We really are a community of cat lovers. A dog might be man’s best friend but if a cat chooses to hang out with you, you really know you’re special. It’s precisely this amazing mix of independence and full on love from our feline friends that makes us a global phenomenon that owns around 88.3 million cats, across the world.
But how did our adored pets come to find their way into the hearts and homes of their owners?
Research from the Wildlife division at Oxford University, carried out several years ago, concluded that all domestic cats alive today stem from just five family lines found in the so called ‘Fertile Crescent’, an area of land stretching between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.
It is believed that the domestication of cats started some 12,000 years ago in parts of Cyprus. With the constant flux of human migration, cats were brought to various parts of the world and the tradition for keeping them as domestic pets was continued.
During the Roman occupation across Europe, cats were considered highly useful in the fight for pest control and when the Roman invaders left, many domesticated cats were left behind. In Ancient Egypt, of course, cats were held in very high regard as religious symbols. So respected were these felines deities that anyone who killed a cat was in fear of receiving the death penalty.
It hasn’t always been an easy ride for our feline companions however, with cat killing high on the agenda during the Middle Ages thanks to their close association with witchcraft.
Cats had their resurgence in the late 19th century in the UK thanks to Queen Victoria being introducing several into the royal household. But across the rest of Europe, owning a cat was fast becoming normal practice.
Despite the ups and downs of cat ownership, these lovely animals have won the hearts of millions of owners and look set to continue their rise in popularity.
With their distinctive faces and luxurious coats, you can’t miss this beautiful breed. Intelligent and gentle they are enjoyed as family pets across the country.
A more recent addition to domestic cats, the Bengal is a cross between the Asian Leopard Cat and domestic breeds resulting in very distinctive looking fur patterns. They are fast becoming one of the more popular breeds of domestic cat.
The Maine Coon
Although originating in North East America, this breed has become increasingly popular across Europe. Their beautiful fur and gentle ways have given them a deserved place in homes across Europe and the rest of the world
This medium sized cat is famous for its easygoing personality. With its lovely blue eyes and soft coat, these pets are known for fitting into family life easily making them increasingly popular companions.
This unusual looking cat is a great fan of heights and will often be found keeping an eye on things up trees or sitting on walls. They are friendly and affectionate to have around.