Hello everyone, today we’re going to discuss the history of domestic cats and how they transitioned from being in the wild into becoming domesticated house pets.
Let’s go back in time where they roamed wild and free and as we take this journey we’ll explore the reasons and history of our beloved domestic cats!
This is a very interesting topic and I hope you enjoy it!
The question is this: how did they come to coexist with humans, where did they come from and when did they become part of our families?
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The History of Domestic Cats – Where Do They Come From?
Let’s go to Egypt where the granaries were being stored in silos because a famine would soon arrive and they needed to save all the grain in preparation for this event.
For 7 years the Egyptians stored huge amounts of corn and as a result, it attracted rodents.
Consequently, the rodents attracted wild cats who ate the rodents and other pests that came to feast on the grain.
Many people marveled at what the cats did as they watched the rodent infestation dwindle, and all the people were very happy about this!
So they continued to feed the cats to keep them coming back.
And it worked!
Soon, the cats stayed because they loved the socialization with humans and wanted more of it!
As you can see, cats are extremely social and need our companionship!
Take for instance feral cats, when you feed them they keep coming back for more and they bring their family and friends too, so it’s kind of like that!
Did cats domesticate themselves?
I think so, ancient cats got used to being around humans and yearned for their social attention and became increasingly comfortable around humans.
And they never left I mean, why would they?
Especially since they got free food and a warm place to chill!
I’d stay there too!
Now, cats have an independent personality and then there are those who become attached to their human parents immediately!
Ancient African Wild Cat – To Our Modern Felines
The African Wild Cat kept the infestation of the rats under control, thus stopping deadly diseases from infecting the people making the quality of life better.
Egyptians started worshiping their cats claiming they were divine and goddesses.
The cats were called goddesses Mafdet, Mohit, and Bastet
Now at that time, it was against Egyptian law to kill a cat and if you were caught killing them the punishment was death!
In the Far East, the Romans used cats to protect their treasured manuscripts from destructive rodents who would rummage through all their things, leaving them in heaps of ruins.
The History of Domestic Cats – Cats Get a Bad Rap
In the Middle Ages, Europe started demonizing cats and it was during this era that they thought the cats were evil and said to be affiliated with witches and the devil!
Cats were getting a bad rap due to the fact that people associated the cats with the witches in the area
And this made the people afraid of them and the people started killing off the cats.
Cats were killed to ward off evil spirits and the rapid decline in the cat population there started to be an overpopulation of the Black Rats in Northern Europe that weren’t being killed off by the cats and in walks the Bubonic Black Plague!
The History of Domestic Cats – Ancestors & Archaeology
Scientists found a cat cemetery in Beni-Hassan in which 300,000 cats were mummified and evidence of cats living with their humans back in 7500 BC on the island of Cyprus.
Smaller wild cats originated from Tell Sheikh Hassan al-Rai during the Uruk period 5500-5000.
Interesting to say the least, in an ancient tomb archeologist discovered a cat wearing a collar which dated back to the 5th dynasty Old Kingdom.ca.
Did You Know?
Our sweet American Tabby’s is related to the African Wild Cat and has a striped coloration pattern referred to as Mackerel, resulting in a botched pattern known as the Tabby.
By the 18th Dynasty in the Middle Ages A.D., our modern cat was born and interestingly enough all are descendants of Feliz Sylvestris
There are 40 to 50 recognized cat breeds all around the world and the population of domestic cat increases daily!
This brings us to our modern cat feline heritage lines that range from:
- The Big Cats: Lions, Tigers, and smaller wild cats
- African Wild Cat: Also known as the Savannah, the Serval, and Sand Cat
- Canadian Lynx: “Wizened cat of the Woods”
- South and East Asia: Bengal’s and the Ocicat originate from the Asian Leopard
- The Serengeti cat: Cross-bred between Oriental Shorthair and Siamese
The History of Domestic Cats – Domestic Cat Facts
There are two kinds of hybrid cats “Natural” and “Man-Made‘ and you might be wondering how to tell the difference between the two?
The following are definitions to help us out:
- Natural hybrids= When the domestic cat (Feral) of various breeds mate with a certain wild cat species
- Man-Made Hybrid = When two different domestic breeds are specifically selected that bred together
And last but not least: What is the average lifespan of our furry children?
Read an awesome article here: How long is the average life span of our beloved feline children?
The History of Domestic Cats – Other Domestic Cat Facts
Well, that depends on several factors:
Environment – Is your cat an “indoor” or “outdoor” critter?
The average lifespan of a feral cat is anywhere from 3 to 5 years!
Here are a few factors for the outdoor cat:
- They are exposed to fleas and ticks
- Territory catfights where their wounds can get infected
- Attacked by a bigger predator
- Maintenance: Spay or Neuter Your Cat
- Health: Current in shots with regular veterinarian visits
- Food: Healthy food and plenty of clean water
- Breed of Cat: Certain breeds may suffer from health issues resulting in a shorter lifespan
Indoor Cat Facts
The average lifespan of an indoor cat is longer than a feral one because they’re not exposed to the elements, large predators and cars.
Feed them good food, provide fresh water and occasional vet visits they will live up to about 15 to 20 years!
It’s incredible and pawsome!
Over the years these felines have continued to help control pest infestations on farms, in sheds, and around our homes all the while withstanding bad raps and hardships.
Nevertheless, they lived in the wild for a very long time and when they became domesticated they became are part of our families lives.
No matter what they go through they manage to survive and thrive in this world and are forever known as survivors of the history of domestic cats!
Did You Know?
If you watch your cat you’ll be able to identify their personality, traits, and characteristics from their ancient fur-fathers!
One more question: who is the coolest cat of them all?
Yours! A Loved Cat is a happy cat 🙂
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All my best to you and wishing you a lovely day!
Meowz to you!
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