stray cat had kittens in garage
Over the winter, two stray cats showed up at my fiance's home. One wasn't a true stray but apparently "belonged" to the neighbor across the street. The cat used to be an inside/outside cat and became a full-time outside cat when the neighbor's wife left him. He fed it maybe once a day. I felt sorry for the cat so I started feeding him twice a day or so on my fiance's porch. The cat now hangs out there quite often (sleeps on the porch swing) and tries to get into the house. Once he ran in unnoticed and curled up in my fiance's son's bed and slept with him all night. This cat is a neutered male.
The other stray, I have no idea who she belongs to. She showed up when I started feeding the first one and since it was so cold during the winter I would feed her too. Now anytime either of them hear my car they will run to the house and wait near the porch. The 2nd stray is a gray cat and she only shows up periodically. I hadn't seen her since Saturday. She does not look very healthy (skinny and beat-up looking).
Well yesterday my fiance left the garage door open for about an hour and we found a suprise when we walked in. The gray stray cat had two tiny kittens (probably a few days old) in a box full of wood in the garage. Of course we had to move them because we can't leave the garage door open. So we took a plastic storage container and cut a hole in it for a door and turned it upside down, put a blanket on the bottom and some hay inside it and placed the kittens in it on the back porch. We lured mama cat over to the kittens new area with some food. She isn't feral as you can pick her up and pet her but she is skitish. Well the mama cat immediately let her kittens nurse and seemed to take to the new shelter. But about twenty minutes later she was crying and pacing around the garage. So we let her back in there so she could see that she did not leave any kittens in there. She went straight to the box we had found them in and laid down in it and started cleaning herself. So we had to remove her from the garage again and took her to her kittens. She was very protective of them (chasing the other stray away) and growling at us if we got too close to her kittens. but then she left them for about twenty minutes and went back to the neighbor (across the street) house. We thought she might have more kittens over there (since we only found two) but she did not bring any back over.
This morning I found her sleeping in the box we made her with her two kittens. I gave her some food (about six feet away from her box as not to attract predators and she ate very warily and growled at me if I moved toward the kittens.
When the kittens are old enough I will probably take them and the mother to Angels for Animals because otherwise they will just roam the streets and I have four inside cats and can't keep anymore (unless they were strictly outside cats and I'd hate to do that). In the meantime what can I do for mama and the babies? Is it normal for her to leave them alone for long periods of time? Do cats forget where they put their kittens? As she was pacing around the garage and crying when we locked her out even though we already showed her where her kittens were? Also would she keep the kittens in two different places (her frequent trips to the neighbor's house?