European Wild Cat

The third ancestor of the modern cat is the European wild cat (Felis Silvestris), with its characteristic of a rounded tail with a black tip. It is similar to the African wild cat, but its more robust  and has more obscure and pronounced tigerish marks that could be the results of its natural habitat on regions of moderate climates.

How did the felis silvestris entered into the genetic picture? We can only suppose, but it is common specie at the north of Europe. (Except on the British isles) and it may have been introduced to the agricultural settlements in the same way as the African wild cat did in Egypt. It is also possible that the merchants took Egyptian cats to the ancient Rome, or that they went on ships as stowaways and then extended towards the north with the roman legions and there crossed themselves with its European parents.

It is known that the roman army took cats with them throughout all the occidental Europe to protect its food provisions, and also that the crossing between Libyca and silvestris could have prosper genetically.

Asian Ancestors
A possible fourth ingredient in the “mix” of the domestic cat is the Pallas Cat (Felis Manul). Originally from Central Asia, it has a longer hair than the rest and could have introduced a gene of long hair with the generalization of the domestication of cats.

The population of domestic cats in South East Asia is well established at the beginning of history, and it is possible that the Felis Manul (an cat without any fear to get near to human settlements in search of food) crossed itself with other ancestors.

Domestication
However, it could be too simple to suggest too much that these wild species had simply adopted human masters and were automatically domesticated. Many wild cats, big and small, roam around human settlements in search for food, but they keep being as wild as when they were born.

Instead, domestic cats are born docile and they get used immediately to human company even semi-wild cats, that have been in contact with humans, being in a direct or indirect (hereditary) way, but that could have acquired “savage” behavior, get used soon to the company of a human friend that feed them.

It is evident that there must have been genetic chances in the many generations since the first time that a wild cat got near to a farm. In all this time, a prolonged contact with humans (and the warm, comfort and availability food in the human settlements) has given to the domestic cat a more placid personality (or more pragmatic) than that of their wild parents.

This genetic gradual change, and not a simple question of habit, was responsible for the appearance of the domestic cat, something that is demonstrated by the size of their brain, much smaller than that of the wild cat.

Cat Houses Cat Species Expansion Evolution of the Domestic Cat European Wild Cat Cat in History, Friends and Foes Cat Mystical Qualities Cult to Cats The Roman Cats Cat Lovers in Asia Mythology of the American Indians