Meriwynn dropped by this morning at my request to have a look at our little visitor; she has a lot more experience with cats and kittens than I have, so I wanted her opinion on the little critter.
The verdict: Our girl is about five months old, she’s definitely pregnant, and was very likely smacked around by her people. Meri observed that when she would touch the cat’s tail or hindquarters, she’d jerk away to get them out of reach. I hadn’t noticed this behavior—the first few days she was here she’d jump if you did anything, and after that she’d gotten used to me, and she’ll allow me to stroke her hindquarters or even give her tail a gentle tug (as I do with Phurball).
Poor baby. I didn’t want to think she’d been abused, but it was certainly a suspicion from the way she jumps and flinches every time you move towards her. As young as she is, someone must have been hitting her when she was just a kitten. She’s not particularly afraid of my kids, though—in fact she seems rather partial to my ten-year-old, even when he leaps across the room and drops down next to her to pet her—and she’s not spending all her time on the mantel any more. Now she’ll even let us walk up to her, if we move slowly. In fact, last night I accidentally kicked her when I was walking across the room; she ran right in front of my leg as it was swinging forward, but she seemed to realize it was unintentional and didn’t run or flinch when I went over to pet her and apologize.
She’s such a sweet little cat. I want to make sure to find her a good home with loving, gentle people who will be patient while she learns to trust them.