The cat was first domesticated in…

The cat was first domesticated in what is referred to as the “Fertile Crescent”. Tamed Near Eastern wildcats were taken out of the Fertile Crescent at least 9,000 years ago. Near Eastern wildcats are a subspecies of wildcat. The modern day wildcat looks very like the tabby domestic cat, unsurprisingly.

The Fertile Crescent is in the Near East. This encompasses modern day countries such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The domestication of the cat indicates an advanced culture. For some reason countries such as Egypt have not progressed as they might have over the intervening years to the present.

The domestic cat’s closest wild relatives are the wild cats of the deserts of Israel, the UAE, Bahrain (just outside the Fertile Crescent incidentally) and Saudi Arabia. The DNA from fifteen wild cats from these countries most closely matched that of domestic cats.

Several years ago you may have read about the discovery of a human burial site in Cyprus. This island is just off the coast of the eastern sector of the Fertile Crescent. French archeologists found the complete skeleton of an eight-month-old kitten buried with his/her owner. Both skeletons faced westward (over the Mediterranean Sea) towards the setting sun.

There were and are no indigenous wild cats in Cyprus. Therefore the kitten buried with his owner was probably shipped from the mainland by Neolithic people from what is now Turkey. They settled in Cyprus bringing livestock including their cats or cats.

Over many centuries the domesticated Near Eastern wildcat evolved into the domestic cat we know today.

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The cat was first domesticated in… — 1 Comment

  1. I thought I read something about 11,000 years ago… But I do remember the discovery of the burial site. Anyway I’m wondering if the combination of domestication and evolving the needed changes was a bit gradual; maybe at least a few hundred years?

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