As promised, I have better kitty pictures because they no longer hide under the bed or in dark corners. We've had them now for almost three weeks and it's interesting to watch and learn their personalities. They are still not sociable, preferring to be left to themselves than to be with us, but they know that we bring them food and will come near us to eat. They also love to play and get so engrossed chasing a piece of fleece on a fishing rod that they forget we are there. I pick them up when they are well fed and sleepy and oh, how they purr!
This is my first experience socializing feral cats and I could cry (oh, who am I kidding, I do cry). I miss having a cat in bed. Or on my lap. Or on my papers or trying to type. With my other cats, within a week of adoption, they had the run of the house and they *owned* us.
Some things I'm learning about socializing feral cats (and the jury's still out on whether we're successful with this pair).
1. Go slow. Try not to rush the interaction. Best thing is to sit with a good book while they go about their business so that you become a natural presence to them.
2. Give them a limited space where they will be comfortable, but still accessible. Too much space too soon and you'll never see them. We had these kittens in Dagny's room but they quickly figured out that we couldn't reach them at all under the bed. Now they are in our bedroom/bathroom and it's so much easier to pick them up.
3. Withhold food once they get used to the surroundings. Feeding time then becomes special and you can use food to encourage them to come near you.
3. Have special treats for new experiences. These kittens love salmon off the grill, so much so that bad boy Benny growled at Jules. Funny how he's the alpha cat even though he's a runt.
4. Do disturb them. Pet them while eating. Pick them up. The sooner they associate the human touch with food, the better.
5. Play with them. Kittens love to play. Tucker them out and then pick them up.
And consider yourself blessed if a cat deigns to come to you of its own accord. I'm still waiting ... Pray for them.
And because Catholics have a saint for every malady, there's even a patron saint for cats! St. Gertrude of Nivelles.
Our shelter and vet have been very helpful and I also found this excellent website on taming feral kittens.