Of course, the effects are emotional as well.
"There are definitely psychological effects," Bass said. While neither Big Cat Sanctuary nor Wildcat Sanctuary allow breeding at their facilities, most of the animals Bass and Thies work with have been separated from their mothers too early.
"If the cubs are kept together, a lot of times their natural instinct is to suck," Bass added, explaining that the infants will mouth on each other as a coping mechanism since they can't find their mothers. She said that sometimes the infants will even end up sucking on each other's bottoms, since they don't know any better, and can get seriously ill.
The cubs will also try to suck on themselves, sometimes so obsessively that they can injure themselves. "They end up self-mutilating because they're self-soothing," Thies noted. Cubs separated from their mothers also have high stress rates, and can develop separation anxiety just like a domestic animal can.