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Thread: Cats domesticated in East Mediterranean during the Neolithic

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    Cats domesticated in East Mediterranean during the Neolithic



    Ancient DNA reveals how cats conquered the world

    "Humans may have had pet cats for as long as 9,500 years. In 2004, archaeologists in Cyprus found a complete cat skeleton buried in a Stone Age village. Given that Cyprus has no native wildcats, the animal (or perhaps its ancestors) must have been brought to the island by humans all those millennia ago.

    Yet despite our long history of keeping pet cats and their popularity today, felines aren’t the easiest of animals to domesticate (as anyone who’s felt a cat’s cold shoulder might agree). There is also little evidence in the archaeological record to show how cats became our friends and went on to spread around the world.

    Now a new DNA study has suggested how cats may have followed the development of Western civilisation along land and sea trade routes.

    [...]

    To track the spread of the domestic cat, the authors of the new study, published in Ecology and Evolution, examined DNA taken from bones and teeth of ancient cat remains. They also studied samples from the skin and hair of mummified Egyptian cats (and you thought emptying the litter tray was bad enough).

    They found that all modern cats have ancestors among the Near Eastern and Egyptian cats, although the contributions of these two groups to the gene pool of today’s cats probably happened at different times. From there, the DNA analysis suggests domestic cats spread out over a period of around 1,300 years to the 5th century AD, with remains recorded in Bulgaria, Turkey and Jordan."

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    Interesting thread.

    Do they tell if those two ancestral cat populations(egyptian & near eastern) are the only ancestors of domesticated cats? Or did they mix with the indigenous wildcat populations around the world?

    I am asking because the thread lead my mind to a Norwegian cat race, "Norsk skovkat" or "norwegian forrest cat" if you translate direcly. Those cats are some of the biggest and most hairy cats. And they have always reminded me of the european lynx(a wildcat).

    Do you think people mixed the original domesticated cats with the local wildcats, or is it just enviroment which has played a huge role in altering the appearance of some cat races(like Norsk skovkat)?




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    It would be interesting to analyse the DNA of a large number of modern cats to see if some mixed with wild cats. I would think it is very likely to have happened, as they can easily procreate with one another. However it's surely just a tiny fraction of all domestic cats that possess wild cat admixture. Such hybrids might be more aggressive, more fearsome of humans, and therefore make less desirable pets.

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    .
    There was a thread about a study for the mouses and the human habitation.The study here https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogs...-of-human.html
    The thread from Eupedia here


    It is interesting enough as we consider the timeless battle beetween cats and mouses and to some extend the transition of the hunter/gatherer's societies to the agriculturist's ones. (?)
    As the study proposes, -Lior Weissbrod et al:
    "Origins of house mice in ecological niches created by settled hunter-gatherers in the Levant 15,000 y ago"

    It is fair enough to consider that many interesting things happened -mutations to call them;- to the region ( Fertile crescent/ Anatolia/-East Med. genarally.) cause to the development of new technologies, -in short terms farming-,
    the sheeps and goats; as well the donkeys and the pigs; -maybe as well.

    In Greece, cats are in big respect, It is difficult to imagine a house,- especially in the country- without cat/s. We consider them as good luck for the family, and is part of the ecosystem of the house as guardian of the crops and protector from the snakes. By the way in straight comparison with their great opponents, -Dogs, which are just dogs...

    It is amazing all these perceptions from the common people, coming from past ages, and give us a view as also an image about their living and their superstisions.

    (My grand father from my mothers side -Saracatsanians both-, I remember speaking him for the strange noises to the roof, as the noises of the spirit of the house which was... the snake! -Strange indeed, allthough their was always surrounded from cats. By the way, snakes love milk and my grand parents were breeders... Anyway all these "myths" woks fine with me, as well for the locals.)

    For the cats
    I think there is a "remnant" of wild cats -lynx's; as mentioned above- to todays cats, an usual for the area, with grey/brown coloured and tiggerish stripes I consider them very indicative and very common for us, usually as stray cats, as domesticated ( I have one, and always have - I choose always from that colouring stock..., but the true is that the cats choosing us.) I have a lot of amazing stories of them.




