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 • 3 709

  • Spencerrr
    Spencerrr  42 minutes back

    Can we please get a video like this about modern Dogs

    • ögåmês
      ögåmês  1 hours back

      Of course I got a cats movie commercial as an ad

      • Mike Emmons
        Mike Emmons  2 hours back

        A simple video on the history of cats, and there is a war in the comments section. Pathetically stereotypical.

        • Syberclone
          Syberclone  5 hours back

          human companion was buried with it

          • swgeezer
            swgeezer  9 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  10 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  10 hours back

                Long live our kitty overlords 😻

                • Peluso
                  Peluso  16 hours back


                  • YK Chan
                    YK Chan  17 hours back

                    We domesticated cats or cats domesticated us?

                    • Cody Petersen
                      Cody Petersen  18 hours back

                      Can you do a video of Australia animals

                      • Ex Tyger
                        Ex Tyger  1 days back

                        Cats are superior to dogs.

                        • mintbluberry
                          mintbluberry  1 days back

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

                          • Cocaine Minaj
                            Cocaine Minaj  1 days back

                            Awe kitties

                            • Daniel Vazjav
                              Daniel Vazjav  1 days 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  3 days back

                                                                Poor cat was murdered

                                                                • KnowComment
                                                                  KnowComment  3 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  4 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  4 days back

                                                                                                  Human cant domesticate cats cats domesticates humans