How We Domesticated Cats (Twice)

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  • Published: 07 November 2019
  • A 9,500 year old burial in Cyprus represents some of the oldest known evidence of human/cat companionships anywhere in the world. But when did this close relationship between humans and cats start? And how did humans help cats take over the world? 

    Big thanks to these paleoartists for allowing us to use their wonderful illustrations:
    Julio Lacerda (who illustrated the Cyprus grave site): https://252mya.com/gallery/julio-lacerda
    Ceri Thomas (who illustrated Felis silvestris lybica): http://alphynix.tumblr.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

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    References: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PrjxNeht0mNaC1ROZQtSd4vs6eFljlq0Wk0W4Twh7ZQ/edit?usp=sharing
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 3 587

  • Kia Brown
    Kia Brown  2 hours back

    Cats have been here for thousands years I'm sure just like their cousin before them some have gone extinct sadly

    • Derek Leiro
      Derek Leiro  3 hours back

      I feel like the relationship we have with cats is: you feed and provide shelter for me then I'll let you pet me

      • Francis Muir
        Francis Muir  3 hours back

        Cats domesticate us in ways that are not mutually exclusive with our domestication of them. This happens often with companion animals. Livestock have less impact on their herders.

        • Kristinapedia
          Kristinapedia  4 hours back

          Just because I cat has healed fracture’s does not mean it was healed by human. It probably healed on it’s own. They had no way to know the cat had a fracture because they didn’t have x-rays back then. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

          • Zach Kline
            Zach Kline  4 hours back

            if there was a “domesticated cat” on that island buried with a man, that proves cats didn’t all come from one species of wild cat

            • Jadin Andrews
              Jadin Andrews  4 hours back

              We have never domesticated cats, they domesticated us

              • Rohan Ganguli
                Rohan Ganguli  5 hours back

                this video should be called how we think we domesticated cats...

                • boludoescoces
                  boludoescoces  6 hours back

                  Slow down please!

                  • Anthony Monegro
                    Anthony Monegro  6 hours back

                    We??? Nah you.

                    • Black Ice
                      Black Ice  6 hours back

                      feralization and required socialization would indicate that cats were never domesticated and its a learned behavior out of generations of cohabitation convenience

                      • PadMAD3k
                        PadMAD3k  6 hours back

                        And the cats are like "How we've domesticated hoomans".

                        • quokka flunk
                          quokka flunk  7 hours back

                          cats would need domesticating twice

                          • J'Dinkaledge Morgoon
                            J'Dinkaledge Morgoon  7 hours back

                            single, middle aged women are responsible for the recent boom in cat population.

                            • Kera Atkins
                              Kera Atkins  8 hours back

                              Peeing in laundry baskets? Who lets their cat do that? Lol

                              • Numberofthings
                                Numberofthings  9 hours back

                                Cats actually domesticated themselves.

                                • Deb Carsey
                                  Deb Carsey  9 hours back

                                  Who knew man buns were popular so long ago...

                                  • Peanut
                                    Peanut  9 hours back

                                    I loved this!! I love all kitties in the world

                                    • xorxex
                                      xorxex  10 hours back

                                      I remember when I lived in Cyprus, we had a cat living in the surroundings of my building and she was really adorable and loving <3

                                      • wack
                                        wack  10 hours back

                                        Cats domesticated themselves for their survival

                                        • Bujo & Atay
                                          Bujo & Atay  11 hours back

                                          Felis Cattus reminded me of biggus dickus

                                          • Julian Rome
                                            Julian Rome  11 hours back

                                            We didn’t

                                            • KvNBLAZE
                                              KvNBLAZE  13 hours back

                                              This video is so informative got my sub

                                              • Rainul Islam Avash
                                                Rainul Islam Avash  15 hours back

                                                Next time it will be them domesticating us. Wait.....oh no...

                                                • Silver Wizardess
                                                  Silver Wizardess  15 hours back

                                                  I wonder what would happen if cats were bred for behavior. I wonder if it would be possible to breed a whole new type of cat. 🤔

                                                  • miriyumm
                                                    miriyumm  16 hours back

                                                    Love this!!!

                                                    • You'reworthy Ofalllove
                                                      You'reworthy Ofalllove  16 hours back

                                                      Brought ‘me around women; that’s where they learned everything from lol!

                                                      • AmaraOlorin
                                                        AmaraOlorin  16 hours back

                                                        Man...cats do NOT "need" humans. If we don't clean out their litter box, that bothers US, not them. They'll just find another poo-place.
                                                        If anything, they have domesticated US. I mean, we keep them, and that means we have to clean up after them.

                                                        • Jeremy Thomas
                                                          Jeremy Thomas  16 hours back

                                                          Feral cats are a huge problem in Australia wiping out heaps of native species.

                                                          • Defiant_ace _x
                                                            Defiant_ace _x  16 hours back

                                                            Cats aren’t domesticated change my mind

                                                            • Nich Hodge
                                                              Nich Hodge  17 hours back

                                                              I think that cats believe they have domesticated humans!

                                                              • nouman khan
                                                                nouman khan  17 hours back

                                                                Why did we domesticate cats for gods sake?

                                                                • Lurid Phaesporia
                                                                  Lurid Phaesporia  17 hours back

                                                                  Super interested in the criteria of domesticated animals. What are some examples of animals that have been permanently genetically changed by human influence, yet are not reliant on humans in our world today? Can’t think of any off the top of my head but I probably will after I hit post here LOL

                                                                  • Lurid Phaesporia
                                                                    Lurid Phaesporia  17 hours back

                                                                    Just realized any answers are probably gonna be really sad. Bummer.

                                                                • Ja Ne
                                                                  Ja Ne  17 hours back

                                                                  Cats peeing in laundry baskets ? I have 2 , 15 and 10 years old and they have NEVER peed on laundry much less knocked anything off the counter ... I can only speak of my cats though , still sounds strange

                                                                  • Jose Flores
                                                                    Jose Flores  17 hours back

                                                                    We just fed them fish

                                                                    • Erika
                                                                      Erika  17 hours back

                                                                      We never domesticated cats. Cats domesticated us. 🐈

                                                                      • Uriel Ayala
                                                                        Uriel Ayala  18 hours back

                                                                        Nobody :

                                                                        Me at 3am : Watching Videos of domesticating cats

                                                                        • Meeea
                                                                          Meeea  18 hours back

                                                                          Ancient Person: hey you want to come live with me

                                                                          Ancient cat: yeah I guess

                                                                          • bo0tsy1
                                                                            bo0tsy1  18 hours back

                                                                            Yeah, they always seem feral to me. Maybe title should be attempted to domesticate.

                                                                            • Averon God of fire
                                                                              Averon God of fire  19 hours back

                                                                              “Felis catus” of thats some Tolkien level naming

                                                                              • Pat Rick
                                                                                Pat Rick  19 hours back

                                                                                I find it interesting how we domesticated dogs and cats twice

                                                                                • George Manus
                                                                                  George Manus  19 hours back

                                                                                  I love them all

                                                                                  • HumpMeFuckMeDaddy BetterMakeMeChoke

                                                                                    can we give nekos credit now?& stop calling them evil

                                                                                    • Jack Passmore
                                                                                      Jack Passmore  20 hours back

                                                                                      The Vanilla Villain Aprvs ths mssg

                                                                                      • GRAVE HEAVEN
                                                                                        GRAVE HEAVEN  20 hours back

                                                                                        No one:






                                                                                        YouTube recommendations at 2 am:

                                                                                        • Bertha Lovejoy
                                                                                          Bertha Lovejoy  20 hours back

                                                                                          you mean how *cats domesticated US?*

                                                                                          • James Smith
                                                                                            James Smith  21 hours back

                                                                                            Notice the wording this is only theory. There is no DNA evidence the common cat to other larger species from here. We can genetic test 2 million year old remains but can't on 11,000 year old remains. Ya ok. There's not much record for early human fossils either but they still test them.
                                                                                            You'll notice in the video several times saying we still don't know but this is the beginning of understanding the domestication.
                                                                                            Depending on the different circles I've heard for years cats arnt from here. Which is why Egyptian cult of Ra worshiped them. Or is Ra El isis Ra el ites. There's multiple skeletons of the older cats. They can find tiny mummies in the andjes or mountains like 9 10 inches much older and pull DNA and wanna have us believe they cant get DNA from the larger older cat species. Like it already hasn't been done it doesn't match. You don't need many only one. Even dinosaurs skeletons provide DNA

                                                                                            • Lumberjack king the great

                                                                                              Cats are just using us to get access to our yard so they can hunt and they don't even need us

                                                                                              • Curtis Gangler
                                                                                                Curtis Gangler  21 hours back

                                                                                                I love cats I grew up with them all my life