Why Do Cats Hang Around Us? (Hint: They Can't Open Cans)
Genetic Research Suggests Felines 'Domesticated Themselves'
By David Brown Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 29, 2007; Page A03
Your hunch is correct. Your cat decided to live with you, not the other way around. The sad truth is, it may not be a final decision.
But don't take this feline diffidence personally. It runs in the family. And it goes back a long way -- about 12,000 years, actually.
Turns out that wild cats started hanging around humans at a time when mice were feeding on and contaminating graineries in the Near East. The cats were looking for mice as food and came out of the woods. They weren't looking to be petted by humans. That's all. It took about 12 millenia for natural selection to kick in and make cats tolerant of human contact.