It is gratifing as hell. I got Jimmy April 19th, 2006. On my husbands birthday! I petted him a couple times the first month but he did not enjoy it much and I really think he let me because he was absolutely petrified. It was while he felt cornered so I quit trying to tame him or pet him. I just left him be hoping he would eventually fell comfortable enough to be around our family. I kept his area clean, kept him in food and water and talked to him all the time. I slept occasionally in the room with him. It took a couple months for him to venture from the bedroom.
My plan changed to Jimmy being like Star. Comfortable enough to hang out and lay on the couch and not worrying about someone touching him which he does not like. I think he will eventually. But first I want him comfortable around all of us.
He does not run and hide. I can approach him to within a couple feet and he just sits there. I can squat in front of him and I hold my hand out 8" or so from him and he just looks at me. I want him to come to me. I don't want to have to go to him. It will happen but it has not happened yet.
But...........he is now walking among us... This adult feral male has come a long way. It is so funny how he can tell different things are going on in the house right now. He is sitting and watching me pack familiar things. I can tell he wonders what is going on...
He is watching my every movement right now. The last three day I have been off and everytime I look up Jimmy is in the living room with me. He will sit by the wall and just stare at me. He is watching me with interest picking up the babies and kissing them and loving on them. He is watching me pet the others while they eat. And he is watching this with interest in his eyes.
He wants it too.......... I can tell. That is exactly what Star did. The first time I petted her was while she was eating with the other cats. She felt safe in their numbers. Jimmy is going to be like that.
I am making a point of walking toward him but not to him while he is in the room with me. And I am not looking him in the eye while I do it. I act like I don't see him and so he is relaxed about it. It seems to be working.
Getting Jimmy out in the open house is the largest psychological hurdle he will ever need to pass on his way to enjoy being loved on... It means he has over his fear of humans and a huge huge huge trust is being enstowed upon us humans in the house. And his fear is passing. I am watching it leave.
He is going to be loving one day........ Once he approaches me once, I can then start bribing him with goodies. Like baked chicken. Right now his in a bowl when he gets some. I dont' give him much of it. It is going to be his reward since he loves it so much.
And one more thing... When I moved Star to Missouri from Arkansas, she bonded closer and it helped her. I was familiar. The cats were familiar. So she hung closer to the pack since it was an unfamiliar area and that included me and it helped gentle her. I think Jimmy will be the same since he can tell a change is in the air.. He is joining the pack right now in a big way and integrating himself among us. He is finding his spot in our household. It took 5 months for that to happen. These last 5 months have been trying on him. He has slowly overcome many obstacles. Everything about humans filled his moments with fear. His house is the one place he need never to fear ANYTHING and he is realizing that now.
It is a day of miracles!!!
p.s. As I am updaing this, Jimmy just walked past me and is staring at my husband from a distance of about 3' while he lays on the couch. Jimmy is in there with him. Ultra cool. Just watching us. The others babies are napping but he checking us out. He is coming out not once daily, not twice daily but many times daily......... And he walks with his head high and erect. Not slumped and slinky like he is hiding. He is truely just walking though the house like any other cat that lives here... No more speed walking. Like I said, it's a miracle.