Springbrook cat looking into the camera

Before cats took their rightful place as the dominators of the internet, their paths alongside humans had some hiss-terical highs and some terribly low points. Undoubtedly, the history of cats is a long yarn full of adventure, connection, near misses, and dreadful outcomes. If it’s been a while since you’ve appreciated this awesome species, we’ve got some jaw-dropping cat facts that demand respect.

We’re Not Worthy

Cats have gone into orbit far above Earth. They’ve lived in the White House. They’ve run in a mayoral race and won. They’ve inherited millions of dollars from their doting owners. 

Seriously, some modern day cats have lived more than 9 lives! But none of it would have been possible without the thousands of years that equally celebrated and persecuted their ancestors.

Back in the Day

Today’s domestic feline is a member of the Felidae family. Evolved through artificial selection (meaning humans selectively bred them over time), the wild ancestors of today’s pet cats came from the African wildcat.

Thousands of Years Ago

A grave unearthed on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus revealed a 9,500 cat skeleton lying alongside human remains. This suggests that cats and people lived, and died, in close proximity to each other. As Cyprus didn’t have it’s own indigenous feline population, this cat (and many others like it) was brought there on purpose by seafaring explorers.

Cat and Mouse

When people got a handle on agriculture throughout China and the Fertile Crescent, cats came to our rescue. Food storage was a game changer but attracted loads of rodents to early human settlements. Thanks to the fantastic hunting skills of early cats, rodents didn’t last long. By reducing disease and protecting our food, cats earned their rightful place alongside us.

The Ancient Ones

Perhaps unsurprisingly, ancient artworks depict a close relationship between Egyptian royalty and cats. Cats were worshipped, mummified and buried with their owners in ancient tombs dating back almost 4,000 years.

Love Me Right Meow!

The popularity of cat ownership began to spread to other far flung places like India and Japan. Selective breeding introduced the Siamese and Burmese cats to the fascination of all.

With One Exception

Throughout cat history, they were loved far and wide. However, during Europe’s Middle Ages they became associated with witchcraft and superstition. They were unfairly hunted, threatened, persecuted and even burned at the stake with many accused witches. 

Cat History 2.0

Luckily, cats got another shot. They were commonly brought on ships to the New World because, again, their hunting skills reduced disease-carrying vermin. They were good company, too! The Victorian Age in England also celebrated cats and helped usher them into the modern world as kings and queens of the internet.

Springbrook, IL Cat Veterinarians

As you can tell, our feline-loving cat veterinarians over at Springbrook Animal Care Center love cat history. Knowing the ups and downs of the species gives us even more respect for their skills, strength, and capacity for love.