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My gf and i got ourselves 2 cats (mother and daughter) who had been living in terrible circumstances. The daughter has evolved to a point where she plays with us and plays herself with us around. Still, she won't allow us within 5 feet. She's comfortable with us being in the same room, but only to a certain point.

The mother is something else. She has been hiding under the closet or in the litter box since then, only coming out when we are asleep or when she's really hungry. There were points we thought she had a breakthrough, but those corner stones were lost very quickly. When we try to give her treats or play with her, she reacts very apathetically, not even smelling the food or looking at the toy. When she enters a room where we are present and look at her (even briefly), she's gone again. To be honest, we have no clue anymore what to do...

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Here is a link to an excellent short series of videos on socialising feral cats.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpEcxIgMhyQ

The gist of it is using food and irresistible treats to get the cats to eat in the presence of humans that are far away; then gradually requiring them to be a little closer to the human to get the treat. You will need to move forward in very small stages. In your case, you may need to start with getting her to eat when you are awake but in another room. There will be setbacks!

Also, you can ask your local humane society or animal shelter for advice. I'm sure they will be happy to help and have good advice to offer; as they have to socialise feral cats regularly.

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