Science College, General Science Dept
by Jessie Blyton
Several thousand years ago, after humans gave up being nomadic hunters and made permanent homes on farms and in towns, cats "moved in" with humans. The first identifiable breed of domestic cat was the Egyptian mau cat from the time of the pharaons.
Cats have benefited greatly from befriending humanity, and our population worldwide has increased along with the dramatic increase in the human population. In western countries we are mostly pets but in many other countries we are tolerated in a half-wild state because we keep down vermin such as mice and rats. This still happens on western farms and some other working places too.
As both pets and mousers we have been taken to places we would never have reached without humans - to the New World and to thousands of islands. This includes very big islands like Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand, down to some very tiny ones. We flourish on every continent now except Antarctica. In the U.S.A alone there are about 60 million pet cats and 60 million feral cats.
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