Are Cats Not Fully Domesticated?

Cats are undoubtedly one of the most popular pets in the world. They have been domesticated for thousands of years, yet there is still some debate as to whether they are fully domesticated or not. Some folks argue that cats are simply wild animals that have been tamed to live with humans, while others maintain that they are entirely domesticated. So, what’s the truth? Are cats not fully domesticated?

Before we dive into this question, let’s first define what it means for an animal to be domesticated. Domestication refers to a process where animals are bred, raised, and tamed in captivity to suit human needs better. Domesticated animals undergo genetic changes that make them different from their wild ancestors in terms of physical appearance, behavior, and temperament. They also thrive under human care and often cannot survive in the wild.

When it comes to cats, the debate on their domestication status revolves around their behavior. Cats are independent creatures that have undergone less breeding and genetic manipulation than dogs, for example. As a result, they may still exhibit some of their wild instincts and behaviors such as hunting and territorial marking. This has led some experts to argue that cats are not fully domesticated.

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the topic of cat domestication. We’ll explore how cats were first domesticated and what sets them apart from other domesticated animals. We’ll also examine both sides of the argument regarding whether or not cats are truly fully domesticated.

So sit back with your favorite beverage and join us as we explore the fascinating world of cat behavior and their unique relationship with humans.

The History of Cat Domestication

Unlike dogs, cats were not selectively bred for specific traits, but rather gradually became more comfortable living with humans and developed a mutually beneficial relationship. This has led to cats retaining many of their wild instincts and behaviors, even in their domesticated lives.

Records show that cats were first domesticated around 10,000 years ago in the Near East, where they were used to control rodents that threatened grain stores. Over time, they spread to other parts of the world, including Europe and Asia. While there are certainly different breeds of cats, they have not been bred in the same way as dogs to perform specific tasks or have certain physical traits.

One of the most intriguing aspects of cat domestication is their independent nature. Unlike dogs, which have been bred to rely on humans for food and protection, cats are able to fend for themselves and do not require as much attention or training. However, this does not mean that cats cannot form strong bonds with their owners and be loving pets.

Cats have retained many of their wild instincts and behaviors, such as hunting skills and territorial marking. Providing appropriate outlets for these behaviors, such as toys for hunting and scratching posts for territorial marking, can help ensure that cats are happy and healthy in their domesticated lives.

Despite their independent nature, cats have certainly evolved alongside humans and have adapted to living in our homes and communities. They are fascinating creatures to observe and learn from. Here are some interesting facts about the history of cat domestication:

  • Cats were once worshipped by ancient Egyptians who believed they had divine powers.
  • The first cat show was held in 1871 at Crystal Palace in London.
  • Black cats were once considered bad luck in many parts of the world but are now seen as symbols of good fortune in some cultures.
Cats Have Not Been Intentionally Domesticated Like Dogs

Cats have a unique history when it comes to domestication. Unlike dogs, who were selectively bred for specific purposes such as hunting or guarding, cats evolved into domesticated animals over time. The question remains: why have cats not been intentionally domesticated like dogs? Let’s explore some of the reasons.

Firstly, cats are solitary animals by nature. They do not have a strong pack mentality like dogs, and they don’t require human companionship to the same extent as dogs do. Unlike dogs, cats don’t need to be trained to follow commands or work alongside humans. They are independent creatures who can fend for themselves.

Another reason why cats were not intentionally domesticated like dogs is because of their unique ability to control rodents. In ancient times, people would often keep cats around their homes to help control the rodent population. Over time, these cats became more accustomed to living with humans and began to exhibit more domesticated behaviors.

It’s important to note that while cats may have evolved into domesticated animals over time, they haven’t lost their natural instincts and behaviors entirely. They still retain a level of independence that is not seen in dogs. This often leads people to consider cats aloof and self-sufficient compared to dogs.

Cats Have Not Been Selectively Bred Like Dogs

Cats have been living alongside humans for thousands of years, yet they have not been selectively bred to perform specific tasks or exhibit certain behaviors like dogs have. Unlike dogs, cats have retained many of their natural instincts and behaviors, which gives them their unique feline charm but also can sometimes lead to conflicts with their human companions.

Although some cat breeds have been developed over time through selective breeding, the vast majority of cats are still very similar to their wild ancestors. Domestic cats are still skilled hunters and are able to catch and kill prey with ease. They also have a strong instinct to mark their territory, which can lead to territorial behavior like spraying.

In contrast, dogs have been selectively bred for thousands of years to perform specific tasks such as hunting, herding, and guarding. These selective breeding practices have led to a wide range of dog breeds that exhibit specific behaviors and traits. For instance, Border Collies are highly intelligent and excel at herding sheep, while German Shepherds are known for their strength and loyalty as guard dogs.

