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First Hard Evidence for the Process of Cat Domestication

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the mittens-will-eat-you-when-you-die dept.

Science 144

sciencehabit writes "Cats have been part of human society for nearly 10,000 years, but they weren't always string-chasers and lap-sitters. Ancient felines hunted crop-destroying rats and mice for early farmers, and in return we provided food and protection. At least that's what scientists have long speculated. Now, they can back it up. Cat bones unearthed in a 5000-year-old Chinese farming village indicate that the animals consumed rodents and that some may have been cared for by humans. The findings provide the earliest hard evidence of this mutually beneficial relationship between man and cat."

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Backwards (5, Funny)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#45711921)

These guys have it the wrong way around. Humans didn't domesticate cats, cats domesticated humans. Within about half an hour of yge first cat realizing it could get foods and grooming from a human just by looking cute and rubbing against their legs every nowand then it made the human its servant and lived a life of leisure. I bet it never bothered to kill anything that wasn't within a law's length of it again.

Re:Backwards (5, Funny)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#45712005)

I must apologize for the above post. I'd like to claim that a cat walked over my keyboard but the reality is that autocorrect did its usual amazing job.

Stop blaming autocorrect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712093)

See, that excuse only washes when the words are dictionary words. "nowand" and "yge" are not dictionary words. There is a reason you get are forced to preview your post before submitting. Take the opportunity.

Re:Stop blaming autocorrect! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712155)

I have lots of strange abbreviations in my personal dictionary.

Re:Stop blaming autocorrect! (5, Funny)

alexhs (877055) | about 8 months ago | (#45712279)

There is a reason you get are forced to preview your post before submitting.

And Muphry's law [wikipedia.org] still applies :)

Re:Stop blaming autocorrect! (5, Funny)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 8 months ago | (#45712297)

And Muphry's law still applies

I see waht you did there.

Re:Stop blaming autocorrect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45715165)

I'm not sure this counts as an "I see what you did there".

Re:Stop blaming autocorrect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45715675)

Whoosh!

Check the link in GGP and the spelling in GP.

Re:Stop blaming autocorrect! (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#45712561)

There is a reason you get are forced to preview your post before submitting.

It's so you can see what you mis-typed. Right after you click the "Submit" button.

Re:Stop blaming autocorrect! (2)

sudon't (580652) | about 8 months ago | (#45715063)

I can't understand how misspellings end up online at all. Mine are all underlined in red. Doesn't Windows do that?

But allow me this opportunity to air my pet slashdot peeve: Why do people consistently forget to put a space after an italics tag? That drivesme nuts.

Re:Backwards (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about 8 months ago | (#45712025)

Human domestication hasn't stopped 5000 years ago, but it is going on... Our persian cat just looks cute, she realized there is no need to rub agains our legs to get food. And the largest animal she chased in all these years was a dragonfly. I am really envyous of her lifestyle...

Re: Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712229)

I bet your feline is neutered. That is the reason people can keep them inside apartments.
Pet cats are not the real thing...

Re: Backwards (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#45712407)

Oh dear god, only the insane idiot would want to keep intact female cats. The incessant yowling will make you kill things.
And intact make cats, Yay! Everything smells of pee and their special brand of "scent".

Using medical technology to fix design flaws with nature are perfectly ok. And then we have people that think it's ok to let kitty get pregnant and then let the kittens go in the neighborhood, or worse, the scumbag that throws all the kittens in a garbage bag and then tosses them on the highway.

Re: Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712675)

These are not flaws of nature. It's humans bringing nature into their homes - where it does not belong - that causes problems.

Re: Backwards (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45715729)

And, I would add, lots of laughs and genuine affection -- not the slavish doggy kind. Yes, I am a cat person.

Re: Backwards (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#45712701)

We had plenty of unaltered female cats on the farm. Out of 59 cats or so , more than half were female. Some wandered off, hawks and owls kept the herd strong and the population floated in the 40s most times. I NEVER had a problem with yowling, I guess they went to find a more private place. How do you screw with 50 others hanging around watching?

Re: Backwards (2)

operagost (62405) | about 8 months ago | (#45713793)

That's the key-- outside on a farm. It's pretty much impossible to keep an unspayed female indoors.

Re: Backwards (3, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | about 8 months ago | (#45713295)

Oh dear god, only the insane idiot would want to keep intact female cats. The incessant yowling will make you kill things.

