Thank you for the speedi response. Lucy has always been an outdoor cat and has lived her life freely coming and going. She likes to be outside - both day & nite and spends about an equal amount of time both in and out. Her old Mom would say how she would tear out a screen to get out if she found herself trapped (which we found out!)
So we do want to allow her to get back to enjoying both, and we do have a particularly safe environment (although I know there are other animals, our Barn Cat Patches has lived 14 years, on her own as master of the barn domain... sometimes we have had to live trap possums and feral cats when they get in her space and we can see she's being bothered by something - but she has her safe territory, we can only assume and is a tough little cat).
Lucy is also pretty shrewd, and has lots of thick cover to hide in (and has been alluding us well enough!). But for now, our problem is getting her to WANT to come IN. Part of me worries that by keeping her penned up in a few rooms - even with lots of attention - when it comes time to let her out, she'll just blast again and be relieved to have her space and not want to come back in again.
She did ok in the laundry room overnight, and is at least eating and drinking (she is pretty thin from 5 days out) and she purrs like crazy when I sit on the floor and pet her & talk to her. BUT I just found that when my husband poked his head in to say Hi Lucy she immediately growled big time... Did so again when we could hear his footfall going by the door later.
So I guess he's going to have to try loving her up -- we know she's not used to men, living with a little old gal all her life.
Today I'm going to put her in our bedroom & ensuite space as it's bigger and has lots of windows she can see out, and she can start to get used to both of our smells more. Will visit her often. Think I'll keep to these two sets of rooms - laundry room by night - so we can sleep - for several days. The rest of the house has too many screens and possible escape routes.
Any other suggestions greatly appreciated.
Lucy's New Mom