How Cats Domesticated Us Twice
Date: 2019-12-16 17:00:10
Hey guys! Did you know that not only did we domesticate cats over 10,000 years ago — we did it twice? How did we convince these finicky felines to move in? Okay, we didn’t. It was probably their idea. Even though cats are domesticated animals, it’s more accurate to say that cats domesticated themselves.
But cats weren’t the first animals to do so. That honor goes to the dogs. Dogs fell in love with us the moment we started the whole hunting and cooking over fire thing. Cats, of all kinds, were lurking around those same campfires, but they had no interest in helping us hunt or herd, and our attempts to train them failed.
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#cats #pets #brightside
– We started planting edible food, like grain. At which point, you could say, we domesticated rats and mice.
– They ate all our grain, left a mess, and brought disease.
– And that’s when cats found their niche in the human world. Cats love mice!
– Wherever people stored grain, rats and mice moved in, and then cats showed up to catch them.
– It wasn’t long before people started encouraging the kitties to stay. Maybe not offering them the best spot in front of the fire, but…. letting them take it.
– Compare a tabby cat, or Felis Catus, to her ancestor, Felis Sylvestris, also called the African Wild Cat or “Middle Eastern Wildcat.”
– Today’s housecats share an almost identical genetic make-up with their wild ancestor—and one of the few ways to tell them apart is by the markings on their coats, which generally don’t last long enough to be dug up in an archeological site.
– One type of marking you won’t see in your house cat—except two occasions I’ll tell you about later—is leopard spots.
– Dot hungry breeders have crossed Felis Catus with other species to get spotted offspring… with varying degrees of success. The Savannah Ocicat and Bengal are two examples.
– Recent excavations in the early farming village Quanhucun, in central China, show that 5,000 years ago, Chinese farmers enjoyed the company of Quanhucun cats.
– Archeologists even found one Quanhucun Cat so carefully buried that its skeleton remained intact for thousands of years, proving that someone thought it was pretty special.
– Today, cats are the most popular pets in the world. People in the U.S. alone love nearly 75 million of them!
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