How is that different from human females? *duck*

Re: Backwards (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#45712687)

Makes me think of my old cat with two noses.(side by side) She would hunt and bring back full grown rabbits, eat the guts and leave the carcass in the yard for the others. She was an outside cat though. I've had at least one mouser-Tonkinese, who regularly laid dead mice at my feet. Good Kitty! I think it depends on their level of boredom with the taste of kibble.

Re: Backwards (2)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 8 months ago | (#45713535)

After I put in a cat door, my cat started bringing me mice "gifts" every morning. One day, she waited patiently outside my bathroom door with a live mouse in her jaws. As I stepped out of the shower, she bit a hole in its head and dropped the squirming mouse, blood spurting out of its skull, at my feet. Freshest gift ever.

Nice kitty.

I finally locked the cat door when she brought in a bird. Ugh.

Re: Backwards (2)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45714737)

Told my cat he could hunt all the rodents he wanted (including some enormous rats), but if he ever brought home a bird that I'd beat him with it until the feathers fell off. Came home from work one day and found a dead robin on the kitchen floor. Called Tux in, closed the cat door behind him, and the chase was on. There were feathers from one end of the house to the other. He never brought home another bird, and I never even saw him stalking any after that.

I eventually moved to Peru and gave him to a nice couple who lived out in the woods. Came back to the US a couple of years later and gave them a call to see how Tux was getting along. The lady said, "Oh, he's fine. We let him out in the evenings and he hunts mice all night and leaves them on the porch. When we let the dogs out in the morning they eat them."

Re:Backwards (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#45712029)

You may be more right than you think: a scientist has proposed the theory that toxoplasmosis carried by cats affects everything we feel and do [go.com] .

Re:Backwards (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 8 months ago | (#45715033)

You've apparently read Bolo Strike, from Keith Laumer's universe, written by William H. Keith Jr. If not, you should check it out.

Re:Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712033)

Domestication is not about influencing behavior through psychological manipulation, but through selective breeding that modifies the gene pool over many generations. Your joke about cats being lazy and manipulative only makes sense if you haven't the slightest clue as to what domestication is.

Re:Backwards (2)

Kkloe (2751395) | about 8 months ago | (#45712115)

Who knows thats what exactly they have been doing by being the host of parasites that kills the "weaker humans" ie humans the cat doesnt like in my opinion! :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis [wikipedia.org]

Re:Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712069)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/9-leading-causes-of-bird-deaths-in-canada-1.1873654

Maybe it's just your cats.

Re:Backwards (5, Insightful)

reboot246 (623534) | about 8 months ago | (#45712193)

Indeed. Cats don't have owners. They have staff.

Re:Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45714221)

Indeed. Cats don't have owners. They have staff.

Staff implies the cats pay the humans. I think you meant cats have slaves otherwise known as unpaid interns in the realms of corporate and government staffing policies.

yet another cat vs dog comment (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | about 8 months ago | (#45714733)

cats and dogs have different evolutionary strategies.

A dog wants you to be happy to ensure you keep feeding him.

A cat wants you to know your place to ensure you keep feeding him.

Re:Backwards (0)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 8 months ago | (#45712513)

Maybe, maybe not. I've always suspected that what would become domestic cats were first brought into our lives for utility. A symbiotic relationship that naturally occurred simply because it made sense for the benefit of both species. Early cats that eventually became modern domestic cats were larger, had bigger brains, and were much more agile hunters. They were also probably not so easy to pick up and coddle (safely). Can you imagine a pack of modern house cat's successfully patrolling farmland? It's not that they can't still hunt, but it's not the same. Anyway, as random mutations and evolution go, a much more lovable and human friendly cat was born. This cat's evolutionary advantage would have been that it was docile enough to be allowed inside and coddled. A lovable cat would have been a favorable enough trait that humans (being strange) started breeding them for those lovable traits. Over time, selective breeding created increasing smaller cats with smaller brains and much more love to give and with a bigger desire to receive it. While domestic cats have certainly taken over our lives and mooch off of us, it was we that bred them to do so in order to have some cute and cuddly to love and that at least appears to love us back unconditionally.

Re:Backwards (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about 8 months ago | (#45712793)

Can you imagine a pack of modern house cat's successfully patrolling farmland?

