Cats: Man's Other Best FriendEdit
Ever since the earliest known cat, Proailurus, prowled the world around 34 million years ago, the basic structure of Felidae, which includes everything from lions to the house cat hasin't changed at all. Unlike, other animals such as horses , camels or even humans, the cat is one animal that nature pretty much got right the first time around. Other mammals came and went as they adpated to the varying climates and vegetaion. Cats however simply sharpened their claws and fine-tuned their bodies to snap up whatever prey they could find. The story of cats: big and small is truly a story about design.
It seems that 34 million years of evolutionary refienment has produced the merest hint of collarbone along with flexible front limbs, a loosely connected spine, unmatched agility, keen eyesight, night vision, broad faces and short jaws that allow powerful bites and retractable claws. In a few words they are considered "the perfect hunting machine". Felis Catus aka man's other best friend turned up 10,000 or so years ago according to the latest evidence. Domestication coincided with the human shift from nomadic life to permanent settlement. Plant gathering yielded to agriculture. Granaries drew rats, which attracted cats in search of a steady supply of food. In Egypt, cats were domesticated by 2000 B.C. (The Egyptian word for cat is miu) When death occured, cats were mummified and buried in large communal tombs. Unlike dogs, cats are aloof empereors of the pet world,accepting with cool grace, sometimes disdain, the pampering of their owners. But unlike humans, they never maliciously wound. Instead they awe.
Cats teach us to know nature. "A cat is a link between to worlds; important for those of us raised in cities. Some pets just become part of our world. But if we are fortunate, we have an animal whose world we become apart of", says James Serpell, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Cats teach us to bear death but they also teach us to bear life. So what is is about cats? Cat therapist Carole Wilbourn says she reminisced about cats she has been gaurdian for and the companionship they provide through difficult times and two failed marriages. "Cats are always there for you" Wilbourn says.