New (feral) cat introduction went well until it didn't

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JerseyCatMom

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"We have had our new guy separated in his own room for almost three weeks (ugh), got him his own cat tree, and other than wanting to get out when he hears the other cats, he seems just fine." - Great.

"The resident cats eat all their meals outside his room." - Perfect. How close to the door are the bowls? And how ais the body languae of the cats (both new and resident)? Do they seem relaxed? Is it positive?

"My resident male is not the same as he used to be. No longer enjoys playing as much, is more moody and has had episodes of being a jerk brother to our female resident cat. They always had their issues, but no hissing, just running and backing off, sometimes rolling on the floor after a cleaning session went bad. Now he is very moody, and we try to engage him in play and may get a paw to move and that's about it. He follows me up to the "other" cat's room and waits outside or across the little hallway into the original cat room where we have litter boxes and some more toys." - Ok, that is normal. We need to do more work with him to make that positive association, build the confidence. So we'll want to make every encounter as positive s possible so distract as needed to reassure him that all is ok. Give him a little extra love and attention (as long as you are not at risk of being hurt). Keep trying to play. Stay calm and confident and loving around him. We want him to feel more confident and trusting. We want him to know he will not be hurt by this new "intruder". This is normal since it is his territory being "invaded". So we just need to show him that the new cat isn't a threat to his food, water, physical well being, etc.

"As far as our new guy, he always plays with us when we come in, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. He will walk away and go to sleep in his bed with me in there, and I still hang out in there with him even though he is asleep. He has his extra affectionate days and a few days not so much. I have yet to be able to lift him. He may put a paw on my leg, but does not climb up. I can put my hands under his belly when he is eating, but I would not try to lift him then. So I am still limited in that area. We have slept in there, get down on the floor with him and let him sniff us, but he may step on us to get somewhere else, but not stay." - Great. He is doing really well. That will help us a lot. Just keep doing what you are doing, he is doing great.

"I worry about building the confidence of my other cats, especially my resident boy that gives us glimpses of who he used to be, but is definitely not the same. He took the brunt of the "attacks" and kept coming back with the goal of being in the same room as us, being able to look out a window, being able to nap in our bedroom, etc. He can do all this now, but I know he knows the dude that caused him stress is still here." - Don't worry, we will get there. We have a number of avenues to build confidence. Play, Food, Height and Love. And also positive encounters. So every time a cat smells another cat, or sees them, or eats near them (with scent) and nothing negative happens it is a positive that builds confidence. So we just reinforce positive encounters and minimize or avoid negative encounters. And the more nothing bad happens the more trust and confidence is built. It is a process but we will get there. And during this just try to be as normal around them as possible. The fact you are seeing "glimpses" of who he used to be is a great sign of progress. We will get there, don't worry.

"Would you say it is time to allow more visual access to each other. If they eat near each other with our setup with no issues, then I guess being able to see each other safely would be next." - I don't think yet. I would like the resident boy to get a bit more comfortable. I want him to be a bit more like his old self. Keep letting me know how he is acting, etc. You are correct though, visual is the next step. The biggest mistake I see is people rushing the process. I really like the progress so far (being able to eat with the door closed with no issues) so let's keep reinforcing that and let me know how the resident boy is acting. I want him to be more aloof, ambivalent around the new guy a bit more. So like when he jumps on the banister to look into the new guy's room I would like to see that diminished or better body language. When he does go up there reassure him that everything is ok. De-escalate. It is a fair amount of art but you are good with cats so I think you know how to do it.

Don't worry about the new guy's territory. For now, the amount of territory is fine for him. The most important part is to get the resident boy feeling more confident, more trusting. The new guy sounds like he is doing great.

We'll figure out where we are when you go away. The main part from here is making positive associations (feeding on opposite sides of the closed door (no visual for now) and making every encounter as positive as possible and reassuring/distracting if you sense any tension. The avoidance of negatives is a positive and builds trust and confidence.

You are very welcome. I am happy to help. Never feel like you can't post something, etc. The more info the better so I am happy to help. I think you are doing great. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. We'll get there. The new guy is doing great. We just need to help the resident boy and reinforce that the new guy is positive and not a negative or a threat. It sounds like it is going well so far. And the more confident the cats are the more likely they will accept and be accepted.

Please let me know if that makes sense. And ask any questions for clarification etc. Happy to help. I am really pleased at the progress.
Thanks so much for your reply. Again, I truly appreciate it. We are trying to build up the confidence of both resident cats, but it honestly feels like a lost cause some days. I don't have the same cats that I had before we brought the new one home. We thought maybe it was the heat so we cranked up the a.c. We try different times of day to play, and we get small responses, but not the cats flying through the air anymore. Lots of love, sometimes rejected, sometimes accepted. My cats are very chill. We chose our girl because she was chill at the shelter - friendly, but not climbing on us. Just observing life and not worried about any of the other cats. My boy always comes up on the sofa near me at night and I did not really want a lap cat to challenge him and she is so not a lap cat. My girl's love language is food and my boy's love language is height. He will sometimes cry for us to put him up on the top of the cabinets or the refrigerator. When he was a kitten, my 6'5" son used to pick him up and put him up high to get away from his brother who picked on him (we took him when my son's girlfriend had to find a home for him or get kicked out of her apartment). So when our new guy was out and about (escaped), my boy took a position of height (on the arm of the sofa) and the new guy would "talk" to him from below giving him the respect he was asking for. Once he came down from the higher position, it was over.

I guess we are impatient. My husband truly wants to take down the pegboard and start them seeing each other again. My resident male lunged at the bottom of the gate yesterday when I was on the outside with him. When I am with our new guy and my boy is outside the gate, I use wand toys to play with both of them at the same time. Happy happy, joy joy - mostly me playing and them touching the toy. Most of the time I am in there, though, he will go across the hallway and sleep in the official cat room. I bring out treats, but he doesn't care about them unless he cares about them. I got him to play outside the new guy's room last night while my husband was in the room, but nothing energetic.

This morning, my resident female got down low and looked under the door and hissed. She has had zero issues eating there with him right on the other side of the door because food is her friend. My boy used to sleep on the bed with me at night, at my feet to start and then I had to move so he could share my pillow. He has not slept on the bed since he figured out we got the new cat. They still mostly sleep in our bedroom and are not obsessing outside the new cat's room, but that is a huge change for him and me. If I hang out in the bedroom in the morning like on Saturday, he will come up on the bed and snuggle sometimes. He is definitely trying to show who the boss is to his sister. She won't take it and he backs off. Normally, they would start cleaning each other and one of them will get upset and it ends with them rolling on the floor and then running - one in the lead, then the other. Now he just tries to start something for no reason. The way she handled our new cat was to hiss at him as he got closer to her and then run if she could. He would seek her out and she hid. Once he knew he could get rid of her, he worked on our boy. Then she would just watch from her scratching box in the loft like it was a show. The day he went after her again, our boy ran after them and ended up taking her place in the "fight." I am just sharing that because I think their personalities are not super confident, but easy going unless provoked. We are trying to build up their confidence, but that may be trying to change who they are.

