Above: Pip, below: Oliver. Thank you, Sarah Hoppes, for the use of your beautiful photographs which I used in this post. Sarah is one of the guardians of these cats, and is a professional photographer.
Now comes the second part of the story. A second cat came into their life, who they rescued from their new neighborhood. He was a lovely 6-month old tabby kitten who they named Oliver.
Then, on the evening of Hurricane Irene, the two cats were near each other and they were giving them love and TTouch, when Pip suddenly became agitated and tried to jump on Oliver to attack him. So they had to take a step back in the cats’ integration. At that point, they asked me to come and do a session with them to see what would be a good strategy for working with the two cats going forward.
They had been switching the cats’ spaces every so often, and at that point, they had Pip in the bedroom and Oliver in the living room. Oliver had started to hide under the couch, and Pip was often trying to get out of the bedroom, often banging against the door with his body. It sounded like Oliver was terrified of Pip, and that Pip was continuing to be agitated, probably threatened by the presence of Oliver.
I had a feeling that Oliver would benefit from being in the bedroom so he could snuggle with the owners at night and that Pip would be more content in the living room, so I suggested that they switch the cats’ spaces. Also at that point Oliver didn’t have a little cat condo for a private space, so I suggested that they get him one. These changes worked very well. Oliver didn’t try to hide any more, and Pip was not trying to get into Oliver’s space, the bedroom. About a week after they made this change, I had a session with Sarah, Pip and Oliver.
Each cat has a good amount of space, complete with food, litter box, toys and a cat condo to hide out in when they need. Chris and Sarah have been continuing to feed and TTouch the cats on either side of the door. They had been bringing Pip in to Oliver's space using a harness and leash, but had been scared to do that since Pip had tried to jump on Oliver to attack him. The cats seemed very content and not stressed at all when in their own spaces.
I did TTouches (and Reiki) with both cats in their separate spaces. Then we decided to try bringing Pip into Oliver's space. We put harnesses and leashes on both cats, so that it would be a safe, controlled situation.
While it wasn't great that Oliver was growling and hissing, it felt it was a step in the right direction that Oliver wasn't so terrified that he had to scramble, run away and hide -- that he was confident enough to stand his ground. I feel that with more time and more TTouch and more contact with the other cat, the growling and hissing will be less. And when I picked Pip up to bring him back into his space, he wasn't crazy or aggressive with me. I kept my attitude very matter of fact and he was relaxed and chill right away once back in his own space, not straining or clawing to get back into the other space, though of course he was more interested and was lying near the door.
I brought Pip back into his own space again, and spent a good deal of time with each cat to calm them and make them feel good.
I advised Sarah to definitely use the TTouch wrap, especially on Oliver, when they bring the cats together.
At the end of the session, both cats were EXTREMELY relaxed. It seems to me that it will just take some time for them to be comfortable with each other.
Sarah and Chris are very dedicated to helping the cats, and are continuing to do a great job with them. In a follow-up call with Sarah a couple of weeks after the session, she said they are continuing to make good progress with the cats. They are using the TTouch wrap, along with the TTouches and some other techniques I advised them to use to make the cats more comfortable with each other. Though Pip still can still get a bit overexcited at times, in general, the cats are becoming more and more at ease with each other. Both cats are also becoming more secure and confident, which helps them to feel more comfortable and less threatened by the other cat.