    My parents live at a very remote and rural area, (Pindus) away from the sparcelly remote villages, It is an area of Natura 2000 with more of almost ~108 kind of birds, among other wild mummals...no to extend.
    They usually have cats, five or more at the stalls; -house for the animals-, as well a couple usually to their home.
    (always non vaccinated, with high rate of mortality, cause of predators like foxes and badgers usually)

    (a wildcat; story)
    It was almost ten years before as I remember, when an amazing cat appear,- who knows from where-, with the usual tiger looking, as mention above, but very dinstinct of any other. It was a male in bad condition but none of the others cats usually females, couldnt challenge him. ( with abscent of males, which rarelly survive, cause of their interesting for the forest at night, and their nightwalks for chiks to near by settlements).
    He had a very short and fat tale, pointy ears and one... ball. He adjusted easily to the house after a couple of months later, and a lots of liter of fresh milk.., He well gave us some of his offsprings, and became a spoiled darling.
    It looks for me -I am not a veterinarian-, that, -he- was an interbreeding mix of these wildcats with a domesticated part as well. Few years after, he lost one eye and a half ear... from a night battle, He dissappeared but left us some of his genetic stock, I suppose...

    Sorry for the long post... I love them.

    For the off topic -Dogs.
    Just to clear all the above. A bucket with water, onions and a week old, bread with yeast... Is enough for them.

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    .
    @Maciamo (post #3)
    I consider also - among the great work you've done-, that would be interesting a section, for the studies of the genetic data of domesticated animals, maybe could give us as well a clear view of the populations moving in time of history...
    an example:





    There are few individuals now, -steppe cow we call them (1*)-, allthough there was a lot at late 60's...

    Here is an amazing guy, Demetrios Dimou (prized from the Slow Food organization), which save a lot of them, among others the native black pig (2*) and the thessalian horse.
    I'm a great admirer of his work.



    Mediterranid/alpinoid I suppose....



    (1*) the other native stock is the "shorthorn;"- βραχυκεράτια
    (2*) There is a study which mentions that the first neolithic farmers of north mediteranean, were pig herders mostly, that well remind us the "Χοιροκοιτία¨" -chirokitia; - Pig place; as the name indicates.-an early neolithic settlement at Cyprus.
    anyway
    The study here: http://www.pnas.org/content/113/48/13594.abstract

    Sorry for the slight derailment, I thought that someone would interested -for the domestication of animals at East med generally. (free to moderate)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ΠΑΝΑΞ View Post
    .
    There was a thread about a study for the mouses and the human habitation.The study here https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogs...-of-human.html
    The thread from Eupedia here


    It is interesting enough as we consider the timeless battle beetween cats and mouses and to some extend the transition of the hunter/gatherer's societies to the agriculturist's ones. (?)
    As the study proposes, -Lior Weissbrod et al:
    "Origins of house mice in ecological niches created by settled hunter-gatherers in the Levant 15,000 y ago"

    It is fair enough to consider that many interesting things happened -mutations to call them;- to the region ( Fertile crescent/ Anatolia/-East Med. genarally.) cause to the development of new technologies, -in short terms farming-,
    the sheeps and goats; as well the donkeys and the pigs; -maybe as well.

    In Greece, cats are in big respect, It is difficult to imagine a house,- especially in the country- without cat/s. We consider them as good luck for the family, and is part of the ecosystem of the house as guardian of the crops and protector from the snakes. By the way in straight comparison with their great opponents, -Dogs, which are just dogs...

    It is amazing all these perceptions from the common people, coming from past ages, and give us a view as also an image about their living and their superstisions.

    (My grand father from my mothers side -Saracatsanians both-, I remember speaking him for the strange noises to the roof, as the noises of the spirit of the house which was... the snake! -Strange indeed, allthough their was always surrounded from cats. By the way, snakes love milk and my grand parents were breeders... Anyway all these "myths" woks fine with me, as well for the locals.)

    For the cats
    I think there is a "remnant" of wild cats -lynx's; as mentioned above- to todays cats, an usual for the area, with grey/brown coloured and tiggerish stripes I consider them very indicative and very common for us, usually as stray cats, as domesticated ( I have one, and always have - I choose always from that colouring stock..., but the true is that the cats choosing us.) I have a lot of amazing stories of them.




