate'...( you can even try a cat carrier...but a larger 'dog crate' would work better...so that you could put Leafy inside it...and move it around the apartment...to different rooms...to where the whole family is sitting.
Then you can swap out the cats...and place Summer inside the 'dog crate'...and let Leafy roam about.
That way, ...neither cat is confined...for too long...in any one place...and gets more and more used to each other's presence.

5) If you can move that Gate...to various other rooms, or locations...it may help in allowing each cat to have 'zoned off areas'...and not getting too stressed...if they do not see the rest of their territory, home, humans, etc.

Some other members did have very good success in using the DIY higher shelving gates...to place in hallways, or block off other rooms...and create various zones...for each cat to be in. Each shelf is attached using zip ties...and can be moved from place to place.
That way...neither cat feels they have lost any of their territory.

(This is sort of similar to what FeebysOwner mentioned in her post, above,..suggesting to swap the cats into different territories.)
How to Build a Free-Standing Cat, Dog, or Pet Gate Cheaply, Without Tools
I've started having quick little sessions through the gate, just trying to reinforce nice moments. Summer is fine if there is a treat in front of her face. For instance with the video below, and this was my first time doing a video so I hope it worked, she was fine throughout with Leafy being up at the gate. But just prior to starting it, before I got the treats out, Summer twice ran up swatting and hissing because Leaf got close to the gate. I was inside the room and Leaf wanted to be with me. Also I apologize for the blur on the side, I propped it up against the arm of my chair but it started slipping so kind of messed things up at the end.
The video is fantastic.
It really helps us to see what is going on.:thumbsup:
You were great. The cats were great.

If you could...possibly...capture the moments ...when Summer is actually running up to the gate...swatting and hissing...that would be super helpful, too. :cool:
(It figures that just before the actual video above...is when all the 'Summer Action' happened. Goodness, cats never co-operate...when we humans want to capture video moments...there and then. They seem to pause...and act all good...when the cameras are rolling.):headshake:

That would be the ideal things to see...to figure out...if Summer is actually being aggressively Playful...or just wanting Leafy...no where near her territory...her food...her people. (Cats can be very protective, or playful, territorial, at times,...so it's difficult to tell what sets them off)
So I guess at this point I've just kind of lost my direction? I don't know how to proceed. I can't safely just let them go about even monitored because Summer is immediately trying to get after her. Any suggestions?
When I went back, and re-read parts of your thread...It actually seems to me...that you haven't lost your direction.
You've made so, so much progress...but it's so hard to see it...when you are in the process of it.:biggrin: :heartshape:

I also wanted to just say a huge thanks to di and bob di and bob , F Furmama22 and to you G GHsaltie ...for sticking by these intros...all this time. ( I also hope that all your classes and medical issues get a bit easier and improve. I also had to take some time off from the internet, due to some personal time and medical issues,...so it really warms my heart to see Di and Bob's advice, and Furmama22's posts...as well as the others. Hopefully, we all improve, with all our issues. It's just really heart warming and strengthening to see how different people all help each other out...through various posts and ideas.)

What F Furmama22 ...mentioned about 'moving'...and how it affects the cats...makes so much sense.
How moving and changes can be so stressful...for us humans...and for our cats.

Cat intros can be so stressful, too,...and it's so difficult to just find times to laugh...at the silly things our cats do.
If you try and look at it... from time to time...as an Adventure...or Challenging Adventure...then maybe parts of it can become easier.
Just know that you HAVE made tremendous progress...even if it's difficult to see...right now.:)
 
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GHsaltie

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So this is what happens most times. In this instance I was at my computer studying, Leafy came up because she wanted in with me. After the video ended summer was rubbing against my legs and the cat tree for a few minutes and then laid down. After about ten minutes leafy came back, was meowing rinse and repeat same thing. There was a third time in which I was going to try F Furmama22 suggestion to pull her away with a loud NO, but as soon as I stood out of my chair Summer took her chance and ran at the gate, then immediately went into the closet to lay down. I'm not sure what I should do in these instances. And even if I can get my hands on her to tell her no, its not like I can be present every time it happens.


These pictures are how meals typically continue after Summer finishes and I put her back behind the gate. If Leaf happens to move close enough Summer tries to reach out to hook her.
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20211118_064513.jpg
 

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So this is what happens most times. In this instance I was at my computer studying, Leafy came up because she wanted in with me. After the video ended summer was rubbing against my legs and the cat tree for a few minutes and then laid down. After about ten minutes leafy came back, was meowing rinse and repeat same thing. There was a third time in which I was going to try F Furmama22 suggestion to pull her away with a loud NO, but as soon as I stood out of my chair Summer took her chance and ran at the gate, then immediately went into the closet to lay down. I'm not sure what I should do in these instances. And even if I can get my hands on her to tell her no, its not like I can be present every time it happens.


These pictures are how meals typically continue after Summer finishes and I put her back behind the gate. If Leaf happens to move close enough Summer tries to reach out to hook her.
View attachment 401893
View attachment 401894
We have a very similar situation, although I don't think I suggested the loud 'no' - that must have been someone else.

But we in a similar boat in that, so long as a distraction is present, they are fine to be together, but when the distraction (treats, food) is over, eventually Hawthorne fixes on Florie and then a chase happens.