We want this to work, but we also don't want to force any of them to be something they aren't. I had this dream of having five cats. :( Sorry this is so long. I am just trying to think of things about my cats that might help. Maybe someday, I can help someone else. Thank you again so so much.
 

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My boy used to sleep on the bed with me at night, at my feet to start and then I had to move so he could share my pillow. He has not slept on the bed since he figured out we got the new cat.
A cat added to an established territory will cause changes in dynamics, which is to say this is something that could be considered normal. It's possible that once the "dust" settles, you may have all the cats sleeping with you, or none of them :)
Do try and keep your emotions from trying to get inside theirs. They are working hard to determine where their new levels are and for you to be as calm as possible, and to go about your day as normally as possible, is the best thing you can do for them and for you :)
 
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JerseyCatMom

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A cat added to an established territory will cause changes in dynamics, which is to say this is something that could be considered normal. It's possible that once the "dust" settles, you may have all the cats sleeping with you, or none of them :)
Do try and keep your emotions from trying to get inside theirs. They are working hard to determine where their new levels are and for you to be as calm as possible, and to go about your day as normally as possible, is the best thing you can do for them and for you :)
Thank you. That helps. I am working from home and trying to be as normal and extra upbeat and positive as possible. I would LOVE for all of them to end up in our bed - then maybe I can get a king bed. :) This is hard stuff. I am spending my breaks visiting with my little locked up boy and then when I am out, I am working but will visit my cats and give love. Sometimes they visit me to sleep near me. I am trying to read into everything and doing what is best for all. We have had labs all of our lives. You add a lab, they get moody, but allow the other lab to cuddle with them and annoy them, and nothing happens. This is like science!
 

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Thanks so much for your reply. Again, I truly appreciate it. We are trying to build up the confidence of both resident cats, but it honestly feels like a lost cause some days. I don't have the same cats that I had before we brought the new one home. We thought maybe it was the heat so we cranked up the a.c. We try different times of day to play, and we get small responses, but not the cats flying through the air anymore. Lots of love, sometimes rejected, sometimes accepted. My cats are very chill. We chose our girl because she was chill at the shelter - friendly, but not climbing on us. Just observing life and not worried about any of the other cats. My boy always comes up on the sofa near me at night and I did not really want a lap cat to challenge him and she is so not a lap cat. My girl's love language is food and my boy's love language is height. He will sometimes cry for us to put him up on the top of the cabinets or the refrigerator. When he was a kitten, my 6'5" son used to pick him up and put him up high to get away from his brother who picked on him (we took him when my son's girlfriend had to find a home for him or get kicked out of her apartment). So when our new guy was out and about (escaped), my boy took a position of height (on the arm of the sofa) and the new guy would "talk" to him from below giving him the respect he was asking for. Once he came down from the higher position, it was over.

I guess we are impatient. My husband truly wants to take down the pegboard and start them seeing each other again. My resident male lunged at the bottom of the gate yesterday when I was on the outside with him. When I am with our new guy and my boy is outside the gate, I use wand toys to play with both of them at the same time. Happy happy, joy joy - mostly me playing and them touching the toy. Most of the time I am in there, though, he will go across the hallway and sleep in the official cat room. I bring out treats, but he doesn't care about them unless he cares about them. I got him to play outside the new guy's room last night while my husband was in the room, but nothing energetic.

This morning, my resident female got down low and looked under the door and hissed. She has had zero issues eating there with him right on the other side of the door because food is her friend. My boy used to sleep on the bed with me at night, at my feet to start and then I had to move so he could share my pillow. He has not slept on the bed since he figured out we got the new cat. They still mostly sleep in our bedroom and are not obsessing outside the new cat's room, but that is a huge change for him and me. If I hang out in the bedroom in the morning like on Saturday, he will come up on the bed and snuggle sometimes. He is definitely trying to show who the boss is to his sister. She won't take it and he backs off. Normally, they would start cleaning each other and one of them will get upset and it ends with them rolling on the floor and then running - one in the lead, then the other. Now he just tries to start something for no reason. The way she handled our new cat was to hiss at him as he got closer to her and then run if she could. He would seek her out and she hid. Once he knew he could get rid of her, he worked on our boy. Then she would just watch from her scratching box in the loft like it was a show. The day he went after her again, our boy ran after them and ended up taking her place in the "fight." I am just sharing that because I think their personalities are not super confident, but easy going unless provoked. We are trying to build up their confidence, but that may be trying to change who they are.

We want this to work, but we also don't want to force any of them to be something they aren't. I had this dream of having five cats. :( Sorry this is so long. I am just trying to think of things about my cats that might help. Maybe someday, I can help someone else. Thank you again so so much.
You are very welcome.

"We are trying to build up the confidence of both resident cats, but it honestly feels like a lost cause some days." - Yes, there are always ups and downs, good days and bad days. It is normal. It is like dating, we don't get married and move in right away, we take some time to build trust, etc. I am not reading anything that is concerning, abnormal, etc. Everything is normal. Just keep trying, reassuring, making positive associations and positive encounters. You will get there.

"I don't have the same cats that I had before we brought the new one home." - Again, that is normal as a potential threat has come into "their" territory. They don't know if the new cat will take their food away, or their territory or harm them. So that is why we build that trust through positive associations (feeding) and trying to make every encounter as positive as possible. You are going through all the normal emotions. Once you see more progress you will understand what we are talking about. The fact they are eating on each side of the closed door is very positive. When ready we will go to some visual. Just steps to build trust and let the cats know it is not a threat.

"So when our new guy was out and about (escaped), my boy took a position of height (on the arm of the sofa) and the new guy would "talk" to him from below giving him the respect he was asking for. Once he came down from the higher position, it was over." - Ok, great. We can use Height as a tool in their intros. This is great to know.

"I guess we are impatient." - Pretty much everyone I work with is. Again, that is normal. But we have to go at the cat's pace. The biggest mistake I encounter is rushed intros which only extend the time to get to success.

"My husband truly wants to take down the pegboard and start them seeing each other again. My resident male lunged at the bottom of the gate yesterday when I was on the outside with him." - Well, the lunge tells us he is not ready. It is a negative encounter. :/ I am not so worried about how the new boy will respond but it shows we have work to do with the resident boy.

"When I am with our new guy and my boy is outside the gate, I use wand toys to play with both of them at the same time." - How do you do this? Can they see each other? If they are sensing each other and enjoying themselves that is very positive.

"Happy happy, joy joy - mostly me playing and them touching the toy." - That is fine. Our goal is positivity.

"Most of the time I am in there, though, he will go across the hallway and sleep in the official cat room." - The new guy? I think that is positive. I have no issue with that. If he is happy, positive body language that is great.

