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  1. #111
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    @Amargith, thanks so much! Link away. I will read them as I'm able.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga
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  2. #112
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    @Amargith, thanks so much! Link away. I will read them as I'm able.
    Actually, I *really* love that you are sooo aware of this stuff already and are willing to actually pro-actively work with them. You have no idea how rare that kind of awareness is
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  3. #113
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    @Amargith, thanks again. I read all of the links you provided and bookmarked them so I can reference them again as the move and introduction take place.

    Have you written an article on introducing an indoor cat to the outside? I'm not yet sure that I want to do this, but my cat is an explorer and I think she would be happier having an outdoor option. I don't know enough about her history to know if she's ever been outdoors, so I'm going to approach it as if she hasn't. I thought about buying a harness and using that to introduce her to the yard and neighborhood gradually.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

  4. #114
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    @Amargith, thanks again. I read all of the links you provided and bookmarked them so I can reference them again as the move and introduction take place.

    Have you written an article on introducing an indoor cat to the outside? I'm not yet sure that I want to do this, but my cat is an explorer and I think she would be happier having an outdoor option. I don't know enough about her history to know if she's ever been outdoors, so I'm going to approach it as if she hasn't. I thought about buying a harness and using that to introduce her to the yard and neighborhood gradually.

    No, I haven't but it's fairly simple, ime.

    First thing to consider is the environment you live in. Personally, my cats go outside, but then I live in a kid-friendly neighbourhood with no cars and no wild life. If you've got cars flying by, coyotes, raccoons or anything that might threaten them and their territory...you may want to reconsider. Otherwise, go for it, after having them inoculated (outdoor cats get extra inoculations and anti-parasitics)

    You can certainly use a harness, if you like. Just put it on them gently and let them walk around with it first indoors so they can get used to it and have treats and toys nearby to distract them if they start tugging at it or trying to remove it. Teaching them to walk on a leash is done with treats. This is all a lot of extra training, though, but it can be beneficial if you do want to walk them in the neighbourhood later on.

    Personally, I just opened the door and went out there *with* them. I left the door open so they could go back to the safe space at any time they wanted and took them back inside after a few minutes, or once I saw that they had had enough. I did that 3, 4 times still and built up the amount of time we were out there, with me eventually have a seat on the garden furniture and staying out there while they explored at their own pace. I have 4 cats and each one had a different adjustment period to the garden.

    Do make sure you keep them inside first 4-6 weeks so they identify the new place as their home and they've actually had time to adjust to *that* amount of territory already, before letting them out, so they'll know their way back home.
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  5. #115
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    @Amargith, I would like your evaluation of how introducing our two cats is going and any suggestions you might have to help things along.

    Because of moving and cleaning the house I recently vacated, introducing the cats had been mostly put on a back burner. My girl has been confined to a bedroom for most of the time.

    My girl is the more aggressive of the two and used to having to adapt to new houses, so we decided to give Taran's boy time to gain his confidence. He was an outdoor only cat until recently, so he is still learning to see the house as his territory. He wouldn't even go down the hallway to investigate the new arrival for several days. We had to entice him. He did finally get up the confidence to investigate on his own. There was a little hissing, spitting and yowling, but no attacks and it didn't last very long.

    After about three days of him investigating outside of the bedroom door, there isn't even any hissing.

    I have let my girl investigate the main bedroom a few times so that she gets a little more freedom of movement, but there are no doors on the other rooms so I haven't let her investigate further than that. If the weather improves and the male goes outside for any length of time, we plan on letting my girl investigate the rest of the main floor of the house, blocking off access to the basement.

    We have put my girl in a large crate 3 different days so far. The first day, she was in the living room and the male peeked around a corner, saw her and went down in the basement for the rest of the day.

    The second day, we put the crate in the kitchen. The male stayed in one entrance way. My girl did the "chewing" thing--I don't know how else to describe it. I know they do it when they are nervous about another cat and are getting ready to defend themselves. There was some hissing from both cats, but eventually, the puffy tails disappeared and both laid down and seemed relaxed. The male came within four feet of the crate.

    This morning, there was a little growling from my girl and meowing from both cats. The male came within three feet of the crate. My girl laid down with her back towards him. He rolled and showed his belly briefly. We gave them both catnip and treats while in each others presence.

    We think this all means it's going well, but I want to make sure of that. I don't think they're ready for my girl to be out of the crate yet. I want to see how they behave when they are closer than three feet away from each other.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga
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  6. #116
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    @Amargith, I would like your evaluation of how introducing our two cats is going and any suggestions you might have to help things along.

    Because of moving and cleaning the house I recently vacated, introducing the cats had been mostly put on a back burner. My girl has been confined to a bedroom for most of the time.


    My girl is the more aggressive of the two and used to having to adapt to new houses, so we decided to give Taran's boy time to gain his confidence. He was an outdoor only cat until recently, so he is still learning to see the house as his territory. He wouldn't even go down the hallway to investigate the new arrival for several days. We had to entice him. He did finally get up the confidence to investigate on his own. There was a little hissing, spitting and yowling, but no attacks and it didn't last very long.

    After about three days of him investigating outside of the bedroom door, there isn't even any hissing.

    I have let my girl investigate the main bedroom a few times so that she gets a little more freedom of movement, but there are no doors on the other rooms so I haven't let her investigate further than that. If the weather improves and the male goes outside for any length of time, we plan on letting my girl investigate the rest of the main floor of the house, blocking off access to the basement.

    We have put my girl in a large crate 3 different days so far. The first day, she was in the living room and the male peeked around a corner, saw her and went down in the basement for the rest of the day.