    My parents live at a very remote and rural area, (Pindus) away from the sparcelly remote villages, It is an area of Natura 2000 with more of almost ~108 kind of birds, among other wild mummals...no to extend.
    They usually have cats, five or more at the stalls; -house for the animals-, as well a couple usually to their home.
    (always non vaccinated, with high rate of mortality, cause of predators like foxes and badgers usually)

    (a wildcat; story)
    It was almost ten years before as I remember, when an amazing cat appear,- who knows from where-, with the usual tiger looking, as mention above, but very dinstinct of any other. It was a male in bad condition but none of the others cats usually females, couldnt challenge him. ( with abscent of males, which rarelly survive, cause of their interesting for the forest at night, and their nightwalks for chiks to near by settlements).
    He had a very short and fat tale, pointy ears and one... ball. He adjusted easily to the house after a couple of months later, and a lots of liter of fresh milk.., He well gave us some of his offsprings, and became a spoiled darling.
    It looks for me -I am not a veterinarian-, that, -he- was an interbreeding mix of these wildcats with a domesticated part as well. Few years after, he lost one eye and a half ear... from a night battle, He dissappeared but left us some of his genetic stock, I suppose...

    Sorry for the long post... I love them.

    For the off topic -Dogs.
    Just to clear all the above. A bucket with water, onions and a week old, bread with yeast... Is enough for them.
    Yes, cats are a necessity on farms. I'm surprised, though, that you don't have dogs on your farms. On ours there's usually at least one. Often, there's a big dog, a German Shepherd or something similar, which is a guard dog. In the old days they lived outside, either in a special house or in the stalls.

    There were also herding dogs for the sheep and goats if the farmer kept them, and always, hunting dogs: some for truffles, some for game hunting, birds, quails, and sometimes wild boar. There are even dogs who specialize in finding truffles. We're big on hunting where I'm from...These dogs were more intelligent than some people I've encountered.

    Humans have gained immeasurably, in my opinion, from the domestication of animals, dogs when we were still hunter-gatherers, and cats during the Neolithic. That's not to mention all the domesticated animals from which we take food, clothing, tools, etc. Of course, with the animals other than cats and dogs there was a trade off: diseases. On a balance scale we still come out ahead, I think.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    .
    Hi Angela.
    Of course we have -dogs-,and that's why a bucket with water, onions and a week old, bread with yeast...wait them...


    Of course I love them, especially that sheppard mastiff, a similar stock we can find to Italy and other places in Balkans. There is also idicative the Molossus which dogs are from the Pindus highlands as the Mollosians the epirotan tribe. It is interesing, -allthough i cannot confirmed it- that said, that romans during their invasions at Greece adopt them as well for martial combats.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molossians

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molossus_(dog)



    But let me do some further explanations, which is usefull not just for the present sample-discussion, but further, why some incidents/phaenomena allthough look simply are more complicated as they appear.
    I'll use a simply and very briefly, two "dimensions" perspective of the issue to decode the issue. The one is the Culture and the other is the Enviroment. Both work together as well both intrigue and cause the final result.


    I'll begin with the culture to "defend" my previous statements, for the -bigger-respect for the cats.
    At our pop culture (*1) cats have seven lives (that "seven"-among others- needs further explanation but not at the present)
    The capable and smart person is Γάτος- Gatos, the male cat, and use it to name the intelligent guys, while the "Dog" usually have a negative mean sometimes with the "dirt" and with no pride person, we usually to reffer a person as a slimedog -Βρωμοσκυλο; a guy with no respect for the common values, allthough we recognize the tremendous stamina under hard conditions, and we say that someone works,or is as hard as a dog.
    All the above indicates,-briefly- the superstitions of the inhabitants, at that point not to undermind that possibly in contrast with other cultures, Pop culture is the bone structure of the hellenic society in deep time.
    (that also needs further explanation which maybe we have the luck to elaborate it to an other discussion.)


