Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Evolution of House Cats

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Science Donate to DU
 
parasearchers Donating Member (264 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:10 AM
Original message
Evolution of House Cats
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 06:12 AM by parasearchers
* Unlike other domesticated creatures, the house cat contributes little to human survival. Researchers have therefore wondered how and why cats came to live among people.
* Experts traditionally thought that the Egyptians were the first to domesticate the cat, some 3,600 years ago.
* But recent genetic and archaeological discoveries indicate that cat domestication began in the Fertile Crescent, perhaps around 10,000 years ago, when agriculture was getting under way.
* The findings suggest that cats started making themselves at home around people to take advantage of the mice and food scraps found in their settlements.

It is by turns aloof and affectionate, serene and savage, endearing and exasperating. Despite its mercurial nature, however, the house cat is the most popular pet in the world. A third of American households have feline members, and more than 600 million cats live among humans worldwide. Yet as familiar as these creatures are, a complete understanding of their origins has proved elusive. Whereas other once wild animals were domesticated for their milk, meat, wool or servile labor, cats contribute virtually nothing in the way of sustenance or work to human endeavor. How, then, did they become commonplace fixtures in our homes?

http://parasearcher.blogspot.com/2009/08/evolution-of-h...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:34 AM
Response to Original message
1. Here's what I like about living with a cat:
He's independent. He doesn't really look to me for approval, and I know he could survive without me. But, for all of his aloofness, I believe my cat has chosen me as much as I've chosen him.

Recommended.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
dgibby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:06 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Funny...
As I'm typing this, my newest kitteh is sprawled out on top of the printer, eyeing me.

I feed several ferals, and about a month ago, I noticed that one of my tiger kittehs was hanging out with them. I opened the door and she ran in, except "she" wasn't one of mine and "she" was a "he". Talk about being chosen by a cat! I checked the neighborhood, but couldn't find the owner. Several houses are for sale on my street, so I'm wondering if he was dumped.

Anyway, he's here to stay. He gets along well with all the other cats and the dogs. I named him "Ripley", as in, "believe it or not, there's another cat in this house"! :rofl:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:09 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I love the name Ripley let you choose for him.
:rofl:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
corpseratemedia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:39 AM
Response to Original message
2. our cat has definitely chosen us..in fact the cat before another one that passed chose us too
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 06:39 AM by corpseratemedia
they both showed up and hung around our house with their cute demands for pets and canned clams!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:54 AM
Response to Original message
3. rodent control is an important function np
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Mine is fond of voles, red squirrels and chipmunks
although, i think the latter two, she has hunted to extinction in our yard. For a cat with no front claws (we acquired her that way) she does rather well.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
K8-EEE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:50 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. TRUE!! n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
the other one Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. The plague in Europe was related to killing cats.
Cats were associated with witchcraft and were killed en masse. The resulting explosion in the rat population facilitated the spread of plague.

Its easy to imagine times in our ancient past were the presence of cats enhanced human survival and vice versa.

Cats contribute much.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #9
17. they were vital to the spread of agriculture.
growing enough grain to make it through the winter does no good if it cannot be stored.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 07:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. Premier Deng of China used to say
"It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice." Egypt was one of the first societies to do extensive storing of grain, so it would make sense that they (partially) domesticated cats.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
10. My cat is the keeper of Secrets
She is the only one I trust.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sellitman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
11. We took in a Cat who supposedly "choosed us" but....
I have a feeling a chose the free food first.

