I was curious how “litter” evolved from a term used for strewn trash into a group of babies produced by one cat or dog. Maybe it was a concept by some folks that animals were no better than trash. Then I find it was the other way around: The animals came before the trash.
Also, how does a stretcher becoming a litter? I can envision a scene in a movie where an ambulance driver asks his aide to get a litter and the aide comes back with an armful of kittens.
1540s, of animals, “process of bringing forth young in a single birth,” verbal noun from present participle of litter (v.). Meaning “act of furnishing with bedding” is from c. 1600. That of “act of dropping disordered waste matter” is from 1900. - (from Online Etymology Dictionary)
So here I go again, thinking in terms of a graph-like evolutionary trail. How does a word evolve into what seems like a completely different thought or thing? At some point the idea of baby kittens turning into scattered trash seems to be quite a leap. What are the connections?