    .The problematic-today- relations with dogs at rural country, and the conomy of the landscape features, I will try to explain briefly also.
    Greece is a big country but it is like a crumpled/wrinkled; aluminum foil, there is a lot of altitude differntial and the free space for farming purposes as for the settlements (villages) are few. At that point we have not to underestimate the fresh water which is not present and plenteous, cause of the limestones which sucks the deposits of water, like sponges in their cracks and subterranean caves, allthough for that reason we have a great guality of waters, as also well at the metropolis of athens which holding the half population of Greece.
    Ffrom the above we hold that: for some reasons the habitation of rural Greece is not an easy task, with short terms for economic reasons.- pure crops in quantities> small villages> sparsely populated etc. I;ll take in use a gnomic from our culture which just simply states that: Small village is a bad village. (such wisement in few words -think of it!)
    The proteins/calories are expensive, also mind that the -modern also- population have not the luxury for a meat meal in a week. so there is no enough food for dogs ( I speak for the remote and rural country mostly)


    The problem begins, when you have a dog (which is an animal with very social interests; -to say;) It is difficult to let it unleashed, so they use it to tie them, that hurt their psychology and turn them to psycopath condition and very antisocial especially when you dont have the luxury to have an other dog also or spend some time with it.
    Maybe you will say why not to unleash them?
    -Because for the reason usually near by (couple of miles;) there is an other flock of animals which is not nessesary means that your/my dog is friendly opposed, especially at nights. The dogs need our close supervision and they need to interact with humans for having a healthy relation with them. They usually became very vicious and the attacks to passengers are not rare as well to the individuals of the family. I have tragic incidents - and for the above reasons not just accidents- to both families of my parents, especially one of my fathers sister lost part of her face from the family dog while she approach to feed it. My grandmother from my mothers part, also attacked from her dog. To both cases
    a bullet to their brains end the tragedies. I know a case nearby my parents with a young sheppard get attacked from one of them vicious dogs late night, the owner of the dog -sheppard also- lost his fortunes to the courts...


    I dont have negative feelings for them -dogs-, I born and grew in Athens (very close to Acropolis) which the things are very different with the dogs, even the stray ones, -and especially them- are very friendly, enjoying the siesta's and free cause of the human presence, we feed them and everybody is happy, But this is not the case at the rural country.
    In contrast with the cats -especially the stray- which well inhabitate both enviroments cities as well the villages.
    A lot of tavern's usually have cats and they are free to go almost everywhere, -we just love them, but this is not the case with dogs.


    As for their smartness as you mentioned I agree that dogs are very smart as mummals but the cats are -more;- emotional inteligent but that depends to certain individuals and not enough to clear the issue as a prime axiom.
    But sure they are not cattles or sheeps...


    An paretymology approach; suggest also that: Cat, gr: Γάτα as also and Γαλή- Gali owns it;s name from Gallia. Gr Γαλλία which is in eng.>France. From Gallia and Gali we have the word Galene, gr Γαλήνη.> eng Serenity.
    I cannot confirm that but I consider propriate to testify the perceptions of the common people. -That's why I said paretymology.


    I agree -especially- with your last paragraph/sentence; -among all the others.
    Hope did'nt confuse you, I tried to be briefly and try to give you an simply if not naivve approach, allthough for me is very indicative how different some things work in different places.

    Anyway thanks for the interaction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ΠΑΝΑΞ View Post
    .
    Hi Angela.
    Of course we have -dogs-,and that's why a bucket with water, onions and a week old, bread with yeast...wait them...


    Of course I love them, especially that sheppard mastiff, a similar stock we can find to Italy and other places in Balkans. There is also idicative the Molossus which dogs are from the Pindus highlands as the Mollosians the epirotan tribe. It is interesing, -allthough i cannot confirmed it- that said, that romans during their invasions at Greece adopt them as well for martial combats.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molossians

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molossus_(dog)



    But let me do some further explanations, which is usefull not just for the present sample-discussion, but further, why some incidents/phaenomena allthough look simply are more complicated as they appear.
    I'll use a simply and very briefly, two "dimensions" perspective of the issue to decode the issue. The one is the Culture and the other is the Enviroment. Both work together as well both intrigue and cause the final result.


    I'll begin with the culture to "defend" my previous statements, for the -bigger-respect for the cats.
    At our pop culture (*1) cats have seven lives (that "seven"-among others- needs further explanation but not at the present)
    The capable and smart person is Γάτος- Gatos, the male cat, and use it to name the intelligent guys, while the "Dog" usually have a negative mean sometimes with the "dirt" and with no pride person, we usually to reffer a person as a slimedog -Βρωμοσκυλο; a guy with no respect for the common values, allthough we recognize the tremendous stamina under hard conditions, and we say that someone works,or is as hard as a dog.
    All the above indicates,-briefly- the superstitions of the inhabitants, at that point not to undermind that possibly in contrast with other cultures, Pop culture is the bone structure of the hellenic society in deep time.
    (that also needs further explanation which maybe we have the luck to elaborate it to an other discussion.)


