Rachel Fieldhouse

Family & Pets

Cats declared an “invasive alien species” in Poland

Cats declared an “invasive alien species” in Poland

A scientific institute in Poland has categorised domestic cats as an “invasive alien species”, joining a menagerie of animals on their invasive species list.

The Polish Academy of Sciences has deemed the house cat (Felis catus) as an “alien” species as it was domesticated in the Middle East, and “invasive” due to the “negative influence of domestic cats on native biodiversity”, according to a statement.

Cats join a long list of animals and plants deemed an “invasive alien species” by the institute, including Japanese knotweed, racoons, clearwing moths and mandarin ducks.

The Academy states that cats pose “an unpredictable risk to local wildlife”, citing a study that shows cats kill 41.1 million mammals and 8.9 million birds each year, eating an additional 583.4 million mammals and 135.7 birds.

Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the state-run institute, told AP that the criteria to be declared an alien invasive species “are 100 percent met by the cat”.

However, cat owners and lovers have expressed outrage at the decision, arguing it could incite abuse or mistreatment of cats, with concerned commenters declaring it “simply stupid and harmful” on the Academy’s Facebook page.

AP has also reported that some media reports have incorrectly given the impression that the Academy was calling for cats to be euthanized.

Solarz told the outlet he hadn’t expected such a response, adding that no other entry on their database of invasive and alien species had resulted in such an emotional response.

He suggested that the negative feedback may be due to a misunderstanding that the Academy was implying that people harm their cats.

In actuality, the Academy has only recommended that cat owners limit the amount of time their pets spend outdoors during bird breeding season.

Images: Getty Images

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