Are domestic cats an invasive species?

Are domestic cats an invasive species? It depends on where you are. A lot of people say that domestic cats are an invasive species but that can’t be true for every country.

In the countries of their origin they are not invasive species. That would include Syria and countries around Syria in my view. That’s about the area where the North African wildcat was first domesticated it is believed.

However, in America they are invasive species because they were imported by the English and European settlers in the early 1600s and over the following years.

But this happened over 400 years ago so when do invasive species stop being invasive species? Never, would be the argument of people who dislike the domestic and feral cat. But I say differently.

Handsome domestic cat hunting
Handsome domestic cat hunting. Photo in public domain or fair use.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

There comes a time when it is hard to say domestic cats are an invasive species. Take the UK for instance. The domestic cat was introduced into Britain by the Romans in around 200 AD, almost 2000 years ago. Are they invasive species in the UK. Technically yes. In practice no.

The citizens of a country have to adopt a species as their own eventually. Domestic cats have been in Japan for thousands of years and the same goes for Turkey. Are they non-native in those countries?

The definition of invasive species is: “an organism or plant that is introduced into a new environment, where it is not native”.

What does ‘native’ mean? It means: “a species that have become part of an ecosystem through natural processes.”

This must means that the animal evolved as per Darwin’s theory of evolution (natural selection) in a country or countries. Its origins are in a specific area.

Why is this important? Because non-native species can cause ecological problems and harm such as the feral cat in Australia preying on small mammalian native species.

First domestic cat in Cyprus grave
First domestic cat in Cyprus grave. Photo in public domain.

Almost invariably it is people who create invasive species because it is people who directly or indirectly import the species into places where they did not evolve naturally.

Why then should people try and exterminate the invasive species when they created the problem in the first place? To rectify their errors is the response. At the expense of the animals because it invariably results in animal cruelty.

So it is a case of humans making two errors: creating invasive species and being cruel to the invasive species. Not a good look, would you agree?

Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo