No one knows exactly when or how the cats appeared on Terra. Most researchers, however, agree that the oldest cat’s predecessor was probably a similar animal to the weasel, called Miacis, who lived almost 40-50 million years ago so ancient cats history is a long subject.
Miacis is considered to be the common ancestor of several terrestrial carnivores, including the dog and the cat. But apparently, the cat appeared several million years before the first dog. Perhaps the most famous of prehistoric cats is Smilodon, a cat with palm-shaped teeth sometimes called tiger. This formidable animal battles through the world, but has disappeared long ago.
Here is the main list :
- Cats in the Ancient World
- Cats In Medieval Times
- Cat In Art
Cats in the Ancient World
The first association of cats with humans in the ancient time began, apparently, towards the end of the Stone Age since then , cat is a common pet loved by entire world. However, it took several centuries for the cat to become a domestic animal. About 5000 years ago, cats were accepted as pets in Egypt. Many of the breeds we know today have evolved from these ancient cats.
The Egyptians used the cat for fishing and bird hunting, but also for destroying rats and mice infesting grain stores along the Nile. The cat was considered to be so valuable that the Egyptians protected it by law, and eventually a cat cult appeared, having a life of more than 2,000 years.
The cat goddess called Bastet, also known as Bast, Pasht, et al., Became one of the most sacred of all the venerated gods from Ancient World. Bastet was represented with a cat’s head. Soon, all cats became sacred to the Egyptians, being very respected and cared for.
After the death of a cat, his body was mummified and buried in a special cemetery. Such a cemetery was found in the 19th century and contained the preserved bodies of over 3000 cats.
The Egyptians had strict laws prohibiting the export of cats; however, due to the fact that highly valued cats in other parts of the world for their ability to capture mice, Greeks and Romans led them to all parts of Europe. Domestic cats have also been found in India, China and Japan, where they were appreciated as pets, but also as rodent hunters.
Cats In Medieval Times
The fate of cats underwent a radical change in Europe in medieval times. Cats have become the object of superstition, being associated with evil. It was believed that cats were invested with evil powers, were associated with witches and were sometimes considered to be an Incarnation of the Devil. People who owned cats were suspected of witchcraft and were sentenced to death, along with their cats.
The cats were hunted, tortured and sacrificed. On religious days, many cats were sometimes burned alive as part of the celebration. Live cats were built inside the walls of houses or other buildings in the belief that this would bring them luck. As the population of cats shrinks, the number of rats carrying various diseases increased, a factor contributing largely to the spread of plague and other epidemic diseases in Europe
By the seventeenth century, cats began to regain their former place of companion to man and controlling the spread of rodents. Cardinal Richelieu was renowned for his love for cats. Many writers, especially from France and England, began to own cats as pets and to write about their good qualities. It has become a fashion to have one or more cats, especially long hair types.
Towards the end of the 19th century, cat exhibitions began to take place in England and the US, and cats’ associations were founded. Many of the superstitions related to cats in the Middle Ages are still preserved, but today, the most well-known of them being the black cat, which brings bad luck.
Cat In Art
Even in art cat have been the favorite subject of artists and writers for centuries. Perhaps the most famous of all artistic representations is that of the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet. Ancient sculptures and paintings with the image of a cat’s head have been found in many places on the Nile Valley , .
Japanese artists excelled in portraying the cats. Some of the drawings were so realistic that in the ancient world,
they were considered to be magical. People believed that if this drawing is hung in homes and temples, they will keep mice and rats away.
Among the most popular Japanese cats is Maneki-Neko, a small cat, which is believed to bring happiness and luck. Buddhists worshiped cats after death, and Go-To-Ku-Ji temple in Tokyo is dedicated to them.
The famous priests in the temples echoed excitement for the souls of the felines. The temples were littered with sculptures, cats and embossed garlands representing cats.
In every representation, the cat has a big paw to greet, and this is the classic representation of the Japanese cat Maneki-Neko.
Throughout the history of the cat, she showed great abilities to adapt to the new environment even though she was persecuted since Middle Ages then idolized in our times.
The cat is a mysterious creature which still makes us ask questions today about her powers to heal us and to bring us peace of mind.
If you have any questions or comments about anything , be sure to leave them in the comment section below and I will reply.
If you enjoyed this article and want more, be sure to check out my other content on this website and also follow me on social media so you can be notified when I release new content!