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If you have come across a kitten or puppy or even an entire litter of them, be assured that they are not lost! Their mother has left them in what her instincts told her was a safe, dry place. She does this to keep them hidden and secure while she hunts or forages for food. If a well-meaning but uninformed person takes them, the litter will have to be cared for, and the mother will suffer an extreme level of stress. The young will have to be a bottle or eye-dropper-fed multiple times a day on an hourly schedule. Because of an abrupt interruption in nursing, the mother has an elevated risk of contracting a bacterial infection known as mastitis, which is commonly fatal. If the litter is handled but not removed, a strange human’s scent can cause the mother to reject and abandon her young. If the litter or individual animal is allowed to become chilled or stressed, they may refuse food and become ill. A well-intentioned effort to help can often result in just the opposite. If a litter of puppies or kittens is discovered, please notify Animal Services. Professionals in the animal control field can assess the situation and take the proper steps to gather in the mother’s entire litter. All of the animals may then be fostered or transferred to a rescue.
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