The domestic cat (Felix Catus) is one of the largest exterminators of animal species in the world and poses a serious threat to some 370 species in the Netherlands, a paper published in the Journal of Environmental Law by environmental law Professors Arie Trouwborst and Han Somsen from Tilburg University shows.
"Regarding (owned) pet and farm cats, the Nature Directives require EU Member States to ensure that letting cats roam free outdoors is forbidden and effectively prevented. Current practice across the EU does not yet conform to these requirements", the paper says.
The paper says that an estimated 140 million animals are killed by cats each year in the Netherlands alone. More than half of these animals are killed by home cats. There are about two-three million domestic cats in the Netherlands, in addition to tens of thousands of stray cats. Various types of birds and mammals, bats, and also reptiles, fish and amphibians are killed by domestic felines.
"It may not be people’s intention to harm wildlife but that is what they are doing when they are opening the cat flap, and it’s happening on a large scale", Somsen said.
The cat is the only animal that leaves the house on its own, according to the researchers and it should be kept indoors or within the confines of a garden.