Cats through time: A fascinating journey with our furry friends

Cats have been buddies with people for a really long time, like, around 10,000 years.

Domestic cats, you know, the small meat-eaters, are part of the cat family. They’re the only ones from that family who decided to hang out with humans.

Cats started living with humans thousands of years ago. They probably started chilling near human food stores because they liked to snack on mice and stuff. Then, they spread everywhere when sailors took them on ships.

Even now, cats help humans by keeping pests away and being great pals. Over the years, humans have made different types of cats by breeding them. That’s how we got all those cool cat breeds we have today.

When did cats become house pets?

Scientists say cats became house pets about 10,000 years ago. A study in 2017 found that today’s house cats came from a wild cat called Felis silvestris lybica, from the Near East. These cats started hanging out with humans in modern-day Turkey.

Even though these wild cats lived in small areas, they somehow showed up in places like eastern Europe around 4400 B.C. It seems they hitched rides on ships with traders who liked that they kept rats away. Cats traveled a lot; some even ended up in places like northern Germany with Vikings.

The oldest known burial of a pet cat was found in Cyprus, where a cat and a human were buried together 9,500 years ago. In China, cat bones were found in pits dating back 5,300 years, showing that cats were pals with people in the Far East too.

Egyptians really loved cats and even worshipped them as gods. They thought cats were protective and had qualities of their gods. Sometimes, cats were buried with their owners, or they were sacrificed for religious rituals.

Are there different types of cats?

Yep, there are lots of different kinds of cats, but not as many as there are dog breeds. A group called the Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes 45 fancy breeds, along with regular cats.

You’ve probably heard of Siamese and Persian cats. There are also cool ones like Bengal cats with leopard spots, American bobtails with short tails, and Sphynx cats without hair. Most of the time, cats are bred for things like color and fur length, not for specific jobs like dogs are.

Look at some friendly cat breeds that love cuddles.

Are cats smart?

Cats are pretty smart, even if they don’t always show it. Some people think dogs are smarter, but cats are good at what they need to do, like hunting at night.

Cats know when things are hidden from sight and recognize their owners’ voices. But they can be tricky to study because they don’t like new places or people. Cats are less social than dogs because they come from a background of being alone in the wild.

In a study, cats didn’t seem to care if someone helped their owner or not, unlike dogs who preferred helpful people. It’s not that cats are mean; they just haven’t been bred to work closely with humans like dogs have.

Do cats have feelings?

Cats can get attached to their humans and show signs of separation anxiety when left alone. They also seem to understand when their owners are happy or upset. Cats might not always show it, but they can sense our emotions.

Can cats see color?

Cats have really good eyesight, especially in the dark. They can see six times better than humans at night! Cats might not see colors as well as we do, but they can see ultraviolet light, which we can’t. Their world might look less colorful than ours, but they can see more in the dark and have a wider field of view.

How do cats help people?

Besides keeping pests away, cats are great companions. Being around cats can make people feel better by lowering their heart rate and blood pressure. Playing, petting, and taking care of cats even activates parts of our brain related to empathy and communication.

Cats might act independent, but that’s part of what makes them special. When they finally give in and play or snuggle, it feels extra good.

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