Cats are “invasive alien species,” says the Polish Academy of Sciences

Cats are “invasive alien species,” says the Polish Academy of Sciences

  • The Polish Academy of Sciences has classified domestic cats as an “invasive alien species”.
  • It viewed cats as a predatory threat to local biodiversity.
  • The academy has been denounced by cat lovers and pet owners.

A Polish scientific institute has classified domestic cats as an “invasive alien species”.

The Polish Academy of Sciences has defined the domestic cat (felis catus) as “extraterrestrial” because it was domesticated in the Middle East, and classified cats as “invasive” because of the “negative impact of domestic cats on native biodiversity,” they explained in an opinion.

The academy has a long list of animals it considers an “invasive alien species,” including Japanese knotweed, raccoons, clearwing moths and mandarin ducks.

They state that such species pose “an unpredictable risk to local wildlife” and cite a study showing that cats kill 48.1 and 583.4 million mammals and 8.9 and 135.7 million birds in Poland annually kill and eat.

The criteria for the cat’s inclusion in the alien invasive species “are met by the cat 100%,” Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the Polish State Academy of Sciences, told AP.

Cat owners and cat lovers have expressed outrage at the classification, fearing it will incite abuse or mistreatment of domestic cats.

Some media reports gave the false impression that the institute was requiring the euthanasia of feral and other cats, the AP reported.

Comments on the academy’s Facebook page see people saying the institution’s classification is “just stupid and harmful,” with one saying, “You suck and aren’t worthy of your name.”

cat on the couch

The Polish Academy of Sciences recommended that cat owners limit the time their pets spend outdoors during bird breeding season.

Jennifer DiMatteo/Insider


Speaking to the AP, Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the state-run Polish Academy of Sciences, said he didn’t expect such a reaction to the Felis Catus’ inclusion in the database and said no other entry has sparked such an emotional response.

Such was the excitement that Solarz was confronted on national television with feline champion Dorota Suminska, author of a book called The Happy Cat.

Suminska, a veterinarian, said: “Ask if humans are on the list of non-invasive alien species” when discussing declining biodiversity. and argued that too much blame was wrongly placed on cats.

Solarz suggested the negative feedback could be due to a misconception that people believe the academy implies that humans harm their cats.

The Academy only recommended that cat owners limit their pets’ time outdoors during the bird breeding season.

In a Facebook post earlier this month addressing the classification and the resulting criticism, the academy said it was “opposed to all animal cruelty”. It stated that defining the domestic cat as an invasive alien species does not justify abuse against it, nor does it justify abandoning cats.

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