Yes. Easily. As a child, I had a cat that was a holy terror to squirrels and birds. 3-4 dead critters a week and he wasn't even doing it for food. He never ate them - just left the bodies there. Our other cat ate them. I had no doubt that he could provide for himself in the absence of us.

Re:Backwards (1)

operagost (62405) | about 8 months ago | (#45713993)

You're not talking about the unselectively bred domestic cats. A field mouse sneaks in once or twice a year, but it doesn't make it out alive. One of them isn't exactly a lap cat, but both are quite friendly to humans.

Re:Backwards (2)

chaim79 (898507) | about 8 months ago | (#45714141)

Can you imagine a pack of modern house cat's successfully patrolling farmland?

Easily, because it's a common sight out in farmland. Maybe not so much in the big corporate farms but smaller family farms will usually have anywhere from a dozen to fifty or so cats running around the farm taking care of rats, mice, keeping 'coons and foxes at bay, etc. In fact, two of the cats I now have indoors, were born to barn cats and taken in while still kittens.

Re:Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45714287)

Can you imagine a pack of modern house cat's successfully patrolling farmland?

Yes, and I can also imagine a pack of modern uneducated greengrocers doing it.

Re:Backwards (1)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45714899)

You've never lived on a farm. Farm cats are bigger, tougher, more aggressive and disease resistant than the inbred apartment cat you probably know. Feral city cats tend to be smaller (since they're not competing with racoons), but are generally just plain nasty if they weren't handled extensively by humans in the first weeks of their lives. Modern breeds of cats, just like dogs, have nothing to do with evolution and everything to do with inbreeding and the Victorian fantasies of 'racial purity' that gave us barbarisms like the AKC and its feline equivalents.

tasty cats (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45711931)

Are they sure the farmers werent farming the cats?

Re:tasty cats (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 8 months ago | (#45711945)

No

Re:tasty cats (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 8 months ago | (#45711983)

Well, I guess it wouldn't have been UUOC either way.

Re:tasty cats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712277)

Nah, you're getting confused with Korea. Or is it Vietnam?

They all look the same to me.

Not entirely mutually beneficial... (4, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about 8 months ago | (#45711943)

Not entirely mutually beneficial... Toxoplasma gondii parasites, anyone?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/01/220113-sneaky-cat-parasite-takes-over-human-brains-science/ [nationalgeographic.com]

And once infected, you are twice as likely to get in a car accident, among other negative effects.

Re:Not entirely mutually beneficial... (1)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | about 8 months ago | (#45711977)

And once infected, you are twice as likely to get in a car accident, among other negative effects.

I'm sure car accidents weren't an issue 10.000 years ago. :)

Re:Not entirely mutually beneficial... (5, Funny)

crimson tsunami (3395179) | about 8 months ago | (#45711985)

summary says 5,000 years ago, so dinosaur accidents then :)

Re: Not entirely mutually beneficial... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712035)

Yabadabadoooo!

Re:Not entirely mutually beneficial... (2)

gtall (79522) | about 8 months ago | (#45712471)

Only in Kentucky according to the museum on early Earth history and other Biblical things.

I must be fucked then (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 8 months ago | (#45712119)

with my 7 cats. Maybe thats why I like playing The Need For Speed on my 3DO

Re:Not entirely mutually beneficial... (2)

mendax (114116) | about 8 months ago | (#45712137)

It has nothing to do with parasites. My beautiful black cat is living proof that some cats are possessed by Satan.
She's a feisty beast and very evil. The fact that she's black only makes it more evident.

Re:Not entirely mutually beneficial... (2)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 months ago | (#45713797)

Give me evil over smart any day... My five year old giant mutant "Halloween" cat has figured out how doorknobs work. I am so screwed...

Re:Not entirely mutually beneficial... (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about 8 months ago | (#45715069)

And once infected, you are twice as likely to get in a car accident, among other negative effects.

How can they possibly know this? You'd have to know precisely when each person in the sample was infected, so you could compare accident rates before and afterward. (Otherwise it might just be the case that cat owners tend to be accident prone.) You'd need to set up an experiment where you infected half the people with it and then employed them all as taxi drivers.

Re:Not entirely mutually beneficial... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45715401)

If that were an honest piece, I think we'd already see insurance companies asking if you own cats. There's nothing illegal about it.

