Who tamed the first cat?

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The answers to some questions are simply lost in history. The first evidence of cats living in domestic arrangements with humans dates back 9,500 years to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. There, archaeologists have found cats buried with humans, which debunks the popular theory that the Egyptians first welcomed cats into their homes 3,900 to 4,000 years ago.

The relationship between humans and cats grew closer as agriculture supplanted hunting and gathering as the primary means of human survival. Evolution has equipped cats to be superior pest control agents. Their natural prey, rats, mice and similar vermin, are the very animals that not only attacked human supplies of stored grain, but also were the carriers of deadly disease.

Cats came to live with humans for the simple reason that they earned their keep and served a purpose. Over time, a closer relationship developed, with some societies venerating the cat for his amazing physical abilities and seemingly mysterious manner and presence.

In truth, the decision was probably more on the part of the cat than the man. Cats can be the wariest of creatures, and as independent predators, they make their decisions based on the principle of return on investment. Living with mankind is their choice, even today.

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