Hello all, I am new here and looking for advice.
We have a feral kitty that has been hanging around for several months now. I have been putting food out for her, and she is friends with my domestic male cat - he is neutered. She is skittish around people, though she is not mean just runs away - just far enough to stay out of reach. She has, however, let my 5 year old daughter pet her, and even rubs her head up against her on the occasions she does allow my daughter near her.
A few weeks ago we had a blizzard, and I noticed her huddling and shivering under our BBQ grill, so I put a box outside with some old towels in it. Since then she still comes around to eat and visit my cat, but I have never seen her go in the box at all, and it has just sat there ever since. Last night was another windy snowstorm, and I noticed she was huddled in the box. This morning she was still there, and it turns out she has had 5 adorable kittens there! I have been out to visit her a few times this morning, and she has allowed me to pet her and has even purred, although I suspect she was purring for the kittens, not me.
Here's where I am unsure what to do. I would hope that she will stick around and keep her litter here so that the kittens can be socialized. I am more than willing to care for them as much as she will allow, and hope to find them good homes. I do worry, though, that she will move the kittens back to the field where she usually hangs out and they will grow up feral as well. So I had this crazy idea of possibly bringing the mother and litter inside - keeping them separate from our male cat for now, of course. Am I asking for trouble for even considering this? I was thinking of putting some old towels and blankets in our second bathroom - probably the tub as it would keep the kittens contained for awhile. I have an extra litter box that's not being used, and food and water are no problem. The door would be kept shut, so the bathroom would become their "room" for the next 6-8 weeks. I'm not worried so much about the kittens as the mother - I don't want her to freak out! Like I said, she has allowed some petting and has never been mean (no hissing, biting, scratching, etc), but I don't want her to be traumatized by being cooped up inside. Is this something to consider, or should I leave them out on the patio and let nature take it's course? I am also hoping to have her spayed once the kittens are old enough, and then will just let her go outside again.
Also, we had weather in the 70s last week, but it snowed yesterday and another snowstorm is forecast for tomorrow night. I do worry about them being out in the cold, too.
Sorry, this is longer than planned. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!