It’s been about ten weeks since I last posted, and we’ve gone through a bunch of stages since then. Once the close feeding had done everything it was going to do, we started in on short joint play sessions with everyone right before their lunch. This worked well for a week or so, and then Lucy decided she was done with it, and we had to back off for a few days.
Wen we went back to it, it again went OK for a while, until Kimchi decided nothing, no toy, no treat, no nothing, was as important to her as expressing her displeasure at being in the same space as other cats. So we switched tactics and instead went with removing all the visual blocking from the barrier so they could spend time seeing each other safely.
That did the trick, and so it was time for SUPERVISED INTERACTION. Whenever we were home and awake, everyone shared the house, but with us on high alert to stop any interactions that got out of hand. Lots of play, lots of treats, and lots of Kimchi being mad that the other cats existed, not helped by Oliver’s love of plopping his fat ass anywhere he sees a space another cat enjoys. A big point of contention was the play tunnel, which Kimchi loved to run through, except when Ollie just fucking sat in it. This invariably led to violence until I remembered that the tunnel could be put away.
From then on, things gradually improved over the weeks, despite some stuff the Internet doesn’t get to know about leading to us being home to supervise a lot less for a couple of weeks. Get Away From Me batting turned into Chase Me batting. Everyone got better at stopping play before it escalated or escaping after it did. And so, a week ago, Kimchi stayed out overnight, and it was fine. Well, she did try to play very pointedly with our heads/feet the first time she saw us going to sleep, but other than that, it’s been fine.
There’s still a lot of progress to be made. Kimchi builds trust slowly and lashes out when unhappy. Most of the places she likes to rest and relax are places away from the four of us. Affection is still very brief and very conditional. But the crazed eating has died down to “normal food-obsessed cat needs to be gently discouraged from licking the Arby’s tartar sauce” levels, we’re sleeping through the night most nights, andwhen she’s mad at the other cats for existing, she goes somewhere else for a bit. Life returns to a pleasant new normal and everyone is gradually getting happier and more comfortable.