March 28th Is Respect Your Cat Day!
This holiday is a special one for me because it gives me the opportunity to tell you the story of how cats and humans got together in the most unusual way. If more humans knew how it all really happened, they would respect us cats more!
Here is a fact you might not know: humans never tried to domesticate cats like they did dogs. Dogs win the contest as to which species connected with man first. It probably started with a friendly-ish grey wolf who started hanging around humans in 20,000 BC or before.
Over time, humans trained these wolves to perform various tasks such as herding, working, protection, etc. As a result, these wolves genetically changed over many millenniums into the 60+ breeds of dogs we know today. Dogs are the first animal to be domesticated by humans.
When Did Cats Enter Humans’ lives?
Us cats, on the other hand, didn’t show up until around 7000 BC, probably coming from the Eastern Mediterranean. We kind of wandered into the humans’ lives with the advent of farming and agriculture.
Being smart and clever, we quickly figured out that with grain came rodents, and if we hung out around humans, we would have a constant source of food. Later, we showed up in Egypt around 3500 BC and became revered like gods. Now you’re talking!
Since then, us cats have changed very little genetically. According to DNA analysis, today’s domestic house cat is still very similar (95%+) to our wild cat ancestors in spite of 9000+ years of self-domestication.
So, when we are acting wild, we ARE!
Cats Domesticated Themselves
We are the only wild animal who domesticated themselves over many millenniums and no other animal has come so far under its own power to be with you humans than us cats.
That is why you should respect us cats! Not even the dogs can say that!
Cats are great survivors in spite of reigns of terror on felines. We are amazing creatures who are both delicate and fierce. As a general rule, we are a fairly hardy bunch. Today, there are over 600 million cats worldwide including owned housecats and street cats.
When you consider how far us cats have come, how can you not respect your cat in a new way? Meow!
Last year, our blog for Respect Your Cat Day, had a list of ways you could show your cat respect on a daily basis which is what this is really all about.
But I would like to add one more simple way you can show your cat respect and that is to not serve us food directly from the refrigerator.
Ancestrally when a cat would make a kill and eat its prey, the animal was still warm. We are hard-wired to eat more hardily if the food is room-temperature and with some lukewarm water or bone broth added. Mom takes our food out of the fridge 30 minutes ahead of time, then adds a little warm water and it’s purr-fect!