How We Domesticated Cats (Twice)

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  • Published: 07 November 2019
  • A 9,500 year old burial in Cyprus represents some of the oldest known evidence of human/cat companionships anywhere in the world. But when did this close relationship between humans and cats start? And how did humans help cats take over the world? 

    Big thanks to these paleoartists for allowing us to use their wonderful illustrations:
    Julio Lacerda (who illustrated the Cyprus grave site): 252mya.com/gallery/julio-lacerda
    Ceri Thomas (who illustrated Felis silvestris lybica): alphynix.tumblr.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: lavendercottage.info/user/pbsdigitalstudios

    Super special thanks to the following Patreon patrons for helping make Eons possible:

    Katie Fichtner, Anthony Callaghan, Gina Viglietti, Laura Sanborn, Jack Arbuckle, David Sewall, Anton Bryl, Ben Thorson, Andrey, MissyElliottSmith, The Scintillating Spencer, Zachary Spencer, Stefan Weber, Ilya Murashov, Robert Amling, Po Foon Kwong, Larry Wilson, Merri Snaidman, John Vanek, Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle, Gregory Donovan, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, PS, Philip Slingerland, Eric Vonk, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Joao Ascensao, Tsee Lee, Alex Yan

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    References: docs.google.com/document/d/1PrjxNeht0mNaC1ROZQtSd4vs6eFljlq0Wk0W4Twh7ZQ/edit?usp=sharing
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 4 637

  • Lawrence Chen
    Lawrence Chen  2 hours back

    We domesticated dogs by getting them accustomed to the human presence.
    Cats domesticated humans by getting us accustomed to their presence.

    • Nirvana Love
      Nirvana Love  4 hours back

      We're Face To Face With The Cat Who Sold The World.

      • Murtaza Bijani
        Murtaza Bijani  5 hours back

        Wait, is that a hipster skeleton they found with the cat...?

        • Kooka Munga
          Kooka Munga  6 hours back

          My completely domesticated cat was let outside and later i would leave a window open for him. he learned to hunt on his own and would kill and eat a variety of animals, happily. despite having 24 access to food. he didnt need me in the slightest. he just liked me i suppose. every generation of cat is born wild and needs to be domesticated within 2 months. My other cat that was a few months younger than him and was entirely feral and it took a long time to get her trust. but she was timid and would only venture outside if he was nearby. when he ventured away she reentered immediately. a tail of opposites.

          • Colin Merritt
            Colin Merritt  8 hours back

            Shouldn't this read "How cats domesticated us"?

            • flippingo
              flippingo  8 hours back

              Couldn't the narrator speak just a tad faster, please.

              • Pablo Raphael Vieira Fernandes

                I still think we haven't

                • David A. Chamberlain
                  David A. Chamberlain  21 hours back

                  Have you ever considered humans survived because of cats?

                  • Yo Papi
                    Yo Papi  22 hours back

                    1:15 yeah might not feel like it because its more like "They domesticated us"

                    • A Reilly
                      A Reilly  23 hours back

                      Love my Mackerel Tabby's 😻 this was an interesting video.

                      • AlexBryan
                        AlexBryan  23 hours back

                        We didn't domesticate cats.


                        Cats chose to live with us.

                        • jayshaun riley
                          jayshaun riley  1 days back

                          Um not true cats can like water the only reason house cats don't like water is because they are inside and never exposed to water via bathes regularly.

                          • Rapid Revolver
                            Rapid Revolver  1 days back

                            Cats are awesome they're like little house tigers 🤣

                            • Lumberjack king the great

                              Wasn't the video title how cats demestacated us twice im serious I remember

                              • Neo Monk
                                Neo Monk  2 days back

                                We’ve domesticated cats twice, but it still hasn’t taken hold. will the third time be the charm?

                                • Yogizilla
                                  Yogizilla  2 days back

                                  Cats are awesome and understanding their Origins has given me a newfound appreciation. Thank you for this wonderful history!

                                  • Yiayiosmalakas
                                    Yiayiosmalakas  2 days back

                                    i live in cyprus xd

                                    • kilroy987
                                      kilroy987  2 days back

                                      I thought it was how we NEVER domesticated cats.

                                      • Alex S.
                                        Alex S.  2 days back

                                        This video is grossly biased towards human greatness. Like y’all discredit cats way too much and talk up people way too much. Cats are great at hiding away in small places it’s just as likely that they stowed away. Tbh this video was just ignorant

                                        • Shirokröte
                                          Shirokröte  1 days back

                                          I'm sure no cat will ever be bothered by this video

                                      • Alex S.
                                        Alex S.  2 days back

                                        Lol “we” didn’t domesticate them. They domesticated themselves. Fun fact: they train people more often then we can train them.

                                        • 陳矩翰
                                          陳矩翰  2 days back

                                          I'm a simple man. I see cats, I press like.

