Skip to comments.Cats ‘domesticated in China over 5,000 years ago to prey on rodents’
Posted on 12/16/2013 6:13:56 PM PST by BenLurkin
Our data suggest that cats were attracted to ancient farming villages by small animals, such as rodents that were living on the grain that the farmers grew, ate and stored.
Results of this study show that the village of Quanhucun was a source of food for the cats 5,300 years ago, and the relationship between humans and cats was commensal, or advantageous for the cats.
Even if these cats were not yet domesticated, our evidence confirms that they lived in close proximity to farmers, and that the relationship had mutual benefits.
Cats have lived alongside humans for a very long time, but when and where they were tamed remains a mystery.
Previous evidence suggested they were first domesticated in ancient Egypt, where they were kept some 4,000 years ago.
(Excerpt) Read more at yorkshirepost.co.uk ...
Frisky also apparently has a cousin who lives in my house.
That reminds me. I have to warm up some milk for the feral cat that has taken up residence in the back yard.
More correctly, about 5,000 years ago, cats began allowing humans to provide rodents for their consumption.
Our feral had kittens. I will say however, that there is not a snake, mouse, or squirrel in, on, or around the house.
We are lucky. Our feral cat has her ear clipped. Apparently Friends of Feral Cats picked her up and fixed her. I hope the ‘fix’ works.
Pretty much common sense. The beginnings of agriculture meant the creation of something that had never before existed: the granary. Granaries were instantly irresistible to rodents, which in turn were irresistible to cats. Cats, seeing the food opportunities human settlements offered, made themselves at home and, as the article states, domesticated themselves.
This contrasts 180 degrees from how other animals were domesticated. The Russian biologist Vavilov once performed a breeding experiment with foxes that explains this. Vavilov trapped a dozen foxes and noted which were least afraid of humans, the ones that didn’t cower in the back of the cage when he fed them. Then Vavilov bred the least-afraid foxes with each other, and again, and within two generations he had bred foxes that would curl up in his lap like kittens. This is almost certainly how, thousands of years ago, dogs were domesticated.
Concur. The former African Wildcats are, IMHO, more of a symbiotic species than a domesticated one. Being predators themselves, they don’t mind being around creatures like humans because we don’t threaten them, and our environment is largely ideal for their habits. We humans do breed them specifically for increased docility and domesticity, but nowhere near the level we do for other animals.
Dogs, on the other hand, actually are domesticated, and their original wolf traits are so far submerged (for the most part) as to be non-existant. Compare pictures of housecats and African/European wildcats vs. a wolf and, say, a chihuahua.
Sorry China—the Cat thing is Egyptian—they have the cat mummies to prove it and the literature to back it up. They worshipped cats—FYI: The name for cat in Amcient Egyptian is “Meow”.
As I recall though it took seven generations for the Russian scientist to complete the process.
In our strange universe, they get fixed before they break. ;-)
For all the world as though Ptah-Ankh-Pu-Bah (or whatever that Egyptian’s name was) asked a cat what its name was, and believed the cat answered.
By the way— are you doing anything for the 160th anniversary next October 25?
Close. Cats taught humans the secret of making beer. Making beer required keeping a store of barley, which attracted the rodents that the cats were after in the first place.
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