Cats’ History – How Feral Cats Were Domesticated
According to the reports, domesticated these pets have appeared about 8,000 years ago. The findings that date back to this period of time show that bones of humans, cats and mice were buried together on Cyprus. Most probably cats and mice were brought together to Cyprus at that time.
Cats and Their Domestication
After Cyprus, cats appeared in Egypt, south-eastern Asia and Africa. The people who lived there were mainly occupied with agriculture. Crops were harvest two times every year and people had problems with storing the food they produced. The appearance of mice, rats and other similar animals worsen the situation even further.
However, people found out that the cats eliminated the rodents that destroyed their grain and foods. So, people started attracting cats in order to protect their grain. To achieve this, people even used some tricks: they tried to attract cats with milk and fish. Thus, cats found a good environment where they could live happily, and receive food and affections from humans.
These cute animals have a significant place in history. Egyptians valued felines very much and there was a very close bond between them. Even though Egyptians people have various other animals, such as sheep, cattle, pigs and moneys, cats had an important part in their lives and enjoyed a great respect.
How Were Cats Protected?
As cats were extremely valued in Egypt, the people there had laws for feline’s protection. Due to the high status cats had, a special sacred order of cat reverence was developed and it continued for 2,000 years. Egyptian people honoured Bastet – the cat goddess that had a feline head and a female body. Basted was associated with motherhood, fertility and beauty. People called cats “Mau”- a word that resembles the sound “meow” made by cats.
Egyptians who killed or harmed a cat received a severe punishment. In case a fire took place in a house, the owner had to save the cats first. If a cat dies because of natural reasons, the whole family had to mourn by beating their chests and reciting words of pain and sorrow.
The body of the feline had to be wrapped in linen and an examination had to make sure the death is natural. Mouse mummies were placed in feline tombs in order to make sure that the cat would have enough food after its death.
Cats continued to spread in other countries, including India, China, Japan, Greece and Italy.
Interesting Historical Facts about Cats
During the Middle Ages cats were accepted as evil animals and Satan’s creations, so they were tortured and sacrificed in special rituals. People believed black cats were a bad omen.
As cats were killed and persecuted, rodents started to increase and this affected people very badly. Plague occurred and killed a large number people. Cats regained their high status again in the eighteen century and started to receive much appreciation.
They popularity grew significantly in the nineteenth century. At that time cat exhibitions were established and cats became very valued and loved.