Bernadette has trust issues. These will take time to work through. I also think there was a level of physical abuse, not deliberate abuse, but mom or dad isn't watching the kid who's picking up the cat by her head abuse.
I cannot pick her up. If I put my hands on either side of her and even attempt to close in enough to just lift her a little, she freaks out. Last night, I was cupping her head in my hands and she quickly pulled back. I wasn't forcing her at all, but something about the position unnerved her.
She has gotten comfortable enough with us that we can watch her eat. I haven't tried to open the crate and pet her while she noms, but I can talk to her through the door without her heading back to the bottom.
This morning, I opened the door to the crate to see what she would do. She stepped out, let me give her a little pet, she walked over to the screen door, sat and looked out for a couple of minutes, walked back by the crate to the other side, she walked around it and checked it out, then she made her way back in to the crate and up onto her little wooden stoop. Safe once again. Showing no interest at all in checking out anything outside of her little world.
I've put in a few toys for her. They mean nothing to her. I have a little catnip left from when I used to grow it (next season, I'll have catnip again now that the pipe at the side of the house has been covered) that I'll test her with today.
Trust. It will take a while for her to trust us, but we aren't in any hurry. She can take it at her own pace and live out her life here in love, comfort and peace.
She's also putting on a little weight. Here's a photo I took of her yesterday, her belly is starting to fill in.
The catnip was a fail.