Pussyfooting around with cat DNA | NevadaAppeal.com

Pussyfooting around with cat DNA

Kathleen Williams-Miller
Looking for a home: Lilly, a border collie mix, is four year old. She is in-your-face friendly and loves people. Lilly was surrendered by her dad who was going into assisted living. She would like to find a friend who would love and protect her. Please come out and meet her.

Sometimes the scope of a new discovery just leaves me stunned. Recently, I was amazed that detectives have solved crimes that occurred decades ago using DNA and genetic databases. More surprising is that the use of this technology isn’t just limited to humans.

Researchers are analyzing DNA from 209 ancient cats. Some of the DNA is 9,000 years old. The samples are from European, African, Asian and Egyptian cat mummies. The goal is to create a genetic base that will trace the ancient trail of cats’ interactions with man.

When did cats become domesticated? That question is puzzling, but current evidence suggests it may have been around 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent. The people stored grain, which attracted rodents, which in turn attracted wild cats. Eventually, the cats figured out how to coexist with people, and people liked the pest-free existence they provided.

As populations moved, cats moved with them. There were two major exoduses from the Middle East, and the genetic signatures of those cats are evident in most modern breeds. Cats weren’t bred for their appearance until the 1800s, and the tabby blotchy coat pattern became common about that time.

So as the story of our feline friends unfolds, we can see that our love for them has been nurtured over centuries. Who knows, eventually there may be an “Ancestry.cat” where you explore your cat’s history.


Aluminum cans, which we recycle to augment our shelter funds. We are now able to pick up cans from you. If you have cans to pick up, call 775-423-7500.

Emergency funds for spay/neutering our cats and kittens.

Dog food for adoptees. Your support would be greatly appreciated.


Garth Phillips for his generous donations to CAPS each month. You make the difference for our organization. We appreciate your support. A Four Paws Salute to You!

To Isassc Nuin and Keane Martein for volunteering at Bark in the Park. You rock!


CAPS will be at Walmart on July 21 with the Kissin’ Booth and a puckered-up pooch. Come by to get your pooch smooch. We have colorful caps and shirts, so be sure to check out the merchandise after you have loved on our pup.


Kim Lamb will be taking photos of pets at Flower Tree Nursery on the following dates: July 14, 21 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring your furry, feathered or scaly pet for this incredible photo opportunity. Your pet will be featured in the CAPS calendar. The cost is a donation, of dog or cat food.

July Pet Holiday: National Pet Fire Safety

SNAPS is a program offered through CAPS that provides low-cost spay/neutering for cats and dogs. To qualify for SNAPS, you need to have one of the following: Medicaid, a child enrolled in Nevada Check Up program, food stamps, 2017 tax return stating income is less than $30,000 or veterans disability card including a photo ID. Also required are a Churchill County ID and a co-pay. For information, call CAPS at 775-423-7500.

Flower Tree Nursery will again be raffling a 20-gallon tree on Sept. 15, and the winner doesn’t have to be present. The raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.


CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS’ email address is caps@cccomm.net. Please visit the CAPS website (www.capsnevada.com) and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likeable.

CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me, jkwmil@outlook.com. Kathleen Williams-Miller is a CAPS volunteer.