It is believed that cats were first tamed in ancient Egypt where they were used for pest control. This happened probably around the time of 3000 BC where cats came to be loved as members of the household and we’re even worshipped by some as gods. It turns out that the Egyptians we’re terribly impressed buy these incredibly gifted hunters and started to treat them as sacred beings.
Ancient Cats Were Worshiped
The fact is that cats became so revered and sacred and Egyptian homes that owners went into official mourning whenever they died. They actually embalmed their kitties, placed their bodies in coffins made of wood, and presented them to their cat god at the Great Temple of Bast. Other ancient Egyptians actually mummified their dead beloved pets in vast numbers. The studies of all these pet mummies are how scientists learned about their reverence of cats.
Cats also became domesticated throughout the Far East during ancient times as well. The spread of kitties in these areas seem to have occurred at later dates then those in Egypt. It is believed that domestication in China, for instance, occurred around 2000 BC.
From these ancient locations, it is believed that domestic felines ventured into Italy and then migrated slowly throughout Europe. Their popularity grew quickly in many of these lands. However, the opinions of cats begin to change somewhat by the Middle Ages. For instance, Christian churches did not like how cats were often connected with Pagan cults. Sadly, they waged a war against these cats. This is when cats begin to pick up negative connotations. One of those is how they are linked to witches and also how black cats are believed to be unlucky.
Early Christian Churches Hated Cats
These new beliefs promoted by the church, led to some very unfortunate consequences for cats. For instance, cats were often burnt alive by many of these Christians. This is because the church believed that cats were agents of evil.
However, this unpopular opinion of cats began to fade slowly over time. And by the 18th century people were once again realizing the value of having cats in their households. This is because their skills where again being recognized as they had been in ancient times by the Egyptians. It was during the 19th century that their popularity began to soar once again. And by the end of this century, cat pedigrees were gaining popularity and the first cat shows were born.
It is amazing to believe that these lovable creatures known as cats have been in households for literally thousands of years. Their usefulness has been recognized in endless formats ranging from their utility on farms to how effective they are as simple household companions. In fact, local governments are even using feral cats to help combat a growing and destructive rat population within their inner cities.
The question becomes what kinds of uses these marvelous little creatures will provide for us in the future. The fact is there will never be another Middle Ages for our beloved felines. There are just too many of us cat lovers around to ever allow that to happen again. There are too many cat shelters, too many cat lovers, and just too many cats to ever rid the Earth of their wonderful presence. Cat haters would just have to find something else to hate on…