Is a cat living on the street from birth a wild animal?
photo: Paul Sekot / 123rf.com
A free-living cat without a guardian or permanent shelter is still not considered a “wild” animal. Numerous foundations and associations that help homeless cats are appealing to the right nomenclature and thus the appropriate treatment for these animals. The discussion began with the entry of one of the branches of OTOZ Animals, which, as the authors themselves admit, was unfortunately formed.
The discussions began after the administrators of the OTOZ Animals fan page, a shelter for stray animals in Starogard Gdansk, published an introduction that read, “Free-living cats are not stray cats, they are wild animals and cannot be caught.” Referring to the provisions of the Law on the Protection of Animals, this statement stated that “Free-living animals are a national treasure and must be provided with conditions for development and free life, except as provided in Article 33a (1). ) “(Article 21 of the above-mentioned act).
Under the inscription, many voices were heard from Starogard Gdansky, both for and against OTOZ. However, let’s look at this issue from a formal point of view: can a domestic cat be considered a free-living animal in any case? Many experts object to this, including Mieszko Eichelbergercat behaviorist.
“A free-living animal is a Eurasian lynx and a European wild cat, a domestic cat cannot be a free-living animal, because the term means wild animals,” he said. – A domestic cat is a pet, so it cannot be a wild animal. The only place in the act where the phrase “free-living cats (Article 11a, paragraph 2, paragraph 2)” is used is in the domestic section of Chapter 2, and in Article 11a for homeless animals. live animals, notes for them will be in Chapter 6 – about free-living animals.
– Article 21 of the Law on the Protection of Animals, which states: “Free-living animals are a national treasure and must be provided with conditions for development and free living …” Domestic (married) cats refer to wild animals. species) are not included. According to the interpretation of the Animal Protection Act by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture: “According to the meaning of this Law, free-living cats cannot be considered as free (wild) animals.” Thus, in the absence of wildlife, cats should be provided with habitat, socialized, and – ethically and respectfully – with limited reproductive capacity, which will reduce the number of homeless domestic cats. The fact that a cat is born on the street does not mean that it is a free-living, wild animal.
Do not let the cat out
Professionals: cats are not wild animals
He is of the same opinion Katarzyna Skakujnature teacher:
– Domestic cats are classified as domestic (married) animals such as dogs, cows and chickens – he explains. – They are not found in nature – among the felids in Poland, they are the lynx Lunx lynx and the wild cat Felis silvestris. Domestic cats can be homeless animals, but by law they are never wild animals. They can be born in the wild or in the wild and are afraid of humans, but they are still the same species and are not free-living animals.
– What do we mean by “conditions of development and free existence” in the context of domestic cats, the negative impact on the native fauna is confirmed by subsequent scientific works? – he adds.
The opinion of experts is confirmed by the official position of the Institute of Nature Protection of the Polish Academy of Sciences: Homeless or feral domestic cats are not wild animals – living freely.
Stand of the Institute of Nature Protection of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
The cat should not live on the street
The decisive voice in the discussions seems to be a letter from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in March 2020, in which we read that “The Ministry (…) maintains the position (…) that free-living cats cannot exist. (wild) free animals living in the sense of this Law [o ochronie zwierząt – przyp. red.]. According to the article. Paragraph 4 of the Law on the Protection of Animals 21, free-living (wild) animals are understood as homeless animals living in conditions independent of humans.
Letter of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of March 2020.
The domestic cat is one of the hundred most dangerous invasive species in the world. Our local Kits and Mruczków instinct tells them to hunt and kill for more fun, not even starvation. According to some sources, domestic cats can cause the extinction of more than 30 species of animals.
Walking cat: a threat to other animals?
Although many people report that cats hunt rodents living in our cities, it is important to understand that no cat chooses its own species: in addition to mice, they also catch squirrels and mice. They also hunt birds and lizards. They reluctantly approach the rats – such an enemy is simply too big for them.
Although street cats deserve respect and care, they should not be treated as a necessary and even useful element of the urban landscape. Remember cats that are unlucky in life, for example, by opening the window of the basement in the cold winter. However, know that the street is not and will not be a safe or comfortable place for domestic cats, and as a society we should try to keep these pets at home.