The domestication of cats goes back at least as far as ancient Egyptian times. There, they were revered as godly and are often depicted in the art of the time. It is thought that the ancestors of domesticated cats are the African Wild Cat that still lives in North Africa and The Middle east today.
As Apex predators, cats would control the population of vermin such as rats and mice. Such vermin would often be found close to human habitats as there were plenty of scraps and other food for the taking. This bought cats and man close together, and man was in no hurry to expel their natural pest control system. Over time, the two would begin to come ever closer and cats became more than just a wild animal that lived nearby. Instead, they became a welcome member of the family and started living in peoples’ homes. This symbiotic relationship became popular world-wide, and cats formed a part the fabric of civilisations across the planet.
In addition to serving a practical purpose, cats were also prized for their aesthetic appeal, and people began breeding them to accentuate certain characteristics. This lead to different breeds arising with different characteristics. Many were still bred as hunters and for other practical roles. Others were bred simply just to look good.
Popular Cat Breeds #10: Ragdoll Cat
The ragdoll is a newcomer to the list of domesticated cat breeds, having arrived as recently as the 1960s. Their emergence is credited to a lady named Ann Baker, from California. She was a Persian breeder and bred her own cat which was of Persian origin with a long-haired, white-mitted Tom. The resulting offspring formed the basis of the breed, and Baker formed the ragdolls of America group. There are many fanciful theories behind the breed, including some outlandish suggestions of CIA involvement and aliens. None of these have been shown to be true, of course.
The ragdoll got its name from its tendency to just completely relax and flop into the arms of anybody that picked them up. It is a very docile breed and are known to greet their owners at the door and follow them around the home. They are also fairly easy to train and can easily be taught to use a litter tray and avoid scratching furniture.