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People all around the world love their cats. Cats are cute, and they can also be helpful! Cats are great at catching mice and other small animals. Long ago, cats evolved from wildcats that started hunting for prey around human settlements. When and where did this happen? We analyzed DNA from over 2,000 cats from around the world. We found that cats’ DNA tells a story that follows ancient human travels. Our data show wildcats were most likely first domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean (Near East). Cats spread out to the rest of the world as traders and sailors brought them on their journeys. We are still learning new things even about the animals we know best!

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About this article

Reading level
Scientific topic
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AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
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Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
April 2023

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