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

calicosrspecial

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Hi! I got a little preoccupied this past week with our granddaughter being born. We went away one night to go see her. We figured we could go away without a cat sitter if it was only one night and we would be with them in the morning Friday and dinner Saturday. It worked really well. We have cameras all over our house and left a key for the neighbors if we needed them. My husband did put up a screen door and how amazing it is to have such easy access to our new guy's room. We kept the pegboard to put across the bottom during the day when no feeding going on and at night. For a week or so, this has been how things have been going. Since I have been working from home (that seems to be over though), the resident cats follow me around so were only coming up by the new guy if I went up. So I started leaving the pegboard off the door. When we came home from meeting our grandbaby, I ran right up to the new guy's room to check on him, feed him his wet food and start to scoop. My resident boy followed me up and relaxed in front of the screen door and my new guy went over and relaxed on his side. The two of them looked like old friends. This has continued to happen several more times and everyone seems very chill about being around each other. Unless we go out, we are now just leaving the pegboard off. I am going to attach some photos of the resident boy and resident girl near the new guy. My girl is food motivated, so she waits for whatever she thinks she can get. But since we have been back, she has waited with no hissing. We are very encouraged by this progress. We are less than three weeks away from our vacation, and plan for our new guy to continue to be safe in his room during that, but what steps do you think we should be taking over these three weeks. We sure do not want to rush anything, but also wonder when we will know if we should begin some one on one visits. I know my girl will hiss because that is her language when she is stressed by either cat. And my boy will seek a height advantage. We are okay with waiting until it is right. The black cat is our boy (our first cat).

View attachment 343764View attachment 343765

Thank you, again, for all your advice. I appreciate all your expertise!!
"I got a little preoccupied this past week with our granddaughter being born." - Congratulations!!

" We went away one night to go see her. We figured we could go away without a cat sitter if it was only one night and we would be with them in the morning Friday and dinner Saturday. It worked really well." - AWESOME!!! ALl your hard work is really coming to fruition. Keep up the great work.

"My husband did put up a screen door and how amazing it is to have such easy access to our new guy's room." - That is great. Yes, it does make it a lot easier.

" We kept the pegboard to put across the bottom during the day when no feeding going on and at night." - That is an excellent decision. Just to make sure it stays as positive as possible.

"For a week or so, this has been how things have been going." - Excellent.

"Since I have been working from home (that seems to be over though), the resident cats follow me around so were only coming up by the new guy if I went up." - That is really good. As long as it is a positive encounter that is the main thing. And the resident knows the new guy is there and nothing negative happens so that builds trust and confidence.

"So I started leaving the pegboard off the door." - Ok. As long as you think everything will stay as positive as possible that is great.

"When we came home from meeting our grandbaby, I ran right up to the new guy's room to check on him, feed him his wet food and start to scoop. My resident boy followed me up and relaxed in front of the screen door and my new guy went over and relaxed on his side. The two of them looked like old friends. This has continued to happen several more times and everyone seems very chill about being around each other." - This is fantastic!!! Keep reinforcing this and keeping it as positive as possible. Positive encounter, distracting and reassuring as needed. But anytime a cat shows their underside or side it is really a sign of trust and very positive. We just need to keep reinforcing that.

"Unless we go out, we are now just leaving the pegboard off." - That is fine. Just keep making sure their encounters are as positive as possible.

"My girl is food motivated, so she waits for whatever she thinks she can get. But since we have been back, she has waited with no hissing." - Food motivated is great as we can use that to make positive associations. Keep using food with her to build that trust. When she looks at the food and takes her eyes of the new boy and nothing negative happens it is trust building and confidence building. Really good.

"We are very encouraged by this progress." - Yes!!! Me too!!! It is not a question of "IF" they we be intro'd just "WHEN". I am highly, highly confident of that.

"We are less than three weeks away from our vacation, and plan for our new guy to continue to be safe in his room during that, but what steps do you think we should be taking over these three weeks." - Keep reinforcing what you are doing. Also, we may want to try having the door open next weekend and do some feeding and distracting as needed. We would either have your husband sit on the floor between them feeding treats with you distracting probably the resident cats. And we'll see how they do at that. We'll start just a short time and try to lengthen the time.

"We sure do not want to rush anything, but also wonder when we will know if we should begin some one on one visits." - Agreed, no need to rush. The great news is, I think the risk now is very low. I do think we should do some non-barrier (only human) with distraction probably next weekend as I mentioned earlier. And let's see how they do. And we'll go from there.

