Where did Domestic Cats Come From?


Lacie Coleman, Podcast, photography

    Do you ever wonder why your house cats still use their hunting instincts and ignore every word you say? Several decades ago, it was rare for cats to live indoors entirely. Since the dawn of time, cats have lived outdoors. They are biologically adapted to do so. In other words, they hear you, they just don’t care enough to listen to humans—as they never have. Cats were not domesticated in the same way that animals like dogs and livestock were. 

     Middle Eastern Wildcats were slowly introduced to the human world 10-12,000 years ago. As people stopped hunting and gathering and began planting crops for food, rodents began to come around to eat those crops. This meant that the cats would also start to get closer to humans, thus, the felix silvestris lybica became the well-known (and loved) felis catus. Our cats are virtually the same as the wildcat that emerged years ago, their instincts have not changed. The only difference is that cats have now picked up “meowing,” which is a “meownipulation” tactic adapted over time in order to communicate their needs to humans. If you happen to take in a much older feral cat with no introduction to humans or other assimilated cats, then these cats often never learned how to make this noise, as there was no need.

     Unlike dogs and other domesticated animals, cats still have their basic nutritional needs just as they did in the wild. These tiny fierce creatures still have a lot of the same physical characteristics as the Middle Eastern Wildcat did 10,000 years ago. Nonetheless, cats can be as cuddly and as affectionate as any other domesticated animal.