"I bring out treats, but he doesn't care about them unless he cares about them." - That happens. Not an issue.

" I got him to play outside the new guy's room last night while my husband was in the room, but nothing energetic." - THAT is GREAT!!! Positive association, positive encounter, confidence building. That is great. Keep trying to do that. Exactly what we want.

"This morning, my resident female got down low and looked under the door and hissed." - That happens. If you see that just reassure her. "It's ok". Calm, confident, loving tone. If she settles down it is a positive as a negative is ended or avoided.

"My boy used to sleep on the bed with me at night, at my feet to start and then I had to move so he could share my pillow. He has not slept on the bed since he figured out we got the new cat." - This happens. I know it is disappointing BUT remember cats take on our emotions. So the more sad, stressed etc we are the more they are. So just accept the change and reassure him. We'll get there.

"They still mostly sleep in our bedroom and are not obsessing outside the new cat's room" - THAT is GREAT.

"but that is a huge change for him and me." - Yes, I know.

"If I hang out in the bedroom in the morning like on Saturday, he will come up on the bed and snuggle sometimes." - That is very good.

'" He is definitely trying to show who the boss is to his sister." - Yes, redirection of his frustration.

" She won't take it and he backs off." - THAT is VERY good.

"Normally, they would start cleaning each other and one of them will get upset and it ends with them rolling on the floor and then running - one in the lead, then the other. Now he just tries to start something for no reason." - I know and again it is very common. We just need to reassure him and let him know all is ok. I deal with this all the time in intros. Nothing that can't be handled.

"The way she handled our new cat was to hiss at him as he got closer to her and then run if she could. He would seek her out and she hid. Once he knew he could get rid of her, he worked on our boy. Then she would just watch from her scratching box in the loft like it was a show. The day he went after her again, our boy ran after them and ended up taking her place in the "fight." I am just sharing that because I think their personalities are not super confident, but easy going unless provoked. We are trying to build up their confidence, but that may be trying to change who they are." - Building confidence will not change who they are. They may need less "protection" but the fundamental personalities will still be there and may even bloom more. And again, that is normal interactions when cats have been rushed in their intro. Super confident maybe not but not seriously lacking confidence either. I am not worried about their confidence per se, though I do think we need to build the resident boy's a touch.

"We want this to work, but we also don't want to force any of them to be something they aren't." - Don't worry. We will not force anyone. We are going to build trust and let them be who they are. I am not worried.

"I had this dream of having five cats." - :) Hopefully it was a good dream. You will be an expert in intros after this.

"Sorry this is so long." - NO NEED to apologize. The more info the better. I am here for you and your cats and to get to success. Time and posts are not an issue. The only issue I would have is if you are holding something back worried about my time.


Furballsmom is EXACTLY correct here - "A cat added to an established territory will cause changes in dynamics, which is to say this is something that could be considered normal. It's possible that once the "dust" settles, you may have all the cats sleeping with you, or none of them :)

"Do try and keep your emotions from trying to get inside theirs. They are working hard to determine where their new levels are and for you to be as calm as possible, and to go about your day as normally as possible, is the best thing you can do for them and for you"

"I am working from home and trying to be as normal and extra upbeat and positive as possible. I would LOVE for all of them to end up in our bed - then maybe I can get a king bed. :) This is hard stuff. I am spending my breaks visiting with my little locked up boy and then when I am out, I am working but will visit my cats and give love. Sometimes they visit me to sleep near me. I am trying to read into everything and doing what is best for all. We have had labs all of our lives. You add a lab, they get moody, but allow the other lab to cuddle with them and annoy them, and nothing happens. This is like science!" - Cats really take on our emotions so being as calm and confident as possible is important. Cats are much more territorial than dogs. BUT it is something we are aware of and deal with. Please don't stress. We can handle this. There is nothing I am reading that says to me that this is "different". This is normal cat intro stuff I have seen literally hundreds of times. If we follow the process I am highly confident they will be intro'd.

Hang in there. I will be with you every step of the way.
 
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JerseyCatMom

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You are such a source of encouragement. Thank you! I think we had a good week. No more hissing since that one incident with our resident female, some footsies under the pegboard covered gate instead. My resident male will hang out more near the gate with me inside the room. Mostly he likes to go and sleep in the room across the hall. I use a wand toy under the gate to try to get him to play and include both cats at the same time. He may touch it or just watch, but I feel like we are all playing together. All meals and snacks are still at the gate. Resident boy is playing more. The biggest distraction for a week has been a mouse sighting. My female parks herself at the refrigerator every night. After their snack time at the gate, she goes back down to await the mouse. They told me something was going on in the pantry, so I searched it and found a few droppings inside the pantry door, but that is it. The mouse access from the basement has always been behind the refrigerator where the water line is, but we have not had one mouse in five years. Both cats were spending the entire night down there, but my boy just visits her now and sleeps in our bedroom. My girl sleeps a lot during the day to make up for her hopeful encounter.

As I was writing this, my resident male showed up for cuddles. That was so encouraging. I don't work today, so I am slower to get out of bed and he showed up. We would still be there, but our new boy was meowing at the gate so my husband came up to visit him and gave him a couple treats. The residents showed up and my husband moved the pegboard six inches to the right so they could all see each other through the gate. Nothing happened, my boy (not food motivated) hung around and then went to his happy room and I joined him there. My girl has turned down treats and her food back during the first introduction, and it ended up the only way to get her there was tuna. Today she stayed for treats with a view and then he closed it and I fed her - no issues. My husband sitting there blocked a direct encounter, so it was more of a glimpse for a few minutes.

My new boy was super affectionate last night and again this morning. We did end up putting a passage from his room into the original cat room through the closets. We do not keep it open, but we found it a great way for them to swap scent without losing control of our new feral, can't pick up yet boy. He runs around in there, checks to make sure the opening still exists, and when it does not, he climbs into one of the soft sided pet carriers. He loves that room when he has the whole house, but this is on different terms. Still, a happier cat in there with yesterday's visit. One day I opened it up for him just to see what he would do, and he went in there and slept in a carrier. :)

I ordered a large dog crate from Chewy to add to the one we have so eventually we will have a cat condo. I'm not sure if you are the one who suggested that, but with the price of cat condos and the fact that we own a dog crate already, the idea is to build a condo that his cat tree will fit in. He would have places to climb on, hide, his food, his bed and his litter box while being able to see all of us safely in the room we hang out in the most so that he can be with us, learn about our comings and goings, hear other house noises. He was pretty confident with the cats after a day or two the first time around, but if my husband stood up and walked around, he would run and hide in once of his five safe zones. Our only struggle with the condo will be getting him in the first time and after every time we let him run free.

Today is one month back in his room. I welcome any advice for next steps. Removing the pegboard? I may add a photo or video of our set-up if I can find one. My phone is so full of cat photos, it does not always cooperate. Thank you again soooooo much.

