Where did cats come from and what does their meow mean: interesting facts
Ordinary domestic cats are still a real mystery. It's not easy to understand what they mean when they meow. And what do they want to say with their sometimes strange habits? And where did they come from and what evolutionary path did they go through?
According to The New York Post, cat researcher Jonathan Losos tried to answer these and other questions. He wrote a book about these animals called Cat's Meow: How Cats Evolved from the Savannah to Your Sofa, where he outlined his findings.
Where did cats come from?
According to scientists, over the past few thousand years, people have domesticated 14 species of cats, including lions. However, it was taming, not domestication - adjustments at the genetic level, when the animal becomes more gentle and inclined to coexist with humans.
Genetic studies show that this kind of domestication of cats began many centuries ago in North Africa. And soon, in Ancient Egypt, purrs were not just pets, but even deified. And it was from this country that the expansion of cats to the whole world began.
They started travelling on ships, where they protected cargo from rodents. Thus, cats landed in Europe, Asia, and other continents, becoming one of the most popular pets.
In Egypt, people tamed all the species that lived alongside them, from cheetahs to servals. But the African wildcat was the most domesticated and became the ancestor of all domestic cats on Earth. By the way, your pet's ancestor is still considered the friendliest among wild cat species.
What does cat meow mean?
Studies show that most even experienced cat owners are unlikely to be able to understand the meow of a street cat. Instead, they understand the tone of their pet in the smallest detail - when the animal is hungry, when it wants affection, and when it is simply bored. We have learnt to distinguish the signals of domestic cats in the smallest detail over thousands of years of interaction.
However, research shows that cats communicate with meows not only with humans, but also with each other, and sometimes even with dogs. As Losos found out, wild African cats also make such sounds, but they meow more persistently and aggressively than their domesticated descendants.
This means that evolution has made cat voices more pleasant to the human ear - higher, like those of young people. Interestingly, the sound of purring has also changed over time to be more human-friendly.
What do some cat habits mean?
Sometimes cats surprise us with their behaviour, when, for example, they "rub" their owners' bodies with their paws or bring some objects. Science says that this is a way for an animal to get closer to its human, to show him or her that he or she is important to the animal.
For example, domestic cats have developed the skill of following their owners' index finger and recognising their name over time. These and other habits seem to indicate that cats distinguish us from all living things and equate us with them. They consider us to be very important cats and prefer to be friends with us.
A special sign of respect is the appearance of a cat that keeps its tail straight and raised vertically upwards. This is a sign that the cat has come with the world and is ready to interact. This is a great tribute and evidence that you have received the status of an honorary cat. That is, the animal definitely does not intend to show aggression towards you.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told how to properly care for cats in the heat and not make them worse by your actions.