She was willing to bring the cat to us on Tuesday evening. All rightie, then. The cat lady showed up--a 45 minute drive for her--and we brought New Kitty into the house. She's 10 months old, all black, short hair. We put her in the bathroom with a litter box and food dishes.
After the cat lady left, we left the cat mostly alone except to peek in on her and pet her a little. She was unhappy and only the petting with bad grace. We let Dinah in for a quick look. She sniffed about, hissed once at New Kitty, and stalked out, her dominance established.
We left New Kitty in the bathroom for the next day and a half. She mostly stayed in the cat bed she came with. I petted her extensively, and she started licking my hand and purring. She didn't like being picked up, though. I let her out of the bathroom, and she vanished into the house.
For two days. We saw nothing of her. Not one hair of her. We thought she must have somehow gotten out. I've had more than a dozen cats over the years, and I've never seen one vanish like this.
At last we turned the house upside-down and finally found her huddling in a dark basement corner. I put her back in the bathrooms alone for a couple more days, with occasional peaking in on her, and she finally let me pet her again, but later she got out of the bathroom and vanished completely and has not been seen since.
When I first met her, I noticed her right ear was clipped. I recognized this as part of the catch-spay-mark-release program for feral cats and asked the cat agency about it. The cat lady said New Kitty and her brother were found outdoors and caught, but they were clearly used to humans, so they weren't put into the barn cat category. Both New Kitty and her brother (who was taken by someone else) let me pet and hold them at the cat event, though they were both nervous about it, which I expected in a strange cat stuck in a weird environment.
However, after nearly a week in her new home, New Kitty still hides obsessively. I've had more than a dozen cats of all stripes in my life, and I've never seen this--except among the feral barn cats we (unsuccessfully) brought into the house and tried to tame. New Kitty never, ever comes out of hiding on her own. Ever. She hasn't eaten that I can tell. The litter is stirred around, but that might be from Dinah.
Every other cat I've had hides for a while, but eventually creeps out for cautious exploring, and eventually gives the humans some wary sniffing. Not New Kitty.
Today we're going to hunt her down again and put her in the bathroom and make double-sure she stays in there until she's completely calm, even if it's a week.