The History of Cats- Who Domesticated the First Cats & Why?
Hello everyone and thank you for stopping by, today we are going to discuss The History of Cats- Who Domesticated the First Cats & Why?
Although I wasn’t sure what my next topic would be. So, I thought hard and prayed even harder and this morning while I was sitting drinking my coffee, it hit me!
What is the history of our favored house cat- thus – The History of Cats was born!
The History of Cats – Our Furry Children Sought Us Out
The Egyptian granaries were being stored in storage houses called Silos. This was at the time that Pharaoh had a dream that Joseph of Genesis did interpret and he told Pharaoh about the famine that was coming in soon.
For 7 years, the Egyptians stored a huge amount of corn, so much that it was too numerous to count in the Silos (some say the silos were shaped like the pyramids) With the storage of all this grain, it attracted rodents.
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And those rodents attracted wild cats moreover, the cats were not there to steal the grain, however, they were there to eat the rodents and other pests that came to feast on the grain.
Truly “instant meals” for the ancient kitties and when the people saw this they marveled at the cats and that they had brought down the population of the rodents and the infestation started to dwindle…they started feeding the wild cat meat.
Soon, the cats would stick around a lot longer not only for the people feeding them but for the “socialization” the cats needed from the people. Cats are social animals.
That’s why you should get your cat a pet of its own if you are a cat parent that is gone a lot or works a lot.
Your furry child needs a playmate!
Did cats domesticate themselves… What Do You Think?
I think it is, from doing my research I can see where ancient cats got used to being around humans and loved them.
Some cats tend to have an independent personality with little regard to their humans and then there are some who become attached to their human and become quite the forever loved companion!
Ancient African Wild Cat – To Our Modern Felines
Several things about the African Wild Cat in Egypt, they kept the infestation of the rats under control thus stopping deadly diseases from infecting the people.
Egyptians soon started worshiping their cats and some claimed they were divine and worshipped them The felines soon became known as the goddesses Mafdet, Mohit, and Bastet.
It was now against Egyptian law to kill a cat and If you were caught killing a cat the punishment was death!
It was also known in the Far East that the Romans would use cats to protect their treasured manuscripts from hungry, destructive rodents.
Cats Get a Bad Rap for Associations with Witches
In the Middle Ages, Europe started demonizing cats. During this era, they thought the cats were evil and were said to have been affiliated with witches and the devil!
Many cats were killed to ward off evil spirits. So, now there was a shortage of cats, thus the overpopulation of the Black Rats in Northern Europe was not being killed off by cats and in walks the Bubonic Black Plague!
Now, remember, since the cats weren’t eating the rodents and there was an abundance of these pests and it resulted in huge problematic health issues!
It wasn’t until the 1600s that cats were seen again and became household pets.
Cat History – Ancestors & Archaeology
Scientists found a cat cemetery in Beni-Hassan in which 300,000 cats were mummified and the oldest evidence of cats living with their human parents was in 7500 BC in the Mediterranean on the island of Cyprus.
And smaller wild cats were found to have originated from Tell Sheikh Hassan al-rai during the Uruk period 5500-5000 at the Mesopotamian site in Lebanon.
Interesting to say the least albeit there was a cat found that was wearing a collar that dates back to an ancient tomb in Saqqara, dated to the 5th dynasty Old Kingdom.ca.
Our sweet American Tabbies are closely related to the African Wild Cat, which has a striped coloration pattern referred to as Mackerel, which modified our fine furry friends to a botched pattern known as the Tabby.
By the 18th Dynasty in the Middle Ages A.D.common enough for Linnaeus hence- our Modern Cat. All domestic cats are descendants of Feliz Sylvestris (“Cat of the Woods”)
There are 40 to 50 recognized cat breeds. Our modern cat feline heritage lines range from
- The Big Cats, Lions, and Tigers, to the smaller cats
- African Wild Cat, also known as the Savannah and the Serval and Sand Cat (almost extinct but downgraded)
- Canadian Lynx: “Wizened cat of the Woods”
- South and East Asia – Bengal’s and the Ocicat originate from the Asian Leopard (ALC)
- The Serengeti cat – cross-breeding between Oriental Shorthair and Siamese with the aim of producing a domestic cat mimicking the appearance of a Leopard. Without incorporating Serval genes with hybridization
HyBridization- “Natural”- “Man-Made”
There are two kinds of hybrid cats – “Natural” and “Man-Made‘. But, How do you extinguish the two you might ask? What I found was this and it is very interesting. I never knew this. Did you?
Natural hybrids= When the domestic cat (Feral) of various breeds mate with a certain wild cat species.- Yes, you read that right. Wild cat + Domestic Cat = Natural Hybrid!
Man-Made Hybrid = When humans choose specifically to breed two different kinds of domesticated breeds together!
And last but not least: The question we want to know: What is the average life span of our furry children?
Well, that depends on several factors we must weigh in.
Environment – Is your Cat an “indoor only” or “outdoor – free-roaming” This does make a difference.
The average life span of a free-roaming cat is quite slim. Anywhere from 3 to 5 years!
Add in the factors if they are exposed to fleas and ticks, more than your indoor cat and they get into catfights, where their wounds can become infected with no one to treat them.
Or they can be attacked by a bigger predator than they are.
I live in the country and my downstairs neighbor cat got attacked by a big predator. He ripped half of his jaw off. When they went to take him to the vet to be put down, he escaped!
It took him 2 weeks to find his way home and this is the stray cat that I told you I take care of! (because the owners just kept him outside even now)
He healed nicely by the time he got home I suspect someone caught him and got him help!
The average lifespan of an indoor cat is anywhere from 15 to 20 years. Depending on how well they are cared for. Of course, they live longer because they are not out in the “wild”
- Maintenance– Is your cat spayed or neutered?
- Health – Current on shots? Regular Veterinarian visits? Do they eat healthy food and drink plenty of water?
- Breed of Cat – Certain breeds don’t live as long and may suffer health issues.
Indoor Cats Average Life Span
Is about 15.1 years, that’s if they live indoors and those cats who live outside their life span is not so good, of course.
I hope you found this article interesting. If you watch your cat with its personality and traits, can you spot your cats characteristics from their ancient fur-fathers and what lineage they come from and who is the coolest cat of them all?
Yours! A Loved Cat is A Happy Cat 🙂
If you liked this article and would like to see more of it or if you have any questions, leave me a comment and I will be sure to get back to you! Do you have any information that you would like to share? We would love to hear from them!
All my best to you and wishing you a lovely day!
Meowz to you!
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Founder of mrsparrowshealthycat.com
Writer and member of the partnership program at Quora.com