"I know my girl will hiss because that is her language when she is stressed by either cat." - Hissing is just communication. If it is listened to and respected it is VERY helpful in intros. So I am more interested in what happens after the hiss. If nothing negative it is a positive. Let's see how she does. Use food.treats to distract her as well.

"And my boy will seek a height advantage." - That is actually very positive. AND if the other cat doesn't go after him then again it is a positive as a negative is avoided. If you sense tension use distraction - words, a toy, etc to get them focused away from each other. If they look away from each other it is a huge positive sign.

Yes, the black cat is your first boy. He is gorgeous. As they all are.

Pics look great. When they are like that reassure them, talk lovingly to them, get them to look away from each other, keep it calm and confident. Just reassure them that everything is ok. That is a phrase I use all the time - "It's ok".

Keep up the great work. Next weekend let's try some open door time with a lot of distraction and see how they do. We'll want to get them focused on other things other than each other. If you sense tension and it can;t be distracted then we'll just end it. It is all about positive associations (food) and positive encounters (regardless of length) and minimizing or avoiding negative encounters.

Really great job. I am really proud of you, your husband and the cats. Really great job. Keep up the great work. There will be ups and downs but I don;t think it is a question of "if" they will be intro'd anymore. Just "when".
 
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JerseyCatMom

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Thank you! We are pretty happy to be grandparents, just wish the distance was shorter. Ready to move south!
So we will try some visits this weekend! I almost let my boy in last night as he wanted to come in, but my husband was not with me and I need reinforcement. Do you think one friend at a time? If I leave the door open, they will be visiting an empty room.
We had our first vet visit. We made him overweight with happy time treats with friends and previous as directed free feed dry food (then i tried just 1/4 cup, now 1/8). He also has two cans of food with gravy. He cried going there and is not too sure about my husband who scooped him into the crate, but he will still play when he warms up to his visit. Wanted to share some photos from last night.
Thank you for getting us through and up to this point!! B783A0A1-6101-4B71-8884-EFEC347398C2.jpeg 59BCBD6E-F754-4E5D-BFB8-30DC53FD6D2E.jpeg
 

calicosrspecial

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Thank you! We are pretty happy to be grandparents, just wish the distance was shorter. Ready to move south!
So we will try some visits this weekend! I almost let my boy in last night as he wanted to come in, but my husband was not with me and I need reinforcement. Do you think one friend at a time? If I leave the door open, they will be visiting an empty room.
We had our first vet visit. We made him overweight with happy time treats with friends and previous as directed free feed dry food (then i tried just 1/4 cup, now 1/8). He also has two cans of food with gravy. He cried going there and is not too sure about my husband who scooped him into the crate, but he will still play when he warms up to his visit. Wanted to share some photos from last night.
Thank you for getting us through and up to this point!!View attachment 344308View attachment 344309
Hopefully you can be near soon.

SO this weekend, try some visits without the barrier but with each in their respective territories. So the human straddling the "demarcation" line (as long as it is safe) feeding treats or distracting with love. Something enjoyable, calm. So they know there is no barrier and can have access but it stays positive and nothing happens.If they are looking at each other then looking away, good body language etc then it is great.

Then in a few days or a week we'll then probably bring the residents in the new guy's territory. The reason being it might be difficult to get the new boy back into his territory. If the residents do well several times we will reinforce that.

Then the step after that (probably a week or so) will be trying to get them together in a more neutral (new guy out of "his" territory) area. Again, distracting them, keeping it positive, etc.

We'll see how they do at each step and progress in the best way.

"I almost let my boy in last night as he wanted to come in, but my husband was not with me and I need reinforcement." - Yeah, I think it is best to have you both around during the above. Just because it is easier to distract and keep it as positive as possible. So I am glad you didn't let the resident boy in last night. How was his body language last night?

"Do you think one friend at a time?" - I think probably BUT it depends. If the resident boy benefits from having the resident girl around then it might be helpful. Just watch the new boy that he doesn't seem overwhelmed. It is really more art than science. You know cats so I trust your instinct. If you sense it might go wrong then just reverse a touch and take it one by one. If you are getting them to look away from each other it is really positive. So hone your positive distraction techniques. And if you sense some tension try easing it.

"If I leave the door open, they will be visiting an empty room." - I am not exactly sure what you mean here?

If you want to do some site swapping with the resident cats going into the new boy's territory that is a good intermediate step. Would the new boy be in that other "neutral room" where the resident boy hangs out?

