The world is changing quickly, and so is pet ownership. Looking at the trends in the market and projections of a warmer planet, we explore the possible pets of the future. Join Timothy Meadows in this special segment of That Day in Climate History. Find out what might just replace Fido, Princess, and Fred.
I am Timothy Meadows, it is Saturday February 16, 2165 and time for That Day in Climate History.
By the year 2026 the human population exceeded 8 billion people. Dog and cat populations also exploded. In the US alone the number of dog and cat pets reached over 200 million, many of these overfed and dangerously overweight. With the growing droughts and disruption in grain and meat production in the 2020’s the cost of pet care grew dramatically. While pets provided companionship and entertainment, more and more people found they simply could not afford to keep a dog or cat in their homes.
As a result, pets got smaller. Large dogs consumed too much, so for a time smaller breeds became popular. Also, people began to opt for more practical pets, ones that also provided food. Chickens, who can be surprisingly friendly and social, became the rage in suburbs and even in cities where their owners benefited from the eggs the chickens produced. Guinea pigs, a delicacy in Ecuador and Peru, became popular in North America as an inexpensive pet that could provide a meal in a pinch.
By 2035 pet sharing became much more common. Much like communities share vehicles through services like Zip Cars and Communicar, pet sharing services abounded in North America, Australia, and Europe. Animal lovers could spend time with a dog or a cat for a few hours a week while sharing in the luxury of pet ownership.
By 2075 historians note a dramatic decrease in the public interest in pets. With closer knit communities, more social cohesion, active friendly collections, and more people living in community with some shared spaces, people found their need for companionship met through friendship with other humans. On this day in 2165, we remember that day in Climate History.
Want to know more? Check out Erik Assadourian’s article: Are pets bad for the environment?