Need help introducing two cats

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #162

GHsaltie

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
94
Purraise
74
FeebysOwner FeebysOwner you had given useful advice on the last page so I thought I'd tag you too. I posted an update a few days ago and would like whatever insight there is to be had.
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
17,261
Purraise
23,412
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
FeebysOwner FeebysOwner you had given useful advice on the last page so I thought I'd tag you too. I posted an update a few days ago and would like whatever insight there is to be had.
Thanks! Once again, I somehow stopped receiving notices of posts on this thread, so I tried to go back now and refresh my memory a bit.

Are you swapping locations now? Not just you and your husband, but also switching what side of the gate the cats are on, so they have a chance to roam about the area where the other cat has been. I still wasn't clear about that.

How about hissing and growling - still going on? Does Leafy still always run away from the gate if Summer runs to the gate? These last two incidences where you mention Leafy hanging out close to the gate, what does Summer do? I guess I am beginning to wonder just how much 'animosity' there really still is.

Something you mentioned in your last update stuck out to me - you talked about Summer spending her first year in a small cage. I just wonder if having the gate up reminds her of those times and she somewhat 'blames' Leafy for her being back behind 'bars' again. This might be of an even greater issue to her if you are not switching out which side of the gate each of them spends time on.

I do think an earlier suggestion made by cat nap cat nap about relocating a blockade in an area that makes the cats more readily see each other would be beneficial. The DIY folding gates would be good for this because they can be made as long as necessary to divide a single room and still allow you and your husband to easily pass through from one side to the other. It might take some creative planning on your part to do this (I know it would with my house layout), but if the room were big enough, they could still be plenty of space apart and yet still have to see each other.
 
Last edited:

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
15,054
Purraise
19,584
Location
Nebraska, USA
Leafy chirping and laying exposed on her side like that means she is accepting Summer and wants to play. Especially with the chirping. I can't believe that in all this time Summer isn't doing the same thing! She is one stubborn cat! But she has come a LONG way from the beginning. I'm so sorry this is taking so long, someday it WILL work, I just know it, there isn't fast progress, but there IS progress! PS these threads are like keeping a diary or a log, it is pretty neat to see how fr you have come!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #165

GHsaltie

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
94
Purraise
74
Guys guys I'm so excited!! I'll come back to answer posts but first I have to tell you what happened! So for several days now I've been waiting to separate after meals are done to see what they do. Normally I would separate either as they are finishing or directly after. So because leafy has a slow feeder (she's a little snarfle monster) Summer almost always finishes first. I've been just lightly blocking her way when she would focus in on Leafy, try to skirt around or jump over the barrier. And once she settles briefly and behaves I toss her a treat, hoping to reward the desirable behavior. So tonight at dinner I did the same, she finished her supper, briefly focused on Leaf so I put a light block (just my leg so she still has easy access if she really wanted). You know what she did? She turned AWAY and instead chirped at me and rubbed on me asking for pets. I gave her some scritches and paused to see what she'd do. She still had her back to Leafy and was relatively uninterested so I gave her a treat and ended things at that point, didn't want to push my luck. Sorry for the run on, I'm just so excited by how well she did!
 

cat nap

stand with ukraine
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
5,234
Purraise
2,580
...So tonight at dinner I did the same, she finished her supper, briefly focused on Leaf so I put a light block (just my leg so she still has easy access if she really wanted). You know what she did? She turned AWAY and instead chirped at me and rubbed on me asking for pets. I gave her some scritches and paused to see what she'd do. She still had her back to Leafy and was relatively uninterested so I gave her a treat and ended things at that point, didn't want to push my luck. Sorry for the run on, I'm just so excited by how well she did!
That is fantastic, G GHsaltie .
Definitely progress for sure. :thumbsup:

I am kind of wondering about what FeebysOwner FeebysOwner asked, here, below:
Are you swapping locations now? Not just you and your husband, but also switching what side of the gate the cats are on, so they have a chance to roam about the area where the other cat has been. I still wasn't clear about that.

How about hissing and growling - still going on? Does Leafy still always run away from the gate if Summer runs to the gate? These last two incidences where you mention Leafy hanging out close to the gate, what does Summer do? I guess I am beginning to wonder just how much 'animosity' there really still is.
Especially the part about "just how much 'animosity' there really still is"?

