Last week I did a few room swaps and decided it was time for some between the gate face to face time. I kept the interactions short and sweet with lots of fresh cooked chicken for all! So far it has been going fairly well. It took 3 days for the first hiss and that was from Jake. I also started opening the door (with a barrier to keep him safely inside his room) to Cisco’s room so he could start to hear, see and smell the comings and goings of our house.
The room swaps quickly got boring. Jake was the only one who really wanted to be in Cisco’s room as Marvin really didn’t care. Cisco was unsure about my bedroom and I wasn’t ready for him to come downstairs yet. So I decided to move to sight visits. I have two gates separating Cisco from his room and the hallway. Fortunately they are pet walk through gates so I don’t have to climb over them! By having two it makes it easier to keep Cisco away from the door as well as allowing the cats time to visit without getting too close. I started with both gates closed, but quickly moved to allowing Jake and Marvin inside the first gate. I gave lots of plain cooked chicken to all. There has been lots of sniffing between the three of them. Jake did get a bit hissy, but at first it was directed at Marvin since he stole Jake’s piece of chicken! Jake will be the hardest to accept Cisco. It took him over a year to accept Marvin. Fortunately Cisco is very docile and mellow. Marvin was much for skittish and aggressive. Here are a few pictures of their interactions.
When I introduced Jake and Marvin, I used the gates as well, but I also used a screen door. We did not want to deface our current door so I bought a cheap wooden screen door from Lowes and would rest it against the door frame and secure with tension rods. A gate was still in the door way for extra protection. I only used this set up when I was home to supervise. It was great for Marvin, but it was cumbersome to take up and down and it freaked Marvin out each time. Here is a picture of my screen door set up.
I really wanted something easier to set up, yet high enough so the cats couldn’t jump it. My current walk through gates are 30″ high so not quite tall enough. I scoured the internet and came up with something I thought might work. You basically use 4-6′ in length wire shelving units and attach them together with zip ties. Here is the article where I found this idea https://pethelpful.com/cats/Build-a-free-standing-cat-dog-pet-gate-with-virtually-no-tools. It is a brilliant idea that works well as long as the cats are supervised. We first started with the 6′ tall panels, but it was hard to maneuver and taller than I needed. These were returned and instead one 12′ piece was cut into 3 pieces. Zip ties are used to keep them together. It is very easy to set up and easy to move around too.
I also had the idea that this would work well for my outside boys. I have been bringing them inside the laundry room for some time with me when it’s been so cold outside. I have to leave the door cracked for them, but they love it. Jake and Marvin have been on the other side of the inside door. I have been giving treats to all and managing to slip a few under the door for Jake and Marvin. Right off my laundry room is the den. This would be another safe place for the outside boys. I decided to give it a try and see how it worked.
I positioned the new barrier in my hallway keeping Jake, Marvin and Misty our dog out of the way. I opened the doors and called to see who would come. Stellar or Hampton are usually first. They were a bit shocked to see the doorway into the house open. Hampton ran right back outside before trying again. Stellar decided to be brave and found his way into the den. Of course Jake was on the other side of the barrier and Marvin soon followed. No one sniffed, just lots of watching. Of course all of the outside boys have seen Jake and Marvin through the screen door for years. So this new barrier will have many uses. Here is a picture of the barrier in the hallway and a few of the kitties.