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Cat owners outraged after pets branded an ‘invasive alien species’ by scientific institute | The Sun

A RENOWNED Polish scientific institute has classified cats as an "invasive alien species," leaving some pet owners outraged.

The Polish Academy of Sciences cited the damage domestic cats inflict on birds and other wildlife as the reasoning for their controversial conclusion this month.

The key scientist behind the decision, Wojciech Solarz, told the Associated Press the backlash about the classification could have been caused by the "false impression" that the institute had called 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.

He said cats "100 percent" meet the criteria for alien invasive species.

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

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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 men 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 institute stressed that it was “opposed to any cruelty towards animals.”

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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.

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