By the end of April, when he sees me at mealtimes, he will often get up and start walking toward me! Hissing the whole way, but walking toward me! Although he continues to stop just out of arms reach. Still, a 'win' is a 'win', no matter how small.
I dish up the goodies, take one step back from the bowl and then invite him to help himself. Always he sniffs the air and shifts his weight from side to side for anywhere up to two minutes. But eventually he decides that he is hungry enough to come closer.
While he is eating I can get close enough to touch him, although I havent yet done so. I tap the edge of the bowl to get him to notice how close my hand is, hoping he will eventually realize that I will not harm him. I am going to wait for a sign from him that he is willing to be touched. Im certain that if I try it before that, it will be more of a setback than a step ahead.
However once he has finished his meal, he retreats to the 'three foot mark', and all bets are off again.
Ive been rolling all this over in my mind for months now, trying to find more possible solutions. He is feral. If I bring him in, he will be put down, and Im not comfortable with that. Who am I do decide who lives or dies? Hell, at this point in time I cant even figure out what to cook for dinner tonight...and he is not without some happiness. Certinally the bit of looking after he gets from me is of some comfort to him.
But Im not sure that I will actually be able to 'socialize' him enough to have him spared, and I know that bringing him inside with my two would be a mammoth disaster. In so many ways.
Mind you, if he turns up here sick beyond what I can help with (not much when you cant touch) - or gravely injured - then I will not hesitate to capture him by whatever means. I will not watch him suffer beyond what he is used to. If such should come to pass, I reserve the right to cry my eyes out afterward for as long as I want.
Ive set up a few boxes out of the weather for him to shelter in, although so far he seems to overnight in a 'dead car' in a neighbors yard. Fair enough Mate, but youve got options. Winter is not officially here yet, so he may find accommodation on my side of the street just a few stars higher come the wind and rain.
But whatever is to be done, it begs for doing before the breeding season in spring. I might be a crazy cat lady, but I refuse to be a totally irresponsible one.
Wish us luck.
We will catch up again with Bonne Chance as events develop, Cheers!