PS - I just took a few photos of our current set-up as my video of all three of the cats eating says it is unavailable - just spins. Ugh. Anyway, the old plastic gate we have allows less vision than the new one we got except for the edges, so we have the pegboard. We raised up the gate to allow some footsies and raise the pegboard with different wood blocks. Not fancy, but it works. We also put pegboard on the top to stop the escapes. Also added the nightly mouse patrol.

IMG-7942.jpg IMG-7943.jpg IMG-7933.jpg
 

calicosrspecial

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You are such a source of encouragement. Thank you! I think we had a good week. No more hissing since that one incident with our resident female, some footsies under the pegboard covered gate instead. My resident male will hang out more near the gate with me inside the room. Mostly he likes to go and sleep in the room across the hall. I use a wand toy under the gate to try to get him to play and include both cats at the same time. He may touch it or just watch, but I feel like we are all playing together. All meals and snacks are still at the gate. Resident boy is playing more. The biggest distraction for a week has been a mouse sighting. My female parks herself at the refrigerator every night. After their snack time at the gate, she goes back down to await the mouse. They told me something was going on in the pantry, so I searched it and found a few droppings inside the pantry door, but that is it. The mouse access from the basement has always been behind the refrigerator where the water line is, but we have not had one mouse in five years. Both cats were spending the entire night down there, but my boy just visits her now and sleeps in our bedroom. My girl sleeps a lot during the day to make up for her hopeful encounter.

As I was writing this, my resident male showed up for cuddles. That was so encouraging. I don't work today, so I am slower to get out of bed and he showed up. We would still be there, but our new boy was meowing at the gate so my husband came up to visit him and gave him a couple treats. The residents showed up and my husband moved the pegboard six inches to the right so they could all see each other through the gate. Nothing happened, my boy (not food motivated) hung around and then went to his happy room and I joined him there. My girl has turned down treats and her food back during the first introduction, and it ended up the only way to get her there was tuna. Today she stayed for treats with a view and then he closed it and I fed her - no issues. My husband sitting there blocked a direct encounter, so it was more of a glimpse for a few minutes.

My new boy was super affectionate last night and again this morning. We did end up putting a passage from his room into the original cat room through the closets. We do not keep it open, but we found it a great way for them to swap scent without losing control of our new feral, can't pick up yet boy. He runs around in there, checks to make sure the opening still exists, and when it does not, he climbs into one of the soft sided pet carriers. He loves that room when he has the whole house, but this is on different terms. Still, a happier cat in there with yesterday's visit. One day I opened it up for him just to see what he would do, and he went in there and slept in a carrier. :)

I ordered a large dog crate from Chewy to add to the one we have so eventually we will have a cat condo. I'm not sure if you are the one who suggested that, but with the price of cat condos and the fact that we own a dog crate already, the idea is to build a condo that his cat tree will fit in. He would have places to climb on, hide, his food, his bed and his litter box while being able to see all of us safely in the room we hang out in the most so that he can be with us, learn about our comings and goings, hear other house noises. He was pretty confident with the cats after a day or two the first time around, but if my husband stood up and walked around, he would run and hide in once of his five safe zones. Our only struggle with the condo will be getting him in the first time and after every time we let him run free.

Today is one month back in his room. I welcome any advice for next steps. Removing the pegboard? I may add a photo or video of our set-up if I can find one. My phone is so full of cat photos, it does not always cooperate. Thank you again soooooo much.

PS - I just took a few photos of our current set-up as my video of all three of the cats eating says it is unavailable - just spins. Ugh. Anyway, the old plastic gate we have allows less vision than the new one we got except for the edges, so we have the pegboard. We raised up the gate to allow some footsies and raise the pegboard with different wood blocks. Not fancy, but it works. We also put pegboard on the top to stop the escapes. Also added the nightly mouse patrol.

View attachment 341094View attachment 341095View attachment 341096
You are welcome.

Well, it is easy to be encouraging with what I am reading and your desire and efforts.

"No more hissing since that one incident with our resident female" - Great. Let's keep trying to reinforce that. Positive encounters that are building trust. It is all about repetition as it builds trust.

"some footsies under the pegboard covered gate instead." - With the female? Does the body language look good?

"My resident male will hang out more near the gate with me inside the room." - AWESOME!! Shows he is building trust. And if nothing negative is happening it is a positive that builds trust.

"Mostly he likes to go and sleep in the room across the hall." - That is fine. Again, as long as it is a positive it builds trust and confidence.

"I use a wand toy under the gate to try to get him to play and include both cats at the same time. He may touch it or just watch, but I feel like we are all playing together." - Really good. Just make sure it is positive.

"All meals and snacks are still at the gate." - Perfect. Keep that up.

"Resident boy is playing more." - GREAT. Helps build confidence which will help a lot down the road as a confident cat is more likely to accept and be accepted.

"The biggest distraction for a week has been a mouse sighting. My female parks herself at the refrigerator every night. After their snack time at the gate, she goes back down to await the mouse. They told me something was going on in the pantry, so I searched it and found a few droppings inside the pantry door, but that is it. The mouse access from the basement has always been behind the refrigerator where the water line is, but we have not had one mouse in five years. Both cats were spending the entire night down there, but my boy just visits her now and sleeps in our bedroom. My girl sleeps a lot during the day to make up for her hopeful encounter." - Yep. Though we don't like them they sure do.

"As I was writing this, my resident male showed up for cuddles. That was so encouraging. I don't work today, so I am slower to get out of bed and he showed up. We would still be there " - Awesome!! Those positive human emotions should help him also since cats take on our emotions.

"but our new boy was meowing at the gate so my husband came up to visit him and gave him a couple treats." - Very good.

"The residents showed up and my husband moved the pegboard six inches to the right so they could all see each other through the gate." - Oh my, I think it still may be a touch early.

"Nothing happened" - Very good though. Just take it slow. We want to reinforce positive encounters and avoid any negative encounters. The biggest mistake people make is going to fast. But this is a good sign.

"my boy (not food motivated) hung around and then went to his happy room and I joined him there." - That is really encouraging but we do want to take it slow and make sure it is positive. But this is really good. Anytime a cat walks away in a positive way it is really positive as a cat would never turn their back on a potential threat.

"My girl has turned down treats and her food back during the first introduction, and it ended up the only way to get her there was tuna. Today she stayed for treats with a view and then he closed it and I fed her - no issues." - AWESOME!!

"My husband sitting there blocked a direct encounter, so it was more of a glimpse for a few minutes." Great. It helps make it more positive and reduces the risk of a negative encounter.

"My new boy was super affectionate last night and again this morning. We did end up putting a passage from his room into the original cat room through the closets. We do not keep it open, but we found it a great way for them to swap scent without losing control of our new feral, can't pick up yet boy." - Ok that is good. Again smelling the other cat(s) and nothing negative happening is a positive. You can reassure, play etc with him/them in that room with the others scents there so make a positive association as well.

