A cat's past
Did you know that all cats, including lions, tigers and our own pets, are descended from one prehistoric creature? And that it was cats that chose to live with people, not the other way round?!
Today's domestic cats have a very long and interesting history. Come on a journey through time to discover more...
20 million years ago
The first carnivores that actually look like cats walk the earth.
12 million years ago
The oldest known relative of today's domestic cat develops.
In ancient Egypt, the African wildcat enters towns in search of food - mainly rats in Egyptian grain stores - and chooses to live close to people.
Cats are more relaxed around humans and enjoy the food and shelter that they provide. The Egyptians welcome cats into their homes because they keep snakes away. Egyptians also worship cats as sacred animals and ban people from taking them to other countries.
1000 BC – 500 BC
Domesticated cats - used to living with people - spread across south-east Asia and into India as cats are sold and transported to new places secretly.
The Romans introduce cats to the whole of Europe, including Britain, as their empire gets bigger.
After being objects of worship for the Egyptians for thousands of years, cats now find themselves associated with evil and in particular witches. They are treated extremely badly and often killed.
American settlers ship in large number of cats from Europe to control plagues of rats; the domestic cat then spreads across the Americas.
The popularity of cats as pets in Britain grows, although cruelty is still everywhere. In 1871 the first cat show takes place in London.
Cats serve in the First World War, being used in the trenches to sniff out poisonous gas and on war ships to control rats.
Cats Protection is created, originally to educate people about cats and cat care, but later to help and rehome unwanted cats. For more information about CP click here
Cats become one of the most popular pets in Britain, with over 9 million cats being owned. Cats are popular because they are both independent and affectionate too.