Can you imagine that there was ever a time when cats were not a part of our lives. It’s been less than 10,000 years since cats swaggered into our lives. Barely an eye blink in the grand sweep of life on this planet. But the history of cats began long before they discovered us humans.
Why did it take so long?
The simple answer is they didn’t require us to survive. Cats were surviving just fine by themselves. But when humans invented agriculture. Farming resulted in big scale storage of grains which brought in the usual and well known group freeloaders of mice, and rats. These rodents attracted cats who consider them yummy meals. The outcome was that cats set up house keeping near to human settlements. Ultimately, cats being cats, moved right on in.
Who were these first cats?
The first indication comes from the Middle East where agriculture was first practiced. Farmer’s first settled in a great sweep from modern day Turkey to Egypt. This area overlaps the natural habitat of the African wild cat, Felis libyca. African wild cats are a little larger that our modern-day house cats and have a yellowish color with faint stripes. These cats have a very calm and practically laid back nature. Remarkably, these cats still tend to live and hunt near human dwellings today. Residents still like to catch and rear young wild cats as family pets. When fully grown, wild cats raised by human beings tend to behave extremely much like our familiar house cats.
Scientists believe that Felis libyca is the primary founding population for domestic cats. A minimum of 2 other varieties of wild cat are speculated to have contributed to the genetic make up of domestic cats. One is Felis silvestris, The European wildcat, who appears to have actually contributed darker markings and a peppery spirit to the African wild cat base. From Asia, comes the Pallas or Steppe cat (Felis manul) that appears to have contributed long-haired coats to the mix.
The early time period of domestication of cats is vague with only spots of proof. However, by 6,000 B.C. statues found in Anatolia (contemporary Turkey) show ladies playing with domestic cats. Cats had clearly become typical and affectionate pets by that time. The earliest composed records about cats appear by roughly 4,000 B.C. in Egypt where they were often kept to hunt mice and rats from kept grains.
It was a good time to be a cat in ancient Egypt. Domestic cats were believed to be the embodiment of the goddess Bast (or Bastet). There was a necropolis at her principal temple at Bubastis which contained mummified cats.
Cats come to Europe
Romans spread out the domestic cat northward into central Europe and westward to Britain during the expansion of their empire. Cats were quickly embraced and appreciated as terrific hunters. As they continued to move north and east in Europe the Vikings utilized cats as both rodent hunters and family pets. The Viking goddess of love and war, Freyja, was related to cats. Substantial winged cats drew her chariot. It also ended up being the practice to provide brand-new bride-to-bes a kittycat in her name.
A difficult time in the history of cats
The Middle Ages were an extremely bad time to be a cat. Cats were said to be witches, in league with the devil. Because of this superstitious notion, cats were regularly killed. Often they were even burned alive or thrown off high structures. The Europeans paid heavily for their cruelty to cats. The deaths of countless cats enabled the rodent population to increase out of control, generating the Black Death which killed so much of the European population. Eventually, the cats searching and hunting prowess redeemed them in the eyes of the people of Europe. By the 1600s, people in France began putting little holes near the bottom of their doors to allow their cats to get in and go out as they pleased.
Bringing good fourtune
In Asia cats continued to be recognized hunters and treasured pets. Cats were often subject matters for drawing and painting in China. In Japan, cats through Maneki Neko, generally depicted as a sitting cat with one paw raised and bent, are thought about excellent fortune. They are typically discovered in organisations to draw in money.
The history of cats is an interesting one, deserving of far more in depth research study. But hopefully by reading this article you have least gained some knowledge about where your beloved cats came from!