As if the unofficial mascot of the internet needed a day devoted to it, Monday is a special day for one of the world’s most popular pets: cats.
On International Cat Day, an annual celebration of felines, animal lovers are encouraged to enjoy their furry friends. While you’re at it, feel free to beef up on your cat facts and take a gander at the cute photos we’ve compiled below.
Domestic Cats Have Been With Us For A While
It is believed that cats were first domesticated by the ancient Egyptians around 4,000 years ago. Their use then, as far as we can tell, was pretty pragmatic. Cats are pretty good at killing vermin and pests that might try to linger in food stockpiles. Egyptians thought they were so great that if you killed one the punishment could be as severe as death. Just like pharaohs, cats were also mummified before burial.
Other researchers say that cats have been living with humans for much longer — maybe even as far back as 12,000 years ago, according to the Smithsonian.
Dogs Were Domesticated First
This isn’t really a cat fact, but worth the mention. Humans were hunters before they stored food that needed protection from vermin. Ever take a cat hunting?
Not Every Culture In History Has Loved Cats
Sure, Egyptians would kill for their cats, Ancient Romans saw them as a symbol of liberty and Asian cultures thought it was great that cats protected manuscripts like they did food, but some European cultures were a bit more skeptical.
During the Middle Ages, cats were thought to be affiliated with witches and the devil in Europe. As such, people tried to keep them away. Unfortunately, that may have also helped spread the plague, which was carried by rats.
Cats Will Totally Eat You And Won’t Listen To You
A 2014 study found that 50 to 70 percent of cats will acknowledge their owners voice when their names are called out but only 10 percent of cats will actually react by meowing or moving their tails or… doing anything, really. That’s because they aren’t domesticated to respond to humans.
As for cats eating you, that will only happen if you’re dead and they’re not getting fed. It’ll take a few days, but a cat with an empty bowl and a human carcass will go for it if they need to.
Plenty Of People Have Good Reason To Steer Clear Of Felines
An estimated 15 percent of all people are allergic to cats, dogs or other animals. Cats may lead the way, at least with children. One in 7 kids between the ages of six and 19 are allergic to cats.