I should update how my cats are doing: they seem to be fine. The eldest, grey cat has poked her head out of the closet occasionally even when I haven't freshly put down cat food, though she's still hissing if I come too near petting her. She's happier with my mother than with any other life form. She'll adapt about one or two days before my mother gets back.
By the third day of the trip they had already nibbled open the plastic bag of cat food. When I caught them nibbling I tried folding it over so as to obscure the weakened spot, and I considered something silly like putting it in the fridge or something else they haven't worked out how to open, but instead I put it first next to my toothpaste, and then on the other side of the counter from that so the cats don't decide to eat my toothpaste. Anyway, by the morning of the fourth day the bag was ripped open and the contents scattered from the kitchen through to the entry hall, so I trust the cats were happy.
And one late night I heard a rustling noise from the kitchen. I know any anomalous sounds when the cats are around must be investigated, but I wasn't quite swift enough on this and there was a solid thud followed by nibbling. The kitten had managed to work one of the bags of dry food off the counter where it could fall open and so she could eat for herself. I scooped this up and dropped in handfuls of dry food of both flavors, since at that point I couldn't remember with certainty that I had given them dry food in the morning --- I should do well turning this into a new obsession --- and they were out. Also I don't want them coming to the conclusion that I'm perfectly dispensable. The middle cat has been studying how I get water to appear on demand from sinks. I did take a picture of the semi-sisters eating together as it was inexplicably cute.
Trivia: On the Mercury-Atlas 5 flight, chimpanzee Enos received 47 measures of water (about a pint overall) and thirteen banana pellets as rewards for successfully completed tasks. (The device providing rewards and electric shocks as punishment broke after this.) Source: This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury, Loyd S Swenson Jr, James M Grimwood, Charles C Alexander, NASA SP-4201.
Currently Reading: Four Colors Suffice: How The Map Problem Was Solved, Robin Wilson.