How cats became our roommates

I don’t know about you but I have always been curious how cats became so ingrained into the life of humans. A recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science sheds light on the chain of events that forged the relationship between feline and humans.

The story begins about 5,560 years ago in central China. In the middle of an agricultural boom, farmers discovered a problem: rodents. The rodents were so bad they were eating the farmers out of house and home. Enter the cat who has a voracious appetite for rodents. It was at that point that the farmers stopped killing cats and began bringing them into their homes.

Cat domestication was a response to agricultural development, so the domestication of cats is much more recent than dogs. Dogs first started hanging around hunter-gatherer hunting sites long before agriculture. People found them useful for; giving an alarm, helping in hunting and cleaning up left overs. Dogs became our pals.

In cats this process is what scientists call a commensal pathway to domestication. Both dogs and cats became involved with humans through food. Actually nothing about the process was intentional; humans didn’t set out to domesticate cats or dogs and make them into partners, but one thing lead to another, and our pets are the result.

I have to agree the relationship with humans is through food because every morning just as the first rays of light hit our windows, Watson wakes up and tries to wake me up for his breakfast. He knows who feeds him, and he makes sure I’m awake and aware that he is hungry.

I admire the coolness that cats display when they want food. They appear to be distracted and distant; but insistent. It is as if they not only deserve their food but they also deserve it right now, thank you very much. I don’t even want to go into how fussy cats can be. If you have ever tried to please a fussy kitty, you know what I’m talking about.

It doesn’t really matter when we became roommates with our pets. The thing that really matters is we have made a bond between us and another species who share our world.

WHO’S WHO

Our Who’s Who this week are two wonderful volunteers from NAS Fallon who faithfully walk our guests. A huge thank you goes to Herbert and Amber. Your dedication to our guests is fabulous.

We always welcome volunteers to help at CAPS. If you like to walk, we have the right partners for you. Call Rita at 423-7500 to get involved and meet the pups.

WHO’S NEW AT THE CAPS’ ZOO?

Tiger is a very beautiful silver-gray tabby who is 12 years old. His owner was unable to care for him any longer. He is a sweet boy who would love to love you. If you can make room in your home for this lovely boy, he will make room for you in his heart. Come out and meet Tiger: you won’t be disappointed.

Great news: Gauge has been adopted into his happy-ever-after home. We love a happy ending!

CAPS’ NEWS AND EVENTS

Flower Tree Nursery is again raffling a 15-gallon tree of your choice. The drawing date is June 15, and the winner doesn’t have to be present to win. Raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.

We need dog food! Please help us out. You can drop if off at CAPS or call me at 423-1814 and I will pick it up.

CAPS will be at Walmart on June 18 along with adorable Ki at our Kissin’ Booth. There may also be a “mystery” kisser. Please come by and give our boys a big hug and kiss. We have hoodies, sweatshirts, caps, and T-shirts from Bark in the Park, so please check them out before or after greeting our canine volunteers. You can also pre-order the 2017 Happy Endings Calendar.

CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. Please visit our Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable.

Our website is presently undergoing construction. Watch this column for the grand opening of our new site.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me jkwmil@outlook.com.

Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, contributed this week’s column.

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