How long have cats been on the planet?

Ape skull from 20 million years ago

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The question does not specify ‘domestic cats’ therefore I must refer to all cat both wild and domestic. That said, on the internet, people habitually refer to domestic cats as ‘cats’.

On my website I have a brilliant page on the Timeline of the Cat even though I say it myself! It is very comprehensive and it answers the question in the title completely. Therefore I will point you to that page if I may. Please click on the link…

Timeline of the Cat

Very briefly, it is believed that the first cat-like creatures inhabited the planet between eight and twenty million years ago. The oldest skull that we have of an ape is dated to 20 million years ago.

The earliest fossils of lions have been dated to 3.5 million years ago while the first true lion existed 1 million years ago. The first fossils of the tiger have been dated to 1.5 million years ago. We don’t know when the African wild cat inhabited the planet but…

The domestic cat surfaced around 9,500 years ago and was a tamed and friendly North African Wildcat living in Cyprus. They looked and still look like large tabby cats. The first domestic cats were tabbies, today’s most common cat coat.

Please see the Timeline of the cat which takes you forward from the domestication of the cat to the present and covers more info about the beginnings.

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