An adult feral cat can require a few months or up to a year or more to socialize.
The cat will usually bond with her/his socializer. Due to this fact, many adult ferals are not good candidates for traditional (sleep on your bed) adoption options.
If you have decided that it is in the best interest of the cat to be adopted by someone other than yourself, it is important to integrate that person into the cat's environment once the cat is comfortable with you.
If you find that introducing new people results in regressive behavior in the cat, you should seriously consider changing your adoption goals. Maybe an outdoor "barn cat" option would better serve the cat.
Semi-feral cats will usually be more receptive to socialization. However, if the cat is older and has been on the street for many years it may be as difficult to socialize as a total feral.
A domestic cat that has reverted to feral behavior will usually be the easiest cat to socialize. It will also be the most likely candidate for a traditional adoption. However, if the cat has been living on the street for many years and has had abusive treatment from humans, this will make the re-socialization process more difficult. It is possible that a cat with this history would not be placed in a home, but might be better suited as a outdoor only "barn cat".
You have not failed if the cat you are working with cannot be socialized for adoption. You will have learned many lessons about the unique ways and manners of this intelligent and tough street survivor. Within your new wisdom you may find that your perception of what is best for a feral cat is not always what WE may choose for them, but rather what the cat would choose for itself and will be most successful at adapting to.
Please read guidelines linked below to learn socialization techniques for each specific type of feral cat.
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