    .The problematic-today- relations with dogs at rural country, and the conomy of the landscape features, I will try to explain briefly also.
    Greece is a big country but it is like a crumpled/wrinkled; aluminum foil, there is a lot of altitude differntial and the free space for farming purposes as for the settlements (villages) are few. At that point we have not to underestimate the fresh water which is not present and plenteous, cause of the limestones which sucks the deposits of water, like sponges in their cracks and subterranean caves, allthough for that reason we have a great guality of waters, as also well at the metropolis of athens which holding the half population of Greece.
    Ffrom the above we hold that: for some reasons the habitation of rural Greece is not an easy task, with short terms for economic reasons.- pure crops in quantities> small villages> sparsely populated etc. I;ll take in use a gnomic from our culture which just simply states that: Small village is a bad village. (such wisement in few words -think of it!)
    The proteins/calories are expensive, also mind that the -modern also- population have not the luxury for a meat meal in a week. so there is no enough food for dogs ( I speak for the remote and rural country mostly)


    The problem begins, when you have a dog (which is an animal with very social interests; -to say;) It is difficult to let it unleashed, so they use it to tie them, that hurt their psychology and turn them to psycopath condition and very antisocial especially when you dont have the luxury to have an other dog also or spend some time with it.
    Maybe you will say why not to unleash them?
    -Because for the reason usually near by (couple of miles;) there is an other flock of animals which is not nessesary means that your/my dog is friendly opposed, especially at nights. The dogs need our close supervision and they need to interact with humans for having a healthy relation with them. They usually became very vicious and the attacks to passengers are not rare as well to the individuals of the family. I have tragic incidents - and for the above reasons not just accidents- to both families of my parents, especially one of my fathers sister lost part of her face from the family dog while she approach to feed it. My grandmother from my mothers part, also attacked from her dog. To both cases
    a bullet to their brains end the tragedies. I know a case nearby my parents with a young sheppard get attacked from one of them vicious dogs late night, the owner of the dog -sheppard also- lost his fortunes to the courts...


    I dont have negative feelings for them -dogs-, I born and grew in Athens (very close to Acropolis) which the things are very different with the dogs, even the stray ones, -and especially them- are very friendly, enjoying the siesta's and free cause of the human presence, we feed them and everybody is happy, But this is not the case at the rural country.
    In contrast with the cats -especially the stray- which well inhabitate both enviroments cities as well the villages.
    A lot of tavern's usually have cats and they are free to go almost everywhere, -we just love them, but this is not the case with dogs.


    As for their smartness as you mentioned I agree that dogs are very smart as mummals but the cats are -more;- emotional inteligent but that depends to certain individuals and not enough to clear the issue as a prime axiom.
    But sure they are not cattles or sheeps...


    An paretymology approach; suggest also that: Cat, gr: Γάτα as also and Γαλή- Gali owns it;s name from Gallia. Gr Γαλλία which is in eng.>France. From Gallia and Gali we have the word Galene, gr Γαλήνη.> eng Serenity.
    I cannot confirm that but I consider propriate to testify the perceptions of the common people. -That's why I said paretymology.


    I agree -especially- with your last paragraph/sentence; -among all the others.
    Hope did'nt confuse you, I tried to be briefly and try to give you an simply if not naivve approach, allthough for me is very indicative how different some things work in different places.

    Anyway thanks for the interaction.
    Dogs weren't necessarily treated very well in the old days on Italian farms either. My mother's uncle had a German Shepherd that was tied up outside as a guard dog. As a result he couldn't necessarily defend himself from passers by who abused him. You had to be careful around him. When my mother was young some young boys were throwing things at him and he was pulling on the chain. My mother went to calm him and she got a horrible gash on her calf for her concern. The scar was still visible years later.

    The real "dog as an inside pet" thing is more "modern" perhaps. Still, on all the farms with which I was familiar all the hunting and shepherding dogs had a really large dog kennel and enclosure and were treated well and affectionately, at least by my time. They were too valuable not to be treated well, for one thing. A good truffle dog is worth a lot of money.

