The Origin of Cats
The Origin of Cats
Text: Farzana Contractor
When did man first tame the wild cats and allow them into their homes. Apparently, about a thousand years ago. Read on about their origins
There are just so many interesting facts about cats, it is amazing. Before we start to write about the different breeds, we want to share ‘cat trivia’ with our readers.
So let’s start with their origin. Or at least when were cats first domesticated?
It is generally believed that the Egyptians were the first to domesticate cats, giving them space in their homes, their lives, their hearts, their tombs. But that doesn’t seem to be true. The oldest known pet cat seems to have existed 9,500 years ago. And this predates Egyptian cats by over 4,000 years. This interesting fact about cats came about in 2004. It was the French archaeologists who discovered a 9,500-year-old cat grave in Cyprus. This makes it the oldest known pet cat.
Recent revelations according to DNA research also shows that people began to domesticate cats in the Fertile Crescent about 7,000 years ago. This was based on the discovery of remains, from around the same time, of the Near Eastern wildcat in Europe, adding to the cat’s evolutionary story.
When early Neolithic farmers set off from the Fertile Crescent some 7,000 years ago, they brought their newly domesticated animals, such as goats, sheep, cattle, and dogs along with them. Little did they know a sneaky hitchhiker, the Near Eastern wildcat, was carting along, too.
When the migrants reached Poland about 6,000 years ago and started converting forests into open pastures and agricultural fields, the rodents and the wildcats – an ancestor of our domestic cat – settled right in.
“It was so unexpected,” says study leader Magdalena Krajcarz, an archaeozoologist at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. “One notable discovery was a cat’s humerus – a long leg bone – embedded in a layer of sediments with ceramic vessels.”
“It’s uncertain if the cat actually had a relationship with a person, Krajcarz says – Neolithic peoples occasionally visited caves, and a predator probably carried the bone into one. But the feline’s presence suggests it was comfortable living alongside, if not exactly with, humans – an important step on the road to becoming fully domesticated,” says Krajcarz.
Well, we can safely say that cats have been around human beings for thousands and thousands of years. And today, they offer immense joy to their parents.
Apart from a cat offering great companionship, it also has the ability to both calm your nervous system and provide an immediate outlet for fun and play. Unlike popular belief, a cat can be very affectionate with its parents and people it trusts.
According to an Australian study, cat parents have better psychological health than people without them. On questionnaires, they claim to feel more happy, more confident, less nervous, and to sleep, focus, and face problems in their lives better. All good reasons why you should have cats as pets.
If you need more, here they are. Cats are low maintenance. They are lower maintenance and cost less than dogs, who need walking, training, frequent grooming, and more toys and attention. Cats are quiet, independent and have long lives. They are easy to house-train and make great apartment pets. You hardly know where they are, all day long.
Cats help our mental health just by being themselves. Their ability to reduce stress, offer companionship, heal with purrs, and render their services as therapy animals make them the ideal champions for mental health. A must in today’s crazy world!