A recent study by Nature confirmed what everyone who has ever spent time with cats believed, that they were never domesticated by humans. They remain genetically and physiologically close to their wild peers and their amiable behavior might be a change that has come over time, spending time out of jungles!
Wild at heart
As per the study, the so-referred process of domestication has not altered cats as a species enough. The ecological, behavioural and physiological features have not been greatly altered in cats, though cats are known to have been part of human lives at least 9,000 years back. It basically means that while wild cats and their housed versions look different, their eating habits and their sense of smell et cetera hasn’t altered much over the many years of domestication. Humans however made tremendous progress with dogs, even shaping the way they look and behave; which they are unable to or even incapable of, in cats.
Not in the nature
Dogs too exhibit certain lupine instincts sometimes like burying food or rounding up a space before they rest. However, cats are more in sync with their wild side. Most house pets also hunt regularly unlike dogs. Added to that, cats by nature are not domestic. Wild cats, the study says, are solitary hunters and are extremely territorial in nature. They are not part of a social structure like wolves which are used to companionship as they hunt in packs. Domestication doesn’t come easily those animals which are solitary. Humans or others of their own species, cats instinctively do not crave companionship.
It’s food, not love
How did cats which do not care of humans or others, ever come into our homes? They do not sense and understand humans like dogs do. As per history, cats came to villages and human clearings probably chasing after their favourite food, mice. As cats make good mice-chasers, they were accepted by humans too, who found the relationship amenable. Over time, cats understood that need not hunt aggressively since abundant supply of mice is found near farms, which makes easy prey.
Humans too became accustomed to cats which were around and soon took fancy to them, probably because they were interesting and a miniature version of dreaded big cats. What probably brought them closer is the fact that humans would show their love offering them food and treats, which cats loved and turned friendly. So, did we actually domesticate cats or did they domesticate themselves? Cats sure are a mystery.
Passionate about writing, Fiona is best known for her features and abstract writing. A sports lover, an avid shopaholic and a travel freak, Fiona expresses thoughts through words and considers herself totally opinionated, and rightfully so!