"He runs around in there, checks to make sure the opening still exists, and when it does not, he climbs into one of the soft sided pet carriers. He loves that room when he has the whole house, but this is on different terms. Still, a happier cat in there with yesterday's visit. One day I opened it up for him just to see what he would do, and he went in there and slept in a carrier." - The new boy., correct? That is great. What do you mean "when he has the whole house"?

"I ordered a large dog crate from Chewy to add to the one we have so eventually we will have a cat condo. I'm not sure if you are the one who suggested that, but with the price of cat condos and the fact that we own a dog crate already, the idea is to build a condo that his cat tree will fit in. He would have places to climb on, hide, his food, his bed and his litter box while being able to see all of us safely in the room we hang out in the most so that he can be with us, learn about our comings and goings, hear other house noises." - Ok, but honestly I don't think it is necessary though. When we get through he will be intro'd and be going all around (safely).

"He was pretty confident with the cats after a day or two the first time around" - That happens fairly often but it is usually a false sign. That is why we do the intro and confidence building.

"but if my husband stood up and walked around, he would run and hide in once of his five safe zones." - Totally normal and again why we do what we are doing. The "process". I socialize ferals all the time (both indoors and outdoors) and there are things we do to build trust between human and cat (starting with food). Not anything to worry about.

"Our only struggle with the condo will be getting him in the first time and after every time we let him run free." - Yes. Just make it positive using food. Make him think it is something on his terms, that it is his idea.


"Today is one month back in his room." - That is absolutely fine. Not an issue at all. The timing is determined on positivity between all of them. It s not going to harm him (socially) and will help reduce the time to a successful intro.

"I welcome any advice for next steps. Removing the pegboard?" - at some point but not yet. I want to really reinforce the positive association and positive encounters first. We don;t want to rush things as a setback will require more time to re-intro. So it is all about positive associations (food) and maximizing positive encounters and avoiding negative encounters. Maybe next weekend we can try some visual but we need to really learn distraction techniques to avoid any negative encounters. I also want you to really observe their body language so you can sense when negativity may happen and distract before it does.

Pictures - AMAZING set up!!

WOW, they are GORGEOUS cats!!

I would love to see video of them by the gates. Video helps me read their body language and see how they are feeling about the situation.

Really great job!! Just please don't rush things, positive associations ansd maximize positive encounters and keep building confidence through Play, Food, Height and Love.

Keep up the great work!! You are making great progress. Honestly, faster than I would have expected. But there are always ups and downs but I am highly confident we will make this work!!
 
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JerseyCatMom

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Thank you so much for your perspective. If we do everything we can and it does not work out after all, I will be heartbroken, but I will know that we tried and sometimes it just does not work. We are pretty attached to him, but we can't live the way it was or is right now. Not fair to him at all.
 

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Thank you so much for your perspective. If we do everything we can and it does not work out after all, I will be heartbroken, but I will know that we tried and sometimes it just does not work. We are pretty attached to him, but we can't live the way it was or is right now. Not fair to him at all.
You are welcome.

If you do everything you can I am not worried about how this will end. I am extremely confident all is going to be fine. I know from your perspective it is hard to understand but after doing hundreds and hundreds of these a person kind of gets an instinct. I am not at all worried.

If I ever see a point where it is unfair to him (or to the resident cats) I will definitely tell you. I want what is best for him, the residents cats, and the humans.

With all that said, I am not getting any indication this is not going to work. I am not sure when they will be intro'd (we just need to see the progress) but I am highly confident "if" they will be intro'd.

Hang in there, I know the emotional ups and downs, the worry, etc. But everything you are going through happens all the time. I see it all the time. Totally normal. You will see over time that some of the concerns, nerves, etc ease and you'll look back and go "I am not sure why I was so worried".

We'll get there. I am not at all worried. Keep up the great work, you are doing fantastically!!
 
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You are welcome.

Well, it is easy to be encouraging with what I am reading and your desire and efforts.

"No more hissing since that one incident with our resident female" - Great. Let's keep trying to reinforce that. Positive encounters that are building trust. It is all about repetition as it builds trust.

"some footsies under the pegboard covered gate instead." - With the female? Does the body language look good?

"My resident male will hang out more near the gate with me inside the room." - AWESOME!! Shows he is building trust. And if nothing negative is happening it is a positive that builds trust.

"Mostly he likes to go and sleep in the room across the hall." - That is fine. Again, as long as it is a positive it builds trust and confidence.

"I use a wand toy under the gate to try to get him to play and include both cats at the same time. He may touch it or just watch, but I feel like we are all playing together." - Really good. Just make sure it is positive.

"All meals and snacks are still at the gate." - Perfect. Keep that up.

"Resident boy is playing more." - GREAT. Helps build confidence which will help a lot down the road as a confident cat is more likely to accept and be accepted.

"The biggest distraction for a week has been a mouse sighting. My female parks herself at the refrigerator every night. After their snack time at the gate, she goes back down to await the mouse. They told me something was going on in the pantry, so I searched it and found a few droppings inside the pantry door, but that is it. The mouse access from the basement has always been behind the refrigerator where the water line is, but we have not had one mouse in five years. Both cats were spending the entire night down there, but my boy just visits her now and sleeps in our bedroom. My girl sleeps a lot during the day to make up for her hopeful encounter." - Yep. Though we don't like them they sure do.

"As I was writing this, my resident male showed up for cuddles. That was so encouraging. I don't work today, so I am slower to get out of bed and he showed up. We would still be there " - Awesome!! Those positive human emotions should help him also since cats take on our emotions.

"but our new boy was meowing at the gate so my husband came up to visit him and gave him a couple treats." - Very good.

"The residents showed up and my husband moved the pegboard six inches to the right so they could all see each other through the gate." - Oh my, I think it still may be a touch early.

"Nothing happened" - Very good though. Just take it slow. We want to reinforce positive encounters and avoid any negative encounters. The biggest mistake people make is going to fast. But this is a good sign.

"my boy (not food motivated) hung around and then went to his happy room and I joined him there." - That is really encouraging but we do want to take it slow and make sure it is positive. But this is really good. Anytime a cat walks away in a positive way it is really positive as a cat would never turn their back on a potential threat.

"My girl has turned down treats and her food back during the first introduction, and it ended up the only way to get her there was tuna. Today she stayed for treats with a view and then he closed it and I fed her - no issues." - AWESOME!!

"My husband sitting there blocked a direct encounter, so it was more of a glimpse for a few minutes." Great. It helps make it more positive and reduces the risk of a negative encounter.

"My new boy was super affectionate last night and again this morning. We did end up putting a passage from his room into the original cat room through the closets. We do not keep it open, but we found it a great way for them to swap scent without losing control of our new feral, can't pick up yet boy." - Ok that is good. Again smelling the other cat(s) and nothing negative happening is a positive. You can reassure, play etc with him/them in that room with the others scents there so make a positive association as well.

