About a month ago another stray had kittens in our woods near our house. She had been around for awhile (I fed her through the winter) but she seemed to travel from house to house. I believe she belonged to the man across the street but for some reason he threw her outside and didn't take care of her anymore. She was definately a house cat as one time she slipped into our house unoticed and my fiance's son found a cat sleeping in his bed next to him! I took the mother cat and kittens in the house and put them in a spare bedroom. I leave the window open so the mama cat can sit in the window and get some fresh air. For awhile she seemed content to be confined to the bedroom.
Lately, though she seems stressed out. I will go sit in the bedroom and play with the kittens and sometimes the mama cat will be panting when I come in. I take this as a sign of nervousness. (I have a cat that pants if you put her in a cat carrier, it freaks her out) This often happens when her five kittens go crazy and run around the room jumping on things and wrestling with each other. They do this every single night for about 45 minutes. Why would this make the mother cat stressed? Yesterday I decided to clean the bedroom so I took the kittens and mommy and put them in the master bedroom. The kittens explored and mom hid in the closet.
I accidently did not latch the master bedroom door and the mama cat evidently opened it and I found her lounging on the kitchen floor as happy as can be (without her babies). She'd just left her kittens in a strange area (the master bedroom) and didn't seem concerned at all! This is not her first litter of kittens I don't think. She gets plenty to eat and drink and I clean her litter box twice a day. She has nothing to be stressed about. But sometimes she will just lay on her side and pant. It is not hot in the bedroom.
The kittens are not yet weaned (only about a month old) and only one of them will eat solid food (and has been eating solid food since 2 weeks old!) The others will drink kitten milk replacer and one of them has started trying dry food (if I sprinkle some milk on it). The rest have NO interest in soft or dry food.
Should I separate mommy cat from her kittens so she can have some alone time or is there something wrong with her?