The Polish Institute of Science has classified domestic cats as an "invasive alien species", citing the damage they cause to birds and other animals.
This is reported by the Associated Press.
In the national database maintained by the Institute of the Academy of Nature Protection, there were already 1,786 other species. "Felis catus", the scientific name for the common domestic cat, appeared on this list thanks to Wojciech Solarz, a biologist from the Polish State Academy of Sciences.
According to him, domestic cats have a detrimental effect on biodiversity due to a large number of birds and mammals they prey on. The scientific consensus on this issue is growing. According to Wojciech Solarz, cats 100% meet the criteria for inclusion as an alien invasive species.
Some cat lovers reacted very emotionally to such a decision.
Dorota Suminska, the author of a book called "The Happy Cat", pointed to other causes of biodiversity loss, including environmental pollution and facades of city buildings, which can kill birds in flight.
"Ask if humans are on the non-invasive alien species list," Suminska said, adding that cats have been unfairly blamed.
Solarz replied that cats kill about 140 million birds in Poland every year.
"I have a dog, but I have nothing against cats," said the scientist.
Regarding the classification of cats as "foreign", the scientific institute emphasized that "Felis catus" was domesticated probably around 10,000 years ago in the ancient Near East, which makes the species alien to Europe from a purely scientific point of view.
The scientists also stressed that all they are recommending to cat owners is to limit the amount of time their pets spend outside during bird breeding season.