"We made him overweight with happy time treats with friends and previous as directed free feed dry food (then i tried just 1/4 cup, now 1/8). He also has two cans of food with gravy." - Yes, that will happen. We'll just step up play and watch his food intake when they are intro'd.

"He cried going there and is not too sure about my husband who scooped him into the crate, but he will still play when he warms up to his visit." - Yes, vet visits can be tough but just stay calm and confident and be loving when he comes back (always safely - so use food, play). If he rebounds quickly that is really positive.

The photos - My goodness. Wonderful!! I LOVE the first picture - residents eating away and new boy just watching. Great body language. Positive association, positive encounter. EXACTLY what we strive for!!!

Second pic- I can;t really tell, is there a little tension? Some staring from new boy and resident female? But body language looks pretty good. Just reassure them, de-escalate, distract. Resident boy seems really good so it must have gone well. Just reassure them, keep it calm, confident and positive.

I have to say, they are just GORGEOUS cats!! Really stunning. Just gorgeous!!!

Let me know that everything is clear and understandable about how to progress. Really great job!!! Keep letting me know how their body language is, if there is any tension, staredowns, etc. But overall, things seem to be going really well. Much better than I expected. You and your husband are doing a great job. And I am really proud of the cats doing their part as well!!!

Keep up the great work and please ask for any clarification on the next step.
 
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"SO this weekend, try some visits without the barrier but with each in their respective territories. So the human straddling the "demarcation" line (as long as it is safe) feeding treats or distracting with love. Something enjoyable, calm. So they know there is no barrier and can have access but it stays positive and nothing happens.If they are looking at each other then looking away, good body language etc then it is great." OK, so just remove the barrier, but be the human barrier. I think we can do that.

"Then in a few days or a week we'll then probably bring the residents in the new guy's territory. The reason being it might be difficult to get the new boy back into his territory. If the residents do well several times we will reinforce that." OK, we can bring them into his main area or we can go into the "cat room" where he goes once in awhile. His room is more his territory and the other is neutral ground.

"So I am glad you didn't let the resident boy in last night. How was his body language last night?" He was tentative, but insistent. I was gentle and friendly, but did not let him come fully into the room and then he walked away. He does not spend a lot of time during their snack session, but he did not stay long even when it was only the two of them downstairs. When he is done, he is done. This was before that, though, when I was hanging out with the little buddy.

"If I leave the door open, they will be visiting an empty room." - I am not exactly sure what you mean here?" - I mean when I open the screen door, new guy is right there and now unafraid and ready to exit. So if we leave the door open, to invite guests, the guests will be coming in while he is exiting. But if we are the barrier, that should work.

"If you want to do some site swapping with the resident cats going into the new boy's territory that is a good intermediate step. Would the new boy be in that other "neutral room" where the resident boy hangs out?" Yes, the pet door in the closets connect to each other. Our boys dreamed of having some kind of way to communicate through their closets when they were little, and now it has happened for our cat.

"The photos - My goodness. Wonderful!! I LOVE the first picture - residents eating away and new boy just watching. Great body language. Positive association, positive encounter. EXACTLY what we strive for!!!" Thank you. My husband called me over because they were so close and so chill.

"Second pic- I can;t really tell, is there a little tension? Some staring from new boy and resident female? But body language looks pretty good. Just reassure them, de-escalate, distract. Resident boy seems really good so it must have gone well. Just reassure them, keep it calm, confident and positive." I can never tell with her. I will find her up there, no hissing, just looking at the new guy and he is looking back at her, both waiting for food, both looking relaxed.

"I have to say, they are just GORGEOUS cats!! Really stunning. Just gorgeous!!!" Thank you. They are so different and so loved.

"Keep letting me know how their body language is, if there is any tension, staredowns, etc." OK, I will! Thank you for helping us become a family.
 

calicosrspecial

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"SO this weekend, try some visits without the barrier but with each in their respective territories. So the human straddling the "demarcation" line (as long as it is safe) feeding treats or distracting with love. Something enjoyable, calm. So they know there is no barrier and can have access but it stays positive and nothing happens.If they are looking at each other then looking away, good body language etc then it is great." OK, so just remove the barrier, but be the human barrier. I think we can do that.

"Then in a few days or a week we'll then probably bring the residents in the new guy's territory. The reason being it might be difficult to get the new boy back into his territory. If the residents do well several times we will reinforce that." OK, we can bring them into his main area or we can go into the "cat room" where he goes once in awhile. His room is more his territory and the other is neutral ground.

"So I am glad you didn't let the resident boy in last night. How was his body language last night?" He was tentative, but insistent. I was gentle and friendly, but did not let him come fully into the room and then he walked away. He does not spend a lot of time during their snack session, but he did not stay long even when it was only the two of them downstairs. When he is done, he is done. This was before that, though, when I was hanging out with the little buddy.

"If I leave the door open, they will be visiting an empty room." - I am not exactly sure what you mean here?" - I mean when I open the screen door, new guy is right there and now unafraid and ready to exit. So if we leave the door open, to invite guests, the guests will be coming in while he is exiting. But if we are the barrier, that should work.

"If you want to do some site swapping with the resident cats going into the new boy's territory that is a good intermediate step. Would the new boy be in that other "neutral room" where the resident boy hangs out?" Yes, the pet door in the closets connect to each other. Our boys dreamed of having some kind of way to communicate through their closets when they were little, and now it has happened for our cat.

"The photos - My goodness. Wonderful!! I LOVE the first picture - residents eating away and new boy just watching. Great body language. Positive association, positive encounter. EXACTLY what we strive for!!!" Thank you. My husband called me over because they were so close and so chill.

"Second pic- I can;t really tell, is there a little tension? Some staring from new boy and resident female? But body language looks pretty good. Just reassure them, de-escalate, distract. Resident boy seems really good so it must have gone well. Just reassure them, keep it calm, confident and positive." I can never tell with her. I will find her up there, no hissing, just looking at the new guy and he is looking back at her, both waiting for food, both looking relaxed.

"I have to say, they are just GORGEOUS cats!! Really stunning. Just gorgeous!!!" Thank you. They are so different and so loved.

"Keep letting me know how their body language is, if there is any tension, staredowns, etc." OK, I will! Thank you for helping us become a family.
"OK, so just remove the barrier, but be the human barrier. I think we can do that." - Yes, if you can safely. It can be a good distraction in a positive way. Have some treats, a toy, use words and if you can safely give a little love to let them know everything is ok and it is positive.

"OK, we can bring them into his main area or we can go into the "cat room" where he goes once in awhile. His room is more his territory and the other is neutral ground." - I tend to prefer neutral. BUT I know they do well by the screen door/barrier. Wherever you think they would do best. Watch their body language to see if they are positive. I know they seem really comfortable by the screen door so I am thinking around that area. Let me know what you think they would do best in and what would be easiest with getting them in and out. I am inclined to stay with the screen door in sight and see how they do though but am open if you think another area would increase the probability of a successful encounter.

"He was tentative, but insistent. I was gentle and friendly, but did not let him come fully into the room and then he walked away. He does not spend a lot of time during their snack session, but he did not stay long even when it was only the two of them downstairs. When he is done, he is done. This was before that, though, when I was hanging out with the little buddy." - Interesting. He was totally normal. Seems positive. Good job on how you handled it, actually excellent job!! Length of time is not an issue. The key is it is as positive as possible. Ideally we like it when they are positive for longer but I'll take any positive encounters. And if they walk away on a positive note it is exactly what we want.

"I mean when I open the screen door, new guy is right there and now unafraid and ready to exit. So if we leave the door open, to invite guests, the guests will be coming in while he is exiting. But if we are the barrier, that should work." - Ahhhhh, ok. New guy is doing really well. I think we can do the non-barrier in his territory since he seems pretty confident. Yes, we don;t want them going through a tight space all at once. Try to get the new guy back a bit to let the residents get in. This is why I want to start doing non-barriers meets with a person as a middle distraction. To give them a touch of space.

"Yes, the pet door in the closets connect to each other. Our boys dreamed of having some kind of way to communicate through their closets when they were little, and now it has happened for our cat." - Pretty cool. I bet the kids would have liked that!!! I always worry about tight spaces. We want to keep them in areas with lots of escape routes if needed when together. If that makes sense. But if we do site swapping can you close of the connecting doors? Let the residents explore the new boy's territory while the new boy is in the "neutral" room?

"Thank you. My husband called me over because they were so close and so chill." - Really fantastic!!


"I can never tell with her. I will find her up there, no hissing, just looking at the new guy and he is looking back at her, both waiting for food, both looking relaxed. " - WOW, GREAT!!! Sounds like they are doing really well together.

"Thank you. They are so different and so loved." - They really are LOVED!! Which is fantastic. I really like there looks. You are very spoiled.

