How We Domesticated Cats (Twice)

  • Published: 07 November 2019
  • A 9,500 year old burial in Cyprus represents some of the oldest known evidence of human/cat companionships anywhere in the world. But when did this close relationship between humans and cats start? And how did humans help cats take over the world? 

    Big thanks to these paleoartists for allowing us to use their wonderful illustrations:
    Julio Lacerda (who illustrated the Cyprus grave site):
    Ceri Thomas (who illustrated Felis silvestris lybica):

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:

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Comments • 3 654

  • Daniel Lewis
    Daniel Lewis  57 minutes back

    I want to go to Cyprus now

    • TornadoOfTerror _
      TornadoOfTerror _  3 hours back

      These cats are so adorable TvT

      • binyamin2021
        binyamin2021  5 hours back

        @PBS Eons, I know you already made a video on Ediacran life, but could you make a video talking about the divergence of animals and fungi (or holozoa and holomycota?)?! Thank you!

        • 1 minute ago
          1 minute ago  6 hours back

          I hate cats

          • touraj azmoudeh
            touraj azmoudeh  11 hours back

            but really DID WE?!!!

            • Ch L
              Ch L  11 hours back

              Much peed on my playstation

              • Parker Addams
                Parker Addams  13 hours back

                "we" domesticated cats. they chose this.

                • Canzandridas Joe
                  Canzandridas Joe  13 hours back

                  I started with PBS Space Time, and now I'm hooked to PBS Eons... I don't really know if I want or should check if there're more

                  • Balaji Ponnusamy
                    Balaji Ponnusamy  15 hours back

                    Ancient human used cats to clean their mess within their settlements but what's happening today?

                    • Casey Bourbon
                      Casey Bourbon  16 hours back

                      This is great mainstream media PBS...Now I can eliminate one explanation of how cats were "domesticated."

                      • King Tua
                        King Tua  16 hours back

                        Can we domesticate crocodiles

                        • Nickolas H
                          Nickolas H  16 hours back

                          Who else here is from Cyprus? We the kitty island of Europe. 😊🐱🐈

                          • HiWetcam
                            HiWetcam  16 hours back

                            See the disgusting bent spine ‘ideal’ German Shepherd pic at time 5:00?

                            • Harry Lime
                              Harry Lime  17 hours back

                              Cats are still kill for thrill animals. That has never been bread out of them. They kill to kill, not just to eat..
                              Australia has a real problem with feral cats.. harmless animals in Australia that have lived there for thousands of years like the koala bear and the sloth are being wiped out by feral cats. it is not known how many species of indigenous animals that have lived in Australia for thousands of years have already been wiped out by the cat ...

                              • xenomorph özkan n
                                xenomorph özkan n  19 hours back

                                I live in cyprus and ı have 5 cats

                                • Wassoll Das
                                  Wassoll Das  19 hours back

                                  Is a cat actually "domesticated"? I mean, usualy we use "domesticated" on lifeforms, that have, from one point onwards, an evolution that is controlled by humans instead of nature and by this clearly differ to the non-domesticated variant by DNA.

                                  Humans domesticated wheat/corn and fruits and vegetables, horses and sheep and goats and dogs. But cats?

                                  If cats are domesticated, then the genepool of house cats would need to be different from the genepool of wild cats. Their genepool would need to be optimized for a life alongside humans. (Like dogs genepool is. Human took a wolf and cleansed the genepool from everything he doesnt like and then he picked very rare genetical traits that he liked and made them so common that every single dog has them. THATS what is called "Domesticated". Thats totaly different from "tame".

                                  "Tame" is = the animal has LEANED to exist alongside humans. "Domesticated" means, the animals DNA was altered to perfectly exist alongside humans. Thats why one usualy warns from "tame" wild animals. BEcause their DNA is still wild, they can suddenly turn back to wild behavior. Domesticated animals should have that behavior removed from their genepool. At least mostly.

                                  • EbuHasan sabbah
                                    EbuHasan sabbah  19 hours back

                                    Human cant domesticate cats cats domesticates humans

                                    • Bahrain
                                      Bahrain  20 hours back

                                      9500 years ago he had a boat !! How did he get to Cyprus

                                      • scotttufts
                                        scotttufts  21 hours back

                                        Think about the 18 hundreds where cats will hunt rabbits and flay them for you oh wait that was 1997 for me

                                        • Photo Finish
                                          Photo Finish  21 hours back

                                          This story is just one big play on words.

                                          • Photo Finish
                                            Photo Finish  21 hours back

                                            Dumping grounds, just like the British dumping pigeons everywhere.

