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A History of Cats

Hello and welcome to Cat Chat! All cats, all the time. Here we will talk about a number of topics, spanning from general information to cat care to fun facts and more!

Alright meow, let’s get started… (oh yeah, and there WILL be puns)

People love cats and have for centuries. Your love of cats likely brought you to this website, and you’re in good company! There are millions of cats kept as pets all over the world, but this clearly didn’t happen overnight. So where did they come from? When did they first appear? And how did they come to be one of the most popular pets in the world?
Surprisingly, there is a lot of conflicting information out there about the origins of cats. Many researchers and scientists have their own theories, and right as things start to make sense, another piece of history presents itself and changes the game. It’s difficult to determine exactly when cats first appeared on the Earth, but their most ancient ancestor was likely the Miacis, a weasel-like animal that lived about 40-50 million years ago. The most popular prehistoric cat is the Smilodon, or saber-toothed tiger, last roaming the Earth around 10,000 years ago. From large and intimidating to the size of an average house cat, several different species and breeds of cats lived their wild lives for centuries on their own. So when did this special bond begin to form with humans?

We can thank our Egyptian pals for first allowing smaller breeds of cats into their homes around 5,000 years ago. Cats were used to kill rats and mice that infested grain stocks along the Nile, as well as for hunting fish and birds. They became so valuable to the Egyptians, laws were put into place to protect them. Soon these invaluable creatures became sacred, leading to a cult of cat worship that lasted more than 2,000 years. This is best represented by the feline goddess, Bastet, whom many still consider the protectress of our feline friends. Bastet was often depicted as half-woman, half-feline, was worshipped and celebrated by all, and believed to be the reason Egyptians allowed cats inside in the first place. All hail Bastet!

All over the world, cats became valuable to many others for those same hunting abilities, and began to enter homes all across Europe, India, China and Japan. During the Middle Ages, things took a terribly sad turn when superstitions began tarnishing their reputations, associating cats with black magic and witches. The details of this horrific time are a bit heavy, however they soon made a comeback when the rat population grew, bringing with them disease and plagues. People finally realized how much we needed these precious creatures, and even began to love them as their own. Many writers in Europe even wrote of their endearing qualities during the 17th century, spreading the mews (yes, mews) that cats were the bee’s knees! Err, uhm, cat’s meow!
Currently, the domestic house cat is one of the most popular pets in existence, inhabiting millions of homes worldwide. They have been through a lot, from being worshipped to shunned, a fashion statement to a loyal companion, to becoming a member of our families. With the love we feel for these beautiful creatures comes the desire to acquire more of them, but sadly this leads to over-population and more and more cats on the street.

So please, always remember to adopt, don’t shop. Spay and neuter your pets. Be the good in the lives of these purrrfect little furballs and help protect them like the goddess Bastet would!

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