Saturday 30 July 2022

To declare the domestic cat an "invasive species" is stupid

You may have heard that Poland's scientific community (Polish Academy of Sciences) has declared the domestic cat in their country an invasive species. They are technically correct but they are stupid. The domestic cat is, indeed, an invasive species in Poland and in all other countries where the domestic cat did not originate. That's most of the world's countries. 

The domestic cat is a domesticated North African wildcat and it is believed that the first N. African wildcats were domesticated in the Fertile Crescent which is now Syria and the area around Syria including the North of Egypt and the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. From there these early domestic cats were exported to other places with commercial travellers.

RELATED: Poland puts domestic cat on invasive species database.

Maine Coon
The Maine Coon cat originates from barn cats from the middle of the 1800s and those cats originate from cats imported into America with the first settlers who came from Europe around 400 years ago. Are we saying that the Maine Coon cat is an invasive species? It is stupid to think like that.

But for the first 2000 years or more these were tamed wildcats. They were not true domestic cats. And they were all tabby cats. It was only during the era of the ancient Egyptians that true cat domestication took place. That was about 4000 years ago which is around 6000 years after the first wildcats were tamed.

Those are the general thoughts about the domestic cat's early years. But when you are talking in thousands of years it is no longer feasible to speak of the domestic cat as an invasive species. The domestic cat is perhaps the world's most popular pet. They been around in true domestic form in places like Japan for more than a thousand years. The same applies to Turkey. And the UK.

In the UK, the Romans who occupied the UK in around A.D. 200 brought domestic cats with them. This is around 2000 years ago. Technically the domestic cat is an invasive species in England and the rest of the UK but it is stupid to state that.

There must come a time when an invasive species is no longer an invasive species. And if you don't believe that, you are going to have to state that humans are also an invasive species in most of the world.

The human originates from Africa. They evolved on that continent and then migrated out to the rest of the world. So, the human is an invasive species in almost all countries of the world. Of course, we're looking at millions of years ago when the human first originated but the point that I'm making is that there must be a time limit on when an invasive species no longer becomes an invasive species. What is that time limit?

Well, the domestic cat was first imported into the USA, it is believed, with the first settlers from England and Europe around 400 years ago. I will state that it is impossible to describe the domestic cat in America as an invasive species. Often people do and these are normally ornithologists and people who dislike the cat and dislike the fact that they prey on native species. But after 400 years of living in America, the domestic cat is no longer invasive. America is their home.

And also, the phrase "invasive species" is normally a derogatory comment. It is descriptive of a species which damages the ecosystems and environment of the country in which they find themselves. The domestic cat does prey on native species and this causes consternation among conservationists. But they also provide a huge amount of pleasure, comfort and entertainment to many millions of people on the American continent. That must be set against the negatives.

And lastly, it is humans who describe the domestic cat as an invasive species in places like Australia or America. But it is also humans who imported the domestic cat to those countries in the first place. The problem is with humans. The cat is an innocent victim of human behaviour. This should prevent the human from criticising the cat an invasive species. The criticism should be directed at people and they should take steps, humane steps, to deal with the so-called feral cat problem in Australia.

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