How Did Cats Become DomesticatedThe domestication of cats was a relatively recent occurrence. And yet, we can still find a number of cats around the world today that are quite domestic in appearance. So how did these domestic cats become so like us? And what sort of roles do they play in our lives today?Well, for starters, how did domesticated cats end up as such a common domestic animal? Where did the idea of crossing a wildcat and a domestic cat come from? Are you wondering just what the history of this fine feline is?It's not really known exactly where cats came from. One theory is that they were spread over much of Africa when people migrated across the landmass. Another idea is that they were introduced with rats by humans who colonized the eastern part of the country. This is one of the reasons that the term 'fisher-folk' came about, since there were many fishermen in the area who used birds, nuts and other food items to lure in bigger fish. Since these animals are considered to be wild animals today, it must have been a fairly recent development. Some studies of fossils have shown that cats appeared on the scene after around 12,000 years ago. This would put them at approximately the same time that people began using pottery. During this time, stone for pottery was being produced. So it's possible that the domestic cat was bred with wild cats and then made into a domestic pet. The main reason why we think that domesticated cats appeared is because of their adaptability to human cultures. Their natural instincts, such as hunting and protecting, made them suitable pets for many generations. But their usefulness for man only came about after they had been fully domesticated. During the industrial revolution, there was a great expansion in business and farming and so farming became a more important task for society. As people required far more land for cultivation, cats became useful as watchdogs and guard animals. Domesticated house cats are usually bred for three purposes - to guard against vermin, to act as hunters of small animals, and to provide warmth in cold weather. Most of the domestic cat breeds originated in southern Europe, Australia and Asia. They are usually blue in color but vary with every breed. Some contain genera of feline species such as Abyssinian, Burmese, Persian, and Domestic Islander. It is estimated that a wildcat population in the world is no more than a hundred or ten thousand strong. The domesticated cat population is thought to be much larger since they are used extensively all over the world as pets, companion animals, and for hunting. How did domesticated cats end up in our homes? Through gene manipulation and selective breeding, we can trace our domesticated cats back to their ancestor, the wildcat. There are two theories on how domestic cats became domesticated. The first theory states that domestic cats were brought into the American continent by settlers in the earliest years of America's existence. The other hypothesis is that domestic cats were introduced into the Middle East around the same time as cattle and pigs. The evidence provided by ancient Egyptian mummies, along with artifacts from other sites in the Middle East, supports the second hypothesis. The Egyptian mummies do not support the first theory, since they show no signs of wild cat ancestors, whereas the remains of domestic cats from the Middle East and North Africa show signs of rodents. The most complete specimen of the domestic cat domestication story came from a Chinese emperor around 700 B.C. In the book of Knotches and Stories, an ancient Chinese veterinarian, Yin li was described as having striped coat and a wild cat appearance. Yin Li was a very popular character among Chinese writers and even became a national hero. Records also indicate that he bred domestic cats to produce black-colored coats which are often referred to as "spotted" in modern times. The next domestication event took place over ten thousand years later, when a strain of Catus serpillae was created. These cats had dark eyes and dark hair, much like today's Siamese. They only lived in China and their range was very limited due to the fact that they could not adapt to cold climates. They spread across Asia and eventually reached Europe. Another early specie of cat was the Egyptian black cat. This breed of cat was believed to have been brought to Egypt by merchants from Mesopotamia. It is believed that these cats were brought to Egypt by traders who transported black cats with them in their ships. Whether this was true or not is uncertain, but it does show the influence of cat domestication on early Egyptians.