It would be really helpful....if you can actually capture video footage...of Summer acting all aggressive, and lunging at the gate....or even acting super aggressive, towards Leafy...and catching some of those interactions.
Because, from what you have showed us, so far, ....there really is not any defensive, or offensive body language, ears down, hackles (fur on the back up), or tremendous amount of aggressive behaviour.

It may just come down to....having Summer....being conditioned...like you are doing now...with Repetition...to not chase Leafy at every chance she gets. The thing is...if it is Play...then it will be slightly difficult....to curb Summer's enthusiastic all-out Play runs...towards Leafy. That would be where the leash, or having Summer with you in a 'dog crate'...in the same room as the whole family might help.

(Though, FeebysOwner makes an excellent and interesting point...about how Summer may see 'bars' and 'cages'.
That gives a lot of pause for thought...and may explain Summer's reactions as well.
I would never have thought of that.)

Way to go...on making such good progress...in getting Summer to turn around...and walk away. Yay!
That's the kind of 'boredom'...and 'recognition', 'calmness'....we all want to see from our cats.
Bravo. :biggrin:
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #167

GHsaltie

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
94
Purraise
74
FeebysOwner FeebysOwner to answer some of your questions, I had actually forgotten about swapping their territories so I've started doing that again to hopefully change dynamics. I don't have much feasible way to relocate the barrier but I'm brainstorming ideas for that.
What you mentioned about her association of being behind bars again, I hadn't thought. I guess it didn't occur to me if a cat could remember something like that? But animals develop habits and traumas from past things so I suppose thats possible.
As for their behavior towards each other, no growling pretty much at all except in the very beginning. Hissing still every now and then but its usually very short, more than a warning I think? For instance, Summer will hiss sometimes when running at the gate (although that's less and less) or another time would be if she reaches through the gate to poke or slap Leaf then the hiss comes when Leaf looks at the source of poking. Leafy very rarely hisses, even when being hissed at she just gives a face of "what the heck was that about". The only times I've heard her hiss is during the morning pre breakfast Summer will stick her feet under the door and occasionally Leaf will slap her feet and hiss. The door is closed at night because Summer will start rattling the gate at 2-3 am.
To my knowledge there has not been any hackles raised, bowing up, flattened ears nothing along that line. Either cat will sometimes get a slight poofed tail during an initial startle, or when Summer runs at the gate and is more heightened, but otherwise nothing.
You asked about what Summer was doing during the two instances where Leafy laid nearish the gate. She was crouch laying at the gate, so not laying on her side but with her feet under her not tucked. She would be watching definitely, but didn't have that fixated look.
As for Leafy running still when Summer rushes the gate, yeah she definitely does that but she's easily startled. Leafy has always been the type to dart at an initial startle and then follow up with an irritated tail flick while she saunters off. Thats how she treats the gate thing now, she doesn't seem scared anymore it just startles her and then she walks away with tail flicking.

I think I covered all the questions so im going to add our update in a second post.
Also because yall are so patient and helpful here's a picture for tax. She was trying to "help" with the laundry.
20211210_111842.jpg
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #168

GHsaltie

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
94
Purraise
74
Okay so the update for tonight. I finally got Summer comfortable enough in the harness that I felt we could have them out together leashed. Summer was initially on the couch when we started, she did jump down pretty soon after I brought Leaf in but my husband distracted her with a treat and we all settled on the floor. We were much more sparing with the treats, only using them when Summer would zero in. And of course because she got one Leaf would want one. I think we had a separation of maybe about four feet?
For the most part Leaf just sat with me waiting for another treat and Summer was either standing or crouched next to my husband. He was petting her most of the time between treats and that kept her calm a good bit.
We did have a couple trouble spots where Summer would try to walk up to Leaf, not sure of her intent, but I had told my husband to keep distance between them so when she would feel the tension of the leash it freaked her out a little bit. It wasn't terrible though, she would just crouch down or try and reverse but would easily calm down after pets and treat.
For a couple minutes I played with Leaf and Summer actually laid down on her side watching. Although I'm not sure how much of this was because she is still reluctant to move a lot in the harness. This lasted maybe 3-4 minutes? And then Summer got up and reached out trying to touch Leafs tail (Leaf had her back to Summer). This made Leaf spin around and back up and then Summer hissed briefly and crouched down. At that point we defused i with a toy and my husband drew Summer back to him with a treat (he didn't give right away just used it to to gain some distance between them).
We let them be for another short minute just to look at each other and once they were both settled we gave a couple more treats and ended the session.
I think total it was maybe around ten minutes, I didn't think to pay attention to how long it was.
 

