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Domestication of Cats and Dogs (Essay Sample)


Domestication of Cats and Dogs

Domestication of Cats and Dogs
Cats and dogs are popular animals in homes and the house where most people keep them as pets. These animals have been domesticated over time because they have their ancestry in wild animals. However, it is not clear when the animals were first domesticated, but various scientists have different theories speculating when domestication may have occurred. Domestic dogs and cats have the scientific names Canis familiaris and Felis sylvestris cattus respectively (Gehrt et al. 158).
Dogs are thought to have been domesticated about 14000 years ago, and were the first animals to be tamed. All dogs descended from the gray wolf, a small wolf from South Asia and were tamed by human hunters in the prehistoric period. With time, selective breeding of dogs with desired traits and features occurred with a bias for male dogs. Dogs and human beings developed a close relationship courtesy of the hunting ancestry between wolves and humans (Clutton-Brock 49). Human hunters and gatherers would lure carnivores with a meal, and they would flock around the caves since they were attracted by the smell of food. They would follow the smell and scavenge for leftovers in the camps. When man discovered that the carnivores would bark in the presence of predators, he started feeding them regularly on the leftovers so that they would offer protection against the predators. Since then, dogs have always been around man offering protection against enemies, and this way, they became domesticated (Carver Web).
Taming of cats occurred about 9000 years ago, and cats are closely associated with an African wildcat called Felis silvetris lybica. Cats are thought to be the only animals that underwent self-domestication (Horowitz Web). Close association developed between cats and man after man shifted from hunting and gathering and started farming. In this period, grains were the main crops that man cultivated, and storage of the grains attracted rodents. In turn, the rodents attracted the cats to the grain stores because cats preyed on the rodents. Man realized the usefulness of the cats in controlling the rodents and accorded them protection and care by allowing them to stay in the compound and feed them. Thus, the cats became part of the life of human beings, and man domesticated them.
Man domesticated cats and dogs for various purposes. Dogs were domesticated to offer protection against looming danger from predators after man discovered that dogs raised the alarm by barking when around the camp. Man also used the dogs to pull sleds during farming, which made work easier. In addition, during the era of hunting and gathering, the dogs offered help in hunting. Through selective breeding, different breeds emerged, which suited various purposes. Huge and strong dogs hunted bigger animals such as deer while small dogs hunted smaller animals like rabbits because they could easily chase after the animals in holes. Those with thick fur were suited to survive in cold areas like Alaska (Milne 86). Conversely, cats were domesticated for the purpose...
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