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.
As I recall though it took seven generations for the Russian scientist to complete the process.
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.