University of Tasmania
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The winter ecology of the feral cat, Felis catus (Linnaeus 1758), at Wedge Island, Tasmania

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posted on 2023-05-27, 06:59 authored by Jay, CLB
The domestic or house cat Felis catus (Carnivora: Felidae) is usually believed to be derived from the African or Arabian wildcat Felis sylvestris lybica (Randi and Ragni 1991, Bradshaw 1992). Circumstantial evidence suggests that domestication began about 8000 BP in the eastern Mediterranean (Zeuner 1958, le Brunet al. 1987) and continued until 4000 BP in the Middle East and perhaps also in the valley of the Indus (Baldwin 1975, Ahmad et al. 1980). Paintings and sculptures of cats from the Eighteenth Dynasty confirm that cats were fully domesticated and living in close association with humans in Egypt by 3600 BP (Clutton-Brock 1981, Serpell 1988). Domestic cats spread slowly from Egypt, but occupied much of Europe prior to the spread of the Roman Empire (Waldren et al. 1984, Kitchener 1991). In the last 2000 years domestic cats have been transported actively on sailing vessels to most parts of the world (Lumpkin 1993), either for food, their ability to control ship-borne rodents or as pets (Dickman 1995).


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