Scientists at Washington University have got it right. An archaeological dig at the ancient Chinese farming village of Quanhucun has uncovered the remains of humans and cats who lived side-by-side at some point around 5,300 years ago.
Why did cats move in with people? All that grain!
By analysing chemical traces found in the remains at the site, scientists found that the cats were preying on animals which survived on farmed millet – the usual and well known group of freeloaders, mice and rats.
These rodents attracted my ancestors, so cats set up housekeeping close to human settlements.
What a thrilling scene it must have been! These ferocious ancestors of mine slinking around the village to hunt down the deadly (and tasty) rodents. I can imagine quite clearly the grateful Chinese peasants leaving out scraps of food to encourage the Wild Cats to stay.
Then one or two of the more friendly of my forebears allowed themselves to be petted and hand fed.
Pretty soon they had the best bedroll in the house.