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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  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 3 702

  • swgeezer
    swgeezer  3 hours back

    I can't believe they made a very well produced scientific history of cats without informing people that domestic cats are THE main cause for declines in native songbird populations. When your kitty is outside, it's an invasive species, and collectively killing more native birds than ALL OTHER factors COMBINED!

    At least in Australia, they are killing feral cats. If you make your cat stay outside, you shouldn't have one. I hope someone takes it away from you.

    • Mike H
      Mike H  4 hours back

      The cats endgame? Watch Love, Death + 🤖 🤖 🤖: How to tame a cat, for the answer.
      Hint: apparently the third time wasn't a charm.

      • Kosmic
        Kosmic  5 hours back

        Long live our kitty overlords 😻

        • Peluso
          Peluso  11 hours back


          • YK Chan
            YK Chan  12 hours back

            We domesticated cats or cats domesticated us?

            • Cody Petersen
              Cody Petersen  12 hours back

              Can you do a video of Australia animals

              • Ex Tyger
                Ex Tyger  19 hours back

                Cats are superior to dogs.

                • mintbluberry
                  mintbluberry  22 hours back

                  Please do an episode on the history of eggs! (Both the shelled kind and the mammalian kind please!) 🐣

                  • Cocaine Minaj
                    Cocaine Minaj  23 hours back

                    Awe kitties

                    • Daniel Vazjav
                      Daniel Vazjav  24 hours back

                      Talk about the strange creatures of every period in the Cenozoic era!

                      • meesalikeu
                        meesalikeu  1 days back

                        one thing is for sure, cats domesticated the internet

                        • Tizona Amanthia
                          Tizona Amanthia  1 days back


                          • Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface

                            Right Meow? That supposed to be some kind of joke at my expense? OFFENDED!

                            • Dan Ness
                              Dan Ness  1 days back

                              I suspect that 8 month old cat did something that killed both of them and scattered seashells all over the floor.

                              Just sayin.

                              • Aydin Barnbrook
                                Aydin Barnbrook  1 days back

                                Honestly I think Schools would love to show this. Maybe even just get them to rewatch your videos or some of them. Honestly there are a lot better teachers on youtube than public schools. Your videos are perfect for elementary, kids would love to see this kind of stuff in my opinion.

                                • Frεε Heart and Paw Necklace on my Profile

                                  Much gorgeous! 🐾💖

                                  • Weekly Dive Dose
                                    Weekly Dive Dose  2 days back

                                    Very interesting, but you’re wrong from the title...cats have domesticated us 😅😉

                                    • wheelmanstan
                                      wheelmanstan  2 days back

                                      that's why cats are awesome, they still look like their ancestors, therefore still capable and amazing, with the exception of persians and munchkins which are man-made abominations, how's that even legal, it's sad

                                      • Le Visionarium
                                        Le Visionarium  2 days back

                                        Humans DID NOT domesticate cats. Cats domesticated themselves.

                                        • oOoHCGoOo
                                          oOoHCGoOo  2 days back

                                          Cats be havin' sex super quick. You'll here a quick RAWR!!! and then they're done.

                                          • Desert Moon
                                            Desert Moon  2 days back

                                            They will never be fully domesticated they should stay in the wild where they belong

                                            • AisforInterval
                                              AisforInterval  2 days back

                                              This might be an odd topic, but would it be possible to cover the evolution of diseases? Like the oldest known ailments found in fossils, to the mysterious emergence of the bubonic plague? Or if that's not enough to work with, you could cover the evolution of the immune system and allergies!

                                              • G
                                                G  2 days back

                                                Please do an episode for when carnivorous plants ruled the earth

                                                • rockguru14
                                                  rockguru14  2 days back

                                                  Me when I'm sober: PBS Eons

                                                  Me when I'm high: Bill Wurtz

                                                  • Polash Quadhi
                                                    Polash Quadhi  2 days back

                                                    Somehow USA has to find everything's origin in Egypt, even if you find it somewhere else you must find another one in Egypt.

                                                    • linlin lixin
                                                      linlin lixin  2 days back

                                                      Sorry, but cats domesticated humans.

                                                      • The Macz1
                                                        The Macz1  2 days back

                                                        Poor cat was murdered

                                                        • KnowComment
                                                          KnowComment  2 days back

                                                          Just as a point of reference here regarding feral cats, when they were introduced to the Americas they wiped out several native species of bird. Wiped out as in extinct. With any other such introduction of a non-native species causing that much environmental damage we would have considered them a pest and had them eradicated. Just food for thought

                                                          • Daniel Lewis
                                                            Daniel Lewis  3 days back

                                                            I want to go to Cyprus now

                                                            • TornadoOfTerror _
                                                              TornadoOfTerror _  3 days back

                                                              These cats are so adorable TvT

                                                              • binyamin2021
                                                                binyamin2021  3 days 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  3 days back

                                                                  I hate cats

                                                                  • touraj azmoudeh
                                                                    touraj azmoudeh  3 days back

                                                                    but really DID WE?!!!

                                                                    • Ch L
                                                                      Ch L  3 days back

                                                                      Much peed on my playstation

                                                                      • Parker Addams
                                                                        Parker Addams  3 days back

                                                                        "we" domesticated cats. they chose this.

                                                                        • Canzandridas Joe
                                                                          Canzandridas Joe  3 days 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  3 days back

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

                                                                            • King Tua
                                                                              King Tua  3 days back

                                                                              Can we domesticate crocodiles

                                                                              • Nickolas H
                                                                                Nickolas H  3 days back

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

                                                                                • HiWetcam
                                                                                  HiWetcam  3 days back

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

                                                                                  • Harry Lime
                                                                                    Harry Lime  3 days 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  3 days back

                                                                                      I live in cyprus and ı have 5 cats

                                                                                      • Wassoll Das
                                                                                        Wassoll Das  3 days 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  3 days back

                                                                                          Human cant domesticate cats cats domesticates humans

                                                                                          • Bahrain
                                                                                            Bahrain  3 days back

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

                                                                                            • scotttufts
                                                                                              scotttufts  3 days 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  3 days back

                                                                                                This story is just one big play on words.

                                                                                                • Photo Finish
                                                                                                  Photo Finish  3 days back

                                                                                                  Dumping grounds, just like the British dumping pigeons everywhere.