14 years ago we rescued 2 year old Kiya at the MSPCA. She was in a cage separate from the entire cat room. They said she didn't play well with others. She had recently been abandoned- left out in the freezing cold winter. I knew in an instant that she needed us.
Kiya was not warm and fuzzy and would swat you anytime you'd pick her up or try to pet her for more than 2 seconds, and as much as we loved her, we knew her boundaries and would never get our faces too close. She also meowed every time a bedroom door was closed. She needed to be sure that she could come and go freely. (Can you blame her?) The strangest thing of all was, whenever my youngest would start crying she would come running to her and gently bite her as if Sienna were her kitten, and she was calming her. I have a feeling someone kept (or did away with) her kittens and then threw her out. (And people wonder why animals act the way they do......)
Anyway, it took me many years but after stumbling upon a Facebook post about how some cats don't like to be held or touched, or just need to be touched really, REALLY gently- like with ONE finger- I tried it and guess what? She really liked it! So much so, that she doesn't swat anymore! It took me a while to earn her trust, but now I can even put my face near her and kiss her. She's gone from an anxious, swatting cat, to a calm, much sweeter, more loving cat. It's amazing. I just wish I had known this information so much sooner.