Re:Not entirely mutually beneficial... (2)

Baby Duck (176251) | about 8 months ago | (#45715887)

There hasn't been a single case of toxoplasmosis in humans where they couldn't rule out the vector was tainted pork. Granted, cats do help spread it from pig to pig.

Citation please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712015)

The article summary claims cats have "been part of human society for nearly 10,000 years" and then trumpets "Cat bones unearthed in a 5000-year-old Chinese farming village". Then finishes with "The findings provide the earliest hard evidence ..."

Cheers
Jon

Re:Citation please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712021)

The article summary claims cats have "been part of human society for nearly 10,000 years" and then trumpets "Cat bones unearthed in a 5000-year-old Chinese farming village". Then finishes with "The findings provide the earliest hard evidence ..."

Cheers Jon

Linked article has the information you ask for.

Cats, domesticated ?? (5, Funny)

baileydau (1037622) | about 8 months ago | (#45712023)

BS.

I've got one on my desk right now proving it certainly isn't domesticated. She's trying to eat everything in sight. Our other one has previously chewed right through my phone charging cable.

The difference between cats and dogs:

A dog thinks: You feed me, you house me, you look after me. You must be a god.

A cat thinks: You feed me, you house me, you look after me. I must be a god.

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (1)

ThorGod (456163) | about 8 months ago | (#45712117)

My dad's cat was really misbehaving. But I've spent a lot of time with her and she's calmed down quite a bit. Playing with them regularly helps keep them in line. If they're properly entertained they seem, to me, to be all around easier on you/your things. There's other stuff, etc

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#45712181)

In other words, the cat trained you through negative reinforcement.

Cat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712291)

I guess this is just common sense. The cat is bored and wants to play.

If you don't play, the cat will entertain himself but you might not like the way this goes if it involves chewing cables and knocking over things.

Play early, play often!

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (1)

gtall (79522) | about 8 months ago | (#45712493)

That, indeed, was the advice of a cat behaviorist in, where else, California. I was channel surfing one day and was amazed that a person could have that amount of metal stuff sticking into and out of his body. I presume he thought they complimented his tats. Anyhow, he visited a home with a cat that was tearing up the place. After observation, he concluded the cat felt unappreciated and stymied in its effort to express itself physically...errr...or something. Anyhow, he instituted daily walks (on a leash) and then romp-o-rama time with the humans dragging the fake mice, feathers, and other sorts of items needed to train humans. Bingo, cat problem solved, he no longer tears the place up.

The humans do now have a need to lick themselves, but tradeoffs must always be made in life. The cat now figures to be living with his own.

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (1)

Woldry (928749) | about 8 months ago | (#45712693)

Wait, you mean most humans don't lick themselves already? Fascinating....

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about 8 months ago | (#45713035)

Was it "Cat from Hell" with Jackson Galaxy hosting and attempting to reeducate the kitties?

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (1)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45714997)

The same goes for most dog behavior problems. Beagles and other hounds have a bad reputation for howling, digging and general destructiveness. Two walks a day will take care of that in most cases. Letting a scent hound out in the yard to sniff around the same place he's sniffed the last ten days in a row frustrates him terribly.

they still don't have hymens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712123)

they don't scratch our eyes out during their byrd hunting breaks so that's domestic bliss

Big in Japan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712233)

> A cat thinks: You feed me, you house me, you look after me. I must be a god.

5000 years ago a flying saucer landed at the spot where the Great Pyramids of Gizeh stand today. All the egyptians gathered to greet it. Eventually Pharaoh Ekhnaton stepped forward and said: I, for one, welcome our new nekomimi overladies!

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712545)

BS.

I've got one on my desk right now proving it certainly isn't domesticated. She's trying to eat everything in sight. Our other one has previously chewed right through my phone charging cable.

The difference between cats and dogs:

A dog thinks: You feed me, you house me, you look after me. You must be a god.

A cat thinks: You feed me, you house me, you look after me. I must be a god.

You've clearly never owned a bored or destructive dog...some have a natural tendancy to chew that if not curbed will mean they ruin everything from furniture to parcels if left unattended with them. I am a dog lover and not fond of cats, but I'm a realist too.

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 months ago | (#45713829)

Could that be the cause of them being anti-housebroken, too? Sincere question. My mother's pugs will go for walks and play outside for hours and hours without event. Then, within 30 seconds of being inside the house, will drop a deuce in the middle of the living room (usually or near the exact same spot). I always assumed they were just being dicks.

