Here, Kitty, Kitty!

Scientists believe the Near Eastern Wildcat is the ancestor of modern domestic cats.  Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Scientists believe the Near Eastern Wildcat is the ancestor of modern domestic cats.
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Ever wonder how long people have been calling “Here, Kitty, Kitty!” And do you think those early cats came running any faster or slower than your own cuddly cat does?

Previously, the earliest evidence of cat domestication came from 4,000-year-old Egyptian art. Now a new study pushes the date for domesticated cats back to about 5300 B.C. Moreover, the new evidence for furry feline pets come not from the Middle East, but from the Far East—in China.

The new study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The international research team includes scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Archaeological Research Institute of Shaanxi Province, Peking University, and Washington University. The find comes from the same province as Emperor Qin’s amazing terra cotta soldiers.

The date for cat domestication isn’t quite as far back as that for dogs. Research published in November 2013 suggests that could have happened more than 18,000 years ago.

Whether you’re a cat or a dog lover, one thing is clear. People around the world have loved their pets for thousands of years.

Got treats, anyone?

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