Cats are one of the most divisive domesticated pets: you either love them or hate them, and there's rarely any in-between. It turns out cats may feel the same way about us. Research published in Nature Ecology & Evolution shows that cats lived alongside humans for thousands of years before they were domesticated ("The palaeogenetics of cat dispersal in the ancient world").
The earliest ancestors of today's domesticated pets came from Southwest Asia into Europe as early as 440 B.C. It seems likely that these animals were following the rodent population, which was following crops and other agricultural byproducts created by the farming communities that were settling in the Fertile Crescent some 8,000 years ago. This mutually beneficial human-cat relationship lasted for years and essentially led to cats domesticating themselves.
A second line of ancient cats dominated Eqypt, spreading into the Mediterranean and the rest of the old world around 1500 B.C. Researchers believe that these African cats had positive personality traits like friendliness and tameness that made them attractive to humans, which encouraged people to bring them along on trade routes as rodent control (a move that increased their range).
Today's house cats have a genetic makeup that is nearly identical to their ancient ancestors and wild cousins. They've also become the second most popular pet globally, after dogs, with 23% of pet owners reporting that they own at least one cat, according to a GfK SE consumer research survey. But how much do we really know about our feline companions?
Stacker has rounded up some of the most interesting and challenging Jeopardy questions about cats to test your feline knowledge. Pulled from the J! Archive, a fan-created archive of "Jeopardy!" games and players, these questions will assess how much you know about individual breeds, cat health, and famous cats throughout history. Read on to see how well you stack up.