Where Do Cats Come From?

cats-come Credit: Hery Zo Rakotondramanana/CC-BY-2.0

The first domesticated cats appeared in human civilization thousands of years ago with the ancient Egyptians, who, according to reliable evidence, were the first people to keep cats around as a way of controlling rodents and other vermin that encroach on human food supplies. There may be some evidence that humans and cats have coexisted for some time before Ancient Egypt, particularly among early human societies in the Middle Eastern region known as the fertile crescent. It could be that cats invited themselves to be human pets, in a manner of speaking, having been attracted to the large quantities of prey that started gathering around the first human stores of grain.

The exact evolutionary origins of the domestic cat are hard to pin down, but there is some physical evidence, such as tabby markings, that links today's house cats with wild cats in Africa. While humans have unquestionably domesticated the dog, some people question whether cats are truly domesticated. Though cats were worshipped in ancient Egypt and even (albeit to a lesser degree) in Ancient Rome, human feelings toward cats took a turn for the negative in medieval times, a change of heart that some theorists argue may be responsible for the spread of the bubonic plague, which may be transmitted to humans through rodents.