Like all felids, cats are characterized by supple low-slung bodies, finely molded heads, long tails that aid in balance, and specialized teeth and claws that adapt them to a life of active hunting. *Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Tips to help you and your pet avoid a scary incident this All Hallows’ Eve. As of 2017, the domestic cat was the second-most popular pet in the United States, with 95 million cats owned. The earlier ancestors of today’s domestic cats spread from southwest Asia and into Europe as early as 4400 B.C. They were seen by many as being affiliated with witches and the devil, and many were killed in an effort to ward off evil (an action that scholars think ironically helped to spread the plague, which was carried by rats). 'No surprise' COVID-19 surging in Republican areas. As someone pointed out, a number of other animals were domesticated as well. And yet, even in our popular culture, a bit of the age-old ambivalence remains. This may sound like common sense, but wildcats should not be kept as pets. Products are underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company, produced and administered by C&F Insurance Agency, Inc. (NPN # 3974227), a Crum & Forster company. David Zax is a freelance journalist and a contributing editor for Technology Review (where he also pens a gadget blog). David Zax, a writer in Washington, D.C., recently wrote a brief history of Wimbledon. It appears that the conversion from feral to … Learn how dogs evolved from wolves.. How Did Cats Become Domesticated. There are many theories about why cats chose to live with people at all. For instance, think about the differences between a wrinkly Shar-Pei, tiny Chihuahua, and large Labrador Retriever. The same study asserts that cats were domesticated in the Near East , … Wildcats need to be aggressive to capture their prey, fend off other animals, and survive in the wild. Ancient Romans held a similar—albeit tempered and secularized—reverence for cats, which were seen as a symbol of liberty. When humans were predominantly hunters, dogs were of great use, and thus were domesticated long before cats. The Ancient Egyptians were the first to keep and use cats to control vermin and other pests to protect stores of food. Through a licensing agreement, the ASPCA receives a royalty fee that is in exchange for use of the ASPCA’s marks and is not a charitable contribution. While a Maine Coon and a Domestic Shorthair are definitely distinct in size and coloring, they still look a lot like each other. Cats were … © 2020 United States Fire Insurance Company. Not until the 1600s did the public image of cats begin to rally in the West. Some scientists even argue that cats domesticated themselves. It was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in ancient Egypt, as since around 3100 BC veneration was given to cats in ancient Egypt. Preventive and Wellness Care reimbursements are based on a schedule. In any case, you’ll need to provide your cat with a healthy diet, opportunities to exercise, and great veterinary care. Smithsonian Institution. C&F and Crum & Forster are registered trademarks of United States Fire Insurance Company. Cats in Ancient Egypt It is speculated that cats were first tamed and domesticated in ancient Mesopotamia as early as 8,000 years ago. Further, at the Neolithic site of Shillourokambos, a purposeful cat burial was found next to a human burial, dated between 9500-9200 years before the present. Cats and humans go way back: Some studies suggest cats were first domesticated about 9,000 years ago in the Near East, while others trace cat domestication back to China around 5,000 years ago. Cats developed different features by breeding with other cats in their groups as well as wildcats. For instance, causing a cat to die was punishable by death. So how did cats become our purring feline friends? Cats are simply not as domesticated as dogs despite sharing households with humans for at least 9,000 years, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have found. But please, stick to positive reinforcement, like a small treat or praise, only. Black cats, in particular, were unfairly seen as evil creatures that assisted their owners in mysterious ways. or It was during this time period that humans first began farming in large numbers in parts of the Middle East, the Indus River Valley region in Pakistan, and the Yellow River Valley region in China. U.S. answers. The common ancestor of today’s house cats is Felis silvetris lybica. This study showed that all domestic cats descended from a Middle Eastern wildcat, felis sylvestris, which literally means “cat of the woods.” Starting in the Middle East, cats were domesticated about 9,500 years ago. However, during the middle of the 14th century, cats became linked with the devil. Privacy Statement On the other hand, our housecats generally have a nice cushy life where they can count on us to protect, feed, and care for them. Get a quote for your cat now. The modern day cat was permanently domesticated about 4000 years ago, in Egypt; but archaeologists say it may have been closer to 12,000 years ago. when were cats domesticated: We are convinced that we have chosen to bring kitty into our homes, in fact the latest studies show that long ago cats have been tamed humans: this is why. Different animals were domesticated in different parts of the world at different times by different cultures and different economies and climates. It has been about 4000 years since the first cats were domesticated. Have you ever noticed the open resemblance between dogs and wolves? With grain stores came mice, and when the first wild cats wandered into town, the stage was set for what the Science study authors call "one of the more successful 'biological experiments' ever undertaken." Certain folks went so far as to pronounce cats the "devil's pet." Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Black cats, in particular, were thought to be evil. The Crum & Forster group of companies is rated A (Excellent) by AM Best Company 2018. By the mid-90s, cat services and products had become a billion-dollar industry. You can tap into this instinct to encourage your cat to get more exercise by hiding toys or treats around the house for your cat to find. Her resistance to being fully domesticated didn't help a cat's case, either. Thanks for the A2A. Although their stellar hunting skills made cats so appealing, some people were wary of the precise and stealthy ways cats attacked their prey. “They only recently split off from wild cats, and some even still breed with their wild relatives. Cats and wildcats have quite a few similar behaviors. Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. The animals are believed to … This same research also revealed that cats were likely domesticated in the Near East around 12,000 years ago. We do know they were revered in antiquity as incarnations of divinities and that they suffered incredible persecution due to their association with witchcraft and heresy. Discounts may vary and are subject to change. Unfortunately, some people try to bring wildcats into their homes. It's a question that scientists have been asking, too. The first, best-documented domesticated cat remains on the territory of Poland date back to the beginnings of our era. Well, it turns out that dogs evolved from a wolf species. All Rights Reserved, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Dogs were domesticated thousands of years before than cats. The oldest archaeological evidence for domesticated cats has been found on the Greek island of Cyprus, where several animal species including cats were introduced by 7500 BC. Perhaps a kind-hearted hunter came across a lonely litter of kitties mewling in the forest and brought them home. That's really surprising considering their notoriously independent natures. The cats invited themselves in, and over time, as people favored cats with more docile traits, certain cats adapted to this new environment, producing the dozens of breeds of house cats known today. The modern domestic cat is descended from a wild ancestor called Felis silvestris lybica. Here is a list of some of the other common household items that make excellent cat toys. Continue Some clues first came from the island of Cyprus in 1983, when archaeologists found a cat's jawbone dating back 8,000 years. Their less aggressive nature is linked to a gene mutation discovered by a study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Humans generally liked cats just the way they were, and we did not breed them to excel at specific tasks or have particular traits like we did dogs. For instance: Although our cats eat canned food and store-bought treats, they are carnivores. 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Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group™ is a trademark of United States Fire Insurance Company. Egyptians were not the only societies that worshipped cats. Give a Gift. A cat is a cat's best friend" (attributed to Robet J. Vogel). Dogs were domesticated thousands of years before than cats. Since it seemed highly unlikely that humans would have brought wild cats over to the island (a "spitting, scratching, panic-stricken wild feline would have been the last kind of boat companion they would have wanted," writes Desmond Morris in Catworld: A Feline Encyclopedia), the finding suggested that domestication occurred before 8,000 years ago. The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian. The First Domesticated Cats. While cats still resemble their wild ancestors, they have changed physically after living among humans for thousands of years: The most obvious temperamental difference has to do with aggression. Cats were indeed getting a bad rap due to this fact, resulting in all the people becoming afraid of them which led to the mass killing of thousands of cats. It's important to feed your cat a healthy meat-based diet and keep the treats to a minimum to help avoid obesity. The earliest archaeological evidence is found on the Greek island of Cypress. Some odd cat behaviors can also be accredited to their wildcat ancestors. Learn how dogs evolved from wolves.. How Did Cats Become Domesticated Fortunately for cat lovers, these myths have gone by the wayside. For some reason, however, cats came to be demonized in Europe during the Middle Ages. "We think what happened is that the cats sort of domesticated themselves," Carlos Driscoll, one of the study authors, told the Washington Post. Terms of Use The area in which this occurred is called The Fertile Crescent (encompassing modern day parts of … More information available at checkout. National Photo Co. Woman holding cat. This explains how cats spread from the Near East to all corners of the world. They were so enthralled with cats that they took them into their homes and thought of them as part of their families. This study also showed gene