What do I know aboute cats - cat domestication history.
A CAT IN A PILL
or what do I know aboute cats
(...so-so trivia since the dawn of history)
author: Bogusława Czarnecka
CATS - wild and mysterious animals, having an excellent builded body, fascinating people from thousands of years, serving people as companions in their life.
Actually, this is the man who canvass for cats' consideration, for their love and friendship. And when a man finally get it, he/she becomes to be a really happy man, having a friend as well as silent trustee of his/her problems for many, many years.
Many times, I heard the enthusiastic opinion: "I definitely prefer dogs than cats, because cats are two-faced!" Or: "I hate cats, I love dogs!" When I asked such people about their contacts with cats, they usually told me that they only had contact with "wild" cats. So, is it right thing to havesuch opinions about cats, opinions that harm these wonderful animals, if people saying such things had never direct, long-standing contact with cats?
These are cats, as the only animals in our homes,
give us that strange feeling of peace, and smother emotions, sooth
an ill spirit...This is this wonderful fur our hands wanting to touch,
and nobody is able to get around the wish to caress a cat. It's observed
on the Cat shows - people want to touch cats.
And an unusual purring of a cat, nestled into a man,
lying just near the head of a beloved man falling asleep... isn't
it a lullaby? One doesn't need to count sheeps! There's something
unusual in this animal, because cats are used in curing autistic men.
In this case a cat is the bridge joining two worlds.
People connected with cats are divided into two categories:
cat lovers and people damaged by fortune...
The priests, fighting with pagans during the Middle
Ages, made cats' executions, hanging them or burning. No other species
did experience such cruelty!
A DOMESTIC CAT
Cats were domesticated rather lately, because of their
independence and wilderness.
They called these cats "mau" (this word
is phonetically near cat's meowing). A cat-divine, called "miw",
leaved its owners in a deep sorrow after its death. After a dead cat
was embalmed and putted in a wooden or bronze sarcophagus. The cat
was buried in the Great Temple of goddess Bastet in Bubastis. Ancient
Egyptians believed that the Goddess Bastet assumed the form of the
cat. The cat was also consecrated the moon goddess Isis.
probably, the very first tame cat was a North
African Nubian cat which was very favorably to the peopleand
it became tame soon. The Abyssinian steppe cat was similar, considered
to be one of the domestic cat's ancestors, deriving directly from Nubian
On the merchants' ships, about 400 BC, cat came to Greek
colonies situated around the Mediterranean Sea. The main goal of a cat,
living on a ship, was to kill rodents.
Thanks to accompanying the merchants and Roman legions,
a cat came also to the north Europe, reaching England and Scotland.
Cat was considered there as the very rare as well as expensive animal,
very protected. This protection was assured by the decree of the Prince
of Wales, Hawel Ddy, dated 936. Cat had a great popularity also in Germanium.
Very quickly, a cat squeezed out a weasel, which was rodents' hunter
before cat's appearance, protecting peoples' stock.Then, first colonization
let the cat reach America.
The accidental cross between domestic European cat and
a wildcat had an influence on the species' developing. Crosses made
a European cat more massive, also tabby pattern became more intensive
in comparison to cats from Africa or Asia.
In this period, also Chartreux cats appeared ("chat
de Chartreux"). They were especially protected by the monks of Chartreux.
As supposed, the Asian cat had also an important role in the process of
cats' domestication. This species lives actually in India, Pakistan and
the Asian part of Russia. Similarly to Nubian cat, also Asian cat was
friendly to the people and it was easy to tame.
Probably, cats reached Persia, India and China with merchants. There's no evidence, when it happened, but in "Oda Book", dated about 600 BC (the oldest work of Chinese literature), mention a cat as mouse' hunter. Cat was strongly appreciated, putted on a par with a tiger. The name "miao" linked to a domestic cat and "li" - to a wild cat. Hundreds of years ago, Chinese painters' favorite model was a cat full of colored spots with a great amount of white. However, Japanese painters took a liking to a domestic cat with short, curly tail (similar to the modern Japanese bobtail cat).
supposed that the longhair cats' ancestor was manul,
now living in central Asia. Manul
appeared on Earth about 10 millions years ago. Its coat is longer on the
tail and on the belly. It's considered to be the ancestor of longhair
cats living actually in Afghanistan and Persia. Another hypothesis says
that a long coat, typical for Persian and angora cats, appeared as the
individual mutation in cats living in Russia. Later, it was transferred
to cats' population living in Iran and Turkey.Longhaired cats appeared
in Europe only abort XII-XIII century, along with Crusades, coming back
home. (See video: kittens
manul and adult
Actually, domestic cats are everywhere. They reached
even Antarctica with polar expeditions. In Australia, cats became a
danger to endemic fauna (in Australia, there're no large predators).
The process of cats' domestication isn't finished yet.
It caused some changes in cats' character as well as behavior. Cats
became gentle, trustful, contact, which were fixed by selection and
an artificial process of creating new breeds, dated from a half of XIX
century.These changes aren't enough durable so that cats becoming wild
started to be distrustful and careful in relation to a man, as it was
So, let's love cats, canvass for their considerations. When a cat start to love us, we'll be happy people, with warm smile on our face... and the cat purring on our lap.
Liliane Maria (my granddaughter)