cat nap

stand with ukraine
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
5,234
Purraise
2,580
...For a couple minutes I played with Leaf and Summer actually laid down on her side watching. Although I'm not sure how much of this was because she is still reluctant to move a lot in the harness. This lasted maybe 3-4 minutes? And then Summer got up and reached out trying to touch Leafs tail (Leaf had her back to Summer). This made Leaf spin around and back up and then Summer hissed briefly and crouched down. At that point we defused i with a toy and my husband drew Summer back to him with a treat (he didn't give right away just used it to to gain some distance between them).
We let them be for another short minute just to look at each other and once they were both settled we gave a couple more treats and ended the session.
This is excellent.. G GHsaltie :clap: :thumbsup:.
Try doing it for longer...next time.
As long as Summer is doing well on the harness, and can be contained, ...with no escalating behaviour of being too upset...you're really doing well.

Hissing is totally okay...since it may just be the preferred way that Summer likes to communicate.
(It's what happens afterwards...that matters.)
The fact that you were able to see them both settle, quite quickly...is great. :)
Way to go...team Leafy Summer. :fallsmiley: :blush:
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #171

GHsaltie

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
94
Purraise
74
Here's another update for you guys, and a question for the next step. We've been doing sessions usually once or twice a week for average 20-30 minutes at a time. No where as frequently as I'd like but work life for both of us is leaving us exhausted. I will let the videos do most of the talking because it shows, hopefully, pretty clearly where we are at. Leafy was a lot more antsy than normal because it was right before supper and her patience was growing thin. I had four videos and because of some stupid thing with youtube it was turning them into shorts which wouldn't upload. So the first video has a transition at 0.56. The second video transitions at 0.9 and also loops once. The only thing I will note is that directly after the third video,the 8 second one, Summer crept one paw out and touched Leafs tail kind of like in the last update, but it really looked like one of those investigative pokes. One small hiss from Leaf but it was very quiet and then she hopped away, Summer just watched unfazed.
This session was 15 minutes and they ate together like normal.

So my question, whats the next step? I feel like they are ready for more. I was thinking about letting Leafy wander around the room with Summer harnessed since she's more likely to cause an issue, what do you guys think? Also a picture of Summer being cute and letting me cuddle her. I love her one-sided mustache
20220107_112059.jpg
20220107_115952.jpg
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
15,054
Purraise
19,584
Location
Nebraska, USA
I would do exactly that. I would encourage closer contact too, like nose touching and seeing what happens. If they hiss and swat, well that is normal. I see exactly NO signs of hostility or aggression. Keeping Summer harnessed is a good idea. You might try a little playtime too with them both harnessed and in the same room, they need to see other actions from each other rather than just slow movements. They are very aware of each other and are keeping a very close eye on each other, but I think you have come a long way!
 

cat nap

stand with ukraine
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
5,234
Purraise
2,580
I would do exactly that. I would encourage closer contact too, like nose touching and seeing what happens. If they hiss and swat, well that is normal. I see exactly NO signs of hostility or aggression. Keeping Summer harnessed is a good idea. You might try a little playtime too with them both harnessed and in the same room, they need to see other actions from each other rather than just slow movements. They are very aware of each other and are keeping a very close eye on each other, but I think you have come a long way!
:yeah: Great advice from di and bob.
I especially like the 'nose touching' part.
Also allowing them to "see each others actions"...more and more.
Here's another update for you guys, and a question for the next step. We've been doing sessions usually once or twice a week for average 20-30 minutes at a time. No where as frequently as I'd like but work life for both of us is leaving us exhausted. I will let the videos do most of the talking because it shows, hopefully, pretty clearly where we are at. Leafy was a lot more antsy than normal because it was right before supper and her patience was growing thin. I had four videos and because of some stupid thing with youtube it was turning them into shorts which wouldn't upload. So the first video has a transition at 0.56. The second video transitions at 0.9 and also loops once. The only thing I will note is that directly after the third video,the 8 second one, Summer crept one paw out and touched Leafs tail kind of like in the last update, but it really looked like one of those investigative pokes. One small hiss from Leaf but it was very quiet and then she hopped away, Summer just watched unfazed.
Fantastic video !! So wonderful to see. :cheerleader::clap:
Thank you so much for posting them. :blush:
I am so impressed by all that you have done, G GHsaltie ...and your hubby, too. :thumbsup:

