The Polish Institute of Nature Studies has decided that cats belong to alien invasive species. This caused controversy among society, which refuses to accept the opinion of scientists.

Cats were added to the list of alien species at the beginning of the month. In response to public outrage, the institute explained this by the fact that cats have a bad effect on Polish wildlife (for example, birds) and is technically a non-native species.

“The domestic cat, felis catus, was domesticated about 10,000 years ago in the cradle of the great civilizations of the ancient Near East, stretching from the Nile Valley to southern Mesopotamia. Therefore, from a purely scientific point of view, in Europe, and therefore in Poland, it should be considered an alien species,” the institute’s post reads.

The explanation for why cats were added to the list of about 1800 non-native species is rational but it did not satisfy the public. In a TV show where a veterinarian was discussing the decision with a biologist, they even asked if humans were on the list of invasive species.

The institute noted that the decision will not have worrisome consequences for cat fans. Although the animals are alien and invasive, they do not pose a threat to Poland.

“The provisions of the law regarding the need to obtain a permit or carry out rehabilitation measures, including extermination, isolation and population control, do not apply to domestic cats,” the post reads.

In order to reduce the negative impact of cats on Polish wildlife, owners are recommended to limit their time outside during the breeding season of birds.