Justin came over this morning and played with them. He's very good at being non-threatening to scared little kitties, so he just played with them and let them come to him on their own time, and eventually he even got the little boy to sit in his lap and purr! The big boy didn't interact with Justin much though, he just played by himself in the other corner.
After Justin left I fed them and they all ate some this time, even the big boy (although he was very cautious about it and ran away a couple of times). Kate and I petted the two sociable ones, and they got some purrs going. They even started talking a little, although the little girl is so hoarse from the URI that she can't mew audibly. They seem to have realized today that they're in an OK place and they are allowed to enjoy petting. Except for the big boy. He is going to take some more work.
In the afternoon, when they were sleepy, I lay on my bed and the girl and the little boy both came up and lay down on me while I petted them. They seemed to really enjoy the petting by then, so I took a few risks. I brushed them, which they thought was weird but didn't really mind. I noticed the girl had some matted fur on her tail, so I got out the scissors and carefully snipped off the biggest mat, and she didn't mind at all. Then I clipped their nails, which they hated--but they didn't run off when I was done! They squirmed all over the place while I clipped them, but when I released them they just stayed where they were like nothing had happened. Yay!
While all this was going on, the big boy was wandering around giving little pathetic mews like he was lonely. I tried to encourage him to come up on the bed with his brother and sister, held out my hand for him to sniff, etc. But he was having none of it. Finally I dragged him out from his hiding place, plopped him on the bed, and petted him for a while. He sat there and let me pet him, although I don't know if he liked it or if he was just frozen with fear. I talked to him in a soothing voice and he looked at me with his big green eyes. After a couple of minutes, he got up and joined his brother and sister, who were playing on the floor by this time. I don't know if that's progress or not, but at least he didn't hiss at me or bolt away the second I put him down.
I did come in once today to find one of them sleeping in the kitty bed and the other two curled up IN the litter box. I really need a bigger cage. Either that or they've been living outdoors for way too long. Don't sleep where you poop, kids. I put some more soft blankets and things in the cage to encourage them to sleep on those instead, although there was plenty of room in the cat bed with only one kitten in it and yet they chose to sleep in the litter box. Weirdos.
I guess all I can do with the big one is wait for him to come around. It doesn't help that I have to chase him down twice a day to force medication into him--that'd mess with anybody's trust. And when I say "chase him down," I am not talking metaphorically. He gives me a workout!
They're all still sneezing a lot, so Kate and I joked about calling one of them Sneezy, or Wheezy since their breath always sounds congested. (She suggested "Ron Wheezy.") I still need to get proper names thought up for them, though. The little boy is playful, scrawny, and eats a lot. The girl is curious, a climber, and friendly. The boy... hides and is big. I think I need to get to know him better before I name him.
Right now they're all chasing each other around and wrestling, and doing the kitty-posturing thing where their tails go floof like a bottle-brush. It's pretty cute. And it's good to see their colds aren't making them lethargic!