Scientific institute classifies cats as 'invasive alien species'

wasmewasntit

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No wonder this cat was upset then....

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Essjay

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I watched a documentary on cats a couple of years ago. There are a few species of wild cat and DNA analysis showed that most of our domestic cats originate from the Egyptian/North African wild cats. So yes they are 'alien' species (in the UK, the word alien usually refers to extra terrestrial life)

What does the link have to say, it won't open for me. It's "Forbidden" :(
 

GaryE

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Cats are wonderful indoor pets.

The guy next door adopted two shelter cats and kept them in all summer as they got used to their new lives. He let them out about 2 weeks ago and the result has been carnage. The ground nesting birds I watched all summer have been slaughtered. I'd say numbers are down by 75%. They also picked off a female mourning dove. The usual - well fed cats.

A similar thing happened when at my old house, the neighbour's cat had surgery that kept it out of action for a number of weeks. My yard had a rich bird life, but once the cat was out, it had a lot of blue jay feathers blowing around. I liked those jays - they were neat creatures.

I imagine the local bobcat will seek them out, which will be a sad ending for the wandering pets. I like cats, but they are invasive thrill killers.
 
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Slaphppy7

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I watched a documentary on cats a couple of years ago. There are a few species of wild cat and DNA analysis showed that most of our domestic cats originate from the Egyptian/North African wild cats. So yes they are 'alien' species (in the UK, the word alien usually refers to extra terrestrial life)

What does the link have to say, it won't open for me. It's "Forbidden" :(
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A Polish scientific institute has classified domestic cats as an "invasive alien species," citing the damage they cause to birds and other wildlife.

Some cat lovers have reacted emotionally to this month's decision and put the key scientist behind it on the defensive.

Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the state-run Polish Academy of Sciences, wasn't prepared for the disapproving public response when he entered "Felis catus," the scientific name for the common house cat, into a national database run by the academy's Institute of Nature Conservation.

The database already had 1,786 other species listed with no objections, Solarz told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Invasive alien species No. 1,787, however, is a creature so beloved that it often is honored in Poland's cemeteries reserved for cats and dogs.

Solarz described the growing scientific consensus that domestic cats have a harmful impact on biodiversity given the number of birds and mammals they hunt and kill.

The criteria for including the cat among alien invasive species, "are 100% met by the cat," he said.

In a television segment aired by independent broadcaster TVN, the biologist faced off last week against a veterinarian who challenged Solarz's conclusion on the dangers cats pose to wildlife.

Dorota Suminska, the author of a book titled "The Happy Cat," pointed to other causes of shrinking biodiversity, including a polluted environment and urban building facades that can kill birds in flight.

Ask if man is on the list of non-invasive alien species," Suminska said, arguing that cats were unfairly assigned too much blame.
Solarz told the AP that some media reports about the listing created a false impression that the institute was calling for feral and other cats to be euthanized.

Earlier this month, his institute published a post on its website citing the "controversy" and seeking to clarify its position. The institute stressed that it was "opposed to any cruelty towards animals." It also argued that its classification was in line with European Union guidelines.

As far as categorizing cats as "alien," the institute noted that "Felis catus" was domesticated probably around 10,000 years ago in the cradle of the great civilizations of the ancient Middle East, making the species alien to Europe from a strictly scientific point of view.

The institute also stressed that all it was recommending was for cat owners to limit the time their pets spend outdoors during bird breeding season.

"I have a dog, but I don't have anything against cats," Solarz said.
 

Essjay

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Thank you :)

It would seem that the arguments is indeed that they have been bred from cats native to North Africa/Middle East.



The only thing our cat has killed is a moth. Having been kept as an indoor cat for the first 15 years of his life before we adopted him, he doesn't like outdoors. He's scared of wind, rain and bright sunlight and living in the UK we get plenty of the first two. He watches the birds from the doorway but makes no attempt to chase them.
The moth was in our spare bedroom.
 

GaryE

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Thank you :)

It would seem that the arguments is indeed that they have been bred from cats native to North Africa/Middle East.



The only thing our cat has killed is a moth. Having been kept as an indoor cat for the first 15 years of his life before we adopted him, he doesn't like outdoors. He's scared of wind, rain and bright sunlight and living in the UK we get plenty of the first two. He watches the birds from the doorway but makes no attempt to chase them.
The moth was in our spare bedroom.
Maybe it was a mother moth... I really like cats indoors, but they are invasive predators we willingly introduce into habitats. I know I should be as upset about them picking off the 2 local invasive grey squirrels before they could knock the red squirrels out of the area, but I have decided to only look at what they do to my buddies the birds.

Maybe I should get a North American native cat, but what sized litter box would I need for a cougar or a bobcat?
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Growing up with animal mad parents, we always had both cats and dogs. And birds, fish rodents... the list goes on. I'm more of a dog person deep down, but still love cats and adored mine. After losing my cat Leo, 17, last year, who I took in as a stray when he was a kitten, this is the first time I've not had a cat, and I do really miss having one! The family cats we had when I was a kid were let outside whenever they wanted since that was normal practice in the UK at the time, and all of them were either unwanted pets that they took in, strays, or in one case, semi-feral cats living in a colony behind their pet shop while we were living in the flat above the store and they ended up taking care of. They fed one skinny female cat who was so starved that she collapsed when trying to run away from my mum :( then over time the entire colony learned that there was a reliable source of food there and more and more arrived. They were abandoned pets, from an animal hoarder house nearby.

They closed the business and moved out when I was six, and mum talked to the RSPCA about the colony and hoarder that the RSPCA had refused to help with previously apparently. Said that we're moving away and would be taking two of the cats with us. The female who had collapsed that first time, and a tom cat with a paralysed tail that we'd become attached to, but that we couldn't take any more than that, that the colony was going to be in trouble once we left. Apparently the RSPCA did rescue the rest of them, no idea what happened with the hoarder. Once neutered and cared for again, both cats became the sweetest, most affectionate, and laziest house cats imaginable. They did go out sometimes, and the tom occasionally bought back a bird which really upset my dad. He loved the cats, but hated the hunting, and was very conflicted about it, as am I.

One part of me wonders if it's cruel to get a cat that never sees the great outdoors. That feels un-natural to their nature in some ways, you know? I do prefer that people keep cats indoor only because I'm aware of the devastation they're causing in the wild and hate it! And we're responsible for it by having cats and allowing them outside, then when they hunt, shrugging it off as part of their nature. It is a completely normal thing for a cat to do, as they've evolved to do it. But we're spreading so many of them around in places that didn't have cats, and wiping out other species. That isn't okay either. No problem when they're catching rodents since rats and mice are hardly endangered, but we can't teach them to hunt those, but ignore those songbirds. So I'm very torn on the issue on personally owning cats, even though I love them and want to keep them, and would take in another stray in a heartbeat. But completely agree with them being categorised as an alien invasive species because they are.

People complaining about it are being defensive from an emotional place, thinking of their own Tiddles, who goes outside and "has never hunted, I swear!!" or "he's only bought back a bird once, and helps get rid of mice!" Just because the cat didn't bring his prizes back as gifts doesn't mean he hasn't killed wildlife. The facts can't be argued with. Cats have wreaked havoc alongside us as we've intruded on and devastated ecosystems everywhere, and the numbers of birds and other critters that have dropped or been wiped out by cats don't lie.
I don't have an answer really, except that the only real responsible thing to do is accept the facts and contain our pet cats, only having them outside in cat runs or on a harness.
 

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