Your cat may now be snuggled up looking like a little angel, but his ancestors were lean, mean hunting machines.
Scientists have discovered through DNA investigations that all domesticated cats descended from a rodent-hunting African subspecies. This species was first tamed by Near East farmers 9,000 years ago.
Using genetic material taken from mummified cats in Egypt, Viking graveyards and Stone Age sites researchers traced the journey of cats from wild hunters to pampered pusses. The DNA showed that all tamed cats today descend from the African wildcat or Felis silvestris lybica, a subspecies found in North Africa and the Near East.
|African wildcat or Felis silvestris lybica|
Scientists confirmed that the path to domestication probably began when early farmers in the Near East began to stockpile grain about 9,000 years ago. DNA suggests that migrating farmers took cats with them as they moved into Europe. There was a second wave of domestication that had its roots in Egypt.
The DNA from one cat came from the ancient Red Sea port of Berenike where the Romans traded from 2,000 years ago. The Vikings carried cats on their boats too, to keep rodent stowaways under control at sea.
*Take a look at The Best Cat Products In The World. You'll love them!
Never miss a funny picture, mad video or hot cat news. Subscribe to That's Purrfect and we'll email you every time the website is updated. All you have to do is pop your email address in the 'subscribe' form in the panel below or right.