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The Origin of Domestic Cats catipedia_breeds.png

When scientists and archaeologists trace the origins of today's domestic cat, one thing becomes very clear: The cats we live with today weren't domesticated the way dogs were. Ask your cat about this, and she will simply smile at you slyly. Your dog, on the other hand, will wag his tail, hoping you just offered him a treat.

Unlike pet dogs, in many ways our savvy family felines have managed to stay true to their wild roots, while convincing their unsuspecting humans that they are also perfect house pets.

Today's housecat is a descendent of Felis libyca, the African Wildcat. While you might think that the cat happily sleeping on your sofa is anything but wild, rest assured that if she's hungry enough, she, like almost any cat, is perfectly capable of catching something tasty for dinner. Those of you who have received a gift (read: carcass) of a mouse or bird lovingly left on your bedspread know what we mean.

THE CAT'S MEOW IN EGYPT

Ancient Egypt's recorded history shows the domestication of cats began between 2500 and 2200 B.C., while the first evidence of a domestic relationship between cats and people appeared between 1600 and 1500 B.C. These ancient cats knew how to start a relationship off right. They weren't just considered cuddly companions; they were worshiped as gods. Something your cat would still insist upon today, by the way.

Why were cats such a big deal for the Egyptians? No doubt their mighty rodent hunting skills made them the superhero protectors of community grain stores. The cause of the cat worship craze is unconfirmed, but temples and artwork dedicated to cats - including the goddess Bast, with her cat's head and woman's body - were clear signs that cats were indeed a big deal to the ancient Egyptians.

While cat worship calmed down in later years, their hunting abilities continued to make cats valuable to humans, including the ancient Greeks and Romans. In fact, the Roman Empire's presence in Britain reveals that the ancient Britons also placed a high value on cats - literally. One statute from 10 th-century Wales set the price of a cat at four pence - the same as that for a full-grown sheep, goat or untrained dog.

Just how amazing are cats? Take a look at "Your cat is a world-class athlete. Really." You're welcome.

A TERRIBLE MISUNDERSTANDING

Not every cat enjoyed such good fortune during the Middle Ages, however. Beginning in the 13th century and continuing well into the Renaissance, cats - especially black ones - were a popular target for blame across Europe. The reason for this hostility isn't certain, but it probably had to do with cats' nighttime antics, eerie screams and occasional violent behavior toward humans (never without cause, of course).

Some of these perceptions came over with the colonists to the New World in the 17th century, when cats were associated with witchcraft. Many people believed witches could even transform themselves into cats. While some aspects of these superstitions persisted into recent history, cats slowly regained their popularity starting in the 18th century. From Queen Victoria in England to Mark Twain in the United States, people everywhere were proudly expressing their love for cats again.

ENCHANTING COMPANIONS

Today, our love for cats is just as strong. They still delight and enchant us. And whether they're hunting for mice or simply seeking out the food dish at dinner, we happily accept their domestication - on their terms. On second thought, maybe there's something to this whole cat-god thing after all…

Looking for more about this delightful species? Check out "10 fascinating facts about cats."

References

  • Becker M, Spadafori G. Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet? 6, 156.
  • Bradshaw J, Casey R and Brown S. The Behavior of the Domestic Cat, 2nd Ed. 11.
  • Bradshaw JWS. Cat Sense. 2013: 50-60.
  • Siegal M. The Cornell Book of Cats. 1989: 3-5.

TOPICS: BREEDS FACTS

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Below you'll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our company, our products and caring for your cats. If you have a question that isn't addressed here, please feel free to contact us.

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A: Our top priority is the quality of the food that nourishes not only your pets, but the pets we share our lives with, too. So from source to bowl, the quality of our food is assured by taking the following steps:

Ingredient Sourcing

  • Purina ingredient sourcing and processing meet or exceed FDA, USDA or AAFCO standards for pet food. And every supplier of ingredients for Purina products must meet our stringent standards for ingredient specifications, product safety, sanitation and manufacturing practices.
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  • 99% of all Purina pet food products sold in the U.S. are made in Purina-owned U.S. manufacturing facilities and Purina's sophisticated tracking system ensures important measures of control: All raw ingredients are tracked from time of receipt at our plants, through their inclusion in finished products, and on to retail stores.
Q: Where is your food manufactured?

A: 99% of all Purina-branded pet food products sold in the U.S. are made in Purina-owned U.S. manufacturing facilities. Purina's sophisticated tracking system ensures important measures of control: All raw ingredients are tracked from time of receipt at our plants, through their inclusion in finished products, and on to retailers.

Q: I am unable to find a particular product in my area. Can you help me locate it?

A: Yes, we can help. Although distribution of our Purina Cat Chow products is national, not all stores carry all sizes and varieties. Contact our Customer Service department via our Contact Us page or call us at 1­-888­-228­-2469.

Q: Do you offer coupons?

A: We offer coupons in local papers, through direct mailing programs and via emails to registered members. We don't have a regular section on our website itself. We suggest you watch for sales or promotions at your local retailer.

Q: Where can I find articles and information about my cat?

A: We believe there's always more to learn and to share and that discovery should be fun. It's one more way we're helping you and your cat share a better life together. Visit Catipedia for articles and information and... a little bit of fun.

Q: Where can I find articles and information about my cat?

A: We strongly recommend talking to your veterinarian for immediate answers to urgent situations. While CatChow.com is an excellent resource of information provided by cat care experts, your veterinarian can provide the best care for your individual cat..

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