There’s a lot of doubt that surrounds the early origins of domesticated cats, but studies and researches have shown that there’s evidence that cats traveled with Vikings and farmers through Africa and ancient Eurasia. People who conducted these studies know far too little about cat domestication and they argue if the house cat is, in fact, a domestic animal or not. It has been revealed that there were two major waves of cat expansion. During the first wave, felines moved from the middle-east to the eastern Mediterranean by accompanying farmers. The first wave is also said to be an outcome of agriculture by humans. This happened because a huge number of rodents would consume the crops as they grew and cats were used to get rid of them. On the other hand, however, the second wave began in Egypt and spread to Eurasia and Africa. Cats were taken by the traveling farmers to reduce the number of rats and mice, which is why cats traveled to Egypt and to parts of Eurasia and Africa. Also, Egypt was the place where cats had religious importance and were often times mummified too.
These findings are a result of a study of 209 cats whose remains were found out at archeological sites because they had been preserved there.
The connection of cats with human beings goes way back. In an island of Cyprus, researchers found out that a human being was buried with a cat. The burial is reported to be 9,500 years old. This discovery clearly indicates that the interaction between cats and humans started around the dawn of agriculture. Before this particular discovery, people thought that cat domestication started in Egypt 4,000 years ago. Due to a lack of funds, the research on cat domestication is far behind the research on dog domestication, though.
Not only did cats use to travel with farmers, but they were also found to have traveled with the Vikings. The Vikings, for a fact, were affectionate towards cats and even one cat was found to be buried with its master 1,000 years ago. It’s no surprise that most of the animals that were kept by the Vikings were working animals – including cats. But we can’t ignore the fact that there were people who kept cats out of sheer love. Like the farmers, the Vikings used cats as a way to get rid of rodents too but they were also used to be given as gifts to newly wedded brides. Cats were thought to be associated with the goddess of love – Freyja. It is believed that the cart in which Freyja used to sit was moved by a bunch of cats. It may seem weird to wrap your head around the fact that a cart was pulled by cats. But the fact is that the Vikings’ cats weren’t your average domestic cats, they were actually the Skogkatt – meaning “forest cat”. The Skogkatt is a cat breed which is found in the North and is famous for their strong bones.