In addition to questioning whether I am being a dastard to my neighbor by not turning on my heat, some people have questioned whether I am perpetrating animal cruelty vs. the cat. J., in fact, spent what she refers to as “an entire hour of my life that [she] will never get back” doing internet research attempting (but failing) to find evidence that cats hate cold houses. I have started to wonder whether I will be reported to the ASPCA. So, I’m examining the question.
Findings: Physical observation reveals that Cat appears built for cold climates. He is stocky. He is covered with thick fur. He even has fur between his toes. Behavioral observation indicates that Cat seems unfazed by the cooler house. For example, he often chooses to hang out in the coldest rooms in the house (bedroom, entryway) rather than in the warmer kitchen. He spurns my offer of warming appliances, such as a heating pad, and refuses to wear the hat I gave him as an early Christmas present. He furthermore keeps trying to get outdoors, where it is even colder than in here.
Speaking of outdoors, there are many cats out there, every day, apparently happy. Ex-cat 9, who had free access to the outdoors, spent a good part of the winter there. Also there are many local wild animals less furry than Cat who are out and about all winter– squirrels, deer, etc.
The only changes I’ve noted in Cat since fall are that he might be a little fluffier, and he is somewhat more interested in snuggling with me. Neither is unwelcome. Overall, I should think if there’s anything unethical that goes on here it is subjecting a heavily furred, non-sweat-producing animal to summer temperatures of up to 80F/ . No one’s ever told me I need to buy an air conditioner for the cat… but maybe someone is about to.
Also, no one has inquired about the well-being of my houseplants. People can be so faunacentric. Well, I shall tell you anyway. I have very few plants, but I did have fears for them, as they all are tropical or sub-tropical in origin. I was prepared to grieve the loss of some of them, particularly the orchid. But they have all held up amazingly well. See for yourself.
I am intrigued by the possibility that these plants have some ability to adapt to cool conditions, if exposed to it gradually. Also they seem to enjoy the non-parched humidity levels in here. My office plants, meanwhile, are not doing well at all. Draw your own conclusions.