History of Domestic House Cats

Cats give us love and make us smile

As cat owners and people who care deeply for animals and wildlife, we wanted our Cat Encyclopedia to be a website that could empower pet owners to create the most positive, loving environment for their cats. Cat Encyclopedia realizes that owning a house cat is like adding a new member to your family.

The domestic house cat is a direct descendant from the North African Kaffir cat and still exhibits many of the traits and behaviors of it's ancient relative. As long as 3,000 years ago cats began colonizing the world. The first domestic cats were taken by merchants on their oceanic trade routes. Cats were first brought on the ships for their expert ratting skills and later merchants also traded them as merchandise at their various ports. These first domestic cats were traded from North Africa to Europe and Asia, as well as China, Babylon, and India. Cats were first introduced into Japan around 1,000 A.D. and it was another 300 years until domestic cats reached the Americas.

In ancient Egypt domestic cats were worshipped as a god-animal. The Goddess Bastet, daughter and wife of the sun God Ra, was depicted as a shapely woman with the head of a cat. Even Ra himself, as Osiris, the God of the Underworld, was sometimes depicted as a cat. In the fifth  century B.C., A Persian army exploited the Egyptian's high regard for cats. When the army marched on Peluse, the Persians carried live cats on the front line. The Egyptians chose to surrender, rather than risk injuring any of the sacred cats. Domestic cats are featured in large quantities of Egyptian artwork and it was illegal to harm an Egyptian cat or to even take it out of Egypt.
 

Ancient Germans became acquainted with cats through the Roman Empire. In ancient German Mythology feral cats pulled the chariot of the Goddess Freya, the Goddess of fertile life and the mother of nature. During the Early Middle Ages domestic cats became less popular and were even condemned by the Church, who declared the cat to be a creature of the devil. Thousands of cats were burned on pyres, often times with woman accused of being witches. In modern times domestic cats have grown to become the most popular pet in both the United States and Canada. For those who adore domestic house cats, life is simply not complete without a cat in the home.

Cat Superstitions: Many superstitions began to be linked to cats. It was considered bad luck for a ship to sail without a cat and if the cat ever fell overboard sailors feared the ship was doomed. To this day people are still wary of a black cat crossing their path, and in Celtic regions of Europe it was widely believed that cats born in the month of May should never reach adulthood.
In ancient Egypt domestic cats were worshipped as a god-animal. In ancient German Mythology feral cats pulled the chariot of the Goddess Freya, the Goddess of fertile life and the mother of nature. The Abyssinian cat closely resembles the North African Lybian wildcat or Kaffir cat, the original form of the earliest domestic house cat
     



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Advocacy:

You can improve the lives of outdoor cats with Trap-Neuter-Return, the humane and effective approach for feral cats. To successfully trap, neuter, vaccinate, eartip, and return feral cats, you need a plan. These guidelines for humane trapping from Alley Cat Allies, the organization that helped introduce TNR to the United States, will get you on your way!

Cat Breeds:

Cat Encyclopedia has added beautiful dog photographs on each of our Cat Breed pages to enhance your experience. Each section in Cat Encyclopedia helps to educate pet owners, enabling both the cat, and the owner to have a safe, high quality experience.