The Detroit Post
Wednesday, 01 December, 2021

Why Are Domesticated Cats Here

James Lee
• Saturday, 31 October, 2020
• 30 min read

In a new comprehensive study of the spread of domesticated cats, DNA analysis suggests that cats lived for thousands of years alongside humans before they were domesticated. During that time, their genes have changed little from those of wildcats, apart from picking up one recent tweak: the distinctive stripes and dots of the tabby cat.

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Two major cat lineages contributed to the domestic feline we know today, they report in a study published Monday in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The cats likely started hanging around farming communities in the Fertile Crescent about 8,000 years ago, where they settled into a mutually beneficial relationship as humans’ rodent patrol.

“This is probably how the first encounter between humans and cats occurred,” says study coauthor Claudio Cotton of the University of Leuven. A second lineage, consisting of African cats that dominated Egypt, spread into the Mediterranean and most of the Old World beginning around 1500 B.C.

The results suggest that prehistoric human populations probably began carrying their cats along ancient land and sea trade routes to control rodents. By comparing the DNA of cats throughout history, the study captures a glimpse of how the animals were changing even before humans started to cart them across the globe, Cotton says.

Surprisingly, wild and domestic cats showed no major differences in their genetic makeup, and one of the few traits available for telling them apart was the tabby coat marking. The study sheds light on the late emergence of the blotched or striped coat markings, which began to appear in domesticated tabby cats in the Middle Ages.

The gene for a tabby coat dates back to the Ottoman Empire in Southwest Asia and later became common in Europe and Africa. Overall, cats became a domesticated companion of humans without changing much, says evolutionary geneticist and article coauthor Eva-Maria Gag.

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Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a bachelor's degree in biology. This article on the Smithsonian addresses the ‘debate’ that actually sheds much needed light on the topic of domestication, animal behavior, and the controversial practice of keeping ‘exotic’ or wild animals as pets.

People have even devised ways to assess your personality based upon which of these animals you own or prefer. While dogs are essentially seen to embody an ever optimistic, loyal, and childlike companion, cats are known as independent-minded and self-sufficient.

When we examine dogs and cats in this way, we might start to see why cats are often seen as wild animals. There is an ample lapse of logic and numerous inconsistencies when the concept of domestication is discussed.

Domesticated animals have been selectively bred to be cared for by humans and cannot fend for themselves in the wild. And last, they must naturally respect a social hierarchy and dominant member, recognizing humans as their ‘master’.

“At its most basic, domestication is a dependence on humans for food, shelter, and control of breeding” The layperson’s idea of domestication is that of a species’ dependency on humans after breeding-induced modifications, but this criterion simply does not work.

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This is part of the reason why it is always advised to not release long-term captive animals, from geckos to killer whales. The cat’s hunting instinct is also seen as a ‘wild’ trait but the shocking fact is that most domesticated animals, like cows, horses, and goats, are herbivores and also forge for their own food, just as a wild horse, goat or cow (aurochs) would.

As previously described, an animal losing its ability to survive in the wild is in no way associated with domestication or lack thereof. Animals can be converted through hand-rearing and taming which does not involve a genetic shift in a population.

For instance, Jared Diamond’s popularly cited 6 criteria for domestication includes ‘recognition of the human caretaker as the pack leader’. I wouldn’t say they do this any different from cockatiels or flamingos….we’ve just deprived chickens of flight to make their captivity easier.

We know that a species with an evolutionary history that involved no human relationships cannot be domesticated. Traits such as curly tails, piebald color patters, and floppy ears are associated with breeding animals to be comfortable around humans.

Domesticated cats exhibit many color patterns and a longer digestive tract in adapting to consuming some human food scraps. We could just as easily selectively breed dogs to strongly resemble or even behave like wolves as we desire, and that doesn’t make them any less a human-selected domestication project.

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In its most simple terms, domestication is the genetic modification through intentional or unintentional selective breeding of an animal to suit a human use. Animals are unintentionally domesticated via the means of natural selection; when they breed around humans, they inevitably become a more human-tolerant species.

