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The Elements of Typographic Style

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Minding the Earth, Mending the Word: Zen and the Art of Planetary Crisis

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Entries in Colby (2)


Are Cats Domesticated?

This post is a companion to the one about the long history of dog domestication (see Domestication of Dogs).  A recent piece in The New Yorker addresses the question that many people with cats (like me) are prone to ask (when their cats don't act like dogs): Are cats domesticated? From the article: 

In a study published last year, Wesley Warren and his colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis analyzed DNA from several wildcats and breeds of domestic cat. They confirmed that, genetically, cats have diverged much less from their wildcat ancestors than dogs have from wolves, and that the cat genome has a much more modest signatures of artificial selection. Because cats also retain sharper hunting skills than dogs, abandoned felines are more likely to survive without any human help. In some countries, feral cats routinely breed with their wildcat cousins. “There’s still a lot of genetic mixing,” Warren said. “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.”

I thought so. [NOTE: Image above shows Colby (see Colby); he is a very accomplished hunter].



Monday morning, and I feel a bit like the image of Colby, one of our cats, shown above. We got Colby a couple of years ago at the New Rochelle Humane Society. He's a great cat, loves to sneak out the basement window and play outside, and even gets along well with Nikki (see Nikki). [NOTE: Assume I'll pull it together after I finish my morning tea. I have to drive to New Haven to teach in a few hours. And they are predicting snow].