Cats get a lot of love on the internet, and even though dogs are considered man’s best friend, many point to their feline companion as their go-to animal. A respected scientific institute has now taken a swing at the internet’s beloved felines. According to the Polish Academy of Sciences, cats are an “invasive alien species.”
Cats are classified as an invasive species
You can find cats just about anywhere you go on the internet. Twitter? Yes. Facebook? Absolutely. YouTube? Billions and billions of videos featuring cats. Despite all our love for these feline creatures, scientists say that cats are actually an “invasive alien species.”
Now, don’t jump to conclusions. The scientists aren’t saying that cats are aliens from another planet. Instead, the classification is meant to put it on par with creatures like the northern giant hornet, also known as the murder hornet. They’ve classified cats as invasive due to how damaging they can be to certain ecosystems. That damage is caused by their desire to hunt.
The criteria for including cats among invasive alien species is “100 percent met”, Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences, told the Associated Press. But not everyone agrees with this classification.
Not an attack on cats
Despite the classification making sense to Solarz and other scientists at the institute, not everyone is on board with it. Some veterinarians challenged the conclusion that cats are an invasive alien species. Many felt that Solarz and the Polish Academy of Sciences were calling for feral and other cats to be euthanized.
That isn’t the case, Solarz says. The team doesn’t want people to harm cats. However, labeling the species as invasive makes sense when looking at the science and how cats hunt and damage ecosystems they join. Cats can pose a danger to wildlife. Cats often prey on birds and other small animals.
If you think that cats are harmless, Solarz says to look at the number of birds killed by cats in Poland each year. That number has climbed as high as 140 million per year. Despite how high it is, though, the institute isn’t pushing for cruelty to animals.
Instead, the institute says its classification of cats as an invasive species is completely in line with the European Union’s guidelines. Additionally, they referred to it as an “alien” species because people domesticated the cat from the ancient Middle East. As a result, the species is technically “alien” to Europe from a scientific point of view.