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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Cat in the base of invasive alien species. An expert on the reasons for listing a domestic cat

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We enter into our database such species of microorganisms, plants and animals that occur in Poland only as a result of human activity in some way – explained Dr. Wojciech Solarz, professor at the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences, on whose list of invasive alien species the domestic cat was entered. – Since there are very few small animals left for us, now we have to blame someone on them – said Dorota Sumińska, a veterinarian.

At the end of June 2022 to a cat was found in the database of alien species run by the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences home (Felis catus). It was described as invasive. “Domestic Cat Felis catus it was domesticated probably about 10,000 years ago in the cradle of the great civilizations of the ancient Near East, stretching from the Nile valley to the southern part of Mesopotamia. Therefore, from a purely scientific perspective, in Europe, and therefore also in Poland, it should be considered an alien species “- wrote the scientists of IOP PAN in the statement. This does not change its legal status.

Dr. hab. Wojciech Solarz, professor at the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow and Dorota Sumińska, a veterinarian.

Why is the cat on the list?

– We enter into our database such species of microorganisms, plants and animals that occur in Poland only as a result of human activity in some way. In a deliberate or accidental way. Not long ago or very long ago, Solarz explained.

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As he added, “the cat is on this list because it meets this definition”. – The immediate reason for entering the cat into our database was the information that we received exactly one month ago from experts dealing with biological invasions at the European Commission, that according to their interpretation, the cat should be considered an invasive alien species. That’s why it was added to our database, along with the roughly 1,800 other species we have in this database, ‘he said.

Domestic catShutterstock

– As an invasive alien species, because apart from the fact that it was found in Poland with human participation, it has a negative impact on native biodiversity. These are the two definitions we use for each of these 1,800 species. A cat meets both of these definitions, he noted.

Solarz emphasized that “the definition we use (…) does not refer to a time frame”. – She says that an alien species is one that, with the participation of humans, was introduced outside the area where it naturally occurred. There is no time frame here, no administrative framework here, he pointed out.

“We have to blame it on someone now”

– The fact that a cat has an impact on biodiversity in our country is a typical blame on someone – said Dorota Sumińska.

As she added, “because there are very few small animals left because of us, we now have to blame someone else.” – The easiest way to blame it on the cat, on the one who cannot defend himself – she assessed.

Sumińska: Since we have few small animals left, we have to blame someone else. Easiest for a catTVN24

– There were really a lot of cats in Warsaw (…) and there were really a lot of birds and somehow the cats of these birds did not destroy them. In the villages, cats multiplied and, of course, some of them died, they were not vaccinated, but somehow the birds did not die out for this reason. The only culprits for the tragic situation at the moment, especially when it comes to small birds, are us – she emphasized.

“A cat is an animal that hates cages”

According to Sumińska, “the idea is to reduce the population of free-living cats”. – The only way to do that is through castration. Each commune should be forced to catch free-living cats and force cat keepers to have to castrate these animals, she assessed.

– A cat is an animal that hates cages, hates shelters. These devilish ideas of catching free-living cats, forcing them into shelters, are death sentences for these animals – she added.

She estimated that “there are many opponents of cats in the world”. “Such information, calling a cat an invasive and alien species, is simply a mill for those who resort to cruel ways to tease cats,” she said.

Inclusion in the list “has no legal consequences”

Solarz noted that it is estimated that “about 140 million individuals” are killed by cats in Poland each year.

– Entering a cat by us to the list of alien species, which has no legal consequences, because our database is only a scientific tool, is to draw the attention of cat owners to the fact that they take more care of these cats – he said.

He stressed that “invasive alien species that are subject to some kind of control are listed in the ordinances of the Minister of the Environment, not in our database.” – Our database includes 1,800 species, and these regulations include several dozen species of plants and animals. I warn those who would like to use this fact for the thoughtless extermination of cats, because it is unacceptable – he emphasized.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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