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Sunday, 11 September 2011 21:58

Christianity, The Plague, Cats and Rats

Here is a quick history of cats. I provide this here because of its reference to what Christians did to cats in the Middle Ages and the dire consequences it had.

  • 65 million years ago, dinosaurs became extinct and mammals began to dominate the planet.
  • 30 million years ago, the first true cat evolves from a tree-dwelling insect-eater in western Europe.
  • 12 million years ago, cats evolve into five groups: Neofelis, Lynx, Panthera, Acinonyx and Felis.
  • 10,000 years ago, Farming settlements in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East began attracting mice as their food supply increases. Cats proved to be useful in keeping the food safe.
  • 9,500 years ago: remains of a man and a cat buried together have been found, dating 9,500 years ago.
  • 4,000 - 3,900 years ago, ancient Egyptians began keeping cats.
  • Around 3,500 - 3,000 years ago, Ancient Egyptians worship cats as gods and tried to prevent other nations from acquiring them. Having seen the effectiveness of cats to control rodents, traders smuggled them up the Nile to the coast where Green and Phoenican traders take the cats with them to Europe and the Middle East.
  • 2,500 - 1,500 years ago, Cats spread throughout Europe and Asia through both trade and the expansion of the Roman Empire.
  • Around 1500 to 600 years ago, the Christian Church suspects cats are evil and starts a campaign to wipe them out. The drop in cat numbers allows rat populations to soar and rats help spread the plague that kills nearly a quarter of Europe's population in the Middle Ages.
  • 500 years ago the present day, the cat is a favoured pet and the relationship he has with humans changes from one of working to one of companionship.

Source: The Cat Expert by Rebecca Watson, p25.