Cats are seen as ‘semi- domesticated because the majority of them do not have their breeding controlled, rather, most are randomly-bred mongrels and don’t have humans select their mates. These cats would be considered a (newly) fully domesticated animal by this definition.

Science scholars seem to be setting up their different criteria for domestication in comparison to a limited number of species, or one. Upon searching for an agreed upon definition of domestication, I kept finding more papers that added a criterion another didn’t have, or using dogs or cows as the grading rubric for which one should check off points to determine if an animal is domesticated or ‘semi’.

“Wildcats are improbable candidates for domestication… Furthermore, cats do not perform directed tasks and their actual utility is debatable, even as mousers” The only logical conclusion I can come up with, taking into account the science, cultural perception, and dictionary descriptions, is that domestication is a process that varies according to species and the purpose it is being carried out for.

Humans still play a strong role in the natural evolution of human-tolerant cats by not only allowing, but encouraging their presence in and around our homes. This is just how the domesticated version of the African wild cat turned out, based on our needs and methods.

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In this way, outside feral populations, it would be unwise to say that humans aren’t playing a part in their breeding. Since times have changed and humans have the luxury of using animals for means other than food and survival, cats evolved as companions that also hunt 'vermin' (small wildlife, indiscriminately).

These animals meet the human need of companion enrichment and are overall not significantly different from cats whose breeding is completely controlled. “In conclusion, our analyses have identified genetic signatures within feline genomes that match their unique biology and sensory skills.

Each species is unique and will undergo different changes when selective breeding is carried out. In fact, zoo animals might unintentionally be being selected for domestication when we find the individuals that breed well around us, thriving in the presence of humans in order to produce more healthy offspring, favorable.

It may seem like mere semantics to fuss over the word ‘domestication’, but it is important that it is understood what it really signifies. Arguments are often made for ‘ domesticated animals to be the only species suitable for captivity.

‘ Domesticated animals are often described as being tolerant of various forms of human captivity. People should divorce their thought process from the concept of domestication and rather examine species-specific traits as well as the individuality of captive animals, from house cats to elephants.

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Dwelling over invalid ideas about domestication can serve to mar the logical thought process. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional.

Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. A house cat can be viewed as semi- domesticated by some but doing so places it in a legal sort of no-man's-land (or, no-cat's-land, if you prefer).

If it is not a pet, and its “owner” is relieved of such duty, then it must be regarded and treated as though it were wild. For example, if a wild coyote comes into my yard and begins circling my chicken coop, I can scare it away.

Similarly, if a roof rat or field mouse makes its way into my pantry and winds up stuck to a glue board that I placed as a booby trap for just such an occasion, I can sever its head and toss it into my trash can--again, with impunity. Now, if a cat is a pet, its owner should keep control of it and prevent its getting into my pigeon coop.

After reading this article, the conclusion I've reached is that the common conception of domestication is backwards. A fundamental aspect of that comfort is that humans feel safe in the presence of normal individuals of that species.

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Skip to main content Domesticated cats all come from wildcats called Felix silvers lyrics that originated in the Fertile Crescent in the Near East Neolithic period and in Ancient Egypt in the Classical period. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.According to a recent study by Claudio Cotton, cat domestication took place in two strains, but all domestic cats have a common ancestor: the North African / Southwest Asian wildcat, Felix silvers lyrics (Cotton and others 2017).

By studying ancient cat DNA from all over the world, the researchers found that cat domestication began in the Fertile Crescent (in the Neolithic period) and accelerated later in Ancient Egypt (in the Classical period) (Cotton and others 2017). However, they did not find evidence that any present day domesticated cats are related to leopards, so if there was a time that they were domesticated, it did not last (Vine and others 2016).

Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.The evidence from Cotton’s study also gives an explanation for the way cats spread around the world. By analyzing the ancient DNA of cat remains found in port cities, the scientists concluded that cats were brought along on ships, most likely to help protect food storage son board by killing rodents (Cotton and others 2017).