"He runs around in there, checks to make sure the opening still exists, and when it does not, he climbs into one of the soft sided pet carriers. He loves that room when he has the whole house, but this is on different terms. Still, a happier cat in there with yesterday's visit. One day I opened it up for him just to see what he would do, and he went in there and slept in a carrier." - The new boy., correct? That is great. What do you mean "when he has the whole house"?

"I ordered a large dog crate from Chewy to add to the one we have so eventually we will have a cat condo. I'm not sure if you are the one who suggested that, but with the price of cat condos and the fact that we own a dog crate already, the idea is to build a condo that his cat tree will fit in. He would have places to climb on, hide, his food, his bed and his litter box while being able to see all of us safely in the room we hang out in the most so that he can be with us, learn about our comings and goings, hear other house noises." - Ok, but honestly I don't think it is necessary though. When we get through he will be intro'd and be going all around (safely).

"He was pretty confident with the cats after a day or two the first time around" - That happens fairly often but it is usually a false sign. That is why we do the intro and confidence building.

"but if my husband stood up and walked around, he would run and hide in once of his five safe zones." - Totally normal and again why we do what we are doing. The "process". I socialize ferals all the time (both indoors and outdoors) and there are things we do to build trust between human and cat (starting with food). Not anything to worry about.

"Our only struggle with the condo will be getting him in the first time and after every time we let him run free." - Yes. Just make it positive using food. Make him think it is something on his terms, that it is his idea.


"Today is one month back in his room." - That is absolutely fine. Not an issue at all. The timing is determined on positivity between all of them. It s not going to harm him (socially) and will help reduce the time to a successful intro.

"I welcome any advice for next steps. Removing the pegboard?" - at some point but not yet. I want to really reinforce the positive association and positive encounters first. We don;t want to rush things as a setback will require more time to re-intro. So it is all about positive associations (food) and maximizing positive encounters and avoiding negative encounters. Maybe next weekend we can try some visual but we need to really learn distraction techniques to avoid any negative encounters. I also want you to really observe their body language so you can sense when negativity may happen and distract before it does.

Pictures - AMAZING set up!!

WOW, they are GORGEOUS cats!!

I would love to see video of them by the gates. Video helps me read their body language and see how they are feeling about the situation.

Really great job!! Just please don't rush things, positive associations ansd maximize positive encounters and keep building confidence through Play, Food, Height and Love.

Keep up the great work!! You are making great progress. Honestly, faster than I would have expected. But there are always ups and downs but I am highly confident we will make this work!!
Thank you once again! I thought I would check in as to how our week went. Nothing majorly negative to report. My resident female will give a hiss once in awhile if she looks under the gate and he is right there. But the good news is both resident cats are playing more now. And I have been able to pick up my new boy (twice) and place him on the bed and he will come over for a cuddle. I just decided to try it and pretty much let go within seconds, and he has not been resistant at all. He has been a lot more affectionate with me upon my arrivals into his room.

The bad news was I opened the pegboard to go into his room and put it back in place for a "minute" while I ran back to my bedroom, but did not latch it. I was getting ready for my son and his wife to visit my socially distant house of clutter (emptied four closets into my loft) and was doing some finishing touches and saw something to put away. When I got back, the pegboard was open and he was nowhere in sight. On my cat cam, I can see me looking in his room and he is watching me from right in front of the camera. He ended up going into the guest room and hiding under the bed. My resident male followed him in there and was lying on the floor in there waiting for him to come back out from under the bed, I guess. He did and they went downstairs together. My resident assumed the higher position on the sofa and my new guy was on the living room floor. I scooped up resident male and put him in the mud room and grabbed resident female who had no clue. Got the boy back upstairs and he went back under the bed. When my husband came in, he went in and tried to play him out, but with no success after awhile, lifted up the bed, picked him up and carried him down the hall back to his suite. He was calm until they got near the stairs and then his claws came out, but in fear, not anger.

So my girl is having the same reaction she always had with him - hisssssss, but was not part of the encounter when he escaped. She will also hiss at the resident boy when he oversteps her boundaries, which he has since his boundaries were destroyed by the new guy. My resident boy took the height position when he could, but he did not seem overly stressed by the brief encounter. My new guy did not hold anything against us like he would have before. I lifted the pegboard up another inch or less, basically balancing it on top of the nails instead of between them. This only gives a view if you get down very low. Trying not to go too quickly, but also want to make some progress in that area. The extra connected room has been great, but he still prefers his home base. When he had the run of the house minus the other cats in our first go-round, he would go in that room and hang out, so he now has random access to it again. So, all in all, I feel like things are going okay here, but the escape and the same scene sofa scene as the first go round had me thinking things were going south pretty quickly and history was repeating itself.

Thank you for your kind words about my resident cats. I did take a video to send, but keep getting error messages. If I can stop myself from taking photos and getting more deleted, I can make progress in that area and will attach it. My husband thinks we should take the pegboard down and get them used to seeing each other again. I don't want to move too quickly after all this time, so let me know what you think. I will work on my phone issue. I took pix all weekend and I know I will be taking them when our granddaughter makes her appearance. Thanks again!!!
 

calicosrspecial

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Thank you once again! I thought I would check in as to how our week went. Nothing majorly negative to report. My resident female will give a hiss once in awhile if she looks under the gate and he is right there. But the good news is both resident cats are playing more now. And I have been able to pick up my new boy (twice) and place him on the bed and he will come over for a cuddle. I just decided to try it and pretty much let go within seconds, and he has not been resistant at all. He has been a lot more affectionate with me upon my arrivals into his room.

The bad news was I opened the pegboard to go into his room and put it back in place for a "minute" while I ran back to my bedroom, but did not latch it. I was getting ready for my son and his wife to visit my socially distant house of clutter (emptied four closets into my loft) and was doing some finishing touches and saw something to put away. When I got back, the pegboard was open and he was nowhere in sight. On my cat cam, I can see me looking in his room and he is watching me from right in front of the camera. He ended up going into the guest room and hiding under the bed. My resident male followed him in there and was lying on the floor in there waiting for him to come back out from under the bed, I guess. He did and they went downstairs together. My resident assumed the higher position on the sofa and my new guy was on the living room floor. I scooped up resident male and put him in the mud room and grabbed resident female who had no clue. Got the boy back upstairs and he went back under the bed. When my husband came in, he went in and tried to play him out, but with no success after awhile, lifted up the bed, picked him up and carried him down the hall back to his suite. He was calm until they got near the stairs and then his claws came out, but in fear, not anger.

