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 assisting sick, orphaned

or injured wild animals

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If you find a wild animal who needs assistance, contact a local wildlife rehabilitation facility or veterinarian to provide potentially life saving help. To find a wildlife rehabilitator near you, Google "wildlife rehabilitation near me", "veterinarian near me" or visit:

First, make sure the animal is actually in need of assistance. Birds and small mammals are often removed from their homes by well meaning people who think they are injured, when in fact, they are just waiting for their parent(s) to return or are learning how to fly. Signs they may need help include:

  • They are brought to you by a cat or dog.

  • There’s evidence of bleeding or a bite wound.

  • They appear to have a broken limb.

  • A bird is featherless or nearly featherless and on the ground.

  • The animal is shivering.

  • There’s a dead parent nearby.

  • They are crying and wandering for many hours without a parent in sight.

Once you have determined that they are indeed in need of assistance, follow these simple steps:

If you have a towel, blanket or shirt in your car, use that to safely contain the animal. If you have gloves or protective eyewear, utilize those to avoid injuries. Even small animals can inflict wounds when distressed. If you do not have access to a box, carrier or ventilated container, you can use the towel to contain them during the transport. I always travel with a carrier, towel, gloves and net in the event of an emergency. Approach the animal slowly, without speaking to them or making unnecessary noise. You can throw or place a towel over their head to calm them down and avoid additional stress.

While transporting the animal, keep noise to a minimum, lights off and keep the temperature comfortable, not cold. Keep the container away from direct sunlight, air conditioning or heat. Resist the urge to peer into the box or speak to them. Wild animals can die from stress alone. Humans are seen as predators.


Do not offer them food or water, as this can create further complications. If you find the animal after hours, you can typically leave them in a drop off cage at the facility or you can keep them at your home until the facility opens the next day. Do not have any contact with them during this time. Keep their world dark and quiet to lower their stress level and help keep them alive. If you cannot reach a wildlife rehabilitator, you can contact a local vet for assistance or for additional helpful references.


Some facilities will not accept animals that are not native to the region where they were found. It is important to call ahead to confirm that they will provide care to the individual(s) you are taking there to avoid them being euthanized. If the local rehab will not accept them, your only option may be a local vet or an at home rehabber. Ask the facility that will not accept them for local references or additional resources. There are often Facebook groups for local rescuers and caregivers. Please exhaust all online resources and local contacts. You can also send us an email for more specialized information or for assistance in South Florida.



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If you find an orphaned or injured kitten, please do your part in ensuring they receive potentially life saving care. Before you take action, make sure you aren't "kit-napping" them from their mother. Their mom can take much better care of them than you or I can. How do you know if a kitten needs to be assisted? Learn from Kitten Lady's info-graphic below to make an informed judgement call!

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If based on this information, you decide to take the kitten and get them care, you'll need some assistance determining their age to provide for them properly. Kitten Lady's Age and Feeding Charts are provided below. Please also refer to her YouTube Channel that has hundreds of videos that will help you provide for neonatal kittens.

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Getting involved in Trap neuter return or TNR


You know that cat that hangs around your block or in the alley next to your office? Maybe you've noticed some kittens recently pop up, seemingly out of nowhere? Someone should do something to help them...and that someone is YOU! Millions of community cats live on streets and in neighborhoods across the United States alone, often going without basic veterinary care or sterilization services, resulting in a never ending cycle of breeding and suffering.
Community intervention by means of TNR or Trap-Neuter-Return ensures that no more cats are born on the streets. In many counties and cities throughout the country, TNR is available for free or at a low cost at local shelters, vet clinics or mobile sterilization facilities. Cats are humanely trapped, taken to a veterinarian to be sterilized and vaccinated. Once they are recovered, they are returned to their colony. Friendly cats and kittens are often socialized and adopted into homes. TNR is scientifically proven to end the breeding cycle, thus improving their qualify of life and welfare.

To find out about services available near you, visit your county's animal services website, research local rescue organizations or do a simple Google search for "TNR near me". If programs do not currently exist in your area, speak to your local representatives, community members and rescuers to see how you can better serve community cats.

For assistance with TNR in southeast Florida, send us an email at or sign up to join our Trap Team by completing the form on the "Volunteer" tab of our website.

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