Reduce CO2, or More Homeless Kittens

Cute abandoned kitten, author Nicolas Suzor from Brisbane, Australia, source Wikimedia

Cute abandoned kitten, author Nicolas Suzor from Brisbane, Australia, source Wikimedia

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to the New South Wales Cat Protection Society, climate induced warmer weather is causing cats to have more unwanted kittens.

Longer breeding seasons, more kittens: are cats reacting to climate change?

When Kristina Vesk started working at the Cat Protection Society of NSW in 2006, she rarely saw kittens in winter. Now warmer weather means cats are breeding all year round, increasing the numbers of unwanted kittens and the threat to native wildlife from strays and feral cats.

Ms Vesk, the society’s chief executive, said there used to be weeks from June to September when the shelter saw very few, if any, kittens. But with the climate changing and temperatures rising, it seems cats are increasingly on heat.

“For the past three years, I don’t think we’ve experienced a full week at any time of year where we don’t have at least a couple of kittens in our care,” Ms Vesk said. “Kitten ‘season’ has grown longer and longer as we keep having … enough warm and sunny days in winter that make cats think it’s a good time to start breeding.”
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Vanessa Barrs, a Professor of Feline Medicine at the University of Sydney, said most cats do not breed in winter to conserve energy and help kittens survive. But breeding can be influenced by photoperiod, the number of available daylight hours, and “cats artificially exposed to 12 hours of light indoors … can be induced to breed all year round”, she said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/longer-breeding-seasons-more-kittens-are-cats-reacting-to-climate-change-20160208-gmo5bl.html

Is building wind turbines and solar installations really the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted kittens? Or might it be more effective to run a TV campaign, encouraging pet owners to be responsible about having their animals desexed?

125 thoughts on “Reduce CO2, or More Homeless Kittens

  1. “Longer breeding seasons, more kittens: are cats reacting to climate change?”
    More goofy papers, more climate weirdness. Are climate scientists running out of research questions?

    • So she joined in 2006 and it’s now 2016. Call it a decade. I don’t know what the temperatures have been doing in Oz, what with BOM adjustments and all, so let’s make an IPCC-like projection and say that they’ve *maybe* experienced up to 0.2C change over that time. Are cat breeding patterns really sensitive to a 0.2C change? I mean, *really*?

      What’s been happening to the human population in her area? More people => more cats => more kittens. Is that a possibility? Have people been losing jobs, so that the cost of neutering animals has to be balanced against necessities like alcohol and tobacco? (/sarc) Has the cultural mix changed in the area? Have people shifted from abandoning puppies to abandoning kittens? There are LOTS of alternative hypotheses that deserve exploration. The leap to just-so stories about climate change is a way to STOP thought and paralyse action; I do hope this person is not in a position of authority. Oh wait, “chief executive”.

      Vanessa Barrs seems to be thinking, though. Of course, if cats are living inside enough to be influenced by artificial light, they are living inside enough to be influenced by artificial heat too, in which case the climate becomes largely irrelevant. And in Oz you are very much encouraged to keep your cats inside a lot to protect native wildlife. So protect wildlife => keep cats inside => longer breeding season => more cats => increased threat to wildlife. Systemantics, how true it is…

    • So … global warming is good for animals. That’s great – isn’t it? It takes a very special kind of brain to turn every single benefit into a negative.

  2. Is building wind turbines and solar installations really the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted kittens?
    Answer: running TV campaigns, trips to the vet in the family buggy for neutering, etc. all use fossil fuels and contribute to global warming, so I’d have to go with the wind turbine and solar panel option on this one.

      • And, if you have a Tesla here in Canada’s winters at -40C, you turn on the front and rear window de-icers; turn on the heater; turn on your heated seat; turn on your rear-view mirror de-icer; and head for the office.
        A few blocks later you have no power. sarc ;^D

      • And the full headlights, because it is still dark when you leave for work in the morning and dark when you drive home after work.

      • “Light Cure says: February 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm”

        I recall having a discussiion a couple of years ago with someone who was an avid suporter of wind turbines that powered all forms of transport, even aircraft!

      • But that actually makes perfect sense. See, the faster the plane goes, the faster the turbine spins which powers the plane.

        Seriously, I need research money now to study this. If i don’t get it a dog will become depressed and a kitten will die out in the cold – I mean warm.

