Our friend the cat

Speaking of animals, consider the common housecat. As any cat lover knows, we don’t really own cats. Rather, they deign to live with us—but only as long as we make life comfortable for them. They’re domesticated, but on their own terms.

Now comes news that the modern housecat’s genetic lineage has been traced back to a single species, the Near Eastern wildcat, a native of the deserts of the Middle East. At some point 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, these cats began hanging around mangers, eating rats and beginning a symbiotic relationship with people that benefited both parties.

Like dogs, cats learned they could prosper by hanging out with humans. That’s why there are hundreds of millions of housecats today but far fewer wild cats.

Without even trying, cats remind us of our own wild natures, which is why they are so cool.