By Definition Domestic Cats Are Not An Invasive Species
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By definition domestic cats are not an invasive species. This is a discussion post. The USDA-United States Department of Agriculture describes as per Executive Order 13112 an “invasive species” as a species that is (1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and (2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. I’d argue that were there are negative and positives to the presence of a non-native species you have to weigh up the two and arrive at a balanced result.

By Definition Domestic Cats Are Not an Invasive Species

USDA definition

Domestic cats are non-native to America. We have to agree that. Although I don’t know how far you can go back before deciding that cats can remove themselves from the label of being non-native. It’s an unnecessarily derogative description.

Nonetheless, taking all factors into account on balance I do not think that it can be argued that domestic cats harm human health. I know cat haters and trolls will say that domestic cats harm human health but they are demented individuals with an axe to grind.

The truth of the matter is that there is ample evidence that domestic cats improve the health of their owners. There are millions of articles about it on the Internet. They keep countless millions of elderly people company, quite possibly improving the longevity of these people.

There are very, very few zoonotic diseases and therefore it is highly unlikely that a domestic cat will transmit a disease to their owner. Cat haters will refer to toxoplasmosis but this disease is acquired in a number of ways other than from domestic cats and in nearly all instances it is benign in the human.

Of course, there are feral cats. But this is due to irresponsible behavior by cat owners. It’s our fault. You can’t blame a cat for that. And in any event the impact that feral cats have had upon the environment are exaggerated. Ornithologists like to exaggerate for obvious reasons.

Of course feral cats do have a negative impact upon the environment (i.e. bird predation) but even that should be set against benefits such as rodent control. When you take everything into account including the positive benefits to people of the domestic cat – which is why they look after them in the countless millions – and set this against environmental damage caused by feral cats I don’t think you come out with a net negative result.

It is arguable therefore that the second part of the definition of invasive species is not fulfilled. Of course you can successfully state that domestic cats are non-native. That’s almost undeniable but to go one step further and rant and rave about domestic cats being an invasive species transmitting diseases to millions of humans as if we were going through a second bubonic plague is a huge misrepresentation.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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By Definition Domestic Cats Are Not An Invasive Species — 6 Comments

  1. This is a war on our pet cats and the use of ‘feral’ many of which were pets or were born to pets and strays is the gateway. I can’t believe how many won’t pay attention.

    • It it a war from some government agencies, ornithologists and cat haters. This is a reason why I wrote the post. The concept that cats are invasive species needs to be challenged.

      • The idea seems to feed the idea that cats are evil and that somehow makes killing them OK. I consider this a new low in dealing with the human issue of irresponsible pet guardianship.

        • Yes, the cat haters and trolls raise the invasive species argument all the time as a reason to exterminate them. The invasive species tag is overplayed and overused. It is almost pointless because non-native or not they are all animals and we owe it to them to treat them all with respect.

          • Who decides if the cat in question is indeed feral, stray, lost or simply dumped ? The cat hating maniac next door who wants to use every cat he/she sees as target practice ? The redneck pos in that one picture was holding up a cat that had a collar on. Cat owners need to wake up. This is one more reason to confine your cats along with a whole list of other very good reasons. All the same my cats are collared and chipped and if the worst happened I’d expect someone who seen them to call AC not blast away. I might redefine crazy cat lady if that happened.

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