You are welcome. You all have done the hard work and deserve the credit. WELL DONE!!! We have some more work to do but there is no doubt all will be well. I am really proud of the cats as well, they are really doing their part.

Let us know how this weekend goes. There will be some ups and downs, just stay calm, confident, distract them, reassure them, make positive associations and maximize positive encounters while minimizing negative encounters. Remember, a hiss is communication, what happens next is key. And if anything negative happens reassure them, make it as positive as possible and watch how fast they rebound back to normal (the faster the better).

You'll do great!!!
 
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JerseyCatMom

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"SO this weekend, try some visits without the barrier but with each in their respective territories. So the human straddling the "demarcation" line (as long as it is safe) feeding treats or distracting with love. Something enjoyable, calm. So they know there is no barrier and can have access but it stays positive and nothing happens.If they are looking at each other then looking away, good body language etc then it is great." OK, so just remove the barrier, but be the human barrier. I think we can do that.

"Then in a few days or a week we'll then probably bring the residents in the new guy's territory. The reason being it might be difficult to get the new boy back into his territory. If the residents do well several times we will reinforce that." OK, we can bring them into his main area or we can go into the "cat room" where he goes once in awhile. His room is more his territory and the other is neutral ground.

"So I am glad you didn't let the resident boy in last night. How was his body language last night?" He was tentative, but insistent. I was gentle and friendly, but did not let him come fully into the room and then he walked away. He does not spend a lot of time during their snack session, but he did not stay long even when it was only the two of them downstairs. When he is done, he is done. This was before that, though, when I was hanging out with the little buddy.

"If I leave the door open, they will be visiting an empty room." - I am not exactly sure what you mean here?" - I mean when I open the screen door, new guy is right there and now unafraid and ready to exit. So if we leave the door open, to invite guests, the guests will be coming in while he is exiting. But if we are the barrier, that should work.

"If you want to do some site swapping with the resident cats going into the new boy's territory that is a good intermediate step. Would the new boy be in that other "neutral room" where the resident boy hangs out?" Yes, the pet door in the closets connect to each other. Our boys dreamed of having some kind of way to communicate through their closets when they were little, and now it has happened for our cat.

"The photos - My goodness. Wonderful!! I LOVE the first picture - residents eating away and new boy just watching. Great body language. Positive association, positive encounter. EXACTLY what we strive for!!!" Thank you. My husband called me over because they were so close and so chill.

"Second pic- I can;t really tell, is there a little tension? Some staring from new boy and resident female? But body language looks pretty good. Just reassure them, de-escalate, distract. Resident boy seems really good so it must have gone well. Just reassure them, keep it calm, confident and positive." I can never tell with her. I will find her up there, no hissing, just looking at the new guy and he is looking back at her, both waiting for food, both looking relaxed.

"I have to say, they are just GORGEOUS cats!! Really stunning. Just gorgeous!!!" Thank you. They are so different and so loved.

"Keep letting me know how their body language is, if there is any tension, staredowns, etc." OK, I will! Thank you for helping us become a family.
 
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I will try to upload the video we took of their snack session. Amazon shared won't share. Ugh.
 
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I can't see it, the link goes to where I would create my own photo group.
 

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AWESOME!!!

"The boys have been interested in a closer visit, but a hand and/or a treat helps them forget." - This is FANTASTIC!!! SO they chose the food over a closer visit. That tells me there isn't much (or any) fear. Which is exactly what we want. Now, a little distance does help as does the setting. BUT REALLY positive sign!!

"While our new guy loves playtime, our residents are hit or miss" - That is fine. Play is only part of the confidence building blocks. Of course we would like play BUT positive associations and positive encounters go a long way to achieving what we want. So not to worry.

"so we think maybe their visits should be centered around their snacks" - Yes, food is a great way. And if possible safe "Love" - as long as the humans are safe.

Sometimes play can escalate their energy levels and that can go towards the other cat(s) so not playing with them in this part of intros is not really an issue.

:( Arghhhhhhhhh, the video link didn't work for me either. :( Told me I took a "wrong turn".

Do you know how to upload it to You Tube? I know others have done that and it works well.

Just keep doing what you are doing. Focusing on maximizing those positive encounters (regardless of length as long as they are positive). It is all about building trust. Kind of like dating. The person is nice, doesn't try anything, etc so as more encounters happen you trust that person more. Keep doing that this week and let's see how they do.

But I am really, really encouraged by these results. Keep watching their body language, distracting and reassuring as needed, keeping their encounters as positive as possible, trying to avoid negative encounters. It is all about getting them to trust that that other cat(s) isn't a physical threat or a threat to their food, water, litter etc.

