Cats, in typical feline form, aren’t in a hurry to jump onto our laps.
DNA analysis reveals that domesticated cats existed alongside humans for thousands of years before being domesticated, according to one comprehensive study on the spread of domesticated cats. During that period, their genes have remained largely unchanged from those of wildcats, with the exception of one recent “update”: the tabby cat’s characteristic stripes and dots.
Felines have fully taken over our lives since they decided to join our houses. People created cemeteries for them in ancient Egypt, for example—Egyptians mummified their cats and sculpted statues for them that are now on display in museum collections throughout the world.
Of course, human lives have changed tremendously over the millennia, but our affection for cats has stayed constant.
Around 8,000 years ago, cats began hanging out in farming settlements in the Fertile Crescent, where they developed a mutually beneficial relationship with humans as their rodent patrol.
"Since domestic cats are remarkably similar to their wildcat ancestors, they retained a side to them that is fierce and elusive," Lucy Hoile, a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB) who specializes in these animals said.
"However, they are surprisingly adaptable, living comfortable lifestyles in the most urban of areas and forming strong, affectionate relationships with the people they live with. These two features of the pet cat make them an enigma that is difficult to find with any other pet species."
Some dog lovers may claim that cats are selfish and arrogant, but Hoile reminded us that cats continue to live with us because they recognize that we can supply them with more than just food and shelter.
"Cats will often form strong emotional attachments to their owners, identifying them as part of their social group through facial and body marking. Cat owners are now more than just bringers of tasty food and a warm bed!"
And just because the average kitty sleeps around 16 hours a day, that doesn't mean they're lazy. They simply need to stay sharp!
"Being opportunistic hunters, they are built for short bursts of activity when prey presents itself," Lucy Hoile explained. "Periods of rest in-between are essential to conserve energy at other times of the day."
In fact, some of these furry critters (just like dogs) have no trouble earning their living through honest work. Just take a look at these bodega cats who keep convenience stores and corner shops pest-free!