The History Of CatsIf you have a cat and a brief knowledge of their history, you will understand why they are so lovable. Do you have a friend or family member who owns a cat and ask them what they think of its behavior? What do you think they would say? Would you like to know more about the history of your favorite feline friend? The more you learn about your cat's past, the more you will appreciate all of the wonderful memories you share with it each day. There are perhaps 600 million currently wild cats in the planet, so great chances are there is one sitting on your hip at the moment. As you gently inspect your sleeping kitty, have you thought about how little we, merely humans, really know about the early history of cats and how they came about? If you think back far enough in history, you will see that cats have a long and varied history, even going back into the distant prehistoric times. One theory about the origin of domestic cats is that they were domesticated after a long period of evolution by primitive humans who were looking for a more convenient way to care for themselves and their pets. The first felines that lived in close proximity to humans were known as the Neolithic cats, and according to recent estimates, these felines were probably not more than four inches long. They fed primarily on mice and small birds, and appeared to be very closely related to the modern-day domestic cat. Neolithic cats were probably not very intelligent and were clearly very undesirable. Throughout the period of ancient Egypt, as the land was gradually urbanized, an influx of large numbers of Neolithic ancestors could be seen peeking out of the walls. Among these were the first domestic cats, the felines we know today as Egyptians, who were clearly not contented with hunting small mammals for sustenance. The Egyptians didn't just keep the animals they killed for meat as companions; they also adorned the bodies of their dead felines with ornate carvings and body jewelry. Along with stone jewelry, they used colored enamel inlays to decorate their fur. Over the course of the next twelve,000 years, as farming and population expansion increased throughout Egypt and the rest of the Middle East, the population explosion led to a need for more domestic cats. As the population increased and the area of land required for farming increased, so did the number of hunters. The Neolithic era ended and along with it the concept of cat domestication. But even as the concept of cat domestication deepened, the cats stayed in control, with humans often using cats as mere playmates or for hunting purposes. Another view of the history of cats is linked to the voyages of Christopher Columbus. In the early eight hundreds, for example, Columbus and his crew brought with them rodents native to south America and Africa. When these rodents were brought back to Europe, many of them were already well domesticated. Those that weren't were quickly handled by Europeans and trained to be useful companions and pets. Over time, cats spread out over the new world and into warmer climates, and they became the norm for warm-blooded creatures throughout much of the new world. As cats spread out across the globe, they became more varied in their appearances. At first, felines looked more like lions or tigers, but thanks to their long journeymen process of evolution, they eventually looked more like mice, rats, voles, and other rodents. Some populations became so diverse that they nearly occupied the place that dogs occupy today. There is evidence that suggests that the goddess Artemis, the goddess of healing, favored cats over other rodents. This could have been due to the fact that cats are capable of healing themselves when necessary. They also enjoyed hunting and would often kill larger animals to use their fur as a source of protein. If you'd like to learn more about the history of cats, don't worry. There are several excellent books available on this subject. One book, entitled The Secrets of the Cat Folks, written by Temple Grandin, is a great primer on the biological specimens of cats. Another excellent book on cats, called Cat Facts, was written by Mel Bayberry and detailed notes are provided for those who wish to learn even more about the history of cats. Be sure to check out these books and other information about your cat and the ancient roots of the modern day wild cat.