So my girl is having the same reaction she always had with him - hisssssss, but was not part of the encounter when he escaped. She will also hiss at the resident boy when he oversteps her boundaries, which he has since his boundaries were destroyed by the new guy. My resident boy took the height position when he could, but he did not seem overly stressed by the brief encounter. My new guy did not hold anything against us like he would have before. I lifted the pegboard up another inch or less, basically balancing it on top of the nails instead of between them. This only gives a view if you get down very low. Trying not to go too quickly, but also want to make some progress in that area. The extra connected room has been great, but he still prefers his home base. When he had the run of the house minus the other cats in our first go-round, he would go in that room and hang out, so he now has random access to it again. So, all in all, I feel like things are going okay here, but the escape and the same scene sofa scene as the first go round had me thinking things were going south pretty quickly and history was repeating itself.

Thank you for your kind words about my resident cats. I did take a video to send, but keep getting error messages. If I can stop myself from taking photos and getting more deleted, I can make progress in that area and will attach it. My husband thinks we should take the pegboard down and get them used to seeing each other again. I don't want to move too quickly after all this time, so let me know what you think. I will work on my phone issue. I took pix all weekend and I know I will be taking them when our granddaughter makes her appearance. Thanks again!!!
"Nothing majorly negative to report." - No negativity is a positive. GREAT!!

"My resident female will give a hiss once in awhile if she looks under the gate and he is right there." - Totally normal. Hissing is communication so if it is listened to and nothing bad happens it is actually a positive and builds trust.

"But the good news is both resident cats are playing more now." - AWESOME!!!

" And I have been able to pick up my new boy (twice) and place him on the bed and he will come over for a cuddle. I just decided to try it and pretty much let go within seconds, and he has not been resistant at all. He has been a lot more affectionate with me upon my arrivals into his room." - The new boy is doing great. He is going to be fine. Great job!!

"The bad news was I opened the pegboard to go into his room and put it back in place for a "minute" while I ran back to my bedroom, but did not latch it. I was getting ready for my son and his wife to visit my socially distant house of clutter (emptied four closets into my loft) and was doing some finishing touches and saw something to put away. When I got back, the pegboard was open and he was nowhere in sight. On my cat cam, I can see me looking in his room and he is watching me from right in front of the camera.

He ended up going into the guest room and hiding under the bed. My resident male followed him in there and was lying on the floor in there waiting for him to come back out from under the bed, I guess. He did and they went downstairs together." - No fight here???

"My resident assumed the higher position on the sofa and my new guy was on the living room floor." - Again, no fight? How tense was it? It is not ideal BUT when negativity is avoided it is a positive. So something we don;t want to happen but it does happen and this is about the best outcome we can ask for!! Really positive.

"I scooped up resident male and put him in the mud room and grabbed resident female who had no clue. Got the boy back upstairs and he went back under the bed." - Ok, just be careful when doing that. He was a really good boy!!

"When my husband came in, he went in and tried to play him out, but with no success after awhile, lifted up the bed, picked him up and carried him down the hall back to his suite." - Well, it turned out well but it is better (and safer) to coerce a cat out with a treat etc. Not to rush things, let things calm down etc. Again, he was a REALLY GOOD BOY!!!

"He was calm until they got near the stairs and then his claws came out, but in fear, not anger." - Yes, to be expected.

Overall, though not ideal this situation actually tells us a lot. They are in a much better place than I would have thought which is great The fact they didn't try to kill each other is incredibly positive. They will be intro'd. But we need to make those positive associations and positive encounters. I am really encouraged.

"So my girl is having the same reaction she always had with him - hisssssss, but was not part of the encounter when he escaped. She will also hiss at the resident boy when he oversteps her boundaries, which he has since his boundaries were destroyed by the new guy." - Hissing is communication and I don;t get bothered by it. Of course I would like it not to happen BUT if it is respected and avoids a negative encounter it is a positive.

"My resident boy took the height position when he could, but he did not seem overly stressed by the brief encounter." - REALLY positive. AND the fact the new boy didn't attack the resident boy builds trust (and vice versa). The resident boy is key and I am really happy by how he handled it. He is making great progress.

"My new guy did not hold anything against us like he would have before." - That is great. He is doing really well.

"So, all in all, I feel like things are going okay here, but the escape and the same scene sofa scene as the first go round had me thinking things were going south pretty quickly and history was repeating itself." - I think it is much better than you may realize. Doesn't mean we don;t have work but I am really encouraged by what has happened.

"My husband thinks we should take the pegboard down and get them used to seeing each other again. I don't want to move too quickly after all this time, so let me know what you think." - I think it is too early. BUT I would like to allow more visual when feeding now. So I want the gate/barrier up but more visual BUT with someone there to distract as needed. Nice calm, confident and loving words, using the food, etc. If we can avoid negativity and get them to refocus on the food it is really positive. We will do this for about a week and see how it goes. If there is negativity that can't be distracted then block off visual and go back to feeding (and reassure). The new boy should do great. If we get the residents to focus on the food it will be a great sign.

You are very welcome. GREAT work. I am really encouraged by what I have read, the progress. Much better than I would have thought which is great. The new boy is really helping and doing his job (as he gains confidence and trust). Helping a lot!! And that helps the residents feel more comfortable and of course all your efforts. Really great job!!

Please let me know what questions you have on the feeding and visual access with distraction as needed.

You will get there, I am highly confident they will be intro'd. There will be ups and downs but I am not reading anything to suggest a different result and in fact I am more confident now than I have ever been.

Keep up the great work!!
 
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JerseyCatMom

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THANK YOU!!! Another week in the books! New guy is becoming more and more loving. He even gives me his belly now and allows smooches. We are doing what you said with visual during feeding. That has gone pretty well. There have been some close encounters that were fine. I quickly "distracted" (stuck feathers in between) with wand toys and praised them before anything could happen. Resident boy turned his back on the gate, and new guy sniffed then slapped resident boy's butt. No reaction from resident boy. During feeding, my resident boy joins us, but is not distracted by food as he has access at all times and nibbles. So I try treats and pieces of food, but he really cares very little about food (not cheese, not anything other than his own food at his own timing). This morning, he came over and decided the best view was from under the nightstand we moved into the hallway by the gate to store cat food, etc. I gave each cat some treats and the other two ate it while he sniffed/nibbled at it from under the nightstand. The crawling under furniture doesn't scream confidence to me, but he did come out and stick his face up to the new guy. He almost always shows up when I am in the new guy's room and watches from the hallway or across in the other cat room. My husband wants to put in a screen door instead of our gate and ghetto multi-level pegboards. This would allow a view, but less physical access especially with him reinforcing the screen so no one escapes. Not sure about this, but definitely want the ease of a screen door for our cat sitters when we are away. I think the screen door would provide more of a safe view without the ability to reach out and touch each other. My new guy gets very excited when he has visitors. We have always known when he is having an encounter because he talks to the other cats. Today he walked back about three feet and plopped down after a meet and greet. So, things are going well with caution. Once we change to a screen door, we can raise the bottom so they can do footsies if they want to, but cannot attack each other. Do you think we are ready for a new degree of separation? Thanks again.
 