    • Wind turbines may not inhibit feline breeding directly, but they will feed the cats – if the cats develop a taste for migratory birds and bats.

      • michael hart

        I just couldn’t hold it down the last time I tried to neuter a cat with a wind turbine.

        This is because you must hold the cat “up” to use a wind turbine blade to neuter the cat. (Please sharpen the blade, hold the cat firmly up in its natural neutralized position, and clean everything thoroughly afterwords. ) /s

    • Actually, it is the Green Machine that is the cause of cat proliferation. The greater numbers of Wind and Solar installations have caused greater numbers of feral cats to eat the greater numbers of downed birds.
      There you go Cause and Effect! PNS….pg

  3. Kittens are good for polishing the car……..Very soft fur…….leaves a great finish. How can they be unwanted when they are so useful?

  4. Well then, how about an ice age ???
    That should do it. If all the homeless cats freeze to death, there will no longer be any homeless cats !!!
    Problem solved .

  5. Oh come on – FFS!! No comment can assuage the sheer sense of despair that this ‘news’ has caused me. Somebody shoot me please!

  6. Ms Vesk, the society’s chief executive, talks about unwanted kittens. How can the head of the Cat Protection Society call a cat unwanted? Erect the gallows!

    Peak cat ???

  7. People who are experiencing fuel poverty find that they are not able to feed new kittens so the cats end up in the shelter.

  8. Ok I’m sold.
    Lead me to my cave where I can shiver in the warm knowledge that my abandonment of 10,000 years Human development has caused:
    fewer stray cats and fewer depressed dogs.
    Polar bears will always walk; they’ll never be forced to swim.
    Pikas will prevail.
    Delta smelt never felt better.
    Etc.
    Me, I’ll have a clean conscience but a shorter life span in which to enjoy it.
    On second thought…

  9. Unless CO2 also extends daylight hours, the last paragraph quoted destroys the argument.
    If Ms Veck’s logic holds, we should have many more litters here in South Carolina than they do in New England.

      • And nearly no cats in Canada! Then we export the southern kitties to Canada and they can hunt down all the extra moles and mice up there who come for the warmer weather. Balance nature and all that. Do NOT send us your alligators and poisonous snakes, please.

  10. “Is building wind turbines and solar installations really the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted kittens? ”
    Wind turbines would be a very effective way to reduce the number of unwanted kittens IF kittens flew.

  11. Well, at least if we install more windmills, the cats will feast on all those dead bats and birds around the base of them. Most of them aren’t dead when they hit the ground, so the cats will help end their suffering. But wouldn’t all that extra tucker lead to more cat breeding?

  12. I once distracted a cat for days by attaching a piece of yarn to the blades of a ceiling fan. I wonder if it would work scaled up?

    • HERE IS AN EXPERT Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin’ Cats
      Mark Steyn, vocals
      with orchestra arranged and conducted by Kevin Amos

      • Neil Boortz used to organize an annual cat catching contest. If you want to know what cat catching involves, think turkey’s and “WKRP in Cincinnati”.

        PS, it was a gag, no actual cats were used or harmed.

  13. Vanessa Barrs, a Professor of Feline Medicine at the University of Sydney, said most cats do not breed in winter to conserve energy and help kittens survive.

    Many species refrain from breeding if conditions are wrong for offspring survival.

    But breeding can be influenced by photoperiod, the number of available daylight hours, and “cats artificially exposed to 12 hours of light indoors … can be induced to breed all year round”, she said.

    “cats artificially exposed to 12 hours of light indoors …” are well fed, sheltered cats. The chances are that their kittens will survive. It is much more likely that they will breed and therefore there will be more winter kittens. I’m skeptical that photoperiod is the major factor.

    When I was a kid, most cats were barn cats. Not as many folks had pet cats. In fact, the pet cat population has nearly doubled since 1981. link

    Anyone attributing kittens to climate change is suffering from a lack of intellectual rigour.

    • I live on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada we winters much colder than anything wales has ever seen. We have farm cats, that is to say they live their entire lives outside and only get food once a day and hunt to supplement their diets. Thee is no change in the amount of breeding between +20 and -20. I can’t help but wonder if they even looked at a cat in this study.

