Sorta feral kitty ... handling suggestions???
Some asshole decided to "dump" their young cat off during the pouring rain last week. He looks to be about 6-10 months old as near as I can tell
He is absolutely not totally feral - just very wary and suspicious and shy.
He has taken up residence in my barn which is just fine with me, and now knows that is his food source and where he can come in and stay warm and dry. Sometimes he is there throughout the day and other times when I come in in the morning he had hopped over the open dutch door sometime during the night and is asleep on the hay
I talk to him endlessly and will get up close and personal (less than 1 foot away) and he will stay curled up and look totally relaxed. I can put my hands out to within 6 inches or so and he will initially look like he wants to leave, but will then totally relax and stay put. My girlfriend was over a few days ago and reached out to pet him and he was clearly not comfortable with that and left the hay bale
He wont play with strings or feathers - he seems to have missed out on the kitty play stage somewhere along the way ...
What is the protocol for acclimatizing a kitty like this one? Eventually I wont mind if he becomes a house kitty instead of a barn kitty but I would like to be able to touch and handle him before doing so. Do I push the point of touching him or do I just stand there and wait it out and see if he will eventually approach me?
There is no meowing, no purring, no sound coming from him at all. He hasnt clued in yet that its me that brings him his food, so he doesnt appear to associate me with food at all. yet anyhow ...
Any/all suggestions would be very much appreciated!