I didn't think it would be that quick! When I went to the barn tonight, Marie and Natasha were hanging out on their little perch. I approached them slowly, and Natasha looked tentative, but not poised to run. So I reached my hand out and started to pet Marie - who purrs instantly. Natasha didn't move, and I was inches from her. So I reached out my other hand and stroked her back. She looked at me like I was nuts - then laid down and started to purr herself. HOORAH!
To praise her for giving me a chance - I went to the tack room and brought out 2 cans of kitty food, one for each. They dove right in, and Natasha STILL let me pet her even while she was eating. I stayed there with them while they both wolfed down half a can. I noticed that Natasha needed it. I think she spends enough time hiding, that she doesn't eat as much as Marie does.
And she's not a mean kitty - she's scared. You can see it in her eyes. A mean kitty still would have bit me, or hissed at me. This cat looked like she was starved for attention, and she finally got some. I'm hoping tonight wasn't just a fluke. Remember, we still have to get her to the vet to get spayed. I didn't push my luck and pick her up. Even thought I wanted to give her a big snuggle, I didn't. I kept it on her terms, and gave her the option of running off at any time she had enough. She didn't. She rolled over so I could rub her belly. She came over and sniffed my nose, and rubbed her head on my forehead. She licked my fingers. I think I may have won her over. We'll try again tomorrow and see if she lets me pick her up. I'm going to give it another week before I betray her trust and stick a needle in her butt (she needs shots, too). The most important thing to me is making sure she gets spayed. I like her, but I don't want a half dozen more of her!