Polish scientific institute classifies cats as invasive alien species

A Polish scientific institute has classified domestic cats as an “invasive alien species”, citing the damage they cause to birds and other wildlife.

The backlash from some cat lovers has put the study’s lead author on the defensive.

Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the Polish State Academy of Sciences, was unprepared for the public criticism that followed his decision to include ‘Felis catus’, the scientific name for the domestic cat, in the national database managed by the Institute for the conservation. of Nature of the Academy.

The database already has another 1,786 species listed without objection, Solarz told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

But ‘invasive alien species’ number 1,787, however, corresponds to a creature so beloved that it is often honored in cemeteries that exist in Poland reserved for dogs and cats.

Solarz referred to what he said was the growing scientific consensus about the negative impact domestic cats have on biodiversity, given the number of birds and mammals they hunt and kill.

The criteria for the cat’s inclusion in the invasive alien species category “is met 100% by the cat,” he said.

In an exchange of arguments on independent television TVN, the biologist argued with a veterinarian who questioned Solarz’s conclusion about the dangers posed by cats to wildlife.

Dorota Suminska, author of a book called “The Happy Cat,” pointed to other causes of reduced biodiversity, including environmental pollution and urban building facades that can kill birds as they fly.

“Ask yourself if humans are on the invasive alien species list,” Suminska said, arguing that cats are unjustifiably blamed.

Solarz told the AP that some media reports created the false impression that the Institute was advocating euthanasia for cats.

Earlier this month, his Institute posted a text on its website, citing the “controversy” and seeking to clarify its position. The Institute emphasized that it “opposes any cruelty to animals” and argued that its classification was in line with European Union guidelines.

Regarding the categorization of the cat as an extraterrestrial, the Institute pointed out that the ‘Felis catus’ was domesticated about ten thousand years ago in the cradle of the great civilizations of the ancient Middle East, which makes the species strange to Europe from a strictly scientific point of view.

The Institute also emphasized that all it recommended was that cat owners limit the time their animals spend outside during the breeding season.

“I have a dog, but I have nothing against cats,” Solarz said.

Source: TSF