Some small suggestion that I would add to 'di and bob' advice...is that when you give a 'treat' to one cat...make sure to also give a treat to the other cat...even if the other cat does not want to eat it...just so no jealousy or envy happens.
It may not even happen...but just in case...it's good to try and treat both cats with the same actions.

I honestly don't see any signs of aggression at all.
Both cats' body language is really good.
Summer at one point...even moves into a more relaxed position...laying on the floor...by shifting from both paws under her...to having her front paws out in front of her.

Also, Leafy looks very interested in either Summer, or your husband,..because at one point...Leafy wants to go over and join them. :lol:
There is no fear from Leafy, at all.

Summer is tracking Leafy, with her eyes...and watching Leafy's movements...but no actual hostility...is shown by her body language.
No aggressive ear movements, head or body movements. Summer just looks like she wants to come over to Leafy...closer and closer.
In fact, when Summer does move closer to Leafy...and then lays down...there are no signs of being aggressive at all.
More like she wants to come over and Play with Leafy...and like you said...touch her.

Would have loved to see the 'touch the tail' actions...but hoping that the next videos...may show some closer contact...and how each cat reacts.

You've both done such an amazing job with these cats. :)
This session was 15 minutes and they ate together like normal.
Wow. I cannot believe that they don't bother each other...at all when eating.
I am so happy about that. :cloud9:

I've never actually saw a cat eat as fast ...and enjoy her meal...as much as Summer does. hahaha.
Is this her usual routine?
(mine are more like grazers...that get two wet meals....nd then dry is left out...but my male cat is getting too large...so will probably have to put him on some diet.)

Does Summer growl at Leafy...when she is eating...to prevent Leafy...or warn Leafy not to come over?

I really like that mat...that you use for Leafy...to slow down her eating, too. :biggrin:
It really looks like it works...and she looks to enjoy it, too.

If they can eat that close to each other...for 15 minutes...and no altercations take place...then that is just beautiful to see.
Just wonderful.
So my question, whats the next step? I feel like they are ready for more. I was thinking about letting Leafy wander around the room with Summer harnessed since she's more likely to cause an issue, what do you guys think? Also a picture of Summer being cute and letting me cuddle her. I love her one-sided mustache
Yes, definitely go for it.
Letting Leafy wander sounds great...with Summer being harnessed.

I didn't know that Summer has a 'one sided mustache'....lol.
I had to go back into the thread...to be able to see her entire face.
Yup...one sided mustache...so cute. :lol:

I still get confused on which cat is which.
the way I remember it now...is that Leafy ...has a white line on her nose...which reminds me of the 'stem of a leaf'...therefore...Leafy. 🍂🍃🌱🍀
Her coat colouring is also different...but really...unless I see her nose...I cannot tell them apart. :blush:
Good Luck. Take care.
Keep up the great Work. :hellocomputer:
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #174

GHsaltie

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
94
Purraise
74
We had another session this evening. We tried to let them be more natural and move about if they wanted to. Leafy would play a little bit but Summer didn't care to. For the most part we were good, Summer was a bit.. pushy? She kept creeping closer and closer and I could tell it was making Leafy a bit nervous. At one point they were actually quite close, maybe two feet away? They both got very tense and Summer lowered her head, like they do when stalking prey, and then Leaf backed up and walked away. Towards the end we did have a spat. Leaf was sitting next to the couch and Summer lunged out, they both hissed and swatted and then separated. We let them calm down for a couple minutes and once they seemed to be a little less tense they both started getting pets and a couple treats again. Waited another 5-6 minutes and then ended the session. Summer was okay but definitely more tense than normally after a session. She swatted at my husband when he took the leash off so we left the harness until she came to us and cuddled on the couch which was only a couple minutes later. Leaf is fine as far as I can tell.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #175

