Cats and people have been living together for thousands of years. From protector of the grain supply, to object of worship, to the lap cat companion, cats have played many roles over the years.
Today, domestic cats and humans are living together in record numbers in many locations. In the United States, the cat has surpassed the dog as the most popular pet.
It is estimated that there are more than 70 million pet cats in the US. Other countries of the world have seen pet cat populations rise as well.
So, how did this wild and vicious creature, so obviously different from humans, end up being a house cat? Let's have a look.
At some point in history, cats and people began to share a common purpose...
In ancient times, growing crops was not an easy task, and stores of grain were especially precious. Rodents were a threat to the grain supplies. Cats ate the rodents, and people were happy.
In return, people began to care for the cats, and provide shelter, protection, and food. Thus, the seeds of domestication were sewn.
Cats and people share a history dating back thousands of years. For many years, it has been commonly accepted that the cat was first domesticated in ancient Egypt, somewhere around 4,000 years ago (between 2,000 and 1,900 BC).
Recently, however, evidence of a close relationship between cats and humans has been found that dates back over 9,000 years. That evidence, in a grave site on the island of Cyprus, clearly shows an African wildcat buried within inches of a human.
Regardless of when the relationship started, cats were in for a rough ride. As history marched on, cats played every role from creatures to be worshiped as sacred, to creatures to be sacrificed and/or feared.
At various points in time, many cats were sacrificed, murdered, or tortured under the guise of various religious, spiritual, and health practices.
Today, domestic cats are extremely popular pets. Many households are home to more than one cat.
For many a true cat lover, the house cat is the ideal pet. Requiring a certain level of care without being bothersome, but possessing independence as well, the house cat is a great addition to any home. Always needing you but never seeming needy, there is a balance between cat and human that you don't quite get from any other animal.
As a pet, companion, and friend, the feline can proudly serve as the centerpiece to any home. Just as easily, they can make themselves almost invisible.
The barn cat continues to play its role in rodent control, protecting crops and people from damage and disease. This is much the same role that cats in ancient times played.
In addition, programs that bring cats and people together are prevalent. Cats are used in therapeutic ways as healing companions for the sick and elderly, and as teaching aids for those with learning disabilities.
Cat clubs and organizations have strong membership throughout the world. Thousands of people use the Internet every month to learn more about felines, and purchase products for their care.
If you live in certain areas, you can even use the Internet to adopt a cat.
There is even more than one pet lovers dating service focusing on bringing cat lovers together, in the hopes that they can turn their love for cats into a love for each other.
Thousands of years after cats first helped people to better their condition, cats are still doing their part.
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