      • I think that a bunch of rats at night got to the computer in the lab after escaping their cages and wrote this about cats hoping humans would fall for this.

  14. CO2 always causes more of what we have too much of and less of what we have too little of.

    Weeds always do better. Food crops and good plants do worse.

    Virus’s, bacteria, ticks, mosquito’s, pest insects and overpopulated animals always do better….while humans, most animals and good insects(like butterflys and bees) always do worse.

    What’s weird is that all of this life on earth, suddenly started obeying a new universal law that did not exist until a few decades ago.

    Our brilliant scientists, immediately found the widespread, compelling evidence of this new law…….so it has to exist.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

    • What???

      I did bee keeping for decades. Bees LOVE warm weather! They hate cold. The only times I lost hives was if it went to -40 F for example. Ditto, butterflies. I grew up in Tucson, AZ, and we had plenty of butterflies during the rainy season. They loved the hot desert.

      Come to think of it, the coyotes, bobcats, vultures, roadrunners, owls, snakes, gila monsters, etc. etc. all loved the hot desert. So do jack rabbits and desert mice and lizards and horny toads, etc. Not to mention saguaros.

  15. The gestation period for cats is 65 days average, as late as 71 days for Siamese cats. So are they trying to say cats normally don’t breed in the fall as they know survival at birth will be lower in the cold of winter? Or are they implying winter breeding is up due to warmer winters, even though survival in the spring is not detrimental? WTF? Do the cats know impending seasons or not?

  16. Next: Dogs and cats living together!
    To wit:

    Clearly we are headed for disasters of biblical proportions

    What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.

    Exactly

    Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling.

    Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes.

    The dead rising from the grave!

    Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

    • When Noah filled the ark, he started with two cats, two mice and two dogs. He landed with 50 cats, 1,000 mice and two dogs. :)

    • You know….the Bible predicts all kinds of global turmoil in the future and people mock it. But then Marcott and gang predict global turmoil in the future and people take it seriously mock it. :) Never mind.

  17. Wow, anecdotal evidence from Kristina Vesk a worker from a cat shelter is impressive scientific proof of not only an increase in the cat population but also the increase being due to climate change. To bolster this claim there is also anecdotal evidence of a welcome decrease in the mice population in the area. This however may be due to the local hardware store running sales specials on mouse traps. We are still awaiting reports on how the mice feel about all these changes.

    • Well, she did say “For the past three years, I don’t think we’ve experienced…” so that should prove to you that her conclusions are based on long term, scientific studies and geometric logic.

  18. Oh, let’s see about an alternate theory: People have less disposable income, so are more likely to forego having their cats neutered/spayed. The result is more kittens.

      • cats can be hidden from Landlords easily
        they dont have to be registered or chipped(some places starting to)
        they dont eat much,(supplement neighbours dog food and native species) get left while owners holiday
        while a dog needs kennels
        theyre allowed to roam to crap all over the place while every dog owner got to clean up carry a poopy bag etc
        and theyre NOT being desexed.
        and btw NSW is NOT know for ever getting that cold in winter.. especially urban areas anyway

  19. “Is building wind turbines and solar installations really the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted kittens?”

    We have a winner for red herring of the day!

  20. On the other hand, there hasn’t been any warming at all for 18 years. So these cats are responding to warming that hasn’t happened.

    • In France they have to sell skinned rabbits with the head, feet, and tail still attached. I thought this was strange until I found out that people used to sell skinned cats as rabbits. Apparently a properly prepared house cat tastes and looks like a rabbit. So not only an easy solution, but tasty as well.

  21. I recall a couple of years ago there was a news item about global warming causing a super abundance of cats in Germany and a catastrophic shortage of Bulgarian prostitutes. Go figure.

    • As well as cats, mice and other non-native rodents and TV and sporting celebrities they all need de-sexing.

    • Feral cats are a problem, too. They eat many of the smaller native animals. If we could get them to concentrate on taking cane toads, we might solve at least one problem, but I think they are a bit too intelligent to try that.

    • yes they can get the odd bunny
      but bunnys and the major cat pop arent in the same spots:-(
      and we still have a LOT of rabbits.
      in site of calici and myxo releases

    • Australia be warned; kittens could become the new rabbits…
      Only if cats start going naturally vegetatian.

