How We Domesticated Cats (Twice)

  • 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):
    Ceri Thomas (who illustrated Felis silvestris lybica):

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:

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  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 3 343

  • WOAH
    WOAH  18 minutes back

    It is not confirmed that ancient Egypt existed 5000 years ago. In fact it pretty much proven just not accepted that it is older.

    • Louie Watson
      Louie Watson  31 minutes back

      Cats are @$$holes

      • Jason Collins
        Jason Collins  38 minutes back

        Warriors blew a 3-1 lead.

        • Alex Dobre
          Alex Dobre  39 minutes back

          Sooooo, that means that around IX century cat cuteness appeared too?

          • Chad
            Chad  44 minutes back

            Thank you for educating me

            • Liyingbemo
              Liyingbemo  49 minutes back

              Cat's are the best😻

              • Danvil
                Danvil  1 hours back

                Cats, bother feral and domesticated are responsible for the catastrophic collapse of the wild bird population. I know many cat owners who stubbornly refuse to put a bell etc. on their cat’s collar to give birds a short warning for survival, yet most of these same cat owners consider themselves “animal lovers”. I hope you all recognize yourselves.

                • neosapiens
                  neosapiens  1 hours back

                  If you have a cat, your home STINKS.

                  • Thicc_xan
                    Thicc_xan  1 hours back

                    Imagine losing twice and being held as a dumb mean rodent

                    • Mark Nessim
                      Mark Nessim  1 hours back

                      Egypt first

                      • DrewGG
                        DrewGG  1 hours back

                        d o u b l e d o m e s t i c a t i o n

                        • catbloc
                          catbloc  1 hours back

                          Cats aren't domesticated, though. They're just extremely tamed.

                          • Daniel K
                            Daniel K  2 hours back

                            What about bengals

                            • Tom
                              Tom  2 hours back

                              This is how humans were domisticated as well

                              • Chestnut Titor
                                Chestnut Titor  2 hours back

                                "By the 19th century, we think, people started to selectively breed for more variation in markings and colors."

                                By the 19th century, if animal breeders or cat fanciers had been selectively breeding cats, shouldn't there be some surviving historical proof of the process (meeting notes from cat-lovers' societies, etc)?

                                Unless the show is referring to the 19th century BC, which seems oddly specific and unlikely...

                                • Scott B
                                  Scott B  2 hours back

                                  Hmm.was it by keeping them in captivity and breeding the most friendly of the devil's?

                                  • Lauren Perez
                                    Lauren Perez  3 hours back

                                    does anyone know what breed of cat at 4:44???????????

                                    • Emmi
                                      Emmi  3 hours back

                                      Did you ever make a video about how dinosaurs are related to avians and reptiles?

                                      • Jackson Salyer Behr
                                        Jackson Salyer Behr  3 hours back

                                        “felis catus” nice , very original

                                        • Orlon Arsino
                                          Orlon Arsino  3 hours back

                                          The Holy Grail of all videos on the internet is now bestowed upon us...

                                          • Armando Maldonado
                                            Armando Maldonado  3 hours back

                                            They domesticated themselves.

                                            • Snacks N Naps
                                              Snacks N Naps  3 hours back

                                              Abu Hurairah

                                              • Tena K.
                                                Tena K.  4 hours back

                                                Human: hey you can’t sleep in our home unless you pay rent!

                                                The cat about to invent domestication: oh you haven’t heard?

                                                • Black Mamba
                                                  Black Mamba  4 hours back

                                                  Cat's have a mutation which means they can't taste sweet things ( This is why they didn't eat the grain ) Unless domesticated a cat's off spring will go back to being feral/wild.

                                                  • killah Kong
                                                    killah Kong  4 hours back

                                                    How is Cyprus findings order that ancient African findings?

                                                    • Snaggle Toothed
                                                      Snaggle Toothed  4 hours back

                                                      Precolumbian Americas had cats BUT not domesticated cats.
                                                      They had five domesticated vertebrates. Llamas, dogs, guinea pigs, turkeys and 'Muscovy' ducks.
                                                      Boy! Did they get the name wrong with those ducks!
                                                      They thing dogs came with the first people - but why did they not take any beats of burden? Llamas were their best option.

                                                      • Carter
                                                        Carter  4 hours back

                                                        How do we know that the cat and human weren't both murdered and buried there? I mean, there's a lot of gray area in interpreting what an artifact actually means.

                                                        • Andi Rachmatullah
                                                          Andi Rachmatullah  4 hours back

                                                          Right meow ... then gggle :3

                                                          • Hello There
                                                            Hello There  4 hours back

                                                            ahhh yes... ancient kitties

                                                            • ashwater skydust
                                                              ashwater skydust  4 hours back

                                                              Interesting to note that cat's are symbiotes thanks to toxoplasmosis.

                                                              • Mayday
                                                                Mayday  4 hours back

                                                                Toxoplasmosis has entered the chat

                                                                • Antreas Tzionis
                                                                  Antreas Tzionis  4 hours back

                                                                  I’m from Cyprus and I have to say that we haven’t domesticated cats. Cats domesticated us.

                                                                  • Picasso Pablo
                                                                    Picasso Pablo  4 hours back

                                                                    I never domesticate any animal, because the best quality of life is freedom

                                                                    • prodigalretrod
                                                                      prodigalretrod  4 hours back

                                                                      Domestic cats - top of the food chain. We eat everything else, but they take it a step further and get us to do their hunting and bring them the results.

                                                                      • Aochila Aier
                                                                        Aochila Aier  4 hours back

                                                                        We didn’t domesticate them , they domesticated us .

                                                                        • Shaun Budd
                                                                          Shaun Budd  4 hours back

                                                                          I love cats

                                                                          • drumitar
                                                                            drumitar  4 hours back


                                                                            • Mgl 1206
                                                                              Mgl 1206  4 hours back

                                                                              The whole thing about mutual domestication is more prevalent in Canines than it is in Cats.

                                                                              • Daniel Drago
                                                                                Daniel Drago  5 hours back

                                                                                That island literally looks like a cat .-.

                                                                                • SirWetBiscuit
                                                                                  SirWetBiscuit  5 hours back

                                                                                  Poor cat was buried with a hipster

                                                                                  • Le Radici Degli Alberi
                                                                                    Le Radici Degli Alberi  5 hours back

                                                                                    domesticated cats... hahahaah

                                                                                    • That Which Learns
                                                                                      That Which Learns  5 hours back

                                                                                      Cats survive well without us. Were they really domesticated?

                                                                                      • Irvin Gomez
                                                                                        Irvin Gomez  5 hours back

                                                                                        Cats are not domesticated.

                                                                                        • Skuntac
                                                                                          Skuntac  5 hours back

                                                                                          You could probably slow down a bit.

                                                                                          • Mila Ayuhara
                                                                                            Mila Ayuhara  5 hours back

                                                                                            Is this 1.25 speed? xD

                                                                                            • The Cynic
                                                                                              The Cynic  6 hours back

                                                                                              Well theres about 40 feral cats in my neighborhood not counting the 20 pets that rome around and mate the feral cats as well.
                                                                                              We call the humane society and they put traps out but they never work. Usually a skunk ends up in the traps.

                                                                                              • triptank
                                                                                                triptank  6 hours back

                                                                                                Each sentence, rife with information 👌

                                                                                                • 4one14
                                                                                                  4one14  6 hours back

                                                                                                  His 'right meow!' was so cute, but then again he usually is lol <3