I adopted a 5-month-old feral kitten who had been fostered for socialization. Initially she was very skittish so I kept her in a small room in which I could reach into her hiding spots.
She stiffened and shook with fear when I picked her up and held her, but eventually would relax and purr. When I would try to hold her again, she would be back at ground zero (for zero progress).
Now that I’ve had her for six weeks, she has access to my whole house and has made friends with my older cat. Yet I’m still unable to approach her. If I take one step in her general direction or even if our eyes meet, she races away to hide in an inaccessible hiding spot.
She now will initiate contact with me only when I’m sitting on my couch or on my bed (probably because she copied the older cat doing so). Then she’ll plop down beside me, relax, and accept pets and tickles. The moment I stand up from the couch she’ll speed away and hide. The moment I take one step away from my bed I suddenly turn into a Scary Monster.
I usually try to act chill and not push her to be touched. She’ll accept treats if I throw them near her, but she won’t come up to my hand. She’ll run after balls if I throw them near her, but she won’t interact with strings or wands that I pull.
My kitten now has giardia, and so far I have been unsuccessful at giving her the oral liquid. First I have to wait for her to join me on the couch, which doesn’t even happen every day. Then I try to wrap her up in a towel, tip her head up, and to insert the syringe. She’s an expert at gymnastically escaping my grasp and leaving my hand shredded and bloody.
How can I get her to let me approach her? Do I have to go back to keeping her in one room without inaccessible hiding spots?