Well, Itchy is still out and about in my garden. He made himself known late last night when I returned home from dinner. He was hungry, but he wouldn’t let me get close to him. I left some food out for him so he wouldn’t starve.
This morning, I tried to use food to get him to associate me with good things, and I tried again this evening. He’s gone seriously feral, and I now have to try to domesticate him again. Scratchy’s still looking out for him, but I think he’s starting to think his brother is a moron for not coming up the stairs and getting food in the house like normal (Itchy tried to climb the stairs but still does not have enough balance to even get up the first step).
Itchy won’t make a move towards the food or the water until Scratchy has investigated it. Also, Itchy has taken to following Scratchy around, which I think annoys Scratchy a little bit. Scratchy was feeling kind of frisky tonight and wanted to play with Itchy, so he tackled Itchy, who freaked out again, mostly because he’s still jumpy from all the falling down. I tried to tell Scratchy that wasn’t helping, but he stalked off in a snit because his brother was acting like a moron again, so I’m not sure how much he was actually listening to me.
All in all, though, Scratchy is on my side. He will come up to me in the middle of the garden while Itchy is watching and purr and rub up against me, as if to say, “See? She’s not so bad.” This is behavior that would have previously been unseemly for a macho cat like Scratchy.
The upshot of it is, I think this is going to take a lot of patience. I’m not going to leave food out again, because I want him to understand that if he wants food, he has to deal with me being there too. Sooner or later, he’ll get so hungry he won’t care. This evening he took about three or four bites of food before retreating to the bushes. But I’m not going to try touching him again until he gets REALLY comfortable with me being there.