You might just need to take some time off...from the cat intros...even if it's just an afternoon, evening,..a few hours...or a few days.I will continue taking things slow, especially with this new caving behavior from Baguette. I am sensing from both cats a more erratic energy. From Freddie, I sense that he's feeling his schedule is thrown off by the site swapping, and he is super eager to sniff Baguette even though he gets so activated when actually seeing her. From Baguette, I sense that she's feeling both cooped up, yet overwhelmed at the same time if that's possible? As for me, my morale is feeling a bit low I just want everyone to be happy and their best selves
Sometimes just stepping away from the Routine of cat intros...gets you to come back a bit more re-energized...and gives you valuable time to relax... (and not have to watch, worry, or think about anything to do with the cat intros.)
Because you know that both cats are being well looked after...and really there is no rush...and no time limit to any of these things...then you definitely have to give yourself permission...to just do other things...which you enjoy.
Not to mention, that cat intros,...animal intros,...are always, always stressful. Nothing ever goes according to a Plan.
We put a Plan in place...and try to stick to a Routine...but do need a lot of mini breaks.
There are so many things which are unpredictable...and will make you think..."what's happening now?"...or "Huh? That went better than I thought"...or "I'm not sure what's going on at this point". We all felt like that...or similar to it.
So just remember to take it day by day.
When your morale is a bit low...or you're feeling a bit run down...and tired...then take a break.
Do something just for you, ...something totally non-cat related.
I would definitely remove the cardboard under the bed... heybeanbag .Bit of an update on some new behavior from Baguette and then I'll respond to your questions below-
So, last night I did site swapping and Freddie stayed in the bedroom while Baguette explored the living room. Early this morning, I got up to switch them back. A note - I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but it has been difficult most times to get Baguette back into the bedroom. She evades all my approaches and I have to coax her with treats and toys to come out and go back into the bedroom. She clearly does not like being pursued, so it takes a while to get her back into her room. She doesn't really act "evade-y" when we're in the bedroom together, only in the rest of the apartment. Anyway, I got her back in the room and I got back in bed. Freddie was then crying outside the door, which is not unusual for him - he cries to get out and then wants back in - not out of the ordinary
But then - Baguette starts meowing a ton! For minutes on end. And she usually barely ever meows at all. But it was like she and Fred were almost having a conversation or a little back and forth or something - this went on for probably 5 mins. She had a "crying" tone. I tried to comfort her and pet her a bit not knowing why she was crying - wasn't sure if she was just responding to Freddie, or wanting to go back out into the living room. She seemed receptive to being pet and comfort, but was also bite-y and seemed very stimulated. Eventually I got back in bed again, and the next thing I know she is ripping apart the under-the-bed cardboard barrier I had put up to keep her out of that area! She has not tried to do that before. She ended up getting under there and staying under the bed for several hours. Also, I was under the weather so I just didn't feel like trying to get her out in the moment. She just seemed weirdly activated and anxious, like her ultimate goal was to get under there. It was a type of energy I hadn't seen from her before. Anyway, later on, I opened the cardboard a bit and she casually just came out from under to chase the toy I was waving in front of her. She didn't seem "fearful" to come back out.
After I got her out, I went back to the barrier and reinforced it with more tape. I left the room and she got back under AGAIN. Then, she came out easily again with a toy. A bit later, I also let her and Freddie have some facetime with food through the gate. It was fine and then looked at each other for a while, him right up at the gate, and her a distance away. She got close once or twice and he stuck his paws through the gate every time she got near. Eventually, he walked away and when I check on her, she had somehow gotten under the bed again
I went back to reinforce the barrier since she had broken through a different area, coaxed her out with a toy again, and when I left the house for a little, I came back only to notice she had gotten under there, yet again. I plan to go get more tape this afternoon, but it appears that every time I leave the room now, she goes under the bed. It seems pretty easy to get her out though, so I can't tell if she just likes hanging out in the dark or if she is insecure and hiding. I'm wondering if I should just remove the cardboard if she's going to get under there anyway. Any thought on this? I feel pretty discouraged by this behavior because if she spends a lot of time under there, I'm worried she won't be open to new experiences. I wish she would hide in the woolen cat cave I got her instead I'm also worried if she spends too much time under there, she might try to poop or pee there. Just feeling saddened and discouraged by this
(I think that the whole idea of the 'cat intro guides' telling you to block off access to inaccessible places...under beds...is just so that when you first bring a cat home...the cat does not constantly hide somewhere...and not come out for days. But it is a rather safe and comfortable spot for a cat to sleep. Especially since you can easily get her out of there with a cat toy. That's kind of impressive.)
