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Origin and history of cats



Wildcat Ancestors:

  • The cat family (Felidae) goes way back, with ancestors tracing to around 10-15 million years ago in Asia [Wikipedia].
  • The domestic cat's lineage is linked to the African wildcat (Felis sylvestris) around 6-7 million years ago [Wikipedia].

The Fertile Crescent Connection:

  • Fast forward to 10,000-12,000 years ago, in the Fertile Crescent (think West Asia). This is where agriculture was taking root, and humans were storing grain [Alley Cat Allies].
  • Enter enterprising wildcats: attracted by rodents drawn to these food stores, they started hanging around human settlements [Alley Cat Allies]. A mutually beneficial partnership began.

From Partners to Pharaohs' Favorites:

  • Evidence suggests cats were living alongside humans in the Fertile Crescent by 3700 BC [International Cat Care].
  • Around 3100 BC, in ancient Egypt, cats became revered companions. The Egyptians even worshipped a cat goddess, Bastet [Smithsonian

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