Cats In The Ancient World

Cats have been our friends and companions for thousands of years. Some research indicates that we first domesticated them as far back as 10,000 years ago. In fact, a kitty was buried with a human in a recently-uncovered Mediterranean grave that was dated as 9,500 years old. Fluffy seems to have reached Europe around the 5th century BC, and likely hopped a ride with Phoenician traders. A local Oshawa, ON vet reveals some fun facts about ancient kitty history below.


It’s not hard to figure out what the ancient Egypts felt about kitties. Fluffy was so revered that she was often mummified with her humans. Ancient Egyptians also would shave their eyebrows after the death of a feline friend. In fact, they actually worshiped a cat goddess: Bastet.


Fluffy didn’t do too badly in ancient Rome, either. The Roman legions considered these little furballs as helpful allies, and even brought them along with them to protect their food, leather, and equipment from rats.


Kitties may have been charming Chinese people for as long as 5300 years. Early evidence shows that Fluffy was living with humans in farmlands in the northwest region of the country. The remains found in that area indicated that Fluffy wasn’t eating only meat, which points to early domestication … and a talent for begging.


Our feline buddies also fared well in ancient Japan, which they seem to have reached around 500 AD. As in other areas, they were initially put in charge of rodent control. Fluffy found a home in Buddhist temples. Monks prized her vermin-hunting abilities, as she helped protect valuable ancient manuscripts. In fact, kitties did so well at this that they became known as protectors of books. (Fluffy still protects books, though now she seems to do it by napping on top of them.) Our feline pals are still considered lucky there to this day!


Cats are featured in some of India’s historical epics, such as the Ramayana and the Mahābhārata. In fact, Puss In Boots may have been derived from or inspired by ancient Indian fables.

Thailand (Siam) 


Another place where our feline overlords were very highly revered in Siam, now Thailand. Legend has it that Siamese cats were royal favorites. 


Do you have questions about your feline pal’s health or care? Contact us, your local Oshawa, ON pet hospital, today! 

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