A contented cat at Oder’s Amish Home … near Walnut Creek in central Ohio. Analyzing the pattern of cat coats is one of the best ways for scientists to distinguish between wild and domesticated cats, since it is one of the few visible differences between the two.

This suggests that selective breeding for coat color did not appear until the medieval period, much later than the start of cat domestication (Cotton and others 2017). Popcorn the cat, one of a dozen or so feline residents at Gammon Gulch, a recreated Old West town and the site of dozens of movies, commercial shoots and the like in the remote desert north of Benson in Cochise County, Arizona.

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Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.Scientists have also used coat colors and patterns to study other aspects of cats. The study suggests an increased risk of hyperthyroidism for longhair non-purebred cats, but a decreased risk for many pedigreed longhair cats compared to domestic short hairs (Crossly and others 2017).

Kittens crawling on Representative Peter Postmaster in his Congressional office. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.Many experts are also curious whether there is a link between coat color and behavior.

Another question is whether coat color impacts the length of time a cat will stay in a shelter. Brown concluded that younger and lighter colored cats generally find homes more quickly than older and darker colored cats (Brown and Morgan 2014).

These studies show that the history of cat domestication and the connection to coat colors and patterns is a topic of interest in the scientific community today. The relationship between coat color and aggressive behaviors in the domestic cat External.

The lion in the living room: how house cats tamed us and took over the world. Super cats : true stories of felines that made history.

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Tabor, Roger K. Understanding cats : their history, nature, and behavior. However, during this period of time domestic cat’s morphology, physiology, and behavior have changed very little from its wild ancestors (1, 2).

Jumping to high places, scratching, burying feces, chattering teeth at birds, hiding from strangers and feeling stressed, paranoid due to changes in its environment, hunting small animals, fighting for territory etc. Undoubtedly, friendliness and tolerance to humans give the impression that a cat is domesticated ”.

But does an adaptation to living with humans really has led to the genetic changes in a domestic cat? Cafra), one of which was a cat named Nancy, brought from the Arabian Peninsula (49).

The presence of called “friendly genes” in cats may have nothing to do with human influence at all. As demonstrated by a study on rats and rabbits, the behavioral predisposition to tameness exits as a genetic variation in wild animal populations (7, 8, 46).

There is no reason to think that these genes, that give an advantage to animals in adapting to an anthropogenic environment, are rare in wildcat species. Yet, the “domestication genes” or absence of them may not be the most important factor that turns a cat into an affectionate, non-aggressive pet.

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Kittens that associate human interaction with positive experiences and rewards (usually related to food), tend to become affectionate adults. On the other hand, if a cat is not accustomed to humans, it exhibits wild behavior and becomes “feral”.

In general, cats are efficient hunters just like their relatives, European wildcats (11). Because domestic cats retained their hunting skills, this worries conservationists who are concerned about the possibility that domestic cats are adversely affecting the wildlife and vulnerable ecosystems where they are introduced, non-native predators.

It is worth to note that domestic cats could have been contributed to the extinction of mammal and bird species in Australia and the United States (12, 13, 14). Unlike the United States and Australia, cats are native/indigenous animals in Anatolia and lived there probably for a hundred thousand years or even millions of years if we include the ancestors further in the Felix family tree (32).

There is no evidence that cats in Anatolia impact birds and other animals. Anthropogenic factors, such as the destruction of animal habitats, land clearing, expansion of Turkish cities and overall lack of interest in conservation, do significant damage to the wildlife of Anatolia (15).

Charles Darwin suggested that domestic cats have slightly longer intestines than wildcats because of the adaptation to a diet that tends to include less meat (16). The domestic cat has not evolved any metabolic adaptations like for example, dogs which developed an ability to digest starch (17).

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The nutritional requirements of domestic cat remain unchanged as would be expected for the carnivorous feline (18, 19). Further, studies demonstrate the similarities of diets between feral cats and European wildcats (11).

While the intestine length may be helpful to distinguish the European wildcat from the domestic cat (20), we should not forget that the domestic cat did not descend from the European wildcat. The differences in intestine length are species-specific, unrelated to the effects of domestication.

