SCHOOL VOTE

Click or tap here for school budget vote results

Polish institute classifies cats as alien invasive species

A respected Polish scientific institute has classified domestic cats as an “invasive alien species,” citing the damage they cause to birds and other wildlife.

Associated Press

Jul 27, 2022, 11:27 AM

Updated 664 days ago

Share:

Polish institute classifies cats as alien invasive species
A respected 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. The uproar over invasive alien species No. 1,787, he said, may have resulted from some media reports that created the false impression his institute was calling for feral and other cats to be euthanized.
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 pushed back, arguing that cats kill about 140 million birds in Poland each year.
Earlier this month, the Polish Academy 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.


More from News 12
1:19
Several Hudson Valley schools vote to pierce state tax cap in budget votes

Several Hudson Valley schools vote to pierce state tax cap in budget votes

2:34
July-feel Wednesday in the Hudson Valley; severe storm chance Thursday

July-feel Wednesday in the Hudson Valley; severe storm chance Thursday

RESULTS: News 12 Westchester/Hudson Valley School Vote 2024

RESULTS: News 12 Westchester/Hudson Valley School Vote 2024

1:18
Officials: At least 6 injured in multivehicle crash in Putnam County

Officials: At least 6 injured in multivehicle crash in Putnam County

1:54
New Rochelle students investigate 'crime scenes' for forensic class final exam

New Rochelle students investigate 'crime scenes' for forensic class final exam

1:23
Mount Vernon School Board meeting ends before it can start as teachers push for contract negotiations to speed up

Mount Vernon School Board meeting ends before it can start as teachers push for contract negotiations to speed up

1:44
2 preschoolers injured in fatal Sullivan County school bus crash

2 preschoolers injured in fatal Sullivan County school bus crash

0:36
Connecticut woman arrested for stealing from the Putnam business she worked for

Connecticut woman arrested for stealing from the Putnam business she worked for

1:41
Westchester lawmaker tracks down constituents owed money by NY state following Turn To Tara report

Westchester lawmaker tracks down constituents owed money by NY state following Turn To Tara report

1:35
Newburgh police commissioner announces sudden resignation weeks after chief resigned

Newburgh police commissioner announces sudden resignation weeks after chief resigned

0:49
Former medical officer manager from Orange County pleads guilty to health care fraud

Former medical officer manager from Orange County pleads guilty to health care fraud

0:35
New York State Police identify victim in fatal Sprain Brook Parkway crash

New York State Police identify victim in fatal Sprain Brook Parkway crash

0:17
Yonkers students honor war heroes at 7th Ward War Memorial

Yonkers students honor war heroes at 7th Ward War Memorial

0:26
Police: 2 additional arrests made in 2019 cold case killing of Middletown man

Police: 2 additional arrests made in 2019 cold case killing of Middletown man

2:41
Made in the Hudson Valley: Jaymark Jewelers continues family legacy, four decades in the making

Made in the Hudson Valley: Jaymark Jewelers continues family legacy, four decades in the making

1:41
County manager: School bus driver dies in collision with another school bus

County manager: School bus driver dies in collision with another school bus

1:50
Catskill EMS workers taken off duty after video shows apparent mistreatment of disabled patient

Catskill EMS workers taken off duty after video shows apparent mistreatment of disabled patient

0:57
Parents of late Pace University student receive award at 2024 commencement ceremony

Parents of late Pace University student receive award at 2024 commencement ceremony

1:35
North Castle police: Officer shoots man who attacked police with knife in Armonk

North Castle police: Officer shoots man who attacked police with knife in Armonk