Keep up the great work!!! Really proud of all of you. This is a great update. There will be ups and downs but I am highly, highly confident all will be well. You and your husband are doing a really great job!!!

And let us know about the video, would love to see it.
 
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Here is the link to our snack session https:\\youtu.be\kOshsiDOVBM You may have to copy it and paste it into your browser. Thanks!
 

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Here is the link to our snack session https:\\youtu.be\kOshsiDOVBM You may have to copy it and paste it into your browser. Thanks!
WOW!!!! This is better than I imagined!!!

How good is this!?!?!?!?!?!

Totally focused on the food, not at all worried about another cat. EXACTLY what we are looking for. Keep doing this and in a few days try a little more visual (less leg blocking). Be ready to use the food as distraction if needed. Reassure as well.

Then if that goes well maybe sit just inside the door in new boy's room and put the resident's bowls at the threshold of the new boy's room. We'll have to be a little more on our toes then but if you get them to focus on teh food rather than each other and they look away from the other cat(s) it is a total win. Then we reinforce that.

Wow. LOVING this.

Really excellent job!! I am so proud of you all and the cats!!!

Keep up the great work and let us know how the next step goes. And then we can figure out the next step with the threshold feeding.
 
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Thank you! Last night worked well, too, with my husband blocking the threshold. It always feels like we may have an escape and we move into Phase 12 before we intend to do so. Our resident cats love a fresh bag of bonito flakes, but our new guy turns his nose up, so we use his love - teeny morsels of kitten food. He inhales it, so we have to share it with him a little at a time or he will truly end up being 15 pounds of fluff. It is quite the production. We will try what you suggest and see how it goes. If he gets out, he is out. He has gone on hunger strikes just to avoid going back into his room. One more week until our vacation, so we are going to keep him in his suite, but working on much happiness with all before we go. I have a college girl coming to stay at our house and trying to make life easy for her while we are gone. Thanks again and I will let you know how things go. If he does escape, I hope he runs to the next room. lol
 

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Thank you! Last night worked well, too, with my husband blocking the threshold. It always feels like we may have an escape and we move into Phase 12 before we intend to do so. Our resident cats love a fresh bag of bonito flakes, but our new guy turns his nose up, so we use his love - teeny morsels of kitten food. He inhales it, so we have to share it with him a little at a time or he will truly end up being 15 pounds of fluff. It is quite the production. We will try what you suggest and see how it goes. If he gets out, he is out. He has gone on hunger strikes just to avoid going back into his room. One more week until our vacation, so we are going to keep him in his suite, but working on much happiness with all before we go. I have a college girl coming to stay at our house and trying to make life easy for her while we are gone. Thanks again and I will let you know how things go. If he does escape, I hope he runs to the next room. lol
Great.

"husband blocking the threshold" - Perfect. The goal is to just get them to trust and think "I know that cat there, they are cool, not a threat". Keep doing that.

"It always feels like we may have an escape and we move into Phase 12 before we intend to do so." - So what exactly happens? New boy trying to get out? Does he not care the residents are right there? Phase 12 is treats? Anything you can do to keep them calm and positive. And distracted from the other cats(s) and wanting out (the new boy).

"Our resident cats love a fresh bag of bonito flakes, but our new guy turns his nose up, so we use his love - teeny morsels of kitten food. He inhales it, so we have to share it with him a little at a time or he will truly end up being 15 pounds of fluff. It is quite the production." That actually works really well. It keeps the new guy focused on the nest food while slowing him down and the residents don't feel threatened by him and enjoy something they love (positive). If they are near each other and enjoying something and it is all positive it is a win, exactly what we want to build trust.

"We will try what you suggest and see how it goes. If he gets out, he is out." - Well, maybe we should hold in place until you come back from vacation. I don;t want him escaping and maybe getting into a negative encounter before you leaving since leaving is going to be a bit traumatic (due to change and cats do not like change).

So for now until you come back just continue feeding with your husband in the middle by the threshold trying to keep the new boy as distracted as possible to keep him in his territory.

"One more week until our vacation, so we are going to keep him in his suite" - Agreed, excellent idea. Exactly the best path. Then we will pick it up after vacation. I am not at all worried, things are going to be fine.

"I have a college girl coming to stay at our house and trying to make life easy for her while we are gone." - Make sure she knows how important it is for the new boy to not escape. She needs to really be on her toes. They are tricky.