Another common argument is that domestic cats have 30 % smaller brains than their wild counterparts (21). Once again the research disproves this claim: Cats have brains as would be expected for their body masses, meaning that the reduction of brain size due to domestication was not detected (22).

Moreover, it was found that domestic cats and its close relatives Asian (F.l. Cafra) have a similar brain size and skull morphology (48).

We should point out an inconsistency in this argument, which seems to be anecdotal rather than based on actual observational data. We do not have any reliable data demonstrating what exactly the domestic cat ancestor looked like some thousands of years ago, but we can still obtain some useful knowledge when comparing the domestic cat to its closest relatives.

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The weight of F. lyrics subspecies ranges from 2 to 6.4 kilograms (Table 1), similar to that of non-obese normal domestic cat’s. Another important thing to consider is morphological differences between sexes.

Apparently, females are significantly smaller than males. The wildcat, from which the domestic cat originated, was a short haired brown mackerel tabby.

But the domestic cat has not one but a wide range of coat color variations. The molecular mechanisms responsible for coat color diversity are very similar or even identical in all domestic animals (25).

While coat color and other phenotype changing mutations occur by chance, human preference is not random: It is the primary driving mechanism that led to the number of fixed coat-color phenotypes observed in cats today (26). Still, though, it is the matter of the natural selection which does not disappear just because animals live in human-altered environments.

We can speculate that ancient farmer communities were more tolerant to the presence of cats with different phenotypes, and some probably held superstitions and magical beliefs related to these cats. Whatever the reason was, humans increased the chances of survival of cats with these mutations by feeding and providing a protection for their offspring.

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It appears that very little effort was needed if at all, to sustain the rare color mutations (47). It could be because many of coat color mutations had no negative effects on a cat’s health and survival.

Remarkably, the mutation of the white coat has a very interesting origin. Color point coloration, a type of albinism, is one such an example, which occurred in Far Eastern cat populations.

No matter when or where the variety of coat phenotypes occurred, it is very easy to incorporate them to the wildcat populations. Even if we believe that “wild” and “domestic” cats are distinct populations (they are not, at least not in Anatolia), even minor interbreeding between populations would result into wildcats being homozygous for coat color genes other than mackerel tabby, making them indistinguishable from the “domestic” cats (see Figure 1).

As illustrated by one comprehensive study on gray wolves, the coat color is not a reliable way to identify hybrids. The domestic cats from Europe, Asia, and Mongolia are distinct.

This would explain why domestic cats and lybica-type wildcats from the Near East, are indistinguishable from each other genetically (32, 33, 35; see figure 1). This realization has profound implications because it challenges the accepted notion that the domestic cats and F. l. lyrics wildcats are the separate populations.

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Photo credit: Stephan Spengler (Galahad Trans frontier Park, South Africa). Most studies compare the domestic cat with the South African wildcat F. l. Capra, which is different from F. l. lyrics genetically (37, 38, figure 1).

Frequent mixing with wild populations as well as other wildcat species further complicates the domestication issue (39, 40). Therefore, theoretically, it is not wrong to call the natural populations of domestic cats as wildcats Felix lyrics.

Taxonomists and some conservationists who classify domestic cats as separate species under name Felix cats would oppose this notion not because it is wrong or unscientific but due to unjustified fears that changing the status of the domestic cat to species of the wildcat would strip away the legal protections from other wildcats, such as European wildcat, and would make them an official target of eradication (51). In particularly, breeds like Siamese, Persians and their derivatives, have been subjected to the intensive artificial selection that resulted in extreme morphological changes.

Furthermore Persian, and its breeds (Figure 3) have distinctive behavioral traits that set them apart from the natural cats. However, the distinctive behavioral traits are not due to domestication but arise from a type of genetic syndrome associated with mental retardation and development abnormalities (42).