                                          • Hal Kael
                                            Hal Kael  2 days back

                                            Cats are the only animal to successfully domesticate humans

                                            • OoogaBoog
                                              OoogaBoog  2 days back

                                              A lot of humans don't believe that cats have been domesticated....this comes from one very specific reason. Cats personality array is as varied as humans, therefore their behaviors are as vast and varied as humans (elephants are this way as well). As a pet, a lot of humans want to 'dominate', but with a lot of personalities this will be impossible without mutual respect.

                                              • jbchuckybaby
                                                jbchuckybaby  2 days back

                                                I wanna know how y'all got monkey and canine and feline inside y'all DNA...

                                                • Bengu Beyar
                                                  Bengu Beyar  2 days back

                                                  I LIVE IN CYPRUS TF

                                                  • RustyNuts
                                                    RustyNuts  2 days back

                                                    3 times. You marry one and allow it to live in your home

                                                    • Tamar Harrington
                                                      Tamar Harrington  2 days back

                                                      4:08 That looks a lot more like popcorn than millet.

                                                      • Inga Paulova
                                                        Inga Paulova  3 days back

                                                        I thought the video was sped up at first. Whoa there, slow down!

                                                        • Ferry Heerdink
                                                          Ferry Heerdink  3 days back

                                                          IMO we didn't domesticate cats. They domesticated us...

                                                          • linguistically oversight 86

                                                            Horses are not domesticated by definition they can be tamed they can be work with they are not domesticated there is a big difference

                                                            • linguistically oversight 86

                                                              And that's why I technically horses are not domesticated they can Be tamed but they are not domesticated most if not all species of horses would be fine without humans

                                                              • Somebody
                                                                Somebody  3 days back

                                                                Jerusalem has the highest cat density of any city in the world

                                                                • Rebecca Cohen
                                                                  Rebecca Cohen  3 days back

                                                                  Watching this video beside my two cats.

                                                                  • TheNightmare311
                                                                    TheNightmare311  3 days back

                                                                    my cat breed with an wild cat all these generations of domesticated gone the baby cat of that (by now somehwat of 10-12 years old) is still wild and shy of humas despite of living for us for all his life :(

                                                                    • h3x3
                                                                      h3x3  3 days back

                                                                      Toxoplasma gondii!!!!!!!!

                                                                      • J Alex
                                                                        J Alex  3 days back

                                                                        lol no, cats "domesticated" themselves; little buggers are smart like that

                                                                        • Dennis Breault
                                                                          Dennis Breault  3 days back

                                                                          Put $5,000,000 cash on the table and my cat Gabriel. Tell me to chose one then walk away. I chose my cat Gabriel. Some might say I'm dumb but truth is I will be rich forever. Please report animal abuse.

                                                                          • Kevin Filbin
                                                                            Kevin Filbin  3 days back

                                                                            I've always said that cats belong in the wild, and that is why they escape when they get a chance to unlike dogs, and don't return unlike dogs. Evey cat that I've ever had has been an outdoor cat

                                                                            • Pammy Otto
                                                                              Pammy Otto  3 days back

                                                                              Meow👍

                                                                              • Rick Abrams
                                                                                Rick Abrams  4 days back

                                                                                Speak like a normal person.

                                                                                • Eric Carlson
                                                                                  Eric Carlson  4 days back

                                                                                  long live these beings!

                                                                                  • Bruce Dodd
                                                                                    Bruce Dodd  4 days back

                                                                                    My cat was Nurgmas Nurg becauy he was Loved

                                                                                    • Eric Silberstein
                                                                                      Eric Silberstein  4 days back

                                                                                      Domestication is cruel when nonhuman beings just want to live their lives as they’re meant to.

                                                                                      • Jess S.
                                                                                        Jess S.  4 days back

                                                                                        Who here know the Ksss Ksss man?

                                                                                        (Looking up youtube channel for a link)

                                                                                        • upuntil6
                                                                                          upuntil6  4 days back

                                                                                          If not for us the may have never left Africa or Asia, now where have I heard that before?

                                                                                          • Matt Foley
                                                                                            Matt Foley  4 days back

                                                                                            Sad that big portion of species with 7 billion can't really take care of a cat that has a population of 600 million which isn't even half of the human population.

                                                                                            • Silver Surfer
                                                                                              Silver Surfer  5 days back

                                                                                              Domestication of silkworm(silkmoth) is even more mysterious.
                                                                                              Silkworms can't survive in the nature without human help. They are totally different from their related wild species, completely helpless without human.
                                                                                              No fossil, no evidence, nothing to explain nor even remotely indicate how did humans domesticate some wild worms to make silks.
                                                                                              There's only a Chinese legend which says a princess found some silkworms in her garden in ancient China.

                                                                                              • Finn Buchanan-Brown
                                                                                                Finn Buchanan-Brown  5 days back

                                                                                                4:24