We were only a bonus.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
loudsue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
12. I was domesticated by a cat.
His name was Dallas, and he was almost bigger than Texas. I was his pet human for 16 years, until he passed on. :cry:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zbdent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
13. saw a great sign the other day ... truthful ...
"My cat's not spoiled, I'm well trained ..."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
donco Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
14. Better be careful
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Voice for Peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. lolol!
:rofl:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Voice for Peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
16. "the house cat contributes little to human survival." unless you count pleasure, affection,
mouse control, love, laughter, as beneficial to human survival. One of my cats wakes me in the morning by biting my toes and climbing on my chest, putting his paws around my neck, nuzzling me. He reminds me of an old song "Mister Spoons" by Richard Farina that he wrote to his baby son:

Mister Spoons, you make me laugh in the morning
And no one else has ever done that before, not for a long long time
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
18. It's not just about following the mice
From cats' point of view, human settlements are an ideal ecological niche.

Cats are very small predators -- they can't compete with the big guys. This means they have to live in places where large cats and other major carnivores don't. Their original niche was in the desert, where being small has distinct advantages and the big carnivores can't go. (And feral cats have done very well for themselves in the Australian outback.)

Human settlements, however, are an even better environment for cats. The humans keep large predators at bay, but by being small and cute and fuzzy and purring a lot and clearing out the mice, cats were able to ingratiate themselves and be allowed to hang around.

Human settlements are even better than deserts when it comes to raising kittens. The mother cat has to leave her kittens alone when she goes out to hunt, and even though she keeps them licked clean to keep predators from finding them, there's no assurance they'll be safe till she gets back.

Domestic cats also seem to have evolved in the direction of becoming even more user-friendly for humans -- which was necessary for them to promote themselves from barn cats to house cats. They're smaller than their wild ancestors -- just about the size of a newborn baby, which makes they very cuddly. And their purrs also seem to be human-attuned. Ther5e was even an article a few weeks ago about cats having a coercive purr that mixes in subliminal cries of distress to makes humans want to do whatever they want just to shut them up. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/0907131213... )

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
19. My cats approve this message.
And so do I. :)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Meldread Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
20. The answer to this question seems so obvious to me.
"But recent genetic and archaeological discoveries indicate that cat domestication began in the Fertile Crescent, perhaps around 10,000 years ago, when agriculture was getting under way."

Exactly. And since agriculture heralded the end to the nomadic lifestyle of humans, cats became useful to our survival. Once we began living in a settled area more-or-less our entire lives, that attracted things like rodents. Rats carry diseases, although I doubt at the time people knew or understood that. Even so, rats tend to get into the food supply, and that is something no human wants even if they know nothing about disease.

Cats are carnivores. This means you don't have to worry about them getting into your harvested crops. Instead simply having them around ensures that they are going to hunt and kill the rodents... and for what? More-or-less nothing.

Of course, as society developed into our more modern age the keeping of pets was either considered a status symbol or simply for our own pleasure. Most people who have dogs in America today, for example, don't use them for any of their more traditional roles.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Meldread Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. I should also point out that you can also eat cats.
I suppose if hard times were really upon you, and your harvest failed... well cats breed quickly, eating a few of them could have meant the difference between life and death.

I know in some places in Asia people eat cats, I've seen it done before in video... it was horrible. It was still alive, they took it out of the cage with a noose on a stick like object, stuck it in a pot of boiling water... still alive... then peeled off the fur once it became loose. Ugh.

Not only was I physically repulsed, I was emotionally repulsed. Then again, I suppose someone from certain parts of India likely see me eating steak and is both physically and emotionally repulsed by me as well.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. Yes, but do you chew the cow's butt off while it's still mooing? I really, really wish I could
unread your post about how they cook kittehs. :cry:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
21. Cats are adept at downloading porn:
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 11:37 AM by Hissyspit
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

On edit: Someone beat me to it! (No pun intended)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
parasearchers Donating Member (264 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
23. Domestication:What Do Cats Say?
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 12:36 PM by parasearchers
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
cleverusername Donating Member (93 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
24. Another crazy cat lady
Another crazy cat lady comes out to defend her precious feline. Killing rodents is very important. It prevents the spread of disease. Besides, they are cute and furry.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
25. Rodent control, DUH. Don't want mice eating your grain.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Oct 21st 2014, 04:47 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Science Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC