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So we are integrating our new 3-year old female Olive in with our two boys Gohan and Trin. This is three transitions at once: adoption, transition to indoor only and meeting two new cats. Olive has been friends with another cat previously that moved away, and Gohan and Trin are friends so I know they can coexist with another cat. We started with scent trading using towels, and then we would let Olive inside the den during the night (closed off from the rest of the house) and let her outside during the day. That way Gohan and Trin were able to smell where she stayed for better scent transition. After that she was inside all the time with the door closed for about 10 days. Then we opened up the door and separated with a baby gate so they could see each other. Trin hissed a little bit but generally was ok and curious. He tends to want to go right up to her face and smell her which predictably causes a hiss or swipe but they've shared space fairly peacefully for some amount of time. Gohan (the alpha) sat back and watched (he does this often with new experiences or during playtime. He's a sniper). After a while Olive started hopping the gate and coming up for visits while we were home or coming out to explore at night).


And this is when Gohan decided he wanted to defend his territory. He started chasing her back to the den. Now she will run back if she even sees him, and he will trot after to see where she is going or actively pursue and chase depending on his mood. After a few disrupted nights (one where Olive was probably scratched and another where she injured a claw), we have started keeping the door closed when we are asleep or not home. We have started some combined play sessions to distract them when they are in the same room, and that seems to work ok. Gohan will also jump the gate when we are in the den to check it out, and as long as she is on her cat tree or in my lap she there aren't any fights. If they are both on the ground they sometimes start to fight.


She doesn't seem overly "bullied", after being chased out she will often pop right back over to say hi once he's gone and she doesn't hide under anything even if she stays in the den. I think she is getting tired of being cooped up in the den and she is ready to expand her territory. Gohan is worried about losing his territory, and losing especially my boyfriend Randall who he is intensely bonded to after being rescued as a feral kitten.


Our next move will be to move the play sessions to the den to get them normalized there first. I'm hoping we can distract him enough to have a good interaction.


My specific concerns:
1. Is this going ok? I'm worried it will be hard to break the pattern of behavior of run/chase that's going on. She will often start running away first out of habit now, and he chases when that happens.
2. Sometimes Gohan will sit on the other side of the gate and stare at her while she is on the cat tree. Is this negative, should we curb that behavior? Not many soft eyes or slow blinking, but also no hissing or indications of aggression.
3. Is there something else we should be doing to help this along?


From everything I've tried to research, this may be one of those month+ integrations where it may take a while. But any advice helps! Also any stories of others having long but eventually successful integrations (especially involving multiple resident cats) will help. Thanks!
 

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Food is usually a good way to manage harmony in cats. Are you free feeding them? If you are, you will likely have better success if you give them meals---morning, evening and late evening snack just before you go to bed. Most cats like routine and being fed at the same time each day or evening. So far I think things are going pretty well.....Olive isn't really being bullied to the point that she's fearful of Gohan and is indicating she wants to join the boys by jumping over the gate. I would go along with your idea of playing with them in the den. Do it with an interactive fishing pole type of toy with feathers, such as "Da Bird", and you can try and give them a turn.....Flit the toy around like a bird flying and occasionally landing on floor or a chair and moving across the floor. Don't just wave it in front of them. After a play session, give them their meal or some treats. Have all the bowls in the same room in a different location, and see if this is a bonding experience for them. Cats soon learn to go to their eating spot. This works if the cats all eat at the same rate and finish their meals and there isn't one of those that eat a little throughout the day. One of the things I used to do when I had more cats than I do now is to put a large plate or tray with enough food on it for the number of cats, and let them eat together. This worked well, except for one neutered boy that was a fast eater and a real piggy, and he did have to eat alone in another room, otherwise he ate more than he should have and gained weight. Hope these ideas are helpful. Keep us updated as to how things progress. All the best!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Catlover. We do free-feed (although we fill the bowls in the morning and evening) and I know it isn't recommended but Gohan likes to eat teeny bites throughout the day, and Olive is a fast eater. We can be better about portioning food and feeding them in that room though. We have fed them treats near each other and that works out pretty good, although sometimes it weirds Gohan out and he leaves without finishing. But no fighting.


Last night we hung out in the den and Olive was sleeping on my lap. Gohan came in to explore and it went pretty good. Olive woke up and was watchful but no hissing, growling or swiping from either of them. Gohan walked passed her to get pets from Randall. We felt that was a pretty good interaction. They key moments are usually when they are both awake and on the ground, that's when fights seem to break out. Thanks for the advice and I'll keep you updated!
 

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Sounds like things are going well....one thing I forgot to mention.....when you do see them being friendly or companionable, always reward the good behavior--with your voice, or caresses, or a small treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Update on our integration: we have focused more on the basement since that can reopen some of Gohan's territory. This past weekend we had a few instances of both Olive and Gohan being about 6 feet from each other - both on the floor - with no hissing, fighting or chasing. And lots of slow blinks. We are definitely working in some play, and we always shower them with affection when they are being neutral towards each other. So it's coming along, albeit slowly. Thanks for the advice!
 

