Cat domestication in Egypt took place earlier than first thought?

It seems the fascination with cats was settled a long long time ago. The ancient Egyptians held cats in high regards, and a new discovery of cat and kitten skeletons is suggesting their obsession started earlier than thought.

Remains of two adult cats and four kittens were found in an ancient cemetery in Hierakonopolis, where baboons, leopards, hippos and more have also been found. Archaeologists were able to tell the felines’ ages due to their teeth size and bone growth, and found that two of the kittens were of different ages to the other two, and the adult cats were only over a year old.


These bones have been dated to 3,600 BC to 3,800 BC, which is approximately 2,000 years older than any other cat remains found in the area. The big question asked though is whether or not these cats were tame or wild. The study believes these cats were from the family Felis silvetris, which were small wildcat in these regions, which were later domesticated into our fluffy friend’s of today.

The age of a couple of the kittens was 4 to 5 months, which suggests that the adults may have been its parents. What points to domestication is that in the wild, cats will only have a litter when adults are around 16 – 17 months old, which is too old for these cats. So the reproductive cycle of the adults was disrupted, possibly by human interaction and food being fed to them.

How cat domestication began

How cat domestication began

But for now it’s still unsure, we’ve learnt that cats were domesticated in China 5,300 years ago, but the root of their domesticated in other parts of the world, especially Egypt, still needs to be confirmed.

*I do not own these images


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