Species: Felis catus
Origin of the Domestic Cat
The African-Asiatic Wildcat is believed to be the sole ancestor of the Domestic Cat. Genetic evidence says the Domestic Cat descended from the African-Asiatic Wildcat around 9,000 to 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East, during the rise of agriculture. The theory is that Wildcats began hanging around farms and grain stores where rodents were prevalent, and gradually became friendly with humans. These newly domesticated cats were one of the most revered animals in Ancient Egypt.
With the advent of widespread agriculture, came trade via land and sea travel- and these newly created Domestic cats (descended from the African-Asiatic Wildcat) came along for the ride:
“The Nubian cat (another name for the African-Asiatic Wildcat) is one of wildcat subspecies (next to the European wildcat which is not the domestic cat ancestor even though it is able to cross-breed with it) whose domestication began in the Fertile Crescent ca. 10,000—9.000 years ago. In archaeological excavation sites in Anatolia, Syria as well as Israel, a variety of stone figurines representing those cats has been found. Apparently, cats stayed in the proximity of the first farmers and, with high probability, the Neolithic Age is when the first human-cat interrelations were initiated. People gave up nomadism in favor of a farming life; this resulted in the storage of extra grains which, consequently, attracted rodents of many kinds. This could result in attracting wild cats to easily achievable food sources and the benefits turned out to be mutual. With much likelihood, cats remained rather neutral to people.
Cat skeleton analyses, together with the mammal iconography, allow researchers to make an assumption that cats reached Europe migrating from the Near East, through Anatolia, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, to Ancient Rome, ….. and to the Celts and Germans.”
Note: While the European Wildcat evolved concurrently with the African-Asiatic Wildcat, genetic analysis shows that the Domestic Cat did not evolve from the European species, but rather exclusively from the African-Asiatic Wildcat.
Domestic Cat Behavior
Domestic cats can be solitary and live like lone panthers or they can behave like lions in a pride and enjoy a warm social life with humans as well as other animals like other cats, dogs, horses, etc. They often treat their humans like members of their pride.
A note about the Domesticated cat: they aren’t really domesticated animals so much as ones that ones that are capable of behaving tamely around humans and enjoying living with them. Some genetic changes have occurred within the Domestic cat’s genome, but regardless, most Domesticated cats retain a certain wildness; and are quite capable of living like their wild ancestors. Here is a study about the small genetic changes Domesticated cats have undergone: https://www.livescience.com/48696-origins-of-cat-domestication.html
Domestic cats are capable of decimating the local populations of songbirds in their neighborhood, and should be kept inside if they end up displaying a hardcore predilection for little birdies- or local mammalian wildlife (chipmunks etc should not be hunted either).
It is also dangerous for cats to be outside without supervison. They can get hit by vehicles, or eaten by coyotes, or harmed by people with ill intent etc. There are too many risks; please keep your cats indoors or supervise them in a safe outdoor space.
There’s lots of stray cats in need of loving homes- please adopt rescue kitties. Mixed breed cats are also healthier and longer lived than purebred cats.
Declawing cats is barbarous and abusive. It is like cutting off the fingers above the end joint on a human hand (the end of the cat’s bones are removed along with the claws) and it results in arthritis and pain for the rest of the cat’s life, not to mention the psychological trauma of knowing it cannot hunt or defend itself.
Outlaw Stump-legged, Flat-faced, And Hairless Cat Breeding:
Recently unethical breeders have been breeding cats with shortened deformed legs, known as Munchkin cats. This should be against the law- these animals can’t move like they were meant to and experience psychological and physical issues as a result of this congenital deformity.
Also, hairless cats suffer all kinds of health issues as well; it is a cruel breeding practice. Many Kittens get Respiratory illnesses from exposure. These cats can suffer from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and hereditary myopathy. These guys evolved to have coats- don’t make them go cold and naked!
It is also wrong to breed cats with flat faces (they can’t breathe well) or misshapen ears (Scottish fold cats are prone to hearing issues, ear infections, and body deformities.) Just let cats be how Mother Nature intended: gorgeous, healthy, sound in body, and happy.
Outlaw Designer Cat Breeding:
I also want to point out some facts about designer cat hybrids such as Bengal cats. Creating Bengals is unethical because they come from crossing captive Asian Leopard Cats (a wild species) with domestic cats. Asian leopard cats are wild animals that shouldn’t be kept in captivity so that people can own expensive designer cat breeds. It’s inhumane. Bengal cats also have health problems due to inbreeding. https://www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/inherited-health-problems-in-bengal-cats.html