Cat Domestication Could've Started 5,000 Years Ago

Self-domesticated, natch


A pet that spits and claws at a friendly hand, then yowls in the yard until dawn raises an ungracious thought: Are cats really domesticated? Scientists say yes, but they also admit they know little about how and when felines came to live with people.

Now scientists excavating a Stone Age village in China have recovered a rare and valuable snapshot of cats in the early stage of their relationship with our own species. The researchers say the new findings are the oldest known indication of cats benefiting from their association with people, which is the first step on the road to domestication.