From Garfield to Grumpy Cat and even to the Cat in the Hat, our feline friends have long been ingrained in pop culture. But did you know our history with domesticated cats dates back at least 10000 years?
Let’s take a look at the interesting history of domestic cats and how this information might actually help you understand what your feline needs at home!
The Felis Catus
Throughout history, the Felis Catus has played a huge role in the lives of humans!
The first cats were domesticated in Ancient Egypt around 7500 BC. With plentiful harvest came plenty of rats and other nasty pests that were difficult to get rid of.
Thankfully, these rodents also attracted the attention of the African Wildcat! These ancient cat ancestors were skilled in hunting and helped make quick work of pests, earning the love and affection of their human companions. Plus, their furry and adorable looks endeared them in the hearts of Egyptians everywhere.
Early Egyptians even worshipped cat goddesses and would mummify their beloved feline pets to bring them along to the next world! They would also mummify plenty of mice for tasty on-flight snacks for their cat companions.
Later on, cats would go on to be staple housepets everywhere from Greece to India, on Trading Vessels and Viking Ships!
Ancient Feline Characteristics
So what exactly were these feline ancestors like?
Since they were descendants of fierce wildcats, the first domestic cats were also natural hunters that were equipped with sharp claws and teeth for hunting. They were great night hunters, with light-reflecting eyes and excellent hearing, perfect for tracking their prey in darkness.
Because of their nature as hunters, cats are also largely carnivorous. Their digestive system and other biological features were geared for consuming raw meat!
If you’ve ever wondered why your cat has a rough sandpaper-like tongue, it’s actually because their tongue helps them clean every bit of an animal bone!
The Modern Cat
Today, most feline ancestry can be traced to the Egyptian lineage of the Felis Silvestris Lybica. Interestingly enough, genetically speaking, our modern feline friends are almost identical to their ancestors!
Unlike dogs that have undergone selective breeding over the years, cat genes have been left mostly the same. That means the modern cat in the house has almost the same needs as their ancient counterparts!
In particular, the modern house cat has very similar dietary requirements to their forebears. They require a protein-heavy diet since they are carnivorous by nature.
Outside of their diet, however, there are some changes that our cats require in their lives!
Modern House Cat Needs
Today, pests like rodents are no longer as much of a problem. Plus, many of our feline friends are kept as purely house cats for their safety.
However, the modern feline still has their fair share of hunting instinct! To help them stay happy and well-exercised, it’s vital to simulate a hunting experience at home. You can do that easily with their favourite teaser toys and even interactive toys like Kong’s Glide ‘N Seek Interactive Cat Toy!
Of course, another big change in the lifestyle of modern cats is where they do their business! Unlike our ancestors who left their cats outside to use the natural toilet that is the great outdoors, us modern humans often don’t have access to a backyard or outside area for our cats to work their magic. Instead, a litter box is often the first thing any house cat owner grabs for their home.
While our feline friends retain their hunting skill and dietary needs, they’ve grown accustomed to living amongst the modern human - allowing them to easily learn and use litter boxes! Litter boxes like Unicharm’s Deo Toilet Cat Litter Box are easy to clean and help control odour and mess.
Cats and humans have a long history together. While it may not seem like it, understanding their past can help us humans take better care of our cats! For more information on the history of cats, especially about a furry feline named “Unsinkable Sam”, you can take a look at this video!
Tammi is an avid writer, but especially loves learning and writing about animals! She spends her free time visiting cat cafes, playing video games and having plenty of cuddle time with her pup.