However, some researchers generalize that unusual traits such as short muzzle (Persian breeds), floppy ears (Scottish fold), dwarfism (Munchkin), carelessness (Sphinx), curly hair (Selkirk Rex) present in cat breeds indicate that domestic cats in general acquired so-called “domestication syndrome”. In other words, these phenotypic changes found in breeds are said to be proof that cats are domesticated (43, 44).

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Cat breeds with unusual mutations/disabilities, like folded ears and similar, descended from a few founders. We can think about cat breeds as analogical to domesticated silver foxes from Russian breeding experiment (45), and natural cat populations as wild foxes.

“From wild animals to domestic pets, an evolutionary view of domestication.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106. Supplement 1 (2009): 9971-9978. Feral cats : their role in the population dynamics of Felix cats.

Berteselli, G. V., Regally, B., Normandy, S., DE More, B., Zamora, C. A., & Spirit, C. (2017). Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 22, 35-40.

Montague et al., 2014, Comparative analysis of the domestic cat genome reveals genetic signatures underlying feline biology and domestication, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Have, H. O., Lautenschläger, S., Nelson, R., Besmear, F., Rival, M., Pagan, A., … & Retreat, E. (2014).

Genetic influences on brain gene expression in rats selected for tameness and aggression. Albert, F. W., Hodges, E., Jensen, J. D., Besmear, F., Xuan, Z., Rooks, M., … & Burbank, H. A.

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Targeted resequencing of a genomic region influencing tameness and aggression reveals multiple signals of positive selection. Responses of pet cats to being held by an unfamiliar person, from weaning to three years of age.

Ontogeny of individuality in the domestic cat in the home environment. Comparative analysis of the diet of feral and house cats and wildcat in Europe.

Frank, A. S., Johnson, C. N., Potts, J. M., Fisher, A., Laws, M. J., Woinarski, J. C., … & Legged, S. (2014). Experimental evidence that feral cats cause local extirpation of small mammals in Australia’s tropical savannas.

The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States. Medina, F. M., Board, E., Vidal, E., Jersey, B. R., Valet, E. S., Josh Dollar, C., … & Nogales, M. (2011).

A global review of the impacts of invasive cats on island endangered vertebrates. ekerciolu, Ç. H., Anderson, S., Away, E., Begin, R., Can, Ö. E., Semi, G., … & Salem, . K. (2011).

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The variation of animals and plants under domestication, vol. Abelson, E., Rajkumar, A., Arndt, M. L., MacBook, K., Webster, M. T., Pelosi, M., … & Lindblad-Toh, K. (2013).

The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet. The evolutionary basis for the feeding behavior of domestic dogs (Cans familiars) and cats (Felix cats).

Longueur DE l’intestine Du chat Forester Felix silvers Schreiber. Mammalian domestication and its effect on brain structure and behavior.

Albania, D. J. M., Lambert, K., Doctor, S. C., Astana, F., Berkeley, M. F., Manger, P., & Herculano-Houzel, S. (2017). Colors of domestication, Biol Rev Came Pilot Soc.

The role of humans in facilitating and sustaining coat color variation in domestic animals. Analysis of FGF5 and construction of a high-resolution radiation hybrid panel for the domestic cat.

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Leslie A. Lyons, 2008, Unraveling the Genetic Mysteries of the Cat: New Discoveries in Feline-Inherited Diseases and Traits, Genomics of Disease, Stapler Genetics Symposia Series 2008, pp 41-56 29. Molecular genetics and evolution of mechanism in the cat family.

David, V. A., Menotti-Raymond, M., Wallace, A. C., Role, M., Keller, J., Eighty, R., … & Connelly, C. J. Cotton, C., Van Near, W., DE Cup ere, B., Caligula, J., Guitars, S., Peters, J., …& Ballses, A.

Evaluating the roles of directed breeding and gene flow in animal domestication. Phylogenetic and conservation of the wildcat, Felix silvers, and Caspian tiger, Panther Tigris Virginia (Doctoral dissertation, Oxford University).“In analyses, lybica-type wildcats are indistinguishable from phenotypic domestics, carrying identical mt DNA”.

