About a year ago, my parents adopted a stray female tortie cat who used to hang around our backyard. She would wait at the door and beg to be let in, so they finally gave up. She's been to the vet, she was someone's pet at some point (not feral, she was litter trained) but had been out on her own for years.
She loves attention and will scream-meow at you until you pet her. She jumps on our laps and purrs like a motorboat while you pet her. But if she sees your hand, she flips out, jumps up, hisses and swipes.
Then she immediately throws her butt on the ground next to us and side swims (not sure how to describe it, she uses her paws and claws to push herself around on the floor in circles?) while you scratch her back. She purrs, loves it, asks for chin scratches - and then again, catches sight of our hand or even wrist and loses her mind.
She never really gets us and her claws aren't even out when she swipes, but it's definitely a fear based reaction. We don't know much about her history but think she was mistreated somehow. It's the quick switch back to wanting pets and the randomness of her getting set off that confuses me.
We board her at a vet when we're on vacation and they love her, she has no health issues and is definitely not feral. Any thoughts on how to pinpoint what causes this, or how to get her used to seeing our hands? I don't know what she thinks we're petting her with!
Thanks in advance.