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The first pet cats and dogs? April 29, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. I realize I’m five years late with this post, but that’s because I was just made aware of this discovery by our friend Sarah this morning (thanks, Sarah!). According to an article on the National Geographic website (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/), a burial on Cyprus predates the whole Ancient Egypt-cat thing by almost 8,000 years. The article, titled “Oldest Known Pet Cat? 9,500-Year-Old Burial Found on Cyprus,” relates how archaeologists unearthed a 9,500-year-old human grave that contained, among other prized possessions including polished stones and shells, a perfectly preserved cat. It’s thought that this is the earliest evidence to date of domesticated cats.

It’s lovely to think that cats have been our constant companions for almost 10,000 years. But dogs still retain the title of “man’s best friend.” According to the article, pet dogs and puppies have been found in human graves in Israel dating back 12,000 years.

Or let’s say 12,005 years; the article is dated April 8, 2004. But in case, like me, you managed to miss it, at least now you can say that you’ve caught up with the last 12,000 years of pet history!

         ‘Til next time,

                     Silence

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1. Becca - April 29, 2009

makes me wonder what the cat thought about the whole burial thing. Reminds me of the mummified cats that are still found in old homes.

Eeewwww, mummified cats in old homes?!! My Linoose is starting to look alarmed now…

Becca - April 29, 2009

You’ve never heard of that???!!! It’s some sort of protection against the evil eye kind of thing. I first found out about it on http://domestikgoddess.com/dried-cats-and-witch-bottles-whats-hidden-in-old-houses/

and you can read the original article here:

http://www.oldhouses.com.au/docs/ritual.html#cats

Um, thanks anyway. Anyone who’d do that to an animal deserves to be boarded up alive in my view (assuming the cat wasn’t already dead, in which case it’s just an eccentricity).

2. Lzyjo - April 29, 2009

WOW! Incredible! I’ve always been fascinated by those Egyptian depictions of dogs and cats. I had no idea that pet graves were archeologically discovered along side human graves. Very interesting.

BTW, thanks for asking about my quilts. I have an ultra top secret project in the works. Stay tuned, something will be happening in the upcoming months.

I’ve never heard of dried cats, but it sounds like the same people who like killed pets at Halloween. Mean people!

Can’t wait to hear more about the quilt, lzyjo! And yes, whenever we happen to have a black outdoor cat or even black outdoor cat visitor, we become really scared around Hallowe’en and are always SO grateful to see that they’re still around and unharmed the following day. I just don’t understand how people can be so out of touch with their connection to all life! Too bad we all don’t make “First, do no harm” our mantra.

3. Joy - April 29, 2009

I think every cat has an inner cat from ancient times .. the one that makes them look so regal and composed .. as for the outer cat, when they get going on a tear around the house .. or trying to sit on a certain other cat’s head (Emma doing it to Sophie) .. that is the KID cat coming out to play : )
Cats are the light of my life .. I have loved them dearly and they have given us back so much .. including such respect for life in all creatures.
I hate having HALLOWEEN associated with such horrible cruelty .. it breaks my heart.
In any case .. cats are an ancient companion and we would be lost without them .. please don’t be offended dear dogs ? LOL

We actually have a Sphinx cat here, Joy—not the horrid-looking Sphinx cat breed, but a tiny yet regal outdoor cat, Dixie, who happens to look just like the Sphinx. I always thinks she’s channeling Ancient Egypt when I see her. Linoose, on the other hand, is probably channeling Homer Simpson! (But we love him anyway.) I agree, our lives would be so much poorer without cats—and dogs! And chickens! And… oops, guess I’m getting a little out of control here. I draw the line at ferrets.

4. Gail - April 29, 2009

Silence you make me smile and so do your readers! gail

Thanks, Gail! I take that as a huge compliment—we can all use more smiles!!!

5. Gail - April 30, 2009

I meant it as a huge compliment~gail

6. Jen - April 30, 2009

I’ve often wondered which ancient people were the first to discover that cats and dogs would be the best domestic animals – who was the first to put a collar on one and bring it inside? and why?. A fascinating topic that I’d love to learn more about.

Dogs seem so obvious, Jen, to warn of potential attack and assist in the hunt. They are, after all, pack animals like us. But I doubt that anyone considered cats until agriculture was firmly established—granaries attract mice and rats, cats eat mice and baby rats and chase adult rats, suddenly cats are performing a useful service and people’s attitude towards them shifts. I’ve seen the same phenomenon happen with bats in my own lifetime: The poor bats went from being monstrous, hair-entangling vampires-in-waiting to useful insect-eating garden helpers who deserved their own backyard bat houses. You’re right, it is fascinating!


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