Very good post, I agree.He is GORGEOUS!!!!
Thank you so much for giving him a loving home.
The fact he is responding to petting is AMAZING!!! THAT tells me he is going to be just fine.
Continue doing everything you are doing. You are doing an amazing job. If he is enjoying (safe) petting I don't think that will be a deterrent in coming out. But just don't force it on him.
Also, maybe use cat trees, dressers, etc so he can go around the room above the ground as height gives confidence. Cat shelving as well but I know you live in a apartment so not sure if that is allowed, etc.
Give him "eye kisses". Slowly close your eyes, hold them closed for 5-10 seconds then slowly reopen them. Closing your eyes shows him you trust him.
Just let him go at his pace.
Cats take on our emotions so just let him feel that love you have for him. He has had to hide to stay safe but as he figures out he is safe with you he will venture out more.
He is going to be just fine. I take in older, injured, abused ferals so I know how long it can take. Your boy is doing great and will come out in time.
GREAT JOB!!! And thank you so much for saving him and giving him a great, loving home!!!
2 of 3 untamed barn cats i took in tested positive for flv, 1 had much problems until the 1 obviously needed put to sleep but i spent most my time with her and the 3rd older kitty lived like yours until. She still is shy about being approached and picked up but fairly frequently when she is in sleepy mode I can be doing something near her or walk by her and get close and pet her without her taking off, even pick her up now and gently restrain her while carrying her to sit on the recliner and pet her usually for a short time she purrs and enjoys but when i get relaxed she would wiggle away until recently she stayed with me for a long nap 1st time. I have been picking her up short distances and giving her a kiss on top the head when she comes for her food dish before letting her eat. I think you need to be sensitive to the cats degree of trust when handling them to avoid scaring them into a defensive mode. Older ferel cats take more time. A mistake I once made was not to work with the kitty at the start. Try gaining some trust daily, feeding time is a good time to start and work with touching and just pick them up a few inches and back down while or before eating to begin with, getting them used to being handled. Don't do nothing to gain their trust it will be hard to overcome their hiding habits and distrust.