From the wild, into our hearts: Domesticating cats
Love them, or hate them, you simply can’t ignore them! Cats are one of the most popular pets across the globe and are widely known for their soft fur, agile bodies and often elusive and aloof nature. However, how and when did these wild, beautiful creatures get tamed?
At the dawn of civilization, humans began to build villages and started agriculture. We tamed animals for farming and other utilities during the early settlement period. Cats however, were a different ball game all together! Wild cats are carnivores, and live a solitary life, fiercely defending their territories. And as all cat lovers and pet parents know, most cats do not follow commands or perform directed tasks.
So how did our ancestors tame these cats? The answer is simple, they didn’t. Cats chose to domesticate themselves! Natural pet products and being fed good food was a great bait for them.
Around ten thousand years ago, as agriculture boomed, grain stores began to attract mice. Mice, as we all know, make the best bait and a great supplement for cats. Our wildcats jumped on this opportunity and proved themselves as efficient hunters. Since we humans and they had a common enemy, cats decided to tolerate us (and they continue to do so)! Many researchers believe that this was the start of our companionship with these aloof furballs.
Then, around four thousand years ago, cats reached the literal status of Gods in ancient Egypt. Many paintings, statues and even mummies suggest that cats were domesticated, pampered with natural pet products, bred and worshipped by the Egyptians.
With an increase in oversea travel, cats were taken onboard cargo ships to control the mice population. Finally, around two thousand years ago, these cats reached Greece, Germany and Britain, and built themselves a cozy little home there. Around the same time, cats reached China and India via trade routes and developed into distinct breeds. Eventually, they travelled to Australia and the American continent with human settlers.
With domestication of cats, the hunting has reduced and now cats are pampered with natural pet products which are great supplements for cats.
Today, more than 600 million cats live alongside humans across the globe and yes, sometimes they tolerate us, sometimes we tolerate them!