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Volunteers needed to feed abandoned baby animals

Cashmere, a 10-day-old kitten found abandoned in Rabat, needs someone to bottle-feed him regularly. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Cashmere, a 10-day-old kitten found abandoned in Rabat, needs someone to bottle-feed him regularly. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The tiny ginger paws of an orphan kitten clutch at the long fingers that hold a bottle providing it with the milk it needs to survive.

Cashmere, as the 10-day-old kitten has been christened, closes his pale blue eyes as he suckles on the bottle’s teat at the Animal Welfare Department’s base in Għammieri.

The furry newborn was found abandoned in Rabat and rescued from a dangerous street life by animal welfare officers. He needs 24-hour care to replace his mother, which is why the department is calling for volunteers to bottle-feed homeless baby animals like Cashmere.

“This year was a phenomenon in terms of the number of abandoned baby animals we found on the streets. At this stage they run into about 100,” said animal welfare officer Janice Chetcuti.

A group of volunteers are already helping out with bottle-feeding as are people who work at the department. But more help is needed to feed these tiny creatures that demand lots of care and patience in their first few weeks of life.

Ms Chetchuti said the sudden increase in abandoned baby animals, mostly kittens, was probably brought about because the mother cats died or because they were abandoned by their owners once the cat gave birth. Passers-by who noticed the tiny, homeless creatures then called the department to recue them.

“People have to realise that, although animal welfare officers usually manage to save most animals they are called to rescue, this cannot be taken for granted. I do not want people to get the wrong impression that they can abandon their pet’s litter to be rescued by the department,” she said.

She also stressed that anyone who discovered a group of kittens or puppies unattended should not rush to “rescue” them as their mother could be close by. It was best to monitor them for a few hours before taking them home or calling animal welfare.

She stressed that the ultimate goal of the department remained homing animals. Anyone in­­terested in bottle feeding or adopting an animal can call the department on 2590 4132.

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