You are very welcome. Thank YOU both for all you are doing. You are the reason why it will work.

Yeah, just try your best to not let him escape. I know it is hard. The good news is, he wouldn't do that if he was afraid of the residents so he is all set. We just need to get the residents to that point (and they have come a long way). Residents almost always have the most difficult transition. But the new boy is really helping by being so good.

I am really, really happy with how things are going. Really proud of all of you!! Keep up the great work and let me know if you have any questions. For now, just continue with what you are doing and we'll move forward when you are back from vacation.
 
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JerseyCatMom

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Great.

"husband blocking the threshold" - Perfect. The goal is to just get them to trust and think "I know that cat there, they are cool, not a threat". Keep doing that.

"It always feels like we may have an escape and we move into Phase 12 before we intend to do so." - So what exactly happens? New boy trying to get out? Does he not care the residents are right there? Phase 12 is treats? Anything you can do to keep them calm and positive. And distracted from the other cats(s) and wanting out (the new boy).

"Our resident cats love a fresh bag of bonito flakes, but our new guy turns his nose up, so we use his love - teeny morsels of kitten food. He inhales it, so we have to share it with him a little at a time or he will truly end up being 15 pounds of fluff. It is quite the production." That actually works really well. It keeps the new guy focused on the nest food while slowing him down and the residents don't feel threatened by him and enjoy something they love (positive). If they are near each other and enjoying something and it is all positive it is a win, exactly what we want to build trust.

"We will try what you suggest and see how it goes. If he gets out, he is out." - Well, maybe we should hold in place until you come back from vacation. I don;t want him escaping and maybe getting into a negative encounter before you leaving since leaving is going to be a bit traumatic (due to change and cats do not like change).

So for now until you come back just continue feeding with your husband in the middle by the threshold trying to keep the new boy as distracted as possible to keep him in his territory.

"One more week until our vacation, so we are going to keep him in his suite" - Agreed, excellent idea. Exactly the best path. Then we will pick it up after vacation. I am not at all worried, things are going to be fine.

"I have a college girl coming to stay at our house and trying to make life easy for her while we are gone." - Make sure she knows how important it is for the new boy to not escape. She needs to really be on her toes. They are tricky.

You are very welcome. Thank YOU both for all you are doing. You are the reason why it will work.

Yeah, just try your best to not let him escape. I know it is hard. The good news is, he wouldn't do that if he was afraid of the residents so he is all set. We just need to get the residents to that point (and they have come a long way). Residents almost always have the most difficult transition. But the new boy is really helping by being so good.

I am really, really happy with how things are going. Really proud of all of you!! Keep up the great work and let me know if you have any questions. For now, just continue with what you are doing and we'll move forward when you are back from vacation.

Hi! Hope you have been doing well!! We are alive and have returned from our week away. It was great to see the ocean and feel like the world was normal, but I worried about my cats so much. My cat sitter that was recommended to me (a college girl that I know from school) and booked for me by a co-worker, was awful. So, without going into a lot of details, we have been reassuring our cats that we love them and care for them and will NEVER leave them again. My new guy was afraid of us at first, even me, but in less than a day, he was loving up a storm. He still treats my husband like he is about to load him into a carrier and take him to the vet, but he relaxes and plays if I am also in his room. My resident boy has crawled into my lap a few times since we have been home, and he has not done that much since we added the new guy. And our girl stays the same no matter what, but she started sleeping in between us again at night and just picked right up where she left off.

So, we are doing the daddy barrier snack time again, and it has been going pretty well. They focus on the treats. My resident boy has had a bit of an attitude during this time since we have returned and my husband says he won't get as close as he did before. It is only a few inches difference, but he holds his ground and won't eat the snack until it is closer to him and not vice versa. I have seen him acting moody a time or two near THE screen door when I am on the "wrong" side, so there is still work to be done there. He has always been a moody cat, but he will let me pick him up and snuggle until he says it's over. Anyway, that is where we are at. Hopefully we can have a little more togetherness this weekend. :)
 

Furballsmom

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Oh gosh, I'm sorry that happened to you-all, but it sounds as though they're coming back around now that you've returned 💟
 
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JerseyCatMom

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Oh gosh, I'm sorry that happened to you-all, but it sounds as though they're coming back around now that you've returned 💟
Thank you, yes. I know they did not have any interaction at all. So sad. She just did minimal effort and in some important areas, no effort. I have yet to pay her because I can't figure out the amount when I had to replace some of their things. I am thankful they are alive and still in my house. She's not a bad person, just immature and did not provide the care I asked for. We were willing to pay whatever to know our cats were well cared for and give us peace of mind to enjoy our vacation.
 

