Why was the cat domesticated?

Why was the cat domesticated? The advent of farming was the reason why the wild cat came to be domesticated. As Dr Morris says ‘there would have been no taming of the cat before the Agricultural Revolution’. This happened during the New Stone Age or Neolithic period – 10,200 BC to no later than 2,000 BC.

New Stone Age when the cat was first domesticated
Image in public domain
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There was no use for the tamed cat before farming in contrast to the dog which was domesticated much earlier because they were useful as a hunting companion with their superior senses of smell and hearing.

Farming resulted in piles of stored grain which attracted a teaming population of rodents. A wild cat would have sauntered onto a farm and discovered a feast of easy-to-catch mice. There would have been no need to wait interminably before attacking prey. It was there on a plate.

The farmer, pressed to protect his grain store would have noticed the presence of the small African wildcat doing something he was struggling to do himself. He cultivated a relationship between human and cat which benefited both and which lead to the most popular companion animal on the planet with the dog.

Why was the cat domesticated? Answer: because it benefited both at a time when farming started during the New Stone Age. The cat has never looked back.

I would argue that the golden age of cat domestication has passed. It would have been early on. In the early days of cat domestication there was a natural order to the relationship with both cat and human benefiting. The value of the cat was prized and valued. In Egypt the cat rose to become a deity and worshipped (although this lead to cat abuse). There were little or no feral cats. The number of domestic cats was minuscule compared to today. Cat domestication worked.

Over the intervening 10,000 years humans have cocked up the domestication process. An irresponsible attitude to cat domestication has lead to an equal number of feral and domestic cats with the associated cries of ‘ecological disaster’ from some quarters of society. As concern for the environment becomes more pressing due to human population growth and careless activities there is increased pressure on exterminating the unwanted stray and feral cat. The value of the cat has plummeted to the point where mass extermination is foreseeable.

There should be no feral cats. The intention, if there ever was one, was not to allow the mass breeding of unwanted cats. This is a human catastrophe and the victim in this story is never the creator of the feral cat, it is the cat himself.

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4 thoughts on “Why was the cat domesticated?”

  1. Please correct the commonly spread misinformation in your article from the verified and revised history below. The only way you’ll ever get a reader-base back is by starting to become honest and truthful. (By the way: posting old articles with a lot of replies as new articles, to look as if people are still commenting here is pretty silly, isn’t it? It only makes you look really really desperate.)

    Watch this video from the reputable PBS “NOVA” science series; pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/animal-mummies.html

    It explains how and why all sorts of species of animals were mummified to act as prayer-note envelopes to send prayer pleas to the god or goddess of your choice. Species of animals from ibises, to crocodiles, to even full-grown bulls were mummified and their “spirit” was used to send a message to that animal’s kindred deity. The “soul” of the animal was supposed to carry your prayer-note directly to the lap of the deity represented by that species. It was big business for them, they sold mummified animals of any species to any visitor from any lands as a way of contacting their favorite deity. Like a fed-ex to send messages to your gods. Cats, of course, being the most prolific and easiest to breed for mummification were also the least effort and cost (compared to catching an ibis, crocodile, or the expensive and extensive effort to mummify a full-grown bull; for example). The only value cats had to them were when cats were dead and mummified for a pre-addressed message envelope to contact their Bastet. This is why they found over 300,000 young mummified cats buried there. Bastet was the bargain-basement of gods, her popularity created by being the cheapest to talk to this way.

    Acting as protectors of grain-stores in The Fertile Crescent had nothing to do with why cats became popular back then. That explanation for cat popularity is nothing more than another false urban-legend today. Their popularity came from being the most inexpensive, easiest to breed for sacrificial purposes, and the easiest to mummify animal to be used as pre-addressed prayer envelopes.

    I often wonder if this isn’t what, in part, led to the Egyptian’s eventual downfall, what with all the diseases cats spread. Someone was at least smart and wise enough to make it a religious-custom to kill them at high rates. Cats’ Toxoplasma gondii brain-hijacking parasite might have even caused mental problems in their leaders and general population (as it does today; causing autism, schizophrenia, ADHD, IED – Intermittent Explosive Disorder (Middle-East 2000-year wars and terrorist attacks, anyone?), epilepsy, memory loss, debilitating depressions, prostate-cancer (a new finding), female-suicides (did this cause the fate of Cleopatra?), and brain tumors in humans — the “insane cat lady” isn’t just an urban legend, there’s real evidence to prove their mentally-compromised medical condition now).

    It is also interesting to note that people who want to worship cats today, claiming that’s what Egyptians did, aren’t doing it properly. They must kill them while young, mummify them, insert into the wrappings a papyrus prayer-note to the god of their choice (but only if that is their god’s totem-animal species, so it gets to the right address), then leave them at the altar of their nearest place of worship.

    • Pure BS as usual from the “Fact Police” More like the Fake News Creators. The article is about the why the wild cat was domesticated. This happened before the cat become popular in Ancient Egypt you idiot. My god you are a true bullshitter as usual and as you are in non-compliance with comment policy (insult) BBB. Ta-ta bullshitter.


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