Saturday, June 16, 2007

Global warming lets cats out of the bag

It wasn't enough, apparently, for the Cassandras of global warming to warn us that the glaciers are melting, the seas are rising and the grasslands are burning. We took all that in stride.

But, now, we are to believe global warming is causing an increase in the number of feral cats.

Pets Across America, a national pet adoption organization, reports a 30 percent increase in animal shelter intake of cats and kittens from 2005 to 2006.

"Cats are typically warm-weather, springtime breeders," says Kathy Warnick, the organization's president. "States that typically experience primarily longer and colder winters are now seeing shorter, warmer winters, leading to year-round breeding. Basically, there is no longer a reproduction lull with cat-breeding cycles and, unfortunately, it seems more people are bringing boxes of kittens into our agencies during the winters now."

Who would have thought it?

Is global warming really the cause of the excess cat population? Who knows. The climatologists who study things like this are usually a little cautious about taking a one-year spike in events -- whether those events be hurricanes, floods or peak temperatures -- and attributing them to global climate change.

Even Al Gore says nothing about the cat population in "An Inconvenient Truth."

But, then, what do climatologists and Al Gore know about feral cats? Or, domestic cats, for that matter? They waste their time worrying about the survival of the human race while those of us who actually are the human race are far more worried about another litter of kittens appearing on our back porches.

I'll give Warnick credit for one thing: Her prescription is doable. She says we ought to make sure our cats are spayed and neutered so even if warmer winters mitigate the "reproduction lull," their amorous instincts won't result in kittens.

It seems to me it is far easier to spay cats than it is to reverse the climate. Cheaper, too. I have both a cat and a hybrid car. Compared to the cost of a Prius, a veterinarian's bill is peanuts.

In the meantime, if you are kept awake tonight by a cat in heat, throw an ice cube at it.

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