    The second day, we put the crate in the kitchen. The male stayed in one entrance way. My girl did the "chewing" thing--I don't know how else to describe it. I know they do it when they are nervous about another cat and are getting ready to defend themselves. There was some hissing from both cats, but eventually, the puffy tails disappeared and both laid down and seemed relaxed. The male came within four feet of the crate.

    This morning, there was a little growling from my girl and meowing from both cats. The male came within three feet of the crate. My girl laid down with her back towards him. He rolled and showed his belly briefly. We gave them both catnip and treats while in each others presence.

    We think this all means it's going well, but I want to make sure of that. I don't think they're ready for my girl to be out of the crate yet. I want to see how they behave when they are closer than three feet away from each other.

    It sounds like they're on track. Try the feeding near each other (while she is in the crate or behind a barrier) + treats, and do a scent swap. By now, the boy should be confident and walking around with his tail in the air in his territory when not near her, so put him in her room and let her out as well, so they can investigate the spaces while getting used to each others smell and get the run of the territory. Just swap them every day. It's only fair to share the lock-up time, and it'll increase their familiarity and their sense of territory.

    This way, you also make sure your girl doesn't get too bored out of her skull and ready to take out that pent up energy on someone else. For that matter, if you can both engage them in like 10 minutes of play with a fishing rod toy, that too will already go a long way to releasing that energy, building their confidence in that house (so none of them will act like prey when they do get to meet without any restrictions).

    The introduction process can take a while, depending on the cats involved, but with cats that have no previous antipathy, and no significant other behavioural problems, who have been socialised to some extent, I find that it usually takes about a week, if done properly. However, they do also have the actual adjustment of the territory to add on to that, so that may have added some extra days onto it all.

    Just remember to go at their pace - and don't be afraid to go back a step if things seem to be escalating or even stagnating. Ideally, you want to see a tail up in the air from both of them, before you take the next step in the process.

    So - new territory, explore , explore, explore, confident walking around and tail-up: check. New cat in the house but food near her: hesitant, hissing, defensive, but food, eating, keeping an eye, but food, ohhh food, who cares about the other cat, ohh food and other cat: tail up, check! in room of other cat, new territory+ new smell, investigate, explore, then confidently resting, and walking about with tail up, check!, and so on.

    And keep adding all kinds of positive affirmation things when near each other - catnip (but make sure they're not too close to each other during this so they lash out at each other!), food, treats, play, petting, the works! And if you're willing to throw money at it, a Feliway vaporiser would be like a cherry on top (but not vital).

    Good luck to ya
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  7. #117
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    So, we took the big step today and released Robin from her room. Riley has hissed and yowled when she got too close to him or his food. Robin immediately backed off when he did that. Her tail is up. Riley's is slightly puffy and down. They are both down in the basement right now. So far all we've heard is some meowing--no hissing or fighting.

    I have to admit, this was a time of me not taking my own good advice. I was nervous about the cats working it out on their own. Taran has had to tell me several times to not interfere.

    Overall, it's going very well.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

  8. #118
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    So, we took the big step today and released Robin from her room. Riley has hissed and yowled when she got too close to him or his food. Robin immediately backed off when he did that. Her tail is up. Riley's is slightly puffy and down. They are both down in the basement right now. So far all we've heard is some meowing--no hissing or fighting.

    I have to admit, this was a time of me not taking my own good advice. I was nervous about the cats working it out on their own. Taran has had to tell me several times to not interfere.

    Overall, it's going very well.


    Just...make sure you always end encounters on a high note, make it pleasurable (food!) and keep things from escalating - that means, no alone time unsupervised until both tails are in the air and there is no more aggression, and short periods of time at once (few minutes at best), then increase as they get more used to it.

    You'll get there
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  9. #119
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    The cats seem to get along, or at least tolerate each other, until Riley eats his own food. Even though Robin has a bowl of food of her own, in the same room as Riley's food, when she sees Riley eating from his food bowl, she tries to attack him. This has happened twice now. I'm not sure how to handle this. I don't know if Robin has food issues due to her past.

    On the positive side, even though Robin just chased after him, Riley seems to be curious about where Robin has gone (I put her back in the bedroom to cool off). I say curious because he seems confident as opposed to furtive.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

  10. #120
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    The cats seem to get along, or at least tolerate each other, until Riley eats his own food. Even though Robin has a bowl of food of her own, in the same room as Riley's food, when she sees Riley eating from his food bowl, she tries to attack him. This has happened twice now. I'm not sure how to handle this. I don't know if Robin has food issues due to her past.

    On the positive side, even though Robin just chased after him, Riley seems to be curious about where Robin has gone (I put her back in the bedroom to cool off). I say curious because he seems confident as opposed to furtive.
    Mmm... see if you can try the feeding exercise with like a baby gate or screen or like a piece of cloth between them. Start them far enough from each other so they don't feel the need to attack, but notice the other being there and if you see her fixating on him, try to distract her (rattle the food bowl, use your voice, a toy, whatever works), or drop the piece of cloth so they cannot see each other again. Basically, you want her to feel rewarded for being in his presence without fixating on him non-stop, and without - obviously - going in for the kill, as such.

    Another alternative is to feed him up on the counter, with her right below. That way, she cannot get to him easily, while getting used to getting food together. After a while, you can lower him to the flower, gradually (use like a box, or a cat tree, or whatever you need to make up the distance), until he is on the floor with her.

    Keep up the daily playtime to vent off excess stress, aggression and energy!
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