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Glad to hear their behavior to each other has improved.....sometimes it goes along swimmingly, and then there'll be a day with quarrels, which is natural with cats, but as long as it's friendly or at least tolerable between them most of the time, that's good!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am the dominate kitty!

I just had to share this. We are trying to integrate our third cat into the mix, and while it's going ok it's pretty tense and early. What doesn't help, is when we try integration time (play session with a group feed) sometimes the neighbor's cat Myrtle comes by and stares in or attacks the window. We were getting frustrated because it makes our cats twitchy and tense and is not helping integration efforts.


So I decided to have a staring contest with Myrtle, and after a few tense minutes I totally won! She retreated entirely and we haven't seen her back since! I feel flush with confidence and power! I feel proud. :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So I don’t know what happened, the above reply was supposed to be a new post and somehow ended up on this thread. Sorry for the redundant information!
 

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I combined the threads since they were on the same subject and so people could see the background info.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry about posting again, but I had a question about chasing - Olive has been wanting to leave the basement, but Gohan chases her back every time. She is like a boomerang though, and comes right back out when she thinks it's ok. No fights (or even hisses\growls), but constant chasing. He stops chasing when he gets to the basement doorway and then crouches and stares. He mostly refuses to enter the room, although when he does she sometimes chases him out. Toys will not distract him from a chase, although when he is staring from the doorway sometimes we can take turns with Da Bird back and forth.


We feed them in the kitchen together after playtime, and they can be within a foot of each other with no issues. Once the food runs out, Gohan calmly wanders off and Olive runs back to the basement while Trin licks all the bowls clean.


My question is: With time will they stop the chasing, or is this cycle something we need to break out of?
 

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Sounds like Gohan is being territorial and wants Olive to stay in the basement. So far because there's no hissing, growls or fights, this is good!.....almost seems to be a little game between the two of them---I chase you to the basement door, and sometimes you chase me away. I would mostly ignore it, unless it escalates to fights or bullying to the extent that Olive does not "boomerang" back upstairs every time, and they're getting in frequent fights. Sometimes if bullying is too much for one, you need to interfere, but do it in such a way that the bullying doesn't become a reward. e.g. if you shake a kibble bag to interrupt the bullying, and then give them all a small treat, don't do this too often or Gohan will figure out....go bully Olive and I'll get a treat!. As they say, timing is everything. A distraction, such as shaking a can with pennies in it---a sound a lot of cats don't like, may be enough to interrupt any serious bullying by Gohan. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok, thanks catlover! We will wait it out and see if it gets better in a couple of months. So far we are encouraged by the truce feedings, and I appreciate the great advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So there has been a slight shift in dynamic. Olive continues to regularly explore the living room, and gets chased by Gohan back to the basement. Sometimes it's easier for her to run under the futon in the living room, at which point she is somewhat trapped from returning to the basement. She with growl if Gohan gets near, and sometimes we have seen him go under there and watch her (but it doesn't seem to escalate to a fight). He will hang around the room in bread-shape watching. If Randall is around he can call to him and Gohan trots away, but mostly he waits to see what will happen.


As she doesn't seem too stressed under the futon (she can be coaxed out with treats if he isn't too close, and she sits near the front and not way in the back), is it a good interaction to have them chill there? or should I bring her back to her basement room when this happens? We have cardboard "shields" to neutrally separate them if it gets too intense, but I want to know if this futon staring contest is progress or a negative altercation. She obviously isn't comfortable under there, but Gohan gets to become acclimated to her.


Sorry to revive this old thread, but I am full of questions. I go through every kitty interaction micro-analyzing to know if it was "good" or "bad" and if I should be doing something different. Cats are so hard!
 

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I would say it's "good" that Olive is choosing to go under the futon in the living room rather than running to the basement. To me that says she prefers to be upstairs and near you even tho she still will sit under the futon if Gohan is nearby----it's positive that she shows confidence by being near the front and not back, and she will growl if he's too close. Gohan is not going after her under the futon---if he were really aggressive he wouldn't tolerate her under there at all. So i think it's progress that she's upstairs more than in the basement---it's baby steps here. Gohan is tolerating her and I think it is progress that he can "chill" with her. They may never be cuddle buddies, but the goal is that they can tolerate each other in the same room and not get into fights. Try and be relaxed around them, and play with them from time to time, such as dragging around a cord or thick string for them to follow and play with, or use a fishing pole type of toy with feathers on the end, like "Da Bird". Thanks for the update.....things are going well.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks, Catlover. It’s really helpful to have the feedback. I think they are getting there too, Gohan just has a really slow way of processing everything and I’m guessig there are still a few months when we can have them interact unattended. Keep calm and cat on lol! 😸
 
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