PS: I like what cat nap cat nap says about recognizing progress! I think you have come a far way! We have too. It's just this final hurdle that seems to be taking forever! :)
 
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GHsaltie

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Sorry F Furmama22 I got usernames mixed up. I was recently reading through your thread again and its amazing to look back and see how far you've come. I need to keep that in mind.
 

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Sorry F Furmama22 I got usernames mixed up. I was recently reading through your thread again and its amazing to look back and see how far you've come. I need to keep that in mind.
No worries at all!!

And yes, sometimes I think - at one point, Hawthorne couldn't even see her for a few seconds without spazzing out. Now they are co-existing, even if it's through a wall of gates, hahaha. :)

And also, your cats are beautiful! Such beautiful colours. I have heard calicos/torties like that have 'catitude' which does seem to be the case. :)
 
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GHsaltie

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F Furmama22 the catitude is painfully real, particularly with Summer. Just the other day it got to 6:45, the cats are normally fed at 6:30. So because of this monstrous act Summer decided to park her happy butt on my antique barrel next to the couch and thwack off a soda can and two books. Never once breaking eye contact.
 

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Hi G GHsaltie ....the video you posted above...from Nov. 17...seems to just show Summer...really, really... wanting to Play with Leafy.
It's actually at the 0.46 mark...that Summer begins her lunge...and then hits the gate...at 0.47.
I think Summer slides into the Gate...and may have hurt her one paw...or leg slightly...since she seems to be limping slightly ...at the end of the video.

(Maybe you could ask your husband to check all four of Summer's paws...to see if she broke a nail or something.
She may have just pulled a muscle, slightly,....which would be her own fault for sliding into the gate.:doh:
(our cats really can do dumb things..sometimes.) :eek2:

At 1.37 mark...it is hilarious and cute ...how Leafy just casually walks on by. :) :cool2:
...while Summer...again...is just trying to get her to come over...and Play. :dunno:

I think what you have here...is one "rough player"= Summer....and I'm not sure what Play Style... Leafy has.
Leafy...is definitely not bothered by Summer...or she would not come back to the Gate...at all.

(PS. I think I have to go over and watch...some of F Furmama22 ...videos...since I'm very intrigued...how she managed to train either Hawthorne...or Florie...or both...to follow her...or lead her to open...first one gate...and then the next.?
Those are some highly skilled and intelligent cats over there.
The only places that my cats lead me...is to their food bowls...but 70% of the time...they just sit there..and wait impatiently...like I'm a slow waitress...at the worst diner...ever. (I have not had them throw off cups,cans or books,...yet. lol.)
 
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GHsaltie

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cat nap cat nap ill probably come back later when I'm more awake to read through your post again. Just wanted to touch on the limping, she started limping a couple days ago actually. I can't find anything wrong as far as torn nail or tender spot, but she doesn't sit still very long for me to look anyway. Its getting better now so I'm just monitoring that, I don't want to stress her with a vet visit and then meds because she freaks out going to the vet.
 

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cat nap cat nap ill probably come back later when I'm more awake to read through your post again. Just wanted to touch on the limping, she started limping a couple days ago actually. I can't find anything wrong as far as torn nail or tender spot, but she doesn't sit still very long for me to look anyway. Its getting better now so I'm just monitoring that, I don't want to stress her with a vet visit and then meds because she freaks out going to the vet.
Oh, ...I didn't mean to worry you...about having to take her to see the Vet or anything.
I just meant that Summer seems to be... an "all out--100% effort player"...meaning she does not seem to have a "slow down" mode.

(For something like this...I would also just monitor. Usually it's just a claw...or minor sprain...and goes away on its own....especially if the cat is very active. My male cat Tripp... has done this before...where he jumps, plays, gets his nail caught...and then is sore, limps, rests up...and continues, all the same,...once he gets better...usually anywhere from three days to a week. They recover quite quick.)

Two quick questions, though,...and only answer them..on your next update...when you have the time.
You have to enjoy the weekend, too. Remember to take plenty of time for yourself. :)
Your cats are okay. They look very good.

Question is..."Does Leafy ever reach out to touch Summer...through the Gate?"
Do they ever make contact with each other...but Leafy is the one to...initiate it?
 
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GHsaltie

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cat nap cat nap thank you as always for your observations. As to your questions, summer is definitely a hard core kitty. She spent her first year in a small cage by herself, first at a shelter and then the rescue we got her from,with very little structured play. So I think she just never really learned how to play with toys or other cats. She's just started opening up more and playing with various mice and crinkly toys over the past 2-3 months. Before that she never even touched a toy.

As for the interaction question, there was maybe two or three times before we moved that I witnessed them sniff each other without any negative reaction. I haven't noticed anything like that at our new apartment but with the hallway the way it is makes it difficult to witness all of their interactions. Initially I was going to say that Leafy never initiates any contact, however I have noticed two instances recently that are rather interesting and I'll detail them below.

So the first instance was Thursday morning, I was doing stuff in the spare bathroom which is directly across from the gate. Leafy was hanging out with me like always and she suddenly hopped down to the floor, gave a little squeaky chirp/chatter and then laid down facing summer. Like completely on her side, head laying on the floor. Summer was crouched/laying at the gate looking between me and her. That lasted for a few minutes until leafy wandered off.

The second instance was this morning. I was in the kitchen and it was kind of the same thing. Leafy laid down in the hallway and gave a tiny little chirp and then just chilled for several minutes. I got a (bad) picture, you can barely see Summers face peeking out. Sorry about the poor quality, the hallway light was out.
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