Around 10,000 years ago, wild cats began transitioning to domestic life via mutual benefit to humans.
From Wild to Mild
Experts debate if cats were deliberately tamed or domesticated themselves around early human settlements.
Domestication led to genetic changes like docility, coat colors, and ability to digest starch and grains.
The Near Eastern wildcat is likely one ancestor. Jungle cats and sand cats may have contributed to the gene pool too.
As cats proved excellent pest control, their popularity spread via trade routes to Greece, Rome, China, and beyond
Spread of Popularity
Cats spread globally by becoming common ship passengers hunting rodents on long voyages.
Deliberate cat breeding emerged in the 19th century, yielding popular breeds like Siamese, Persians, and Maine Coons.
Modern Breeds Emerge