A cat's DNA is more wild than you think. Maybe you don’t see it right now but when your cat was ripping up your drapes last week, he was showing some of his genetic wild side.
While it's nice to have cats inside our home for comfort or companionship, their genetics might push them to demand more freedom. This all comes from research supported by Washington University in St. Louis that found our feline friends are slightly less domesticated than previously thought.
Since 9,000 years ago, humans have been domesticating cats by feeding them and providing a place to call home. However they have been able retain the ability to hunt and kill their own food, proving their master's care isn't all that they need to survive. It's not that they don't love us or that ripped-up toy anymore, it's just part of their DNA.
"We believe we have created the first preliminary evidence that depicts domestic cats as not that far removed from wildcat populations," said Wes Warren, an associate professor of genomics at Washington University in St. Louis.
While the research they found highlights the fact that felines love to roam free, that does not mean their human counterparts have failed to make an impact.
Cats were originally used in homes to hunt rodents and then humans rewarded them with food. According to researchers, this lead to subsequent changes in behavior and appearance that resulted in more docile (but not quite fully domesticated) cats and produced colors and fur patterns that humans liked.
According to research from the University of Washington in St. Louis, "Our results suggest that selection for docility, as a result of becoming accustomed to humans for food rewards, was most likely the major force that altered the first domesticated cat genomes."
While researches offer a highly specialized hypothesis the bottom line is cats came into the home to kill rodents, but stayed for the food supplied by their masters.