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First Hard Evidence for the Process of Cat Domestication 144

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mittens-will-eat-you-when-you-die dept.
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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First Hard Evidence for the Process of Cat Domestication

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  • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @04:21AM (#45711943)

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

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

  • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @08:02AM (#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:Sensation! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gtall (79522) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @12:43PM (#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:Backwards (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:10PM (#45716519) Homepage Journal

    Only weak humans are domesticated by their cats. My cats obey my orders; they come when called and a sharply worded "OUT!" makes them leave the room. I once taught a cat to play dead when I pointed my finger at him and said "bang". You simply have to understand cat psychology and their instincts and other motivations.

    As to hunting, a cat doesn't consider hunting a job. To a cat, chasing things is the funnest thing in the world, even a laser pointer. My cat has made it clear that she understands where the red dot comes from, but she still likes to chase it (the other one is elderly and no longer plays).

All this wheeling and dealing around, why, it isn't for money, it's for fun. Money's just the way we keep score. -- Henry Tyroon