My first success with cat socialization
I started giving some of the shy cats a treat everyday. I made progress with Riley right away. I gave him a treat a couple days in a row. Then I was able to pet him in his cage. Then I was able to take him out of the cage. Then it got to where he would look for me and meow at me whenever I went through the lobby. So on days when I didn't take him out I still took a few minutes to pet him in his cage. One day I took his cellmate out instead and all I could hear was him meowing in the next room. So after I put the other cat back, I petted him in his cage for awhile. I never saw him again. By the next day he'd been adopted and taken home along with his cellmate. The volunteer coordinator told me that it was because of my work with him that he was adopted.
There's another cat named Patches in the senior cat room. She used to just lay in her bed with her eyes open. Now after seeing her a few times she looks out the window in the lobby. On Friday I had her out. I went back later to get a different cat. She ran out and went right into the room that I take her into. She seems a lot happier now. I hope she can get adopted.
Some of the cats are longer term projects. There's one named Fergie who's very shy. She's in a room with six other cats. She doesn't seem interested in the treats. I make it a point to sit close enough to touch her. I slowly move my hand towards her. Let her sniff. And then I pet her head for a few seconds. I don't want to do much more with her unless she approaches me.
Now I'm at the shelter five days a week. Usually for two hours. I think there's no substitute for being able to work with a cat for five days a week.