Please help me introduce two kittens!

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TobyTims

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Also, well done on your kitten introduction and getting them all free of lice!!! :)
 

rubysmama

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Remember to keep telling Lola you love her. And play with her like normal. Let her live her life as normal, except of course her knowing there's an intruder in the other room. :ohwell:

Six days seems like a long time, but as Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953 always says, "you can only go as fast as the most reluctant cat is willing to go."

Setbacks are normal too. In fact, TCS has this article: How To Fix An Unsuccessful Cat Introduction – TheCatSite Articles
 
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Thanks again everyone for your advice :)

I think a day at work away from the cats was good for me to calm down about the whole situation, and Im feeling much better about it all now. It is so easy to get emotional when you see a cat that is unhappy :(

The gate is back up, with the towel covering one half of it (so fully exposed on the left side, but covering on the right side so either cat can quickly hide if they are feeling stressed). This has been in place all day today (about 6 hours so far), and some of last night too.

I feel we are making progress.

There has still been hissing, but less of it. We even had one thirty minute stretch there with both cats within 30cm of the gate, playing with their respective toys and cleaning and not a single hiss. We've also had some shorter stretches of 5-10 mins without hisses. And the hisses only occur when they are close together, generally not from across the room.

Lola continues to sometimes do the run up and pounce/swat, but without any noise hissing - I'm still not sure if she's playing or not. Sometimes when they are both close to the gate, she juts out her chin in an intimidating way. It's not super physically aggressive but its a clear sign of dominance and Snowy quickly runs away (but will come back). Snowy seems naturally a bit scared of Lola at times, but always comes back for more eventually and makes sweet chirping noises and rolls over showing she is no threat.

They are also spending time away from the gate too, just sleeping and relaxing in their respective ends of the house.

Does this sound positive to all of you?

I'm not planning to move on from this stage in a hurry, but I'm wondering what signs I should be looking out for which would suggest its time to pull down the gate. Is it when Lola stops any hissing/running at the gate?
 
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They just playfully batted paws with each other under the gate! For a solid 5 minutes. No hissing. I'm so happy :) :)
 
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Hello everyone! I have an update and quick question, if anyone is available to help.

The gate has been working really well. We have removed the towel entirely. Lola and Snowy to play under the gate, sniff each other’s paws and I think I even saw Lola give Snowy a tiny lick on the paw for 1 second! They sometimes sleep together by the gate, too.

The problem now is that Snowy is now absolutely desperate to get out the bedroom and be with everyone in the rest of the house (even though we try to sit in here with her for much of the day). So tonight during dinner time, my boyfriend opened the gate to test the waters with no barrier between them.

There was some hissing from Lola, which we expected, but she is also still doing the “charge-swipe” as A ArtNJ called. She’ll run up to Snowy and swipe her, this happened about 6 times over an hour. Not all of these were “charges”, some were slow walk up and swipes, but Lola was always the one going over and initiating. I think it’s just her showing she is threatened. But it is a bit worrying I think, and I’m not sure what the next step should be.

I wonder if them both being fairly young (11 and 7 months) is influencing this behaviour? They are both young cats that love to run and pounce during playtime.

We put them both back behind the gate and after a little cooling off, they are both back to happily interacting on either side of the gate. So that’s good at least.

My question is - do you think the fact that Lola is still “charge swiping” means they need more time behind the gate? Will keeping the gate up longer reduce this behaviour?

Or, should we be progressing to have them in the same room and just monitoring this behaviour to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand? They both seem so happy with the gate now, I worry keeping it up is not progressing their relationship - but would love some expert advice!

Thank you!
 
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rubysmama

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I wonder if them both being fairly young (11 and 7 months) is influencing this behaviour? They are both young cats that love to run and pounce during playtime.
It's hard to know just from your descriptions, if it's aggression or just play fighting. If you haven't already, do check out this TCS article Are My Cats Fighting Or Playing? | TheCatSite

Also, you can take a look at Kieka Kieka 's 2 cats playing in this link: Are my cats playing or fighting?

Cats playing, especially to people like myself who've never experienced it with their own cats, can look scary, but if neither cat seems scared, it's probably play.
 
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TobyTims

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A ArtNJ there is still hissing and growling when they are in the same room (sans gate) but not while the swiping occurs, if that makes sense

So there is a bit of hissing and growling when Snowy is close to Lola, without the gate. But then when Snowy moved away to look at something else, that is eventually when the swipe will occur (without noise). Sometimes Lola would run over to Snowy and swipe. Sometimes, Lola would sniff Snowy’s butt briefly (without noise) then go in for the swipe.

I’ve also seen Lola do it in what I think is a more stalking playful way from behind the gate (a run up and swipe /boop). In that scenario, there is no hissing or growling before or after.

I’m afraid I don’t have a video. I can try and get one but not sure if I should even be letting them in the same room yet, in light of this?
 

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Well, it sounds like the gate wasn't doing a ton of work anymore, since they were playing through the gate. So I'm not sure how much value backing up really has. Thats an unclear point, whether there is value to that. They might just need to work it out.

Just to explain a little more, I subscribe the desensitization model, where you gradually get them used to each other in progressively more challenging circumstances. Once a particular circumstance stops stressing them out at all, you move on, and don't get further value from staying at that stage. Its like if you are afraid fo spiders, and go to the therapist, and he starts out by playing Charlottes Web. Once that no longer bothers you, playing it another 10 times won't do much, you need to move to something more challenging. Since the gate step is no longer challenging, there isn't more desensitization to be done there.

However, at least some folks (like Jackson Galaxy) seem to also value building links to positive experiences. It makes some sense. I just think its very hard to do in the early stages, and you typically don't need it late. But maybe playing through the gate is a positive experience. So maybe there is some value there? Thats my thinking, if it helps.