GHsaltie

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
94
Purraise
74
I forgot to add, I didn't notice any relaxed laying from Summer this time. Normally at least once she will lay more on her side or her legs out, but this time she stayed in a crouched "ready" position the entire time.
And I forgot to answer your question cat nap cat nap about mealtimes. Yes Summer loves her dry food, I'm trying to slowly wean her onto at least some wet but she's stubborn. I got the feeding mat for Leafy because she would eat so fast and throw it up right after. Haven't had any issues since getting the mats, its wonderful.
In regards to growling, no neither of them have growled, hissed or so much as a peep in several months during mealtime.
 

cat nap

stand with ukraine
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
5,234
Purraise
2,580
We had another session this evening. We tried to let them be more natural and move about if they wanted to. Leafy would play a little bit but Summer didn't care to. For the most part we were good, Summer was a bit.. pushy? She kept creeping closer and closer and I could tell it was making Leafy a bit nervous. At one point they were actually quite close, maybe two feet away? They both got very tense and Summer lowered her head, like they do when stalking prey, and then Leaf backed up and walked away.
This really sounds like Play.
Just that the way...Summer wants to Play...might be a little too forceful...for Leafy.
Still...a great meeting.

If they do get into a scuffle...remember to remain all calm. :cool2:
(They often pick up...on all our human emotions...so remaining very calm,...and neutral...is the way to act.)

(Remember deep breaths in...deep breaths out...just through your noses...so silently...so the cats cannot tell.)
Towards the end we did have a spat. Leaf was sitting next to the couch and Summer lunged out, they both hissed and swatted and then separated. We let them calm down for a couple minutes and once they seemed to be a little less tense they both started getting pets and a couple treats again. Waited another 5-6 minutes and then ended the session.
Sounds good.
The minor spats are to be expected. :greenpaw:

The cats actually 'separated on their own'??
Because if so...then that is a bonus. :think:

Also, a bonus...if they can calm down so quickly. :lol:
I would not give treats...so close in time of the spat...but more like...after the 5-6 minutes...and end the session with treats...when everyone is calm.
Summer was okay but definitely more tense than normally after a session. She swatted at my husband when he took the leash off so we left the harness until she came to us and cuddled on the couch which was only a couple minutes later. Leaf is fine as far as I can tell.
Good thinking about leaving the harness on Summer...until she completely calms down.

**For the next sessions...try to Play with Summer and Leafy...before hand...separately...to get as much Energy out of them that you can.
This way...they will not have Excess Energy...when going into their face to face meetings.

You guys are doing great. :goldstar: :jive:
To have a cat, come and cuddle with you...and only minutes later is 'wow'. :lol:
Some cats can hold 'grudges' (not real grudges...just their version of a grudge)...and will stay away...or angry and fearful...for longer times.
 

cat nap

stand with ukraine
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
5,234
Purraise
2,580
I would not give treats...so close in time of the spat...but more like...after the 5-6 minutes...and end the session with treats...when everyone is calm.
Hi G GHsaltie ...I realized late last night...that I gave you some terrible advice. :disappointed:
The above...about the timing...of when to give treats.

(I kept thinking about it...because I am helping a friend with their two cats...and we give treats at the start of a session...but we also were giving treats...during the session, when his new female cat was growling...at his male cat.
We did this to distract her, from growling, ...thinking that it would calm her down.
Then we ended the session...with more treats...to end it on a Positive.

So now I'm all confused a bit...***since I actually think it's okay to give treats...when a cat is upset...to 'distract them from those emotions' and 'help them to feel better'...also to 'break the cycle of their fear escalating'.

My confusion happens...because I was thinking that in Summer and Leaf's situation...I didn't want them to feel 'rewarded' right after being in a fight...but then when I thought about it...I'm really not sure...if cats do make that type of association...with being given a treat...and the incident that happened right before.
It's probably better to give the treat...as a form of Distraction...and to get them feeling good about a stressful situation.
It calms them down faster...by making them feel good with food treat.


***Also trying out some 'calming treats'...may work, too. :bluepaw:
Looking online for the latest reviews, and what people suggest, would help.

Basically I'm saying...that whatever you and your hubby are doing...IS working.:thumbsup:
You have really good instincts...so carry on...and disregard any dumb advice I give...in the future, too. :paperbag: :lol:
Have a Good Week.
 
Top