Cat Integration: Initial Introductions

With the upstairs mostly finished being painted and the microchip doors in place, we decided to get a head start on introducing my Bengal girls to the house and to DJ’s cats. It actually went a little better than we predicted it might.

It all started with a meowy half hour commute to DJ’s last Friday morning.

Earlier in the week, I sent a cat tower, my desk, and my computer monitors home with DJ so we could set up the future guest room as a temporary office and cat transition space. We also laid down a big utility rug with a cat box on it and then I brought all the other cat essentials (food, treats, cat bed, favorite toys) along with my cats, Mika and Mochi. I showed up bright and early on Friday and plugged my laptop into my monitors so that I could work remote while the girls settled into the new environment. DJ’s cats had taken it upon themselves to thoroughly scope out the tower over the previous few days, so there were plenty of scents to check out and new views from the second story window.

At various times over the weekend, we let Mika and Mochi free to explore the house while Chaos and Calamity were out about town doing whatever it is cats do outside on a sunny weekend.

It takes no time at all for my cats to make themselves at home in a new space. After brief, cautious exploration of all the rooms in the house they were happily sitting on all the high ledges and sprawling about as if they owned the place. Mika also spent a lot of time trying to open random cabinet doors, one of her favorite activities.

We only had one accidental surprise cat crossover between Calamity and Mika. We didn’t catch exactly what happened, but they both ended up in the master bedroom where we were painting the inside of the closet. Nobody was hurt or traumatized by the experience, just alarmed at the unexpected encounter. We got them separated and reassured the offended parties that everything was okay, and it was.

Most importantly, we got the opportunity for a little bit of controlled face to face time between DJ’s cats and mine. We didn’t force the issue – we waited for a time when DJ’s cats were in hanging around inside the house of their own accord. I sat inside the room containing my cats and held the door cracked open a couple inches while DJ was with his cats in the hall. There was some nervous, high alert staring between cats and then retreat when the bravery wore out. We were so focused on the interaction and didn’t think to capture it the first time. We did capture our second go at it though!

This time, we were all in the hall with my girls in their dedicated cat transition room. I held the door cracked while Chaos and Mika had a stare off. There was a little bit of growling, but no hissing or frizzing. Chaos retreated downstairs at one point but then was curious enough that he worked up the courage for a second visit a few minutes later! That’s good forward progress, in my book.

I’ll be bringing my girls over again for a repeat performance this weekend. Hopefully we can make a little more progress with each visit.

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