Teri Wilson
October 25, 2015 3:09 pm

As long as there have been cats and dogs, there have been cat people and dog people. I can’t help but wonder if there’s truly a way to love both animals equally. (Probably not. Do the thing and pick a side.)

Cats and dogs are different. That’s for sure. Dogs, for the most part, are boisterous and social. Cats have a rep for being independent and aloof. But an article in The New Yorker recently posed an interesting question: Are cats domesticated?

The obvious answer is yes. There are, after all, just under 75 million cats living in homes as pets in the U.S. alone. (Which is about five million more than dogs, just FYI.) But according to the article, “Are cats domesticated?” is one of the most frequent cat-related questions people ask Google every day. Surely there’s a reason we’re asking this question.

The reason may having something to do with the little “gifts” cats like to lavish upon their owners. We’re talking body count here, guys. Dead mice and the occasional pile of feathers you find on your doorstep. The New Yorker article cites a study conducted last year by Dr. Wesley Warren, a geneticist at Washington University in St. Louis, that compared and contrasted DNA of pet cat breeds and wildcat species. The study found “genetically, cats have diverged much less from their wildcat ancestors than dogs have from wolves.”

This makes sense, doesn’t it? When was the last time you saw a cat walking around the neighborhood on a leash? Dr. Warren even went on to say, “You don’t have the true differentiation you see between wolf and dog. Using the dog as the best comparison, the modern cat is not what I would call fully domesticated.”

So, there you go. Cats aren’t just more independent. They’re still a little bit wild. But who says that’s a bad thing? Domesticity can be overrated.

Especially when there’s a mouse in the house. Amirite?

Related:

Science says how grumpy your cat is could depend on what color it is

Um, cats may just be sociopaths after all

[Image via Shutterstock.]

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