  22. “The average TV commercial of sixty seconds has one hundred and twenty half-second clips in it, or one-third of a second. We bombard people with sensation. That substitutes for thinking.”
    ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

    • Yeah, but Bradbury didn’t know about Roku, Netflix or streaming devices that eliminate all commercials or allow people to zip past them. We’re becoming bombardless.

  23. This might be the first truly positive feedback mechanism found in the science of Anthropomorphic Global Warming.

    Q: What are all of these excess kittens going to do with themselves?

    A: Push AGW theories.

    It is happening already …

    http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/the-truth-about-climate-change-as-told-by-dapper-kittens/

    CATAGW … Cats Advancing Theories of Anthropomorphic Global Warming.

    Uncontrolled feedback …

    Cheers,
    Thomas

  24. pffft, even without artificial light they can breed all but 1-2 months of the year. In our modern age for many cats this is now year round because of LIGHTS not warming. The same is true for many animals. chickens for instance will not lay many eggs in winter because of low light conditions and if you add the light they can produce well right through the winter. Temp is not known to be a factor, it is the light.

  25. “Ms Vesk, the society’s chief executive, said there used to be weeks from June to September when the shelter saw very few, if any, kittens. But with the climate changing and temperatures rising, it seems cats are increasingly on heat.”

    Weird….according to others, the number of cats and dogs in Australia is dropping-

    http://pickle.ninemsn.com.au/2015/10/01/12/40/australia-s-pet-population-declining

    Maybe she needs to explain to people where kittens come from, because there’s a simple procedure that prevents cats making more of them….

  26. I am reminded..

    Mark Twain, in 1875, anticipated the current insanity and delusion of the ‘scientific community’ with

    his wonderful essay “Some Learned Fables, for Good Old Boys and Girls, in Three Parts”. It closes with..

    “There were vulgar, ignorant carpers, of course, as there always are and always will be; and naturally

    one of these was the obscene Tumble-Bug. He said that all he had learned by his travels was that

    science only needed a spoonful of suppositions to build a mountain of demonstrated fact out of; and

    that for the future he meant to be content with the knowledge that nature had made free to all

    creatures and not go prying into the august secrets of the Diety.”

    An entertainting read and perhaps an anchor back into the current reality.

    Meaux

    • Quick non-climate related story. Years ago, sometime back in the ’70s, my aunt and uncle went to a Chinese restaurant. It took a long time for their food to come and my uncle joked that they were probably trying to catch the cat. Shortly afterwards the doors to the kitchen sprang open and a cat came running out followed by a chef with a cleaver. Of course, it was pure coincidence (the cat belonged to the owners), but when the evening was over, they got a photo of themselves with the chef holding the cat. Wish I knew where that photo was now.

  27. This id brand NEW!! Headline – Global Warming aka Climate Change affects the earth’s rotation. The increased ‘photoperiod” which causes more cats to come in ‘heat’ [get it?] must have resulted from Global Warming slowing the earth’s rotation speed! Finally, real news!

    • Also the increase in whale population has led to massive sea level rises as their massive bodies displace the water around them ,time for the Japanese to do some research into the affects of carbon pollution on whales .
      Then Greenpeace will help by herding the whales towards the research ships .

  28. All that extra Co2 acts like a sail which slows the earths rotation !
    Also the real reason for sea levels rising is due to the increase in whale population ,their massive bodies are displacing the sea causing the rise .
    Time for the Japanese to do some research on the affects of increased Co2 levels on whales and the subsequent sea level rise .
    Because this research is carbon pollution related Greenpeace can help out by herding the whales towards the research ships (everyone wins) .

  29. “At The Sydney Morning Herald we are passionate about giving you independent, quality journalism …”.
    =======================
    That is the proud boast of the rag where this garbage, and a lot more of the same, was published.
    The SMH along with its Melbourne stablemate The Age were once the quality newspapers in Australia.
    They have both gone tabloid along the lines of the National Enquirer.

  30. This story is complete bollocks. The increase in cat population is just part of their master plan. Cats have succeeded in taking over the Internet. Now they increase production. Total world domination to follow.

  31. Why don’t progressives ever argue that we should license all cats, they must be spayed unless you have the proper breeding permits, and all must be tatooed so the owners can be found and fined if the cat is not taken care of. After all, regs are the way to fix everything. Regulate cats. Problem solved.

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