Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Our wild companions: domestic cats in the anthropocene.

Abstract

Cats share a long history with humans but are remarkable among domesticated species in largely retaining behavioural and reproductive independence from people. In many societies, the cat maintains liminal status as both a domestic and a wild animal. An adaptive push-and-pull between wild and domestic traits corresponds with dual roles as companions and pest controllers, and with conflicted treatment in husbandry, management, law, and public discourse. To move forward, we must proceed by understanding that cats are not exclusively pets or pests, but both a central component of human societies and an important, often adverse, influence on ecosystems. Developing a collaborative 'companion animal ecology', in which human-animal domestic relations link to ecological processes, will enable sustainable management of this wild companionship.