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712691)

Man, reading Slashdot comments these days is like reading a Cathy comic.

You need to get a poster that says "Hang in there!" to really complete the look.

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712733)

Good job regurgitating that picture that's been making the rounds on all the meme sites for a few months.

Re:Cats, domesticated ?? (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | about 8 months ago | (#45714905)

I was thinking something similar. A friend once said that it's a telling aspect of humans that we keep ruthless predators as pets.

people should stop wasting money on vitamins etc.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712097)

read it on yahoo news, wtf? what should we be wasting our money on will be in the evening 'news'.

free the innocent stem cells. trust in momkind our spirit's centerpeace little miss dna cannot be wrong

if the bones were in China (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712157)

it was the other way around - the cats were cultivated for the table - delicious!

No kidding. (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 8 months ago | (#45712185)

"Cats have been part of human society for nearly 10,000 years, but they weren't always string-chasers and lap-sitters.

If you believe in evolution, this isn't exactly news.

Re:No kidding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712771)

Civilization happened because cats wanted a warm place to sleep at night.

Sensation! (3, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 8 months ago | (#45712347)

"Cat bones unearthed in a 5000-year-old Chinese farming village indicate that the animals consumed rodents "

Finally, that burning question "do cats eat mice?' can finally be laid to rest.

Cats do eat mice!

Re:Sensation! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712421)

Cats do eat mice!

I call bullshit. A quick study of my cats showed they only eat bacon, expensive cables and human toes. Given the a living mouse and they run away.

Re:Sensation! (1)

gtall (79522) | about 8 months ago | (#45712517)

I'm in between Siamese terrorists. Of my last two, neither had any mousing instruction, I got them at 6 weeks old and unless the house was overrun with mice, there was never time for the Cat Mother to teach them. Ariel was a natural mouser, Tinkerbell not quite as good but she was the runt of the litter and deferred to Ariel when a mouse snuck into the house. My only complaint was they always left me the bottom half. After all that food and attention, I thought I deserved the top half every now and again.

Re:Sensation! (1)

eatvegetables (914186) | about 8 months ago | (#45712643)

Lol. Siamese are wonderful cats. IMHO, they actually bond with their pet humans, well, selectively bond. Seems like they can live an exceptionally long time as well. My family had a spectacular Siamese. She lived into her 20's. However, she preferred killing birds to eating mice. Never ate the birds. Instead, she'd leave them for us, placing them ever so conspicuously at the front door threshold.

Re:Sensation! (3, Interesting)

gtall (79522) | about 8 months ago | (#45715337)

Ya, I'd recommend Siamese to anyone, but I'm unsure what happens if you do not get them as kittens. Kittens will bond to you at 6-7 weeks. My Siamese wanted to be near me whenever I was at home, climbing on me, curling up, anything to get close. I guess they are more talkative than the average moggie. Mine lived to 17 years, and I was heartbroken when they went to the Great Food Bowl in the Sky.

The oddest thing happened during their last days. Tinkerbell was on her last life and would curl up near my face at night with her head on my arm. Ariel slept down at the foot where they both usually slept until Tinkerbell got sick. The last night Tinkerbell was with us (I had planned to take her in for the final vet visit the following day, she was really near the end), Ariel came up and was inconsolable, stayed near Tinkerbell that whole night side by side. The following night, when Tinkerbell was no more, Ariel came up and cuddled up just like Tinkerbell had done.

Re:Sensation! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#45712617)

Cats do eat mice!

Mine likes chasing mice and bugs. Not killing them, mind you, just chasing them and certainly not eating them; Then looking at them menacingly while swishing its tail, daring them to make a run for it (again). My evidence shows that cats eat only Catnip, Chicken flavoured poultry & treats, and a special fowl flavoured cat-food formulated for urinary heath. Contrary to popular belief, cats do not enjoy bird chasing. Birds are for barking, silly human. [youtube.com]

Re:Sensation! (1)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#45715331)

TFW when searching the pet food aisle for Iams Mouse-flavored cat food.

Re:Sensation! (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | about 8 months ago | (#45716011)

A few years ago I moved to a new place and needed to line up a new home for a very sweet stray cat who had turned up on my doorstep. So he went to live with my Mom in the country.

At first he was puzzled by his new surroundings, but eventually he figured things out. It took him about six weeks to go from playing with mice the other cat brought in, to catching his own and playing with them, to discovering they were edible. And much tastier than cat food. Crunch crunch crunch.

...laura

They weren't petting animals until recently? (2, Interesting)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 8 months ago | (#45712573)

There is no proof we have actually been domesticating cats as petting animals for more than a few hundred years. Until the 19th century or so, these were just semi-wild animals that got access to our barns and homes to kill rodents, but they would claw you the moment you tried to touch them. It wasn't until we started breeding them for special looks that we got the "cute and friendly" animal we have now. Even that animal gets feral really quick, kittens born in the wild often act just like wild cats and aren't cute or attracted to humans at all. Domestication as in tolerating each other probably went on for a long time, but we haven't been petting them until we got the luxury of being able to breed them purely for their looks.

Re:They weren't petting animals until recently? (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#45712639)

There is no proof we have actually been domesticating cats as petting animals for more than a few hundred years. Until the 19th century or so

Quick now, Jeeves, fetch the net! I've spotted a rare young-earth Egyptianist. [wikipedia.org]

Re:They weren't petting animals until recently? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712943)

Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped treated as gods.

Cats, have never forgotten this.

Re:They weren't petting animals until recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45712777)

There is no proof we have actually been domesticating cats as petting animals for more than a few hundred years. Until the 19th century or so, these were just semi-wild animals that got access to our barns and homes to kill rodents, but they would claw you the moment you tried to touch them.

A few hundred years?
Will the 9th century do? [wikipedia.org] (as far as Western Europe is concerned..)

Re:They weren't petting animals until recently? (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about 8 months ago | (#45713231)

There is no proof we have actually been domesticating cats as petting animals for more than a few hundred years.

The proof comes from ancient Egypt and (AFAIR) Mespotamia, where cat remains are found with collars round their necks. The collars cannot be for tethering as a tethered cat would be no use either for petting or hunting (ever tried tethering a cat?), the collars are for decoration and identifying ownership. Also, mummified cats are found in the tombs of kings, queens and other aristrocrats, who are unlikely to have concerned themselves with cats in the context of rat catching.

Re:They weren't petting animals until recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45713233)

I dunno... it seems like Prince Thutmose (son of Pharaoh Amenhotep III) was pretty attached to his kitty Ta-Miu. Read what you want into what's known about him and the handling of Ta-Miu's very public funeral and burial in the family crypt. To me, it sounds like she was his feline daughter, and he ended up killing himself in despair a year or two after her death. You also kind of get the impression that the other Egyptians thought he was a little unhinged, but respected his feelings and acknowledged his despair as genuine & heartfelt.

Re:They weren't petting animals until recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45713419)

I have three cats that all started life as feral wild animals.

They are all cozying lap sitting never scratch or bite you animals.

You sir, have shown your troll too loudly.

Re:They weren't petting animals until recently? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45713717)

Even that animal gets feral really quick, kittens born in the wild often act just like wild cats and aren't cute or attracted to humans at all.

Have you ever seen a litter of feral kittens?? They are cuter than shit and look and play just like domesticated kittens. They're even curious, though wary, of humans.

Even totally wild kittens look and play like domesticated kittens. Have you never seen videos of them?

Re:They weren't petting animals until recently? (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 8 months ago | (#45715013)

There is no proof we have actually been domesticating cats as petting animals for more than a few hundred years. Until the 19th century or so, these were just semi-wild animals that got access to our barns and homes to kill rodents, but they would claw you the moment you tried to touch them.

Please mod this back down to oblivion. How about medieval paintings of young children holding their pet cats? How about egyptian art of cats at the feet of the kings or priests? Any cat that is cold will find someplace warm to sleep, which is why laps are often chosen. Cats chose the people, not the other way around.

We domesticated, not them (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45713217)

As many point out, the cats have it good in most homes. But I think dogs have it better. The stereotype is that dogs are dumb and cats are smart. Well, dogs are the ones who have an entourage (us) following them around and picking up their poop. Think about it. We pick up their POOP. We literally wait for them to finish pooping, then we (with a bag only a few hundredths of a millimeter thick) stoop to pick up their poop and we carry it until we get home to put in in our trash. Any other owner/pet relationship has the owner doing that?

Re:We domesticated, not them (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45713729)

Jerry Seinfeld had a joke that visiting aliens would think that dogs ruled the planet for that very reason.

Re:We domesticated, not them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45714193)

Have you seriously never heard of a cleaning a litter box? Or mucking out a horse stable, for that matter?

At least dogs can be trained to take their shit outside for us to deal with. Cats force their humans to keep a shitbox in their houses.

Re:We domesticated, not them (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 8 months ago | (#45716009)

I guess it could go either way. Dogs go wherever they want and the human has to pick it up. Cats at least keep it to a box.

Cats and editor religious wars (5, Funny)

thogard (43403) | about 8 months ago | (#45713251)

While I agree that competent users of vi or emacs can all do the same things, I feel that the major difference between the two is related to what happens when a cat walks on the keyboard.

Re:Cats and editor religious wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45714359)

While I agree that competent users of vi or emacs can all do the same things, I feel that the major difference between the two is related to what happens when a cat walks on the keyboard.

You've never met my cats. They seem adept at entering and exiting vi command mode and interactive mode. If only they could read, they'd be able (probably not willing) to write reports and research papers for me.

Re:Cats and editor religious wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45714971)

You've never met my cats. They seem adept at entering and exiting vi command mode and interactive mode..

One of my tribe of feline overlords speciality is, apparently, unlocking locked systems.
Case 1: Primary Linux box, lock screen, leave room, come back 2 hours later to find it both unlocked and a ssh connection established to main server, and one ginger and white bugger sprawled across the keyboard attempting some sort of feline shell buffer overflow..
Case 2: Same ginger and white sod manages to unlock my Nokia and using the redial to maximum comedic effect, wakes up almost everyone I'd called over the preceding three days by cunning use of the call history...my sister really appreciated being woken up at 3:00am only to be greeted by the slightly muffled sound of my snoring...needless to say I was oblivious about all this till later on that day, and, understandably I wasn't too popular..

Re:Cats and editor religious wars (1)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#45715209)

write reports and research papers for me.

No. They'd go on line and download copyrighted music, order kiddie porn and the components for IEDs on your credit card.

44 posts in thread so far and no mention of... (1)

SuperGus (678577) | about 8 months ago | (#45713435)

teh Kittehs? I can has first kitteh post.

Knowing the Chinese, they probably ate them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45715351)

From a land where anything the crawls, swims or flies gets eaten, I wouldn't be amazed they actually also ate the kitties.

The myth of ancient Man = lesser Human (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45715769)

Sheeple are exposed to some very carefully crafted, social engineering propaganda. The most subversive is this:

You, the current population of the nation, are vastly more intelligent, civilised, moral and advanced than those LOSERS who were your ancestors.

This manipulative method can be seen in the old comedians joke- where the performers says before his act starts "you are a GREAT audience, not like those idiots I had in my last audience."

10,000 years ago, the people were, inherently, just like you and I. What they fundamentally desired and feared was just the same. Their understanding of good and evil was just the same. Their vulnerability to rule by profoundly evil psychopaths was just the same. And their ability to enjoy the company of their pet cats was just the same.

And before the usual vile shills try to tell you that Human relationships are a very recent phenomenon, because you can 'prove' some ancient communities lacked such relationships, on our present day Earth, there are many nations where cat and dog ownership is very rare, and cruelty to these two species is very common- at the command of those that rule in those areas. Encouraging extreme animal cruelty is a common factor in regions where the leaders need the sheeple to feel that life, including their own, is very cheap indeed.

PS, on the same theme, did you know the so-called rituals of 'ancient' or 'primitive' tribal people in our present are actually entirely recent creations imposed by alpha abusers (frequently sexually deviants) who exploited groups of poorly educated, subsistence living colonies, to impose some of the nastiest mind games imaginable against very vulnerable Humans. Look at how the familiar cults work in modern nations, and how easily a charismatic manipulator can win over the lives of adults and their families. Now imagine highly educated, highly perverted Africans or Asians or South-Americans heading for the regions where people lived in the most basic ways, and taking leadership positions in those groups during the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. These deviants could engage in every possible perversion, 'explained' away by 'tribal customs'. And sheeple- at least most of them- define their lives by the rituals they expect to take part in across each year- including YOU and your family.

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