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A Short History Of The Cat


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Author Topic: A Short History Of The Cat  (Read 70 times)
Lovelee
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« on: February 24, 2009, 02:23:52 pm »

To cat lovers, they are the embodiment of beauty and grace; to their critics, cats are disingenuous and just a little too independent. This long-standing ambivalence and fascination dates back thousands of years.

Cats are first found living in a harmonious relationship with man from as early as 3000BC in Ancient Egypt. Evidence from archaeological studies in the region point to the African Wild Cat (Felis sylvestris lybica) as the primary ancestor of the domestic cat. Indeed, African Wild Cats are also frequently found today living as pets with traditional peoples. Studies in South Africa have been unable to distinguish the domestic cat from the African Wild Cat using DNA mapping techniques, while the European Wild Cat (Felis sylvestris sylvestris), which is often presumed to have contributed to the development of the pet cat, is clearly distinguishable from both.

Scientists and historians believe African Wild Cats first started approaching Egyptian grain stores along the banks of the Nile, attracted by the resident mice and rats. By culling the rodents, cats endeared themselves to people. Early domestics would also have benefited from lower densities of predators than in the surrounding area, and been able to breed with a much improved chance of success by being close to man. Because they produce a lot of kittens in every litter, the friendly version of the species would soon have become established in the region alongside us.

Kittens born near man would soon have had physical contact with sympathetic people, be taken into their homes for care, and quickly come to view them as parent type figures. Their infantile dependency would be maintained by early handling and feeding during the sensitive period from two to eight weeks of age. Such kittens were far less likely to lose these associations as they became sexually mature and then entered adulthood.

Probably as a result of their usefulness, protecting food stores from vermin, the Ancient Egyptians turned cats into sacred feline deities. The name for these cats was 'miw'. Owners went into mourning when 'miw' died, and the cat was embalmed and placed in wooden coffins. Female cats and lionesses were linked to Sekhmet, the much revered Egyptian goddess of war, while tomcats were considered sacred to the sun god, Ra. Cats were so passionately protected from harm that anyone finding themselves near an injured cat fled from the scene in case they were blamed. After death, cats were mummified for burial - often into enormous tombs with tens of thousands of other cats.

In spite of the Egyptians' efforts to prevent the export of their beloved felines, the Greeks stole the animals to control their own rodent problem. The first domesticated animals appeared in Europe around 900BC. Eventually the Egyptians began selling cats to the Romans, the Gaels, the Celts and later other Europeans and thus the cat population began to spread worldwide. The cat was common in China by 500 BC. At first the cat was given as gifts to Emperors. As time went by the nobility were allowed to own them, then the priesthood, and finally the commoners. A lot of the cats interbred with the local wild cats and created some of the breeds we know today. The first record of domestic cats in the British Isles goes back to AD 936 when Howell Dla, Prince of South Central Wales, enacted a law to protect them.

Unfortunately the domestic cats' luck changed over the years, and they became associated with wrong doings, disease and mischief. In 1484, Pope Innocent VII decreed that all cat-worshippers in Europe be burned as witches. He believed that witches worshipped Satan and that they took on the form of their animal helpers, the most common of which were cats. Their habit of prowling around at night further connected them to the devil and witchcraft. Any cat that was in the company of an old woman was assumed to be a witch's evil associate. The Inquisition was instructed to hunt down all cat owners and try them as witches. Hundreds of cats and their owners were actually burnt to death!

The lives of cats didn't appear to improve much in Europe until the 17th Century when they became mousers, particularly on board ships. By Victorian times, however, cats had regained acceptance as household pets and by the end of the 19th Century early pedigree breeds were exhibited at the first cat shows. In 1871, a large show held at Crystal Palace for British Shorthair and Persian types.  About the same time in New England, USA, the Maine Coon breed was being shown at the first American Cat Show.

Nowadays a cat's quality of life is arguably the best it has ever been. With their aura of supernatural wisdom and independence, cats are definitely here to stay.

http://www.purina.co.uk/Home/All+About+Cats/Your+New+Pet+Cat/Choosing+a+Cat/A+Short+History+Of+The+Cat.htm

Cat 2<img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v238/cryptoknighte/image storage/deb1.gif" alt="Cat 4" />Cat 5Cat's Tail
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Laughter is the best medicine, unless you've got a really nasty case of syphilis, in which case penicillin is your best bet.

bump head benny
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2009, 10:09:04 am »

The big cats are more to my liking...tigers are about the most beautiful animals on earth and lions are so savagely majestic, theyre awesome.
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donquixotenz
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 10:26:44 am »

Used to have burmese and as cats do they bred anyhow an apricot we called apricot tot managed to snare a white sealpoint siamese on his first and only shot before being neutered as siamese not of show quality usually are. The result was a large white sealpoint burmese I called white lightening who grew into a big tom he eventually paired with a smoke burmese called flipperty gibbert.
We used to cage the queens when they were ready to litter so oneday white lightening brought a whole rabbit for her so we put it in the cage and she ate it ALL except for a wee fluffy tail and that night she dropped a litter if 8 swwet things of many hues all who sold eventually at $250 ea.
He decided to move out when we decided to keep a new boxer bitch for showwing even though he got along famously with the other dogs he did not like the new bitch.
he hung about the neighbourhood for years adopting the neighbours and called often especially if we had a new queen about. Having been bred with dogs he made mates with all the local dogs and was often seen smooching the local canines which all seemed to like him.
He disappeared eventually but not after upgrading the local genepool to a very large extent.
We had on several occasions local moggie owners complaining about our bloody cat as he showed no discrimination.
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body.

But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming...

WOW, What a Ride!"

Please note: IMHO and e&oe apply to all my posts.
Alicat
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2009, 09:07:23 pm »

Used to have burmese and as cats do they bred anyhow an apricot we called apricot tot managed to snare a white sealpoint siamese on his first and only shot before being neutered as siamese not of show quality usually are. The result was a large white sealpoint burmese I called white lightening who grew into a big tom he eventually paired with a smoke burmese called flipperty gibbert.
We used to cage the queens when they were ready to litter so oneday white lightening brought a whole rabbit for her so we put it in the cage and she ate it ALL except for a wee fluffy tail and that night she dropped a litter if 8 swwet things of many hues all who sold eventually at $250 ea.
He decided to move out when we decided to keep a new boxer bitch for showwing even though he got along famously with the other dogs he did not like the new bitch.
he hung about the neighbourhood for years adopting the neighbours and called often especially if we had a new queen about. Having been bred with dogs he made mates with all the local dogs and was often seen smooching the local canines which all seemed to like him.
He disappeared eventually but not after upgrading the local genepool to a very large extent.
We had on several occasions local moggie owners complaining about our bloody cat as he showed no discrimination.

Mixing a purebreed Siamese and a purebreed Burmese produces a Tonkinese which is what White Lightening would have been. Tonkinese were frowned upon for many years from the snooty Siamese breeders, however they are a lovely breed. They have the best and worst characteristics of both wonderful breeds.
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