    I do agree that dogs will definitely take more abuse from an owner than a cat. In my experience cats never forgive and forget.

    Don't misunderstand: I love my cats. There's just no comparison in terms of intelligence, however. It's been posited in certain papers that the most intelligent breeds of dog can understand as much human vocabulary as a four year old child. I believe it. My parents had a standard poodle who I think was actually smarter than a lot of people I know. :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    In my experience cats never forgive and forget.
    Sometimes I wish to have that trait behaviour...

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    It's been posited in certain papers that the most intelligent breeds of dog can understand as much human vocabulary as a four year old child.
    Yes, I consider that is true, -about dogs, maybe there is a long story of evolution-, which bound us...
    It is maybe before, the human deal with an advanced vocabulary. An other interesting thing with dogs is that they use to have an eye contact with us and not just looking us, which I think is a fine indication for their smartness, compare to other animals...
    I love them too... especially the stray ones of Athens, they deal well with the locals as we the tourists too... and that is a civilised behaviour. they are amazing smart, they are using the traffic lights to cross the road, they hanging around the museums and the antigue monuments. (tsk, tsk, so educated)
    When I was young they were plenty of them, but they are few now. (Some people -few-,consider them as threat for public health and ask for their deportation to shelters)

    Have you ever heard about "Loucanikos" the "riot dog" ,by the way Lassie is a scout girl to straight comparisson,
    (no problem with girls, no problem with scouts, just rhetory.) .It was among the protagonists to the protests at the beginning of the economic crisis , and always against... the police.
    As you realise, here dogs have strong political opinions and arguments...as some, - not all- people as well.
    You know, something is in the air, something connect us with the "shadow" of the sacred rock (Acropolis)





    see some photos Here
    and a song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR_97V59LbE


    I love all the animals and I try a lot with humans. I have lot of experiance with them, even with insects... I am an amateur beehiver... There is so much wisdom... in that boxes
    (amateur, because is only for family purposes.)


    (Wow that thread became... Zoopedia ...LOL)

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    "These dogs were more intelligent than some people I've encountered"
    Well if the smartest dog can only understand words a 4 year old can, then these people must be dumber than a pre schooler ;).
    Last edited by davef; 23-06-17 at 17:31.

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    This is some commentary on the paper:

    See:
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2017...estic-animals/
    "Cats are an extreme outlier among domestic animals"

    "People who live with cats like to joke about how these small fuzzy creatures are still wild, basically training us rather than the other way around. Now a new genetic study of ancient cat DNA reveals that we are basically right. Cats were not domesticated in the same way dogs, cows, pigs, and goats were. They have lived among us, but it wasn't until very recently that we began to change them.
    Unlike dogs, whose bodies and temperaments have transformed radically during the roughly 30,000 years we've lived with them, domestic cats are almost identical to their wild counterparts—physically and genetically. House cats also show none of the typical signs of animal domestication, such as infantilization of facial features, decreased tooth size, and docility. Wildcats are neither social nor hierarchical, which also makes them hard to integrate into human communities."

    "Nobody is certain why Egyptian cats were especially popular, but it may have been because of their friendly dispositions. The researchers note that the ancient world's obsession with Egyptian cats was so intense that it became a political issue, and a "local ban on cat trading [was] imposed in Egypt as early as 1700 BCE." Still, Egyptian cats continued to "spread to most of the Old World." Over time, Mediterranean house cats were all from the Egyptian clade.

    Though these cats traveled the world with humans, they were never properly domesticated. More specifically, humans did not control their breeding. The researchers report that house cats often mated with local wildcats. Even when cats were part of farms or ship crews, they moved between the human world and the wilderness.
    Ottoni and his colleagues found no evidence of humans breeding cats until the Middle Ages. Possibly the first human-created cat breed was the "blotched tabby," a cat whose tabby stripes create whorls or spots. Previous researchers had identified the genes responsible for the blotched tabby mutation, so it was easy to track.
    Blotched tabbies don't exist in the wild, and the rise of this color pattern marks an important turning point in cat domestication. For the first time in our long history of cat companionship, humans took charge of cat breeding. At that moment, cats became more like other domestic animals. But there is still one important difference: time. Humans have been intermittently guiding cat breeding for less than 1,000 years. But other domestic animals, like dogs and goats, have been under our control for many millennia."

