Page 1

THE CAT TRAVELING THROUGH THE WORLD Domestication started in Cyprus and continued in… Middle East North Africa Europe Asia Eastern Europe America Australia

Vikings traded cats directly from Byzantium.

Cats traveled to America with the first settlers.

America 1,500 AD

Brought in as exotic animals since pests didn’t reach North Europe until the late Middle Ages.

Greece 400 BC

When the Egyptians started trading across the Mediterranean, cats traveled to Southern Europe.

1,000 AD – farmers bred Siberian Cats; by 1,300 BC, they participated in the worldwide cat trade.

Norway 1,000 AD

Russia 1,300 AD Britain After Romans invaded 43 AD Egypt, the number of

cats in Rome increased.

Rome 30 BC

The vermin population spread to Africa; the “semi-domesticated cats” were right behind them.

4,000 BC Egypt

Wild cats were attracted to the vermin that were feeding upon the human food supply. Buddhists introduced cats to Japan.

Cyprus 6,500 BC China 400 AD

Cats traded along the Silk Route.

Japan 600 AD


The Middle East The habitat had the necessary components to trigger the domestication: humans, high population of pests and wild cats.

1,788 BC - Cats officially traveled to Australia with Europeans.

Australia 1,800 AD

THE JOURNEY OF THE DOMESTICATED CAT Coming from the same origin, cats developed different relationship with humans in the Eastern and Western hemisphere. For a long time, both parts of the world treasured and respected cats. However, after the 13th century, a major split in cultural attitudes happened. While in the Eastern hemisphere, humans and cat partnership was becoming stronger throughout the time, in the Western hemisphere cats experienced a lot of ups and downs in the public eye.

4,000 BC Egypt

the Mediterranean trade began

Romans invaded Egypt

1,000 BC

Wild cats were feeding on vermin that were living within early villages. Living closer to humans resulted in the semi-domestication of wild cats.

Rome 30 BC

Norway 1,000 AD

The Egyptian ideology of cats followed to Greece. Cats were more appreciated as companions than as hunters since they had weasels to control vermin.

Vermin quickly spread to Eastern Asia causing problems to the local agriculture. Cats became highly valuable for their hunting skills and were honored in local art and literature.

The spread of Christianity

China 400 AD

Japan 600 AD

Russia 1,300 AD

1,300 AD

30 BC Greece 4,00 BC

Cyprus 6,500 BC

Cats were welcome into people’s homes as a valuable companion and as a mouse-catcher. For their work, cats were rewarded with a saucer of milk .


As in Greece, Rome had weasels to control pests, and cats were considered luxurious pets. Cats were associated with female gender and were admired for their free-will and gracefulness.

8,000 BC Middle East

Cats were introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks in order to control vermin. Known as “Buddha Temple Guardians” cats were kept in high esteem and treated with love.

In Scandinavian countries, cats were respected by both females and males. Cats gave women companionship at home while they protected men from vermin during their voyages at sea.

In early agriculture, vermin became a threat to the grain and food supply. Cats were recognized and revered for their unique hunting abilities. The Egyptian ideology of cats was adopted by other cultures.

During the early stages of human civilization, humans and wild cats lived side by side. At that time, wild cats competed with people for food, birds and small mammals.

Britain 43 AD

REAFFIRMED OF THE GOOD REPUTATION OF CATS In Victorian times, cats were warmly welcomed into homes and were seen as loving companions. Cats became popular among artists, writers, scientists and philosophers of that time. The reputation of cats remains positive to this day.

Vermin didn’t reach Northern Europe until the late Middle Ages, which made cats more valuable as exotic pets. Cats were a symbol of wealth and prestige.

1,700 AD Cats began to regain their popularity Australia 1,700 AD

BY THE MIDDLE AGES, CATS LOST THEIR POSITIVE FAVOR IN EUROPE Once Christianity became a predominant world religion, all other religions were considered “pagan” and their gods became devils. Cats played a big role in other religions and were associated with paganism, devil worship and witchcraft to Christianity. In 1484, Pope Innocent empowered the Inquisition to burn all cats and cat lovers.

America 1,500 AD

DOMESTICATION STARTED IN CYPRUS AND CONTINUED IN… Middle East North Africa Europe Asia Eastern Europe America Australia

Cats entered this country with a strong witchcraft image. Cats were used for their hunting skills to catch vermin. This helped inhabitants to adapt to their living conditions as they explored the new land.

DOMESTICATION HAPPENS WITH THE FORMATION OF CIVILIZATION The stages of cat domestication coincide with the progress of human civilization. A cat’s unique set of skills was noticed and appreciated when the human population began to expand and evolve. Hunter-gathering society wild cats Prior to 7,000 BC Early settlements “semi-domesticated” cats 7,000 BC – 4,000 BC Early agriculture early domesticated cats 4,000 BC – 3,000 BC Cross-cultural integration 3,000 BC – present popularization of cat keeping

Cats arrived in these locations with a very strong image of negativity and witchcraft. It took much longer to change these attitudes towards cats than other areas of the world.

European explorers first brought cats to Australia for companionship during their voyage. Even though the times of the persecution of cats was almost over, superstitions about cats were still alive. These stereotypes and biases traveled to Australia.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CATS AND HUMANS Throughout history, humans have held a wide array of perception about cats – ultimately forming a strong emotional connection to them.

ENGAGING FASCINATION Nowadays, cats have affected some people in a deep, emotional way. While owners consider cats their furry babies, in the minds of others, stereotypes and superstitions about cats are still alive

UNCRITICAL RESPECT Cats finally proved their usefulness to early civilizations as hunters. Soon cats were thought to have superior power and were worshipped among the masses.

UNQUESTIONABLE LOVE Cats were regarded as exotic pets and trusted friends. They were also adored for their mischievous nature and strong will.

DEEP GRATITUDE Cats were appreciated for their unique set of skills and were deemed as a must-have house pet. Cats were rewarded for their good work.

EVOKING CURIOSITY After long years of mass murder, the public attitude toward cats began to warm. As people were becoming curious about cats, their acceptance grew.











Hardly any emotional connection had been established yet. Cats were viewed as just another competitor for food.

A cat’s mysterious nature was noticed and misinterpreted. Cats were now associated with demons, witches and the devil.

1,300 AD



Timeline of felines  

This research was compiled from a variety of secondary research sources to explore when and by whom cats were brought to different parts of...