Cats have always been very fascinating creatures and they are no less so today. They have become one of the worlds most sought after pets over the years as they are perfectly suited to the lifestyles of everyone. Independent, beautiful and easily cared for, cats are the ideal pet for many people.
Lions and tigers, today’s wild cats, descended from miacids, which were early carnivores. The wild cat developed into 3 main types of cats. These are the European wild cat, the African Wild Cat, and the Asiatic Desert Cat. The African Wild Cat is believed to have evolved into the domestic cat due to the Tabby markings they possess.
The domestic cats of today still show many of their wild ancestors’ traits. Those intelligent, almost human appearing eyes, their body shape as well as their feeding and grooming habits all come from these ancestors. They also possess the ability to spring into action at a moment’s notice. These are some of the characteristics that seem to make the cat so fascinating.
Cats were first domesticated around 4,000 years ago. The first people to realize the value of keeping cats were the Ancient Egyptians. They used them to protect their stores of food from vermin and other pests. The cats were also quite revered by the Egyptians as hunters, as well as being worshipped as gods and goddesses. Cats living in Ancient Egypt were quite safe as anyone who dared to kill a cat was put to death. In addition, cats were mummified upon death before they were buried.
It wasn’t long before other ancient civilizations began to domesticate cats. Tame felines made their way to Italy and spread throughout Europe from there. Shorthaired domestic cats began in Egypt and longhaired cats had their origins in Turkey and Iran. Domestic cats also began spreading over the world from India and into China and Japan. Eventually, the Pilgrims brought domestic cats to the New World with them. Aside from a brief period of time during the Middle Ages, when some people believed cats to be in league with the devil, they had become the most popular house pets in the world.