    "Arguably, we are at the dawn of cat domestication. Today's wildcats and house cats are still virtually the same. But in 8,000 years, we might have as many breeds of domestic cats as we do dogs. Imagine having a golden retriever-sized cat, with the same sunny disposition. Tomorrow's cat lovers might be living with baby-faced tigers or ultra-fluffy purse cats who look like kittens forever.

    Or maybe cats will continue to defy domestication. They could carve out a place as one of the only animals to befriend humans without ever falling completely under our control."

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    It is funny how a bunch of house (ship) cats is conquering Australia.

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    I didn't know that. Same as with rabbits then? No natural predators?

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    Well, since 1788 cats have already taken out 11% of the native mammals.
    What an amassing animal, it used humans as a vector.

    Don't know about cat predators, honestly can't think of one even in europe (maybe the dog, but not really)
    Cats have an internal population control, the mother kills the cubs if she cant feed them. Than there is FIV (the feline HIV version)

    In Australia, IMO, the small mammals are not adapted to the presence of such a predator (to the red fox too).
    The rabbits that had to deal with both the cat and the fox, have huge procreation numbers on their side to survive.

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    Sorry, I meant there are no predators that eat them? I was told that's why Australia is infested with rabbits. Are the cats preying on the rabbits or are they too big?

    My mother's cat was allowed outside. He had a little swinging door to come in and out by himself. Every day he'd bring in a bird or field mouse he'd killed and drop it at her feet. He was too well fed to eat them. It was a sort of offering, I suppose. I thought it was awful. I liked seeing the birds flying around. Plus, think of the germs. She was always washing that part of the tile with ammonia or bleach. That's why both of mine stay indoors.

    Yes, you're absolutely right: they've used us as vectors.

    I would absolutely adore having a Labrador sized affectionate one!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Sorry, I meant there are no predators that eat them? I was told that's why Australia is infested with rabbits. Are the cats preying on the rabbits or are they too big?

    My mother's cat was allowed outside. He had a little swinging door to come in and out by himself. Every day he'd bring in a bird or field mouse he'd killed and drop it at her feet. He was too well fed to eat them. It was a sort of offering, I suppose. I thought it was awful. I liked seeing the birds flying around. Plus, think of the germs. She was always washing that part of the tile with ammonia or bleach. That's why both of mine stay indoors.

    Yes, you're absolutely right: they've used us as vectors.

    I would absolutely adore having a Labrador sized affectionate one!
    Just supposing here because I don't know, probably cats prey on the young of the rabbits. I mean that the cat doesn't prey on adult ducks, but it really decimates the ranks of the young ducklings.

    Thanks for telling me about the rabbit invasion because I did not know about it. Was reading a bit about it on wikipedia: apparently the government released a new virus in 2017 to exterminate the wild rabbits (the 3rd attempt)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Ancient DNA reveals how cats conquered the world

    "Humans may have had pet cats for as long as 9,500 years. In 2004, archaeologists in Cyprus found a complete cat skeleton buried in a Stone Age village. Given that Cyprus has no native wildcats, the animal (or perhaps its ancestors) must have been brought to the island by humans all those millennia ago.

    Yet despite our long history of keeping pet cats and their popularity today, felines aren’t the easiest of animals to domesticate (as anyone who’s felt a cat’s cold shoulder might agree). There is also little evidence in the archaeological record to show how cats became our friends and went on to spread around the world.

    Now a new DNA study has suggested how cats may have followed the development of Western civilisation along land and sea trade routes.

    [...]

    To track the spread of the domestic cat, the authors of the new study, published in Ecology and Evolution, examined DNA taken from bones and teeth of ancient cat remains. They also studied samples from the skin and hair of mummified Egyptian cats (and you thought emptying the litter tray was bad enough).

    They found that all modern cats have ancestors among the Near Eastern and Egyptian cats, although the contributions of these two groups to the gene pool of today’s cats probably happened at different times. From there, the DNA analysis suggests domestic cats spread out over a period of around 1,300 years to the 5th century AD, with remains recorded in Bulgaria, Turkey and Jordan."

    Interesting, thank you for posting. I wonder what trade route the Egyptians had to take to end up on Viking ships. :)

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    Well the hottest women generally look cat like (especially in the East Med.), so I wonder if there is some connection to ancient cat culture and sexual selection.

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