Archeological evidence suggests that cats were commonly found in association with human settlements in the Fertile Crescent (Israel and the surrounding countries) by 3700 years ago, and they became an ‘official deity’ (in the form of the goddess Bastet) in Egypt around 2900 years ago. Large numbers of cats were sacrificed to Bastet and mummified at that time, indicating that the Egyptians were actively breeding cats. By 2000 years ago there was increasing evidence of cats spreading throughout Europe.

Domestic cat

Understanding the domestic cat

Bella. Photo: Christie Jarrett

The domestic cat is a complex creature and unfortunately, problems can arise for cats because sometimes we do not understand their natural drives and reactions. Understanding what kind of environment they prefer to occupy, their social structure, feeding patterns, and even toilet habits can influence decisions made about their care that have a significant benefit to their quality of life.

Our pet domestic cat, Felis catus has proved to be a remarkably adaptable species, and while retaining its roots as a solitary hunter, in a number of situations (both natural and artificial) will adapt to group-living through the development of social structures.  (Source: International Cat Care)

Nine characteristics common to the domestic cat

  • Hunter – the cat has evolved physically and behaviourally to be a specialist hunter
  • Obligate carnivore – unable to survive or thrive without nutritional components found in meat.
  • Territorial – territory is the space that a cat would normally defend and includes resources the cat needs
  • Agile – unique combination of balance, coordination, flexibility, and strength
  • Scent sensitive – highly sensitive to odours, sounds, and vibrations undetected by humans
  • Self-reliant – does not have to have others of its own kind around
  • Highly aware – being a lone hunter, the cat needs a specialised system which allows it to react very quickly
  • Emotional – in order to survive, the cat must feel fear, pleasure, and frustration
  • Adaptable – a cat can survive and thrive in a wide range of environmental and social circumstances


International Cat Care