House Cats Took Over the World Earlier Than We Thought

The origin story of the domestic cat has been pretty straightforward. Some 10,000 years ago, small wild cats were attracted to stores of grain in the Fertile Crescent because there were rodents infesting them. People thought that was a great pest control method, so they fell in love with the cats. The same thing happened later in Egypt, and eventually the two cat strains merged. Then Greek and Roman ships carried them to Europe. The spread of domestic cats has even been mapped globally.

But more recent discoveries have thrown a wrench into the story. Remains of domestic cats have been found in Poland dated to between 50 and 230 AD, which is a thousand years earlier than previously thought. More discoveries in southern Poland place domestic cats there as far back as 5990 BC! Could it be that local cats made friends with farmers in many places around Europe, and maybe the world? They might have spread with the concept of agriculture itself. Read more about these findings at Atlas Obscura. ā€‹

(Image credit: debs-eye

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