Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.


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The Bidens have announced that they plan to bring a cat to the White House, this will be the first First Cat since Bush’s family cat “Willie.” Lincoln was the first president to bring cats to the White House, he was apparently quite a cat person. He enjoyed playing with them to relieve stress. No pictures though. He was reported to have fed one of the cats while at a state dinner. One of the perks about being president, one gets a lot of leeway in the little things.

I’m always a little nonplussed by people who don’t like cats, or dogs for that matter. It’s like people who don’t like children, children/cats/dogs are an integral part of being human; indifference I can understand, but disliking? I dunno, feels like there’s some self loathing there. Wait, am I comparing cats and dogs to children? Well, sort of. Unlike all our other domestic animals, cats and dogs have a far more egalitarian relationship with humans. Other domesticated species, horses, sheep, chickens, cows, etc are kept for meat or slave labor, sometimes both. It may be good for their species, some domestic animals are extinct in the wild, but for the individual, not so good.

Cats and dogs however pretty much live with humans in mutually beneficial relationships. In some ways it’s more like mutual domestication, they domesticated us in some ways. Last I heard dogs were the first domestic animals, not surprising, having some big friendlyish dogs hanging around your camp or cave at night defending it from intruders, it must have been like a gift from the Gods. The movie Alpha is a fictional but entertaining take on the topic, though I hate the trailer.

On the other hand cats  were the last of the common domesticated animals that were domesticated. In or very near Egypt around 4,000 years ago. Last time I checked, the best scientific guess is that a North African Wildcat, think a huge domestic tabby cat, was born with three mutations that made it non aggressive towards humans. It moved into a granary in an Egyptian city, devoured mice and rats left and right, purred when petted; and the rest, shall we say, is history. And from Egypt, the world. There are sales writings in Pompei extolling the virtues of cats vs ferrets. “Won’t run away if the door is left open, doesn’t bite the kids!”

So yes.  Cats are the only obligate carnivore ever domesticated, and the only non pack/herd animal ever domesticated. They still pretty much have their original DNA, unlike all other domestic animals. That’s because pretty early on we selectively bred the others to improve this and the other thing. Cats, they did their job just fine the way they were, no need to fix anything. The modern breeds of cat are a very recent development historically, most cats are still pretty much genetically the same as their Egyptian forebears.

The image above is the first known photograph of a cat, a daguerreotype from the mid 1840s. Other pics are often touted as the first, no, this above is it. Photography first started in 1839/40. So it’s just barely possible that someone alive today knew someone who knew this cat. IE there might be someone in their late nineties who as a kid met someone that knew this cat. So gentle raiders, get your late nineties friends to view the picture and see if it jogs any memories. If one of them remembers hearing this cat’s name as a child from a really old person, post it in the comments! It will be the greatest internet sleuthing hit of our age. Fame and fortune will surely follow!

Joking (sort of) aside, there are a few people alive today who as children met people who remembered the 1840s. History is closer than we think. So is eternity I suppose. God bless everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Mid 1840s daguerreotype of a cat, credit unknown, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 28, 2020 at 9:02 pm

Posted in 2020, Biden, Cats, History

One Response

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  1. You are a delight! Janice

    On Sat, Nov 28, 2020 at 9:02 PM Doug’s Darkworld wrote:

    > unitedcats posted: ” The Bidens have announced that they plan to bring a > cat to the White House, this will be the first First Cat since Bush’s > family cat “Willie.” Lincoln was the first president to bring cats to the > White House, he was apparently quite a cat person. He ” >

    Janice Dunlap

    November 28, 2020 at 9:38 pm

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