04/24/2012 02:23 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature... Or My Pets


Photo: Ted Fink

I've been conducting a little climate investigation these past few weeks. Like most moms, I always do my research before springing into action!

A Hot Disclaimer

My particular study shows the unhealthy (and annoying) effects of climate change on pets. I would be remiss if I left out my an important part of my theory: Along with all the substantiated research about global warming, I believe the Earth is heating up because my pets say so.

A Worried Mom

I'm worried that my pets (two dogs and one cat) are gravely suffering because our planet is getting too warm for them. As Dominique Browning mentions in a recent Time post, severe and prolonged heat wreaks havoc:

"Severe and prolonged heat isn't good for our lungs. Greenhouse gas pollution increases air pollution ... Smog is especially dangerous for children who have asthma, and it is associated with pneumonia and other respiratory infections that can be life threatening. The elderly are especially vulnerable to the ravages of heat waves."

She didn't mention the vulnerability of our pets (maybe because she doesn't have any). But a few days ago, NBC anchor, Brian Williams opened the evening news with this: "... the strangest season many folks can remember, which has set thousands of new records... it has confused plants and animals and a good many humans."

I observed my bewildered pets and documented these three findings. My pets are:

Thirsty, Itchy And Snotty

1. Thirsty: It's 92 degrees today (April 16th in upstate New York). My chocolate and black labs are still donning their stunning winter coats. We hear there's a drought in the Northeast. A springtime drought in NY? We generally have lots of precipitation all winter in the form of piles of snow. This usually leads to a damp springtime run off and lovely mud season. The furry guys typically shed gradually throughout the spring. Now, the panting, drooling creatures only want out of the sun and onto a cool tile floor, where they deposit basketball-sized furfilled dust bunnies into every nook and cranny of my empty nest. The vacuum sits in waiting... ready at a moments notice to wildly up my electric bill. The pooches are thirsty for answers.

According to USA Today: Only two states, Ohio and Alaska, are entirely free of abnormally dry or drought conditions.

"The drought is expanding into some areas where dryness is rare, such as New England. "Conditions are starting to worry us now," said Keith Eggleston, a climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center in Ithaca, NY

2. Itchy: Tick season is bad in this neck of the woods. This spring it is out of control. The dogs and cat bring ticks into the house...lots of them. Two of my family members have already pulled off engorged ticks. Now the waiting game begins. Will Lyme Disease set in? Should they be treated prophylactically with the requisite dosage of doxycyline? What gives?

The Center For Disease Control says there are lots of factors that contribute to the increase Lyme Disease. "But climate disruption and change clearly have an impact," said Ben Beard, CDC climate change expert.

3. Snotty: My cat can't stop sneezing. Visitors find this beyond gross. I find this beyond gross. I'm pretty sure it's feline asthma. Air pollution triggers asthma and other respiratory ailments in cats, just as it does in humans. Pollution is a main cause of global warming.

I've adapted by wearing earplugs when I'm sitting next to the cat and carrying a handkerchief to wipe off the screen door because the cat is clamoring to join the dogs on the floor. (For those of you who are too young to remember the almost obsolete handkerchief, they are soft eco-friendly cloths used for wiping noses. Handkerchiefs do not attribute to pilfering forests or ozone depletion. But, I digress... let's save that for another post.) After wrecking my linen couch, my sweet old cat will not be coming in until next winter... or at this rate, never.

The Conclusion

Pets adversely respond to global warming. Severe climate changes can make them unhealthy... and unhappy. Now that I stated the scientific facts, I will patiently wait until summer (or tomorrow) for the debunking to begin. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature or my pets.