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Hi! Hope you have been doing well!! We are alive and have returned from our week away. It was great to see the ocean and feel like the world was normal, but I worried about my cats so much. My cat sitter that was recommended to me (a college girl that I know from school) and booked for me by a co-worker, was awful. So, without going into a lot of details, we have been reassuring our cats that we love them and care for them and will NEVER leave them again. My new guy was afraid of us at first, even me, but in less than a day, he was loving up a storm. He still treats my husband like he is about to load him into a carrier and take him to the vet, but he relaxes and plays if I am also in his room. My resident boy has crawled into my lap a few times since we have been home, and he has not done that much since we added the new guy. And our girl stays the same no matter what, but she started sleeping in between us again at night and just picked right up where she left off.

So, we are doing the daddy barrier snack time again, and it has been going pretty well. They focus on the treats. My resident boy has had a bit of an attitude during this time since we have returned and my husband says he won't get as close as he did before. It is only a few inches difference, but he holds his ground and won't eat the snack until it is closer to him and not vice versa. I have seen him acting moody a time or two near THE screen door when I am on the "wrong" side, so there is still work to be done there. He has always been a moody cat, but he will let me pick him up and snuggle until he says it's over. Anyway, that is where we are at. Hopefully we can have a little more togetherness this weekend. :)
Welcome back.

I am glad you had a good time. I know, the worry about the cats, it does make it difficult to get away and relax. :/

I am so sorry about the catsitter. It is very difficult to find good people. There are different levels of bad and hopefully this sitter was on the better end of that spectrum. :/

"we have been reassuring our cats that we love them and care for them" - Great. That is the key. Cats are more resilient than we may think. True love solves a lot of issues.

"and will NEVER leave them again." - I think we can find a good balance in the future.

"My new guy was afraid of us at first, even me," - That can happen. Change is hard for cats.

"but in less than a day, he was loving up a storm." - THAT is what I am talking about. When pure love is there they realize it. Our emotions are so important in helping cats. I am so glad to hear he rebounded so quickly.

"He still treats my husband like he is about to load him into a carrier and take him to the vet" - Yes, that will happen. Just have him feed the cat, make a positive association. Have your husband not force attention, to stay calm, confident and loving towards the cat. Your husband is really good with cats it seems so I have no doubt he will be fine.

" but he relaxes and plays if I am also in his room." - THAT is great. Positive association using play and you. EXACTLY the right thing to do.

"My resident boy has crawled into my lap a few times since we have been home, and he has not done that much since we added the new guy." - Awwwwwwww, that is really good. Love builds confidence.

"And our girl stays the same no matter what, but she started sleeping in between us again at night and just picked right up where she left off." Awwwww, perfect!!!

"So, we are doing the daddy barrier snack time again, and it has been going pretty well. They focus on the treats." - PERFECT. THat is what we want. Keep doing that.

"My resident boy has had a bit of an attitude during this time since we have returned and my husband says he won't get as close as he did before." - That is normal. Cats don;t like change so that usually causes disruption. But I know you will get him back to where he was and make even more progress. I am not at all worried.

"It is only a few inches difference, but he holds his ground and won't eat the snack until it is closer to him and not vice versa." - Oh, that isn't bad at all. I thought it would be worse. That is not an issue, I am not concerned at all.

"I have seen him acting moody a time or two near THE screen door when I am on the "wrong" side, so there is still work to be done there." - Yes, again totally normal and not unexpected. Just reassure him, talk lovingly, calmly and confidently to him. Just try to let him know everything is the same, all is good, etc. The less change, the more routine things are (normal), no threats or issues with access to food, litter box, etc the better he will do. I know you will get him there.

"He has always been a moody cat, but he will let me pick him up and snuggle until he says it's over." - Awwwwwwww, that is very good. Love does solve a lot of issue and it really does build confidence.

" Anyway, that is where we are at. Hopefully we can have a little more togetherness this weekend " - Well, I would say that is really good. I would have expected more of a setback but it sounds really good.

Keep doing what you are doing with feeding. Keep trying to build their confidence through Play, Food, Height and Love. Keep to a routine, a schedule. Stay calm, confident and loving. Basically all the things you have been doing.

We are on the home stretch. We'll get them intro'd.

Great job and I hope you had a wonderful vacation!!
 
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