Genetic analysis shows low levels of hybridization between African wildcats (Felix silvers lyrics) and domestic cats (F. s. cats) in South Africa. Daniels, M. J., Beaumont, M. A., Johnson, P. J., Balladry, D., Macdonald, D. W., & Barrett, E. (2001).

Ecology and genetics of wildliving cats in the northeast of Scotland and the implications for the conservation of the wildcat. Evaluating the roles of directed breeding and gene flow in animal domestication.

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Berlin, F., Randolph, B., Kim, E. S., Haas, B., Lyons, L. A., & Rothschild, M. F. (2016). Evidence of selection signatures that shape the Persian cat breed.

The “domestication syndrome” in mammals: a unified explanation based on neural crest cell behavior and genetics. The taming of the neural crest: a developmental perspective on the origins of morphological covariation in domesticated mammals.

Garnered, M., Rubin, C. J., Di Palma, F., Albert, F. W., Alford, J., Barrio, A. M., … & Yo unis, S. (2014). Rabbit genome analysis reveals a polygenic basis for phenotypic change during domestication.

A longitudinal study of phenotypic changes in early domestication of house mice. Evaluation of anatomical characters and the question of hybridization with domestic cats in the wildcat population of Thuringia, Germany.

Mullikan, J. C., Hansen, N. F., She, L., Ebbing, H., Donahue, W. F., Tao, W., … & Cruz, P. (2010). Light whole genome sequence for SNP discovery across domestic cat breeds.

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Pilot, M., GREC, C., toehold, B. M., Randi, E., Jdrzejewski, W., Sidorovich, V. E., … & Wayne, R. K. (2018). Widespread, longer admixture between gray wolves and domestic dogs across Eurasia and its implications for the conservation status of hybrids.

The domestic cat originated from Near-Eastern and Egyptian populations of the African wildcat, Felix Sylvester lyrics. The family Felipe, to which all living feline species belong, arose about ten to eleven million years ago.

Variations of this lineage are found all over the world and up until recently scientists have had a hard time pinning down exactly which region gave rise to modern domestic cat breeds. Scientists believed that it was not just one incident that led to the domesticated cat but multiple, independent incidents at different places that led to these breeds.

More complications arose from the fact that the wildcat population as a whole is very widespread and very similar to one another. These variations of wild cat can and will interbreed freely with one another when in close contact further blurring the lines between taxa.

Recent DNA studies, advancement in genetic technologies, and a better understanding of DNA and genetics as a whole has helped make discoveries in the evolutionary history of the domestic cat. Note: Current taxonomy does not tend to treat F. silvers, F. lyrics F. cats, and F. bait as the same species.

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A 2007 study of feline mitochondrial DNA and micro satellites of approximately 1,000 cats from many regions (including Africa, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and the Middle East) showed 5 genetic lineages of the wildcat population. Along with DNA analysis, phylogenetic studies were also conducted to narrow down the evolutionary history.

Phylogenetic trees were generated based on mitochondrial DNA analysis. Lybica gave rise to the domesticated cats of today.

The former gathered around human agricultural colonies themselves, while the latter (~1500 BCE) seems mainly attractive in behavioral traits. They started spreading during neolithic times, but did not become widespread in the Old World until classical antiquity.

A newer study from 2018 moves the earlier origin to Southwest Asia. Genomic regions under selection in domestic cats include those involved in neuronal processes (fear and reward behavior) and in homologous recombination (increased recombination frequency).

In addition, the KIT mutations responsible for the white-spotted phenotype were identified. Scientists also used archaeological and behavioral studies to help further solidify the discovery that F.s.

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Fragments of teeth and bone found at burial sites across the globe have all been connected by DNA analysis to F.s. Lybica, some dating as far back as 7,000-8,000 years ago.

Originally the Egyptian populations were credited to the early domestication of cats approximately 3600 years ago but archaeological evidence also disputed the hypothesis in 2004. Archaeologists working in Cyprus found an older burial ground, approximately 9500 years old, of an adult human with a feline skeleton.