Personally, I'd probably continue to let them work it out, but backing up a bit wouldn't be unreasonable. I just dont know it would help.
 
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TobyTims

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rubysmama rubysmama thank you for some resources! snowy does seem a bit scared and will hide a bit, but not for long then she is back at it!!
 
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TobyTims

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Well, it sounds like the gate wasn't doing a ton of work anymore, since they were playing through the gate. So I'm not sure how much value backing up really has. Thats an unclear point, whether there is value to that. They might just need to work it out.

Just to explain a little more, I subscribe the desensitization model, where you gradually get them used to each other in progressively more challenging circumstances. Once a particular circumstance stops stressing them out at all, you move on, and don't get further value from staying at that stage. Its like if you are afraid fo spiders, and go to the therapist, and he starts out by playing Charlottes Web. Once that no longer bothers you, playing it another 10 times won't do much, you need to move to something more challenging. Since the gate step is no longer challenging, there isn't more desensitization to be done there.

However, at least some folks (like Jackson Galaxy) seem to also value building links to positive experiences. It makes some sense. I just think its very hard to do in the early stages, and you typically don't need it late. But maybe playing through the gate is a positive experience. So maybe there is some value there? Thats my thinking, if it helps.

Personally, I'd probably continue to let them work it out, but backing up a bit wouldn't be unreasonable. I just dont know it would help.
Thank you! What you say makes sense. Obviously I am not a cat expert at all, but my sense is that even if I was to keep the gate up for another week, I’d get the same reaction from Lola, I would get the same response... so that’s why I’m leaning towards just letting them in a room to work it out as you say. And obviously separating them if anything was to go badly or Snowy seemed very scared.
 

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rubysmama rubysmama thank you for some resources! snowy does seem a bit scared and will hide a bit, but not for long then she is back at it!!
That's a good sign, I think. We always say, if there's no fur flying or blood, or one cat not seeming scared, that things are probably ok. As long as Snowy runs off, but but keeps coming back for more "fun", you probably don't need to worry.

so that’s why I’m leaning towards just letting them in a room to work it out as you say. And obviously separating them if anything was to go badly or Snowy seemed very scared.
You might still want to separate when no humans are around to supervise, just until you're confident they are getting along ok. However, I suspect before too long you'll be telling us they're cuddled together sleeping. And when that happens, I hope you'll post a pic. :)

How To Add A Picture To Your Forum Post | TheCatSite :camera:
 
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A happy update!

We decided to bite the bullet and let them be in the same room again today (closely supervised), and after 4 hours or so, its going really well. There was some swatting from Lola to begin with, but no hissing at all - except for when Snowy decided to test the waters and playfully pounce on Lola, that led to a hiss. Clearly Lola does not like the tables being turned on her haha.

They are now pretty tired, and are sleeping within 1.5 metres of each other (one on a chair and one on a table). They certainly aren't friends yet, but all signs seem really encouraging :)

rubysmama rubysmama We will definitely keep them separated when we are not home, for now. Hope to be able to send that cuddling picture soon!
 
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Hi everyone! Another update and request for advice, if possible.

Today is our third day of having the two cats in the same room during the day (still separating through the gate at night). Overall I think it’s going well, and getting better each day. Both happily eating, using litter tray and playing. When they are sleepy, they happily sleep close by. I even saw Lola give Snowy a little lick on the paw!

However they continue to play/fight quite a bit, particularly for a few hours in the early morning and after dinner. And I’m not always sure if it’s playing or fighting! Often it will start with a stare down and chase. Then the fighting/playing is generally silent, although often at some point, a yelping noise will come from either cat, or a hiss from new cat Snowy which is generally when I will clap to intervene. Ears are generally up, but sometimes flattened. Usually Lola starts the fight, but sometimes it’s Snowy too with a little butt wiggle and pounce.

Here is a link to a video,
I would rank this as one of their mid range fights (sometimes they are nicer and sometimes they are worse). Lola is the black and white cat, Snowy is the silver cat.

My sense is that they are playing but still figuring out boundaries and each other- but I would love your advice!!

PS - something I forgot to mention in earlier posts is that Snowy can only see out of one eye due, so don’t be alarmed if one looks a little odd in the clip

Thank you so much!!
 

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Yeah thats playing. Don't worry about a yelp. Thats just saying that the position is making one or the other uncomfortable. Its super common when there is a size difference for the smaller one to yelp now and then. A little hiss can mean the same thing "you went too far! that hurt! meanie!" or whatever. You know all is well if any running away is brief, and they come right back for more, and especially if they initiate sometimes.

Your cats are friends. You can let them be together full time.
 
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TobyTims

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Ahhh that is such a relief, thank you! ☺
 

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Glad to see A ArtNJ has already posted to give you reassurance that they are playing. I still find it hard to tell, as I have no purr-sonal experience with more than one cat, but the thing that stood out to me, was Snowy exposing her belly. She wouldn't do that if she felt threatened. So, yeah, I think they're friends now too. :catlove:
 
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TobyTims

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I just wanted to come back on here and say thanks to everyone on this forum for supporting me through my cat introduction. I know it was an easy one by most standards but for a first timer with two cats, it was stressful and so useful to have your guidance.

We are now at two weeks since we got snowy, and these two are well and truly friends! It’s terrible footage but look at what I just captured!
I read basically every thread on cat introduction while I was stressing about these two being friends -so I hope this gives comfort to anyone doing the same right now!

Thanks again ☺
 

rubysmama

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Oh, that is so precious. Thanks for sharing. And, yes, they are definitely friends. :redheartpump:
 
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