I think Baguette...really likes sleeping under the bed...because yes, it is dark,...it feels safe...offering protection from the top and possibly the sides...and it's just a nice, out of the way place...where many cats love to sleep.
It's like a cozy little den, and retains body heat even better.
It does not mean that Baguette does not Trust you...or loves you any less...it's just a great spot for a cat to sleep...and stretch and relax.
Besides, she may love this sleeping spot, now,...but in time...cats alternate and find other favorite sleeping spots, too.
I cannot see it really interfering with her being "open to new experiences"...unless she is hiding there...all the time, day and night.
(It's so true...that we humans...would love our cats to just sleep in the 'cat beds', or 'cat caves', cat boxes,...we buy them...but so many times...our cats just choose not to. Or else they eventually try out the cat beds, various spots we place the cat beds in, or cat blanket spots...but I kind of find that they only do it...in their own sweet time. On the 'cat's schedule, and choosing',...not on the human's schedule. You end up buying an amazing and soft cat bed...and think, "omg, my cat's gonna love this"...and then at home...the cat is placed on it, takes a sniff...and walks away. No excitement, nothing. lol. But all is not lost. Sometimes the cat bed has to air out...and eventually get used. Or one small cat blanket that smells like them, entices them to sleep there.)
I don't think she would poop or pee there...since cats don't normally poop or pee where they sleep...(unless of course they were quite ill, totally fearful, accidental or something.)
(My male cat Tripp, loves dark closets...and also sneaks into an old armoire we have, where the doors were not properly closed..and I could not even imagine him squeezing through...but he does...and often times will startle me, a bit, ...when he decides to come out.)
It's so interesting that Baguette and Freddie were having a 'conversation' through the door.
(Another member previously told me that cats only 'meow' to humans...and use trills, murmurs, chirps, and other vocalizations with each other. But I'm not sure, about this...since, I've also noticed that one cat will meow, ..the other will listen...get all curious and often times go and investigate. So the 'meow'...must mean something to them, too.)
I wonder if Freddie and Baguette were talking about their human...and wondering why...the door had to be closed.
And why does their human do all these strange things...like place them in one room, then switch them around.
It must be so odd...from a cat's perspective.
(PS: Will further reply to your post, later on tonight, since I have some car repairs to take care of during the daytime.
Last night I wrote this reply, then my internet went off. yikes. I feared that I lost the entire post. I was sadly stunned..(and might have used some colourful swear words, too,) since I didn't know if it was backed up or saved as a draft...or not. Luckily it was. whew. Note to self:..always copy and save long replies to Word...or somewhere...and use the 'save draft' feature above...but better to copy and save.)
(PPS. "I'm curious, with your cats Tepaul and Tripp, did you go through an intro process?"
No, actually Tepaul and Tripp are from the same litter. They are female and male siblings. But you wouldn't sometimes guess this, by the behaviour they do. They are not warm and cuddly, with each other. They either act like indifferent roommates, or teenagers...who like their own spaces, have their own schedules, and like the black lab/retriever dog...better than their own sibling.
They are both dominant, too. But very loving with their humans. I love how unique they are. Strangely enough, though, I did catch them sleeping on the same bed, yesterday, and could not believe my eyes...so there is always hope and changes, I guess.)