As you progress with the feeding sessions, gradually increase the exposure time and start to let them wander around more.
Clicker Training the Cat
As you increase the time the cats are exposed to each other, use clicker training and click and reward for any positive move, however small it may be. Click for any absence of an unwanted behavior. For example, if one cat breaks a stare or walks by the other cat without hissing or swatting – that deserves a reward. If you choose not to clicker train, offer a food treat or verbal praise for any positive sign. Clicker training is a very powerful training tool though and one I would urge you to try. You may be familiar with clicker training for dogs but it works just as well with cats since they’re so food motivated.
Use Playtime During Cat Reintroductions
Use interactive playtime as a way to help the cats associate positive experiences with being together. Do parallel play by having a fishing pole-type toy in each hand or, if you can, enlist the assistance of another family member. The cats shouldn’t compete for one toy to avoid the risk of having a cat feeling intimidated by the other. When you use two toys they get to enjoy the game while seeing the other cat in their peripheral vision.
Tweak the Cats’ Environment
This is the time to take a second look at how your environment has been set up to see if there’s anything you can do to improve enrichment and a sense of security. The more interior territory you can create, the easier it’ll be for each cat to find enough personal space. With an indoor environment cats have to overlap some of their personal territory so the more you can assist them with this, the better. Use cat trees, perches and hideaways to create low, medium and high levels. If you increase the elevated territory in the environment you’ll greatly increase the cats’ perception of the amount of territory they have. Vertical territory also helps a cat’s sense of safety and security because he knows it’ll be more difficult for an opponent to ambush him from behind. The vertical territory also increases a cat’s visual advantage in order to see if an opponent is approaching. The ability to scope out the territory is a big plus from a cat’s perspective. Some cats also use vertical territory as way to display status and it can often avert an actual physical confrontation.