Three years ago this weekend, I trapped a litter of 5 feral kittens. Ok? I was totally ready...I had read every website dedicated to taming feral cats & kittens and watched every Youtube I could find on the topic, and based on my extensive online studies I concluded that I could have these li'l guys looking adorable and adoptable in 2 weeks.
WHAT A JOKE!! Maybe the makers of online information about feral kittens had tamer versions than I did, but mine? They were like wild squirrels...terrified, frenetic, racing into the walls, hitting their heads on the cage, not understanding they were INSIDE a place. They wouldn't eat. Then they wouldn't eat with me in the room...then I could be in the room, but at a distance. Eventually I got them to lick food off my fingers, but that took some time and patience.
I bought a mattress for myself and brought it into their room. All told, with both waking and sleeping, I spent 40 hours a week with them for a month and a half. Interestingly enough, the sleep hours were more productive than one might think, because when they thought I was asleep they were brave enough to come and explore me. I was walked on, sniffed, my hair was played with, and one of them actually slept by me. Then another slept by me.
Once they braved me at night, I was less scary to approach during the day, and they LOVED to play, so playing eventually led to touching...very carefully, but still: baby steps. baby steps.
I decided after a month and a half that I couldn't do it anymore. Two of my kittens never made much progress and I put them back out to the colony. Everybody was neutered by then, and very well fed. One of them, Rocky, I found a home for. I wanted to find homes for Jinju and Punkin, too, but they were not really adoptable until very late in the game, and by the time they were tame enough to try adopting them, they were mine.
Now, every morning when I sit on the edge of the bed to put my shoes and socks on, Punkin comes and sits on my lap. So every morning I take a quiet time, a pause from getting dressed for work, and I focus my attention on the simple act of Being with this amazing little soul, who trusts me and who has made this place his home, and this person his person.
Just grateful, really. That's all.