                                            • frep you
                                              frep you  22 hours back

                                              are you sure the cats did not domesticate humans ^_-

                                              • Shadow Realm
                                                Shadow Realm  22 hours back

                                                Cars rule the word

                                                • Agustin Mario Quiroga
                                                  Agustin Mario Quiroga  1 days back

                                                  You guys got anything on the peopling of the Americas ?

                                                  • Lorkhanable
                                                    Lorkhanable  1 days back

                                                    I have a question for a video! Why do some Asian peoples have thin eyes?

                                                    • Peter Walker
                                                      Peter Walker  1 days back

                                                      Yes well, if they were 10 times larger our relationship with them would be somewhat different ...

                                                      • mr spring
                                                        mr spring  1 days back

                                                        Do a video on evolution of ants

                                                        • TANGT2
                                                          TANGT2  1 days back

                                                          I saw a feral cat in a plantation yesterday, I was happy to see cats living in natural habitats.

                                                          • Sujay Shah
                                                            Sujay Shah  1 days back

                                                            Cats: "How We Domesticated Humans (Twice)"

                                                            • Maxenne Dalgelish
                                                              Maxenne Dalgelish  1 days back


                                                              • pepe6666
                                                                pepe6666  1 days back

                                                                we domesticated them twice because they wanted in, then wanted out, then wanted in again

                                                                • Marwan Mohammed
                                                                  Marwan Mohammed  1 days back

                                                                  The cats chose us and we never chose them.there the boses

                                                                  • Ryan M
                                                                    Ryan M  1 days back

                                                                    What is this guy talking about. There are way more than six hundred million people on the planet.

                                                                    • drtyrrant king
                                                                      drtyrrant king  1 days back

                                                                      Leave that guys pet alone jezz

                                                                      • Michael Knight
                                                                        Michael Knight  1 days back

                                                                        I am just going to say this and get it off my chest. This is a total ripoff of, "Today I found out"! Total rip off. I think if you look at the earlier episodes of that show though.... you have to say they are stupid. Hopefully this show gets it's own flavor.

                                                                        • Galactic Vixen
                                                                          Galactic Vixen  1 days back

                                                                          Humans reading: *How we domesticated cats twice*

                                                                          Cats reading: *how we domesticated humans twice*

                                                                          • Romeishome
                                                                            Romeishome  1 days back

                                                                            Ancient human: Hey cat. Domesticate?

                                                                            Ancient cat: I do what I want.

                                                                            • Buff Barnaby
                                                                              Buff Barnaby  1 days back

                                                                              Cyprus is The Pentagon for cats...planning to take over the world.

                                                                              • Buff Barnaby
                                                                                Buff Barnaby  2 days back

                                                                                I leave faucet dripping so if I die kitty has water. She loves faucet water.

                                                                                • Brenna Gilbertson
                                                                                  Brenna Gilbertson  2 days back

                                                                                  so can we undomesticate them again pls

                                                                                  • uhde1000
                                                                                    uhde1000  2 days back

                                                                                    So I have 5 cats and they are outdoor and indoor cats and if we leave home for weeks at a time they can survive on there own by hunting and eating they also make there own shelter but if they want they also come inside and chill with us and eat from the food we give them so are they domesticated or not?

                                                                                    • Nikki With The Blog
                                                                                      Nikki With The Blog  2 days back

                                                                                      They are definitely not domesticated lol. I had a house cat from birth and when I tell you that was a damn wild cat. Even after being neutered. He ran away after 4 years. Probably out here living his best life.

                                                                                      • ZappaBlues
                                                                                        ZappaBlues  2 days back

                                                                                        Right mew,..... groan

                                                                                        • aron hallam
                                                                                          aron hallam  2 days back

                                                                                          Buried with a man bun

                                                                                          • Kia Brown
                                                                                            Kia Brown  2 days back

                                                                                            Cats have been here for thousands years I'm sure just like their cousin before them some have gone extinct sadly

                                                                                            • Derek Leiro
                                                                                              Derek Leiro  2 days back

                                                                                              I feel like the relationship we have with cats is: you feed and provide shelter for me then I'll let you pet me

                                                                                              • Francis Muir
                                                                                                Francis Muir  2 days back

                                                                                                Cats domesticate us in ways that are not mutually exclusive with our domestication of them. This happens often with companion animals. Livestock have less impact on their herders.

                                                                                                • Kristinapedia
                                                                                                  Kristinapedia  2 days back

                                                                                                  Just because I cat has healed fracture’s does not mean it was healed by human. It probably healed on it’s own. They had no way to know the cat had a fracture because they didn’t have x-rays back then. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️