Originally Posted by Claiken
...if she saw that her babies are safe and sound with you, could she comprehend that and come around to you?
I don't think that would work, only because of her mother-instinct, which would be telling her to keep her kittens away from something she doesn't trust.
However, I do think ferals can come around, it just takes a lot of time and patience. After I trapped Malibu and her litter of kittens in my garage, they let me sit there while they ate/played and I layed on a blanket on the floor and read. The kittens would come play on my legs, Mallie never aproached me, she always crouched and growled at me.
When I hadn't made much progress in two weeks, we caught the kittens and moved them to my Master Bathroom for intense taming. They were about 10-11 weeks old at the time. We trapped Malibu the next day and I was able to take her to a place that did feral spays. They kept her for 2 or 3 days for me before I brought her home and turned her loose. She walked around and around the house, crying until she heard her babies crying back at her from my bathroom and then she hung out on that side of the house.
The best I could do was tell her I was taking care of them and giving them a great chance at life. Mallie stayed around but finally stopped calling for the kittens after a few days. The kittens were taming nicely, Mallie was still coming to the porch to be fed. It took 5mo, but eventually she let me pet her. I don't remember the timeline, but she started coming inside the house for short bits of time to enjoy the AC/Heat and in the Fall of 2006 she became desperately ill and I had to intensively nurse her with forced feedings to save her. That marked a turning point in our relationship and now she is my devoted and dedicated kitteh.
I have another feral cat (I trapped her and her litter) and tamed the litter and did TNR for her. It took 14mo before she'd let me touch her. She is now an indoor/outdoor kitty. Her progression took probably 3yrs from trapping to feeling comfortable coming indoors.
It CAN be done, but it is usually a slow process for true ferals.