Independent and aloof one minute, purring and cuddly the next, it’s hard to believe that they have been domesticated for only about 5,000 years.
Although they have been around for millions of years, they first lived with man in ancient Egypt where they played a vital role of protecting grain stores from rats and mice. Eventually they became pivotal to the Egyptian culture being worshiped as gods and even mummified upon death. They then traveled to Europe with traders around 1,000 BC and from there to China and Japan and were introduced to America in the mid 1600’s.
Initially valued for their ability to decrease the disease ridden rat and mouse population, their nocturnal habits, superior senses and mysterious ways got them into trouble in the middle ages when they were associated with evil and sometimes thought to be the devil. They were persecuted along with their owners and many cats were killed. Cats came into favor as mousers again in the 17th century and were popular household pets by the 18th century.
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