Have they been domesticated? I’ve had several cats during my life (I now live with three) and they all varied in the amount of what I would consider domestication. They all have seemed quite happy to have us around while still maintaining an air of being willing to do without us if we lost our usefulness.
Scientists from archaeologists to geneticists are looking for information that will help give us a better idea of when was the time that cats decided we were worth keeping around. They think that cats have been living with us for at least 9,000 or 10,000 years. Until recently there wasn’t much known about how cats went from kind of, sort of, living with us to cult worship status in Egypt 4,000 years ago.
A 9,500 year old co-burial site with a person and a wild cat was found in Cyprus. In the same area they have also found a sculpted head of what looks like a part cat/part human creature.
Results of a study was published in 2013 that showed that, more recently, cats were living with people in a Neolithic farming village of Quanhucun, China (about 5,300 years ago). If cats weren’t domesticated at that point, at least they were living in a symbiotic relationship with us – eating the vermin that were eating the grain stored by the farmers.
Within the next thousand years they definitely became pets – there’s a picture of a cat with a collar in an Egyptian tomb from around 2500-2350 BC and by 1976-1793 BC they were showing up frequently in Egyptian art.
Read or listen to a fictional story about how cats came to live with people, “The Cat Who Walked by Himself” by Rudyard Kipling.
Find out about different cat breeds.
Thinking about adopting a pet? Search for U.S. animal shelter pets to adopt.