I don't see anything sinister in them not wanting you in their house. It's very common when making a Craigslist transaction. The story about the cat does sound kind of glossed over and that there's more to the story than what is presented. But...the reality is that she's not going to admit to any abuse and you will weave your own story after meeting with the current owner and seeing the condition of the cat. You'll never know what's true.
I'm happy you're taking this cat in and are looking to provide a better life for it.
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Holly, Misty & their friend, Jake, the dog.
Onyx, Callie May, Maggie & Kobi forever in my heart.
Yes, I know I need a new signature pic...someday...