Thursday, July 03, 2008

Origins of domestic cat

The Courier of Montgomery County

The origin of domestic cats began millions of years ago. About 50 million years ago weasel-like animals called the Miacis is believed to be the ancestor of cats. About 40 million years ago, the Dinictis, a cat-like animal about the size of a lynx was roaming wild in Africa.

Around 4000 BC, in the Valley of the Nile, which is now Sudan (formerly Egypt), the cat was first domesticated. Grain provided the basis of food for many people and the grain was stored in large rooms. Rats, mice and other rodents were drawn to these storage rooms and would eat the grain and breed uncontrollably.

The rodent problem was spiralling out of control. Rodents swarmed many Egyptian cities destroying vast food sources as well as exposing people to diseases. No traps, poisons or other controlling devices were in place to keep the rodent population under control.

The African wildcat was native to the area and soon, Egyptians figured out a solution.

No comments: