ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS   Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
History of The Cat
The cat family can trace their genealogy back to ancient
Cyprus and Egypt. Unlike the domestication of the dog, pack
animals with a built-in cooperative instinct, the full
domestication of the cat (about 4,000 years ago) was not so
easily achieved.

It seems that the first cats to live near people were the
African wild cats of Egypt. These cats were probably
attracted by the mice and rats that filled the Egyptian grain
stores. Apparently, the ancient Egyptians were very
appreciative of the cats' help in vermin control. In fact, a cult
of cat worship eventually grew  until it became an integral
part of Egyptian society. The cat goddess Bastet (also
known as Bast or Pasht) became one of the most revered
figures of worship. Bastet had the body of a woman and the
head of a cat. Associated with fertility, motherhood, grace,
and beauty, Bastet's largest temple was in the city of
Bubastis. The word for cat in ancient Egypt was "mau,"
similar to our "meow," a universal cat word. The cats were
considered gods and killing a cat was punishable by death.
Egyptian Goddess Bast
So revered were cats in the Egyptian society, that during times of calamity - fire or
flood as an example - cats were often rescued before humans.
Black Cat
During the Middle Ages, however, cats did not fare so
well, particularly in Europe. Superstitions grew about
cats and they came to be seen as harbingers of evil,
often believed to be endowed with powers of black
magic--an associate of witches and warlocks and
perhaps the embodiment of the devil. Cat owners were
the subject of suspicion and were often persecuted
along with their cats, sometimes sharing death with
them. Cats were hunted, tortured, and sacrificed. On
religious feast days, large numbers of cats were
sometimes burned alive as part of the celebrations. Live
cats were sealed inside the walls of houses and other
buildings as they were being constructed, in the belief
that this would bring good luck.
domestic cats
Long-haiared beauty
During the twentieth century, cats enjoyed a renaissance. As
the urbanization of western society grew, cats demonstrated
an amazing ability to adapt to a myriad of different lifestyles
and living conditions.

A cat's independent and often aloof
nature presents a striking
contrast to the gregarious nature so typical of the pet dog. And
yet, just when it seems your cat needs no one or anything,
they find the comfort of your lap. Regal, mysterious,
mischievous, playful, a hunter, a loner, a family icon - what a
companion!!     
The persecution  of cats was so extensive that the population of  disease-carrying rats
flourished, resulting in wide-spread epidemics and plagues throughout Europe.
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Historical Cat Trivia

Phoenician cargo ships
are thought to have
brought the first
domesticated cats to
Europe in about 900 BC.

Ancient Egyptian family
members shaved their
eyebrows in mourning
when the family cat died

In Siam, the cat was so
revered that one rode in
a chariot at the head of a
parade celebrating the
new king

The Pilgrims were the first
to introduce cats to North
America

Cats have been
domesticated for half as
long as dogs have been