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Climate change is making life difficult for dogs and cats.


It is safe to assume that many Parisians who killed their pet dogs and cats, on at least one occasion, truly loved them.

We do not know for sure – of course – no historian can enter the human soul – but the memory of pets leads to slaughter. This is one of the strongest images we have. 1870 Siege of Paris., Which occurred during the Franco-Prussian War. Within a few weeks, Germany captured Emperor Napoleon III and completely cut off Paris from all its supply lines. Food ran out quickly, and the citizens of the newly declared republic were forced to eat everything from rats and other common street creatures to exotic zoo animals such as elephants. Inevitably, pet dogs and cats also died because people were struggling to survive. Needless to say, when observers later recalled the horrors of the siege, the consumption of animals that did not normally eat was almost always mentioned.

Flash forward a century and a half, and so on. Exploitative capitalism The opposition of the fundamentalists of Paris at that time is literal. Destroying the planet through climate change.. In the cruel irony, it will certainly lead to food shortages that are no different from those experienced in Paris during the siege. Deliberately cutting off the population rather than a military force, however, will lead to global warming. Breakdown of supply chains Which feed the majority of the world’s population. At the same time, it will cause fundamental changes in the climate that will force millions to flee their homes (thus the climate will become refugees) and millions more to adapt to unhealthy conditions such as extreme heat or flooding. Will be forced. There is no doubt that the suffering for humanity will be on a scale far greater than the experience of the citizens of Paris in 1870.

That would mean trouble for the world’s dogs and cats – most of which are not in the hands of humans. There are an estimated 1.4 billion dogs and cats on Earth, the majority of which are homeless. As the climate crisis destroys the earth, it is bound to change their populations and lives in ways we can already see.

“People like to say they have a pet family, but the truth is that the dog or cat family is at the bottom of the totem pole,” said Dr. Clive D. L., a professor of psychology at Arizona State University and director of Canon. Wine Science Cooperation, told Salon by email. “When times get tough, people leave their pets long before they leave their children. As a result, if life becomes difficult for people, it will be even harder for their pets. Goes. ”

This will happen even if the pet is eaten or left on the side of the road as a result. For one thing, humans often buy companion animals, regardless of their ability to adapt to a given area’s environment. For example, Alaskan Malamute may be unhappy if its owner lives in Phoenix, as its thick coat is adapted to cold weather. This is the case with dog breeds right now, and the problem of breeding mismatch with the climate will only get worse when the climate itself becomes unreliable. As Wayne puts it, “The warmer climates will definitely change the types of dogs that people should keep as pets – but, unfortunately, people don’t pay much attention to the local climate when they keep pets.” Dogs get it. ”

Dr. Alexandra Protopova, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia who studies animal welfare, tells Salon that the way humans take care of their fellow animals is likely to improve.

“With rising heat waves, people can reduce outdoor exercise opportunities for dogs (which would be perfect for limiting heatstroke!),” Protopova noted. They may also struggle for medical care, and refugees may not welcome dogs and cats. As evictions increase, animal shelters will potentially carry an increasing burden, and individuals can only choose their mate if the need is particularly high, otherwise more and more people will conclude. Maybe it’s just unbearable.

Just because there will be fewer companion animals, however, does not mean that dogs and cats, as we know them, will disappear. Even free-range dogs and cats that rely on humans for their resources will, however, experience drastic changes in life. Because there are fewer people, either feeding them directly or providing them with indirect sustenance, such as loss of food, will increase appetite. A changing climate may also signal free-range animals to adapt to their territorial boundaries as they look for opportunities to feed, or change their reproductive behaviors as cats do during long summers. What is the extension of the season?

And then there are diseases.

“Because animals, such as dogs, are the hosts of many zoonotic agents, any change in the domestic range of viruses or parasites due to the changing climate will not only have health consequences for these animals, but also people.” Even for. ” . “For example, rabies infections as well as dog bites have been linked to hot weather. It remains to be seen experimentally, however, these expected results will actually be. For now, we’re just speculating. Can. ”


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Experts are currently debating how many unnamed dogs and cats there are in the world today. According to Wayne, there are up to 1 billion dogs on the planet’s surface (“maybe a little higher”), living with about 300 million humans and not owning at least half a billion more. Protopova echoed that there are about 11 billion dogs in the world, adding that there are more than 480 million cats.

“The purebred dogs we know in the United States and Canada represent only 20% of the world’s dogs,” Protopova explained. “Most dogs live in human cities as free agents. [or] Use the resources provided by the population and the people. ”

Those free agent dogs have already shown the ability to evolve based on the climate of their area. Like all animals, they are natural creatures whose large species change due to natural selection.

This, perhaps, provides a window into what we can expect from dogs and cats as a whole as climate change worsens.

“I’ve seen street dogs in Moscow, Russia and Nassau, in the Bahamas. These are very different creatures,” Wayne wrote to Salon. “Moscow’s street dogs are big, furry beasts. The Bahamas are very small, with thin fur. Twice I’ve seen unseen dogs here in Phoenix, Arizona, they were small, almost hairy dogs. Each of these dog shapes is adapted to the climate in which it lives – since it has to be able to live outside. ” Sugar hounds may be preferred over those that use more heat and use more resources.

Cats, on the other hand, can have an easy migration journey just because of their unique character. As Alan Weizmann, “The world without us.“We’ve never controlled domestic cats,” he told the salon. You have to think that we have house coats and we have been taught to shelter and feed them. “They point out that, since the earliest civilizations, domestic cats have been essentially the same because of this flexibility. A flexible relationship with humans, more useful and deliberate than dogs,” he noted.

This brings us back to the 1870 siege of Paris, where fellow animals were abandoned and eaten in part because they taxed the resources of their owners. While it is not clear whether food will be so scarce that people will have to rely on their own animals, there is a strong possibility that humanity’s relationship with existing dogs and cats will have to change radically. It will usually be more difficult to keep pets. This is another thing that people understand at the moment, but some may have to give up because of climate change.

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