mutations related to the ability to form memories and learn from negative or positive reinforcement. For all terms and conditions visit www.aspcapetinsurance.com/terms. There humans were able to grow and store plentiful amounts of grain. They even mummified mice to go along with their beloved cats on their journey to the next world. Cats were first domesticated at least 5,300 years ago, study shows December 18, 2013 / 7:01 PM / CBS News We log into live streams of cats sitting in front of Christmas-themed fireplaces. If cats were totally independent of humans, paying human wishes no attention, … They all have their own personalities—some are loving cuddle bugs who stick by your side while others prefer to do their own thing. Read on to find out about the different theories. Cats tend to be calmer, gentler, and friendlier—all of which are traits that strengthen our bond with them. “Cats, unlike dogs, are really only semi-domesticated,” Warren says in a news release. Selective breeding of cats to achieve various looks or temperaments is a relatively new trend, which has become increasingly popular over the last 150 years. Do you agree with our list of cuddly pet celebs? The cats were delighted by the abundance of prey in the storehouses; people were delighted by the pest control. Cats were first domesticated in the Near East around 7500 BC. Cats were first domesticated in the Near East, and some of the study authors speculate that the process began up to 12,000 years ago. The following table describes the latest information on when scholars believe different animals were turned from wild beasts to be hunted or avoided, into animals we could live with and rely on. Cats were first domesticated in the Near East about 10,000 years ago. That cats are mysterious, elusive and surely never completely tameable animals is now well known: but would you have ever imagined […] Cats are "domesticated" because humans enjoy having them around, and the cats are just responsive enough to their "masters" to allow the humans to have affection for them. But that changed as we began settling down into flourishing agricultural communities in an area called the Fertile Crescent, which stretches from the Nile River to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Nowadays, of course, cats are superstars: the protagonists of comic strips and television shows. That cats are mysterious, elusive and surely never completely tameable animals is now well known: but would you have ever imagined […] Cats were first domesticated at least 5,300 years ago, study shows December 18, 2013 / 7:01 PM / CBS News We log into live streams of cats sitting in front of Christmas-themed fireplaces. Unlike wildcats, cats make wonderful housemates! If true, this would indicate that cats were domesticated more than once—in China, and 5000 years earlier in the Middle East. They also worshipped a feline deity named Bastet who was the goddess of family, love, and fertility. 'GMA' host uses sexy pic for climate change pitch. This is why cats tend to resemble each other more than certain dogs. Domesticated cats all come from wildcats called Felis silvestris lybica that originated in the Fertile Crescent in the Near East Neolithic period and in ancient Egypt in the Classical period. Plentiful rodents probably drew wild felines to human communities. So yes, it is possible to train your cat. A … These wildcats can still be found in Africa, southern Asia, and Europe. Levels 1-4 reimbursements are based on usual and customary eligible costs. The cats likely started hanging around farming communities in … There is some confusion about the origins of the domestic cat, with researchers arguing about where and when in time cats were domesticated. In Ancient Egypt, the cat was revered as a hunter and worshiped as gods and goddesses. A study published in the research journal “Science” figured out more about the history of cats based on genetic analyses. Starting in the Middle East, cats were domesticated about 9,500 years ago. Answer. For thousands of years, cats had no real need for humans—and vice versa—so we generally went our own ways. Advertising Notice Who was 'El Padrino,' godfather to drug cartel? Cats were not domesticated in the same way dogs, cows, pigs, and goats were. This was the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship between cats and humans. The cat doesn't seem to be able to entirely shake its association with evil: After all, how often do you see a movie's maniacal arch-villain, as he lounges in a comfy chair and plots the world's destruction, stroke the head of a Golden Retriever? This same research also revealed that cats were likely domesticated in the Near East around 12,000 years ago. Several animal species including a domesticated variety of cat were introduced on the island by 7500 BC. Vote Now! It has taken a while for scientists to piece together the riddle of just when and where cats first became domesticated. Their history has been studied using mitochondrial DNA, which suggests that they split into different species about 100,000 years ago. Cats, on the other hand, only became useful to people when we began to settle down, till the earth and—crucially—store surplus crops. These mice, in turn, drew cats who were pleased to discover an abundant and relatively easy to hunt food source. Cat, domesticated member of the family Felidae, order Carnivora, and the smallest member of that family. It was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in