A Polish Institute has angered cat-lovers worldwide by adding cats to a national database of ‘invasive alien species’ which is run by the academy’s Institute of Nature Conservation.
Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences, has faced backlash for adding cats to the database which identifies plants and animals that are considered detrimental to our ecosystem.
Invasive alien species
The exact definition of an invasive alien species, according to the European Commission is an animal or plant that has a serious negative effect on a natural environment in which they do not belong.
Meaning that the domesticated cat is being considered an interloper in our natural world, and a dangerous one at that.
The public response to the decision has been swift and outraged, with people defending the important place that domestic cats hold within our lives.
In defense of cats
Biologist Wojciech Solarz fanned the fiery flames of anger that are being directed toward him by proclaiming in a statement obtained by Sky News, that:
“The criteria for including the cat among alien invasion species are 100% met by the cat.”
Solarz even appeared on the Polish news station TVN to defend his decision, insisting that domestic cats who are allowed to roam freely are wiping out an untold number of birds and destroying other precious wildlife.
The biologist faced opposition from Polish author Dorota Suminska, whose book The Happy Cat proved hugely popular with cat lovers upon its release.
Suminska who appeared with Solarz on the Polish news program countered his argument insisting that the environmentally destructive actions of man and their contributions to the pollution of our ecosystem, were far more damaging than cats.
Driving home her point Suminska said:
“Ask if man is on the list of non-invasive alien species.”
Solarz defended his position against cats by quoting a recent finding that up to 140 million birds are killed by cats in Poland every year.
No harm intended
In response to the backlash that their unpopular decision created, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a statement on their website insisting that they meant no harm to cats and their place in the world.
They insisted that their decision was within European Union guidelines and shared that they simply hoped that the classification would inspire owners to keep their cats indoors and not allow them to spend their nights hunting.
Unfortunately, the neutral stance that the Polish Academy of Sciences is trying to maintain has not been helped by Wojciech Solarz, who made a statement of his own in which he seemed to identify himself as a dog lover when he declared:
“I have a dog, but I don’t have anything against cats.”