Polish scientists at the Polish Academy of Sciences have decided to place the domestic cat on the database of invasive species in Poland. The domestic cat is, indeed, an invasive species in Poland as it is in the UK and the USA, for example. But these other countries don’t OFFICIALLY recognise that fact because the domestic cat has become perhaps the most popular companion animal on the planet. To think about listing the cat as an invasive species in a country becomes pointless. It is academic but I guess it is appropriate in this instance as academics listed the species that way.
Although it may have unforeseen detrimental consequences. Invasive species are considered to be damaging to ecosystems and government wildlife departments normally find ways to eradicate invasive species.
A biologist at the Institute, Wojciech Solarz, remarked that they were unprepared for the public backlash towards the classification and that it gave the false impression that the Academy was calling for feral and domestic cats to be eradicated. That is not the intention and the Academy stressed that it was opposed to any cruelty towards animals.
Unfortunately, such a classification can provoke cat haters to be cruel towards stray and feral cats. It opens the door to cat cruelty and it doesn’t take much to open that door. Those who have been hankering after killing feral cats can now feel justified in doing it. They may get away with it because it may seem to them that respected scientists support the eradication of this invasive species.
The domestic cat has been in Poland for thousands of years although the species originates from the Middle East. That is why it is an invasive species but when does an animal stop becoming an invasive species? Aren’t thousands of years of presence in a country enough to declassify them as invasive? I think it is. The label of “invasive species” is unfair, unnecessary and unhelpful when applied to the domestic cat in Poland.
Technically, it could be argued that the human is an invasive species in Poland as they first evolved in Africa between six and 2 million years ago. Are the Polish scientist going to classify humans as an invasive species?
The Polish scientists concerned with this classification are also concerned with the predation of wildlife by domestic cats as is the case across the planet in developed countries. It is nothing new and there is growing pressure on cat owners to keep their companion animals indoors at all times or when outside to supervise them and/or keep them on a lead.
The scientists at the Polish Academy of Sciences want owners to limit the amount of time that their companion animal spend outdoors during the bird breeding season. This, by the way, is a form of speciesism because the scientists want to protect birds but not mice. Are birds more important than mice? And if so, why? Because they are prettier? Should that be a criteria?
Below are some more articles on invasive species.