Domestic cats have been classified as 'alien species' by a Polish scientific institute
- A scientific institute has classified domestic cats as invasive alien species.
- Felis catus is considered a negative influence on native wildlife.
- Pet owners and animal lovers think that the classification puts house cats in danger.
The Polish Academy of Sciences has classified domestic cats as invasive alien species, an initial report by AP reveals.
The institute says the house cat, Felis catus is their scientific name, was domesticated nearly 10,000 years ago in the ancient Middle East, so it should be considered alien species in Europe and Poland. Additionally, the institute deemed the species "invasive" because they are considered a negative influence on native biodiversity.
However, not everyone seems happy with this statement, and some claim that this could cause harm on house cats. Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at Polish Academy of Sciences, told AP that the database in which he classified Felis catus as invasive alien species already listed 1,786 other species. However, the reactions he faced about the new entry for house cats may have been the result of a misunderstanding, such as people believing the designation will lead to euthanization of cats.
In fact, the institute's statement supports limiting the time house cats spend outside during bird breeding season to reduce the negative impact of the species on native wildlife.
Solarz explained the scientific reality that house cats affect the number of birds and mammals by hunting them, and added that the criteria for classifying Felis catus as invasive alien species “are 100% met" by the species.
The institute already classified different animals as "invasive alien species," such as Japanese knotweed, raccoons, clearwing moths, and mandarin ducks, Business Insider reported.
Solarz recently has been challenged by a veterinarian in a television segment aired by TVN. Dorota Suminska touched on other reasons why biodiversity is decreasing, such as environmental pollution and urban building facades that could lead to birds' death.
“Ask if man is on the list of non-invasive alien species,” Suminska said. Solarz, on the other hand, disagreed, revealing that cats kill about 140 million birds annually in Poland.
At war with cats
It's not breaking news that cats were considered invasive species and harmful to wildlife.
In 2019, The Independent reported that the Australian government aimed to kill millions of free-roaming cats to reduce the population of between 2 and 6 million by 2020. The way to do it, though, wasn't very merciful — the government airdropped poisonous sausages.
Natives species are easy for cats to prey on, and they're believed to kill more than 1 million native birds, and 1.7 million reptiles across Australia, a spokesperson for Australia's Department of the Environment and Energy told CNN.