A scientific study from 2017 looked at the origin of cats and their domestication by humans. Scientists looked at the genetics of cats and found that most of today’s cats have origins in just five different areas of the world!
It’s only in the last 1,000 years that humans have had any part in the domestication of cats. By contrast, dogs, goats and other farm animals have been long-domesticated by humans for many millennia – up to 8,000 years ago (that we know of).
Cats traveled the world on cargo ships on trading routes where they were brought aboard to manage rodents. Once at their trading destination, many of these cats escaped and bred with other wild, regional cats, giving us the variety of cat breeds we see today.
People who live with cats like to joke about how these small fuzzy creatures are still wild, basically training us rather than the other way around. Now a new genetic study of ancient cat DNA reveals that we are basically right. Cats were not domesticated in the same way dogs, cows, pigs, and goats were.