We blame global warming for a lot of things, but making our planet cuter is not one of them. That could change with the recent news from the Environmental Protection Agency that small mammals are going into heat earlier and for longer periods of time because of earlier springs. So, even though global warming depletes our ozone layer, look on the bright side! At least we'll have more adorable kittens running around.
According to this article in the Chicago Sun-Times, cat populations are booming. "The brain receives instructions to produce a hormone that basically initiates the heat cycle in a cat," said Nancy Peterson, feral cat program manager of the Humane Society of the United States, "and those instructions are affected by the length of day and usually the rising temperatures of spring."
The problem is that as longer breeding cycles produce more kittens, the demand for space in shelters becomes more than the facilities can handle, which means more cats are being euthanized. Not all scientists agree that global warming is the direct cause of the booming kitten population—one vet quoted in the story says cats go into heat based on hours in the day, not temperature—but the warmer temperatures make it easier for cats to survive on the street.
In the time-honored Internet tradition of "people will click on anything with cute pictures of cats" (see: this blog post), some green cat lovers have created the blog Global Warming Hates Kittens. The kittens of this site are like LOLcats, but eco-friendlier—worried about deforestation and flooding, they say, "Oh noes global warmingz," and "I keep mai tree?"
So what's the greenest way to deal with the increase of kittens? Adopt shelter cats rather than buying cats from a breeder, and get them spayed or neutered. Check out Planet Green's other tips for environmentally friendly pets here.