History of the Domestic Cat

There is some evidence showing that cats may have been taken in as pets as early as 3500 BC in Ancient Mesopotamia. (To give some perspective as to how early this is, the Ancient Mesopotamians invented the wheel.) However, theClip Art of African bush cat primarily known civilizations that contained domesticated cats were the Ancient Egyptians around 600BC. It is believed that the African bush cat (Felis lybica), sometimes referred to as African wild cat, protected the merchant’s grain from rats and mice. This species is thought to be the most recent relative of the Felis catus. (However, some scientists believe Clip Art of the sphinx of ancient Egypt: it had the body of a lion and the head of a kingthat the European wildcat, Felis sylvestris is the closest relative to the domestic cat and others believe that the European wildcat gave rise to the African wildcatClip Art of Egyptian goddess depicted with the form of a cat see phylogeny.) As time passed, the cat soon became deified and was worshipped and protected. Symbolically, the cat was associated with virginity and fruitfulness. Slowly, other civilizations began to take in the cat as a protector and part of the family. In fact, the first known intentional breeding took place at the Imperial Palace in Japan, 999AD. History took a turn for the worst in the Middle Ages when misfortune and evil were the tone of the day and cats became associated with witches and demons-particularly the black cat.Clip Art of feared Halloween counterparts, including the black cat

 As this time period dwindled down and happiness and good fortune became symbolic of the era, cats again assumed the role as pet.

To learn about how cats interact with other species, click here.