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THANK YOU!!! Another week in the books! New guy is becoming more and more loving. He even gives me his belly now and allows smooches. We are doing what you said with visual during feeding. That has gone pretty well. There have been some close encounters that were fine. I quickly "distracted" (stuck feathers in between) with wand toys and praised them before anything could happen. Resident boy turned his back on the gate, and new guy sniffed then slapped resident boy's butt. No reaction from resident boy. During feeding, my resident boy joins us, but is not distracted by food as he has access at all times and nibbles. So I try treats and pieces of food, but he really cares very little about food (not cheese, not anything other than his own food at his own timing). This morning, he came over and decided the best view was from under the nightstand we moved into the hallway by the gate to store cat food, etc. I gave each cat some treats and the other two ate it while he sniffed/nibbled at it from under the nightstand. The crawling under furniture doesn't scream confidence to me, but he did come out and stick his face up to the new guy. He almost always shows up when I am in the new guy's room and watches from the hallway or across in the other cat room. My husband wants to put in a screen door instead of our gate and ghetto multi-level pegboards. This would allow a view, but less physical access especially with him reinforcing the screen so no one escapes. Not sure about this, but definitely want the ease of a screen door for our cat sitters when we are away. I think the screen door would provide more of a safe view without the ability to reach out and touch each other. My new guy gets very excited when he has visitors. We have always known when he is having an encounter because he talks to the other cats. Today he walked back about three feet and plopped down after a meet and greet. So, things are going well with caution. Once we change to a screen door, we can raise the bottom so they can do footsies if they want to, but cannot attack each other. Do you think we are ready for a new degree of separation? Thanks again.
I’m going to attach this morning’s feeding to this post. My ups and downs. Last night as I was saying good night, my boys had an encounter with some slaps - no hissing, no growling - just each got a slap in there before I got the pegboard back.
 

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I’m going to attach this morning’s feeding to this post. My ups and downs. Last night as I was saying good night, my boys had an encounter with some slaps - no hissing, no growling - just each got a slap in there before I got the pegboard back.
It only lets me attach photos, not video. 😢
 

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THANK YOU!!! Another week in the books! New guy is becoming more and more loving. He even gives me his belly now and allows smooches. We are doing what you said with visual during feeding. That has gone pretty well. There have been some close encounters that were fine. I quickly "distracted" (stuck feathers in between) with wand toys and praised them before anything could happen. Resident boy turned his back on the gate, and new guy sniffed then slapped resident boy's butt. No reaction from resident boy. During feeding, my resident boy joins us, but is not distracted by food as he has access at all times and nibbles. So I try treats and pieces of food, but he really cares very little about food (not cheese, not anything other than his own food at his own timing). This morning, he came over and decided the best view was from under the nightstand we moved into the hallway by the gate to store cat food, etc. I gave each cat some treats and the other two ate it while he sniffed/nibbled at it from under the nightstand. The crawling under furniture doesn't scream confidence to me, but he did come out and stick his face up to the new guy. He almost always shows up when I am in the new guy's room and watches from the hallway or across in the other cat room. My husband wants to put in a screen door instead of our gate and ghetto multi-level pegboards. This would allow a view, but less physical access especially with him reinforcing the screen so no one escapes. Not sure about this, but definitely want the ease of a screen door for our cat sitters when we are away. I think the screen door would provide more of a safe view without the ability to reach out and touch each other. My new guy gets very excited when he has visitors. We have always known when he is having an encounter because he talks to the other cats. Today he walked back about three feet and plopped down after a meet and greet. So, things are going well with caution. Once we change to a screen door, we can raise the bottom so they can do footsies if they want to, but cannot attack each other. Do you think we are ready for a new degree of separation? Thanks again.
"New guy is becoming more and more loving." - GREAT. Not surprising at all.

"He even gives me his belly now and allows smooches." - WOW, the biggest sign of trust (exposing the belly). Fantastic!!

"We are doing what you said with visual during feeding. That has gone pretty well." - GREAT!!

"There have been some close encounters that were fine. I quickly "distracted" (stuck feathers in between) with wand toys and praised them before anything could happen." - There always are close encounters BUT the fact you were able to distract is a GREAT sign. And avoiding a negative is a huge positive!! SO overall, I say this is fantastic!!!

"Resident boy turned his back on the gate, and new guy sniffed then slapped resident boy's butt. No reaction from resident boy." - GREAT that the resident boy turned his back (a sign of trust as no cat would turn their back on a threat). So resident is not fearing him much. GREAT!! Normal for a sniff and a swat. BUT I LOVE that the resident didn't respond. Shows that he didn't fear the intent. Another great sign of the trust being built.

"During feeding, my resident boy joins us, but is not distracted by food as he has access at all times and nibbles. So I try treats and pieces of food, but he really cares very little about food (not cheese, not anything other than his own food at his own timing)." - That is fine. I would love to see him eating with them (new and girl resident) BUT as long as he is there and it is positive then it is what we want. Building a positive association and a positive encounter. If there is no negativity it builds trust.

"This morning, he came over and decided the best view was from under the nightstand we moved into the hallway by the gate to store cat food, etc. I gave each cat some treats and the other two ate it while he sniffed/nibbled at it from under the nightstand. The crawling under furniture doesn't scream confidence to me, but he did come out and stick his face up to the new guy. He almost always shows up when I am in the new guy's room and watches from the hallway or across in the other cat room." - Ok, I am totally fine with this. I don't care if he is under the nightstand as long as it is positive and nothing negative happens. So I say this is actually exactly what we are looking for. The fact he stuck his face to the new guy with nothing negative happening is great. Yes, cat's will get curious and again as long as the new guy isn't being a threat or negative to the resident boy it is a positive. So I say this is great.

"My husband wants to put in a screen door instead of our gate and ghetto multi-level pegboards. This would allow a view, but less physical access especially with him reinforcing the screen so no one escapes. Not sure about this, but definitely want the ease of a screen door for our cat sitters when we are away. I think the screen door would provide more of a safe view without the ability to reach out and touch each other." - Well, whatever is easiest. I do think the current setup sounds really good but I know it can be a hassle. The screen could be an issue when the humans are not around as well. And we don;t want the sitters to "mess up" and get them together without it being the right time. Hmmmmmmm, we'll have to think of this. There are tradeoffs............. When are the sitters coming?

"Today he walked back about three feet and plopped down after a meet and greet." - New guy did? How did the residents act after? Really positive sign.


"Last night as I was saying good night, my boys had an encounter with some slaps - no hissing, no growling - just each got a slap in there before I got the pegboard back." - It happens. Doesn't sound that bad. How did they act after this? id they get back to normal quickly or was there some anxiety, etc among with the residents, new boy or both?

Can you put the video on Youtube and then attack the link here? I would love to see video.

Oh my, I LOVE the black cat!! Is that your resident boy?

In the second pic is that your resident girl?

Keep up the great work. Going much better than expected. great job!!
 
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