ancient Egypt, as since around 3100 BC veneration was given to cats in ancient Egypt. If you've ever lived with cats, you probably know how much fun they can have with a paper bag. Like wildcats, they need protein from meat to thrive. Non-cat-owners probably assumed that cats were domesticated by people to help with rodent problems and the like, but of course cats made the decision for themselves. Customizing cat food with gravy toppers is one of the top trends for cat nutrition. In the United States, cats are the most popular house pet, with 90 million domesticated cats slinking around 34 percent of U.S. homes. That said, there are still some folks who will avoid crossing the path of a black cat at all costs. The bones were dated as being 5300 years old, which is about 5000 later than when cats are believed to have been domesticated in Egypt. While 12,000 years ago might seem a bold estimate—nearly 3,000 before the date of the Cyprus tomb's cat—it actually is a perfectly logical one, since that is precisely when the first agricultural societies began to flourish in the Middle East's Fertile Crescent. The Bubonic Black Plague. It was also believed that witches could turn into cats and sneak into homes to do harm. Complete Coverage℠ reimbursements are based on the invoice. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. It looks like our feline friends chose us rather than the other way around. Ancient Egyptians may have first domesticated cats as early as 4,000 years ago. California Do Not Sell My Info These cat mummies have provided valuable DNA to researchers studying the history of our feline friends. They also both sleep a lot—around 16 to 20 hours a day, and they like to hunt and stalk their prey. The Ancient Egyptians were enthralled with the cat’s ability to keep them safe from rodents, snakes, scorpions, and other dangerous critters. Just last month, a study published in the research journal Science secured more pieces in the cat-domestication puzzle based on genetic analyses. Of course, there is such a thing as the domestic cat, and cats and humans have enjoyed a mostly symbiotic relationship for thousands of years. “Our genetic evidence, our archaeological evidence, and our geology all tell us that cats were probably not domesticated more than 8,000 to 10,000 years ago,” Lyons explains. The location of the bones shows that these cats lived with the humans, within the village. For cats, conventional wisdom—and compelling evidence—puts domestication at around 4,000 years ago, when cats were depicted cavorting with their Egyptian masters in wall paintings. So how did cats become our purring feline friends? For instance, although cats don’t roar, they communicate through vocalizations like wildcats (cats even make some pretty weird noises). The researchers studied DNA from archeological sites in Ireland and Germany. Domestic cats have always interbred with feral cats. Bastet, an Egyptian goddess of love, had the head of a cat, and to be convicted of killing a cat in Egypt often meant a death sentence for the offender. In 2007, a detailed molecular study of 979 domestic cats showed the relation of the domestic cat and the African wildcat, judging it to have separated approximately 130,000 years ago. Learn how dogs evolved from wolves.. They have lived among us, but it wasn't until very recently that we began to change them. This is a very logical estimate because the first agricultural practices began in the Middle East around that time. Pet insurance can help you out with that last one. The bones were dated as being 5300 years old, which is about 5000 later than when cats are believed to have been domesticated in Egypt. National Geographic reports: Mice and rats were attracted to crops and other agricultural byproducts being produced by human civilizations. There are certainly some clear differences between cats and wildcats, but they also share some interesting—and amusing—similarities. As of 2017, the domestic cat was the second-most popular pet in the United States, with 95 million cats owned. One would think that the archaeological record might answer the question easily, but wild cats and domesticated cats have remarkably similar skeletons, complicating the matter. when were cats domesticated: We are convinced that we have chosen to bring kitty into our homes, in fact the latest studies show that long ago cats have been tamed humans: this is why. And all of that grain began to attract mice. The location of the bones shows that these cats lived with the humans, within the village. The ancient Egyptian reverence for cats is well-known—and well-documented in the archaeological record: scientists found a cat cemetery in Beni-Hassan brimming with 300,000 cat mummies. Learn more about top cat food trends. On any of the surprising number of Web sites dedicated entirely to wisdom about cats, one will find quotations like these: "As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat" (attributed to Ellen Perry Berkeley); "The phrase 'domestic cat' is an oxymoron" (attributed to George F. Will); and "A dog is a man's best friend. The first domesticated cats were thought to have come from the Wildcat, or Kaffir Cat, originating in the forests and deserts of Africa. That we began bringing cats on board the ships that transported grain and other products group. Aspca® is not an insurer and is not engaged in the Far,... 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