Cats are not native to this area which means the tribe must have brought them with them when they established residence on the island. This finding suggests that people from the Middle Eastern region of the Old World began keeping cats many years prior to the Egyptians.

Silvestris (the European wildcat), which was thought to also be a common ancestor to domesticated cats, showed that there were significant differences between the two. Silvestris has a tendency to be very timid and aggressive even when they are raised starting as kittens around a human population.

This group was also very territorial and showed aggressive behavior within their own species as well. Hybrids between domesticated cats and silvers showed less aggressive behavior and more docile temperament leading the scientist to believe that the behavioral difference was genetic and most likely due to a difference in species.

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Lybica is thought to be the common ancestor of all domesticated cats today. Different from many other domesticated animals who were bred for food, hunting, security or many other functional reasons, modern cat breeds originated from breeding for physical characteristics.

Physical characteristics like hair color and pattern and the few genes that control these traits are what differentiate the wildcat ancestors from modern domesticated cats. In 1871 only 5 cat breeds were recognized by an association in London.

Today the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) recognizes 41 breeds and The International Cat Association (Tina) recognizes 57 breeds. Most of which are single gene traits found at low to moderate levels in the non-pedigree cat.

This means that this characteristic is rare and not seen in the common everyday house cat. Unlike most dogs found today who come from a mixture of purebred lineages, cats started as a mixture of many wildcat variations and have been selectively bred by humans for certain traits which lead to modern breeds.

DNA's studies have been conducted to connect the pedigree lines to their random bred ancestors. These studies were conducted using the same techniques as mentioned above for finding the common ancestor which were the mitochondrial DNA and micro satellites.

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All cat breeds were found to have originated in eight different regions and then selectively bred multiple times throughout history and relocated multiple times leading to the approximately 45 modern breeds. Genetic and Archaeological findings hint that wildcats became housecoats earlier- and in different place- than previously thought”.

^ a b c Driscoll CA, Menotti-Raymond M, Rock AL, Hope K, Johnson WE, Geffen E, Harley EH, Delibes M, Pointier D, Kitchener AC, Yamaguchi N, O'brain SJ, Macdonald DW (July 2007). ^ a b Cotton, Claudio; Van Near, WIM; DE Cup ere, BEA; Caligula, Julien; Guitars, Silvia; Peters, Boris; Season, Nikolai; Pederast, Mary E.; Boiling, Nicole; Morales-Muñiz, Arturo; Ballses, Adrian; Becker, Cornelia; Bedecked, Norbert; Bornean, Adana; Buitenhuis, Hike; Changed, Jana; Crowther, Alison; Florence, Laura; Managerial, Nina; Poncho, Here; Omar, Vedas; Osypiska, Marta; EUTELSAT, Olivier; Quinton Morales, Render M.; Stud er, Jacqueline; Wearer, Ursula; Decorate, Ronny; Grange, Thierry; Gag, Eva-Maria (19 June 2017).

^ Montague, M. J.; Li, G.; Randolph, B.; Khan, R.; Taken, B. L.; Earle, S. M.; Minx, P.; Hillier, L. W.; Kobold, D. C.; Davis, B. W.; Driscoll, C. A. ^ a b Montague, Michael J.; Li, Gang; Randolph, Barbara; Khan, Radio; Taken, Broken L.; Earle, Steven M. J.; Minx, Patrick; Hillier, La Deana W.; Kobold, Daniel C. (2014-11-10).

^ Cotton, Claudio; Van Near, WIM; DE Cup ere, BEA; Caligula, Julien; Guitars, Silvia; Peters, Boris; Season, Nikolai; Pederast, Mary E.; Boiling, Nicole (2017-06-19). Genetic analysis of domestication patterns in the cat (Felix cats) : worldwide population structure, and human-mediated breeding patterns both modern and ancient.

One would think that the archaeological record might answer the question easily, but wild cats and domesticated cats have remarkably similar skeletons, complicating the matter. Some clues first came from the island of Cyprus in 1983, when archaeologists found a cat's jawbone dating back 8,000 years.

