Cats and dogs are the favorite household pets for many people. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember, even throughout history. So, how did this even begin? When was the first cat and dog domesticated? We will explore this topic.
Starting out with cats, they were first seen around human civilizations hunting rodents. All cats come from a common ancestor of wildcat called elis silvestris lybica that originated in the Fertile Crescent in the Near East Neolithic period and in ancient Egypt in the Classical period. Domestication started around 12,000 years ago when farming began. Cats were actually brought on ships to aid in travel by killing rodents on-board. This is how cats are now found around the world.
Throughout history, many cultures have deemed cats as either good or evil. In ancient Egypt it was illegal to murder a cat, but not only that, you would get a death sentence for it. Later in time during the Middle Ages, cats became demonized. In Europe, the people saw cats as devils. This did not change up until the 1600s, only then did they start to become a household name.
Dogs being domesticated was a different story. Dogs were around throughout history, first being wolves, then evolving into dogs over time. Around 20,000 years ago Hunter-Gatherers found and domesticated dogs. They would travel with them and bring them along on their adventures as a good scout. Although, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding how dogs got to the point of being in households.
Some researchers say that some dogs were friendlier than others, which made them closer to humans. This process is called self-domestication. These same friendly dogs worked well at picking up social cues coming from humans. It’s said that the gaze of a dog can be a sign of communication. The early dog (or wolf) gaze would be a sign for getting food. So, a dogs empty stomach and yearning for humans to feed them may have been the reason that they ended up in homes, domesticated.
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