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Our favorite ‘Cat Cop,’ Gretchen Byrne, found the cutest ‘bay beh,’ but this wasn’t like the other furbabies she’s served and protected over the years. No, this one was an adorable baby raccoon, called a kit or cub. So, she was briefly a Kit Cop for the day!

While this little one may be a wild animal, he needed love, too. He was incredibly lucky to find himself with Officer Byrne, who treated him like one of her foster kittens.

Officer Gretchen Byrne holds a baby raccoon kit on her shoulder in Coral Springs, Florida,

Images and media via Instagram/bocaratona

In a video, we see the tiny raccoon kit snuggled under her collar for warmth. 

What Happened to The Bay Beh Raccoon Kit?

It was a stressful kitten season in late summer when experienced fosterer Byrne found this cutie. Although she has a ‘Bad Kitten Academy’ at home, this time, fostering was best left to the local Sawgrass Nature Center, so that’s where he headed early the next morning. After caring for him, they would see to releasing him in a safe environment.

Officer Gretchen Byrne holds a baby raccoon kit on her shoulder in Coral Springs, Florida, 2

The center cares for all kinds of babies, from baby birds to turtles, squirrels, opossums, and so many more Floridian critters. Raccoon kits are born year-round in the Sunshine State’s subtropical climate. (As we know, they sometimes carry rabies.)

But as with most other animals, most arrive in the springtime. That’s when rescuers are inundated with little cuties and need all the help they can get! These days, kitten season is lasting well into the fall, longer than it used to. 

Officer Gretchen Byrne holds a baby raccoon kit on her shoulder in Coral Springs, Florida, 3

The Nature Center advises contacting your local nature center for advice before intervening with a baby wild animal. As with kittens, animals’ mothers could be nearby watching, so they may not be abandoned orphans. 

“This little raccoon came to us as an orphan. When you come across a baby on their own it is important to wait and see if mom comes back for them. Remember to give us a call before bringing in an animal,” shared Sawgrass Nature Center.

Baby raccoon at the Sawgrass Nature Center in Coral Springs, Florida

Image via Facebook/ Sawgrass Nature Center

They’re So Cute, But Avoid Feeding The Raccoons

As for adult raccoons, it’s illegal to intentionally feed them in Florida. Although they are beneficial in controlling rodents and insects, they’re also incredibly clever. So, once you feed them, they will quickly make themselves right at home to take advantage of the resources. That’s why those who care for cat colonies are watchful to take up excess food so as to discourage raccoons, skunks, and opossums, although they sure are cute too! 

Here are more compassionate and ethical tips about raccoons from the Humane Society.

Officer Gretchen Byrne holds a baby raccoon kit on her shoulder in Coral Springs, Florida, 3

Radar Raccoon Grows Up at the Nature Center

Below, the nature center shared a video of Radar the raccoon, which the center cared for a few years back. As you can see, he wasn’t the least bit shy about taking a bottle!

“Radar came to us by himself. He was found all alone and struggling to survive. When we 1st got him, we quarantined him for a few days and then put him with some older (baby) raccoons. Radar soon became the annoying younger brother – always rushing to get his bottle first, making the most noise, and constantly wanting to play with his new family members,” shared the Sawgrass Nature Center.

“A few days later, we received another raccoon that was by herself. She is a little bit younger than Radar, so we put them together to see how they would get along. Now Radar is the big brother to her. They love to snuggle, drink their bottles together, and play. Once they are stronger and older, we will release them back into the wild to live a long and happy life!” shared Sawgrass Nature Center.

Video via Facebook/Sawgrass Nature Center

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