Domestic cats labelled 'alien invasive species', by Polish institute

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Domestic cats have been labelled as an "invasive alien species" by a Polish scientific institute.

It refers to the growing scientific consensus that domestic cats cause damage to birds and other wildlife by the number they hunt and kill.

However, Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences was not prepared for the backlash from some cat lovers after entering Felis catus - the scientific name for the common household 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, Mr Solarz added.

Invasive alien species number 1,787, however, is a creature so beloved that it is often honoured in Poland's cemeteries reserved for cats and dogs.

Mr Solarz said the criteria for including the cat among alien invasion species "are 100% met by the cat".

In a television broadcast on TVN, the biologist clashed with the author of a book titled The Happy Cat who said cats were unfairly assigned too much blame.

Dorota Suminska pointed to other causes of shrinking biology like polluted environment and urban building facades that can kill birds in flight.

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The institute has emphasised it is "opposed to any cruelty towards animals".

They added the classification of domestic cats was in line with European Union guidelines.

The institute noted Felis catus were probably trained around 10,000 years ago in the centre of the great civilisations of the ancient Middle East making them alien to Europe from a scientific point of view.

The Polish institute have recommended cat owners limit the time their pets spend outdoors during bird breeding season.

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