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Since it seemed highly unlikely that humans would have brought wild cats over to the island (a “spitting, scratching, panic-stricken wild feline would have been the last kind of boat companion they would have wanted,” writes Desmond Morris in Cat world: A Feline Encyclopedia), the finding suggested that domestication occurred before 8,000 years ago. Just last month, a study published in the research journal Science secured more pieces in the cat-domestication puzzle based on genetic analyses.

Cats were first domesticated in the Near East, and some study authors speculate that the process began up to 12,000 years ago. Egyptians cats were associated with the goddess Basket, and thus revered and immortalized in many forms of art, like this one acquired by Henry Walters.

This cast of an ancient Egyptian statuette of a cat is held by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and was discovered in 1922. ), or alternatively made of stone, ceramic, metal, or glass were common personal possessions in Ancient Egypt.

They were most frequently fashioned in the form of gods and goddesses or of animals sacred to them and worn as protection. Opus vermiculite in the National Museum is a floor mosaic with a cat and two ducks from the late Republican era, first quarter of the 1st century BC.

With grain stores came mice, and when the first wild cats wandered into town, the stage was set for what the Science study authors call “one of the more successful 'biological experiments' ever undertaken.” “We think what happened is that the cats sort of domesticated themselves,” Carlos Driscoll, one of the study authors, told the Washington Post.

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In the United States, cats are the most popular house pet, with 90 million domesticated cats slinking around 34 percent of U.S. homes. They were seen by many as being affiliated with witches and the devil, and many were killed in an effort to ward off evil (an action that scholars think ironically helped to spread the plague, which was carried by rats).

The cat doesn't seem to be able to entirely shake its association with evil: After all, how often do you see a movie's maniacal arch-villain, as he lounges in a comfy chair and plots the world's destruction, stroke the head of a Golden Retriever? Moreover, people love the cats due to the amazing companionship.

Let us check other interesting facts about domestic cats below: The anatomy of cats is defined by the presence of quick reflexes, strong body, sharp teeth and retractable claws.

There are wide array vocalizations of communications that cats produce such as grunting, growling, purring, hissing, mewing and trilling. The population control is needed to decrease the number of the feral cats.

The high population of cats in isolated islands is considered as the cause of the death of many birds. The extinction of 33 bird species is associated with the high number of cat population.

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There was a study conducted in the United States related to the popularity of cats in 2007. Cats usually have their territory around 17 to 69 acres or 7 to 28 hectares around the vicinity of the house.

They breed easily in captivity and can undergo multiple periods of fertility in a single year. Many domesticated animals live in herds, making them easy for humans to control.

People also often intentionally select for these juvenile traits in the course of breeding, giving us the pugs, rag doll cats, and dwarf rabbits of today. Captive Asian elephants, for example, are often misinterpreted as domesticated, because they have been kept by humans for thousands of years.

Although then can breed in captivity, like big cats and other wild animals, they are not selectively bred, largely because of their long reproductive cycle. For this reason, there are no domesticated breeds of Asian elephants : They remain wild animals.

Shelters report high numbers of domestic rabbits being abandoned outdoors. Cats are simply not as domesticated as dogs despite sharing households with humans for at least 9,000 years, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have found.

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Senior author Was Warren, an associate professor of genetics at The Genome Institute at Washington University, said: Cats, unlike dogs, are really only semi- domesticated. The scientists found changes in the domestic cats genes that other studies have shown are involved in behaviors such as memory, fear and reward-seeking.

This mean that cats that would have preferred to lead a solitary life had an extra incentive to stick around and, over time, humans would have selected the most docile creatures to keep as pets. The researchers sequenced a domestic female Abyssinian cat named Cinnamon that had degenerative eye disorder and whose lineage could be traced back several generations.

They found that the main difference between these cats and their wild counterparts lay in features such as specific hair colors and fur patterns, as well as facial structures and docility. However, when it comes to key characteristics such as eating a carnivorous diet and having an excellent sense of smell, the researchers found that there was no difference in the genome.

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