As cat owners, it’s important to recognize that our feline companions still retain many of their natural instincts and behaviors. Understanding these instincts is crucial in providing appropriate outlets for them. Providing a scratching post can help satisfy your cat’s natural instinct to mark its territory. Also, engaging your cat in playtime can help satisfy their hunting instincts.

It is essential to remember that cats are independent creatures that enjoy their freedom and space. Unlike dogs, they do not require constant attention and training. This independence is what makes them so appealing as pets. However, it also means that they may not always act as we want them to.

Cats Still Exhibit Wild Behaviors and Instincts

Well, there’s a reason for that. Despite being domesticated for thousands of years, cats still exhibit many wild behaviors and instincts ingrained in their DNA.

Firstly, cats are natural hunters. Even indoor cats will display their hunting instincts by stalking and pouncing on toys or household items such as shoes. This behavior is a result of their instinct to chase and capture prey, which has been honed over millions of years in the wild.

Secondly, cats are territorial animals. In the wild, they mark their territory by spraying urine or scratching trees. Domesticated cats may still have this instinct and mark their territory by scratching furniture or spraying indoors. While this can be frustrating for cat owners, it’s important to understand that it’s a natural behavior that allows cats to establish boundaries and feel secure in their environment.

Thirdly, cats have a strong instinct to hide when they feel threatened or scared. This behavior is a survival mechanism that has helped them evade predators in the wild. Even though domesticated cats may not face the same threats as their wild ancestors, they still exhibit this behavior when they feel anxious or scared. You may notice your kitty hiding under furniture or in small spaces during times of stress.

Lastly, unlike dogs who have been bred to be loyal companions, cats have a natural instinct to be independent creatures. They do not rely on humans for their survival and are content to spend time alone. While some kitties may enjoy cuddles and affection from their owners, many prefer to spend time on their own terms.

Understanding and Outletting Wild Behaviors in Cats

Cats are fascinating creatures with a long history of domestication. However, despite their close relationship with humans, they still retain many of their wild instincts and behaviors. As a cat expert, I’ve learned that understanding and outletting these behaviors is crucial in helping our furry friends live happy and healthy lives.

One of the most common wild behaviors in cats is hunting. Even indoor cats will often display this behavior, chasing after toys or insects around the house. This behavior is a natural instinct developed over thousands of years of evolution, as cats are predators by nature. However, it can be frustrating for cat owners when their cats bring home dead rodents or birds as presents.

Another instinctive behavior in cats is scratching. Cats have a natural urge to scratch and mark their territory, as well as keep their claws sharp and healthy. But this behavior can cause damage to furniture and other household items, which can be a source of frustration for owners.

Providing appropriate outlets for these wild behaviors is essential to prevent destructive and unwanted behavior. To outlet the hunting instinct, providing toys that mimic prey or hiding treats around the house can satisfy this urge. It’s also important to create safe spaces for cats to engage in this behavior, such as designated play areas or outdoor enclosures.

For scratching behavior, providing scratching posts or pads made of different materials can help redirect this urge away from household items. It’s also crucial to ensure that cats have access to appropriate toys and activity levels to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

It’s important to remember that punishment is not an effective way to handle these behaviors in cats. Positive reinforcement such as treats or praise when they exhibit appropriate behavior can be much more effective. With patience and consistency, cats can learn to outlet their wild behaviors in appropriate ways.

Benefits of Domesticating Cats

Beyond simply having a cute and cuddly companion, domesticating cats has a significant impact on both the feline and human communities.

Firstly, domestication has made cats more docile and friendly towards humans. They are less aggressive than their wild counterparts, making them ideal pets for families with children. Domesticated cats are also more adaptable to living in urban environments, which is great news for those who live in cities and want a furry companion.

In addition to their improved behavior, domesticated cats also have an increased life expectancy. With access to proper nutrition, medical care, and a safe place to live, they can live much longer than their feral counterparts. Domesticated cats are also less likely to be exposed to diseases or parasites that can shorten their lifespan.

However, the benefits of domesticating cats extend beyond their own wellbeing. Domesticated cats are more sociable and affectionate towards humans, providing companionship and entertainment. They are less likely to roam and hunt wildlife, which is important for maintaining local ecosystems. Additionally, cats have been used for centuries as pest control in homes and businesses, making them an invaluable asset.

Lastly, it’s important to note that domesticated cats provide emotional support to their owners. Studies have shown that simply petting a cat can reduce stress and anxiety levels, making them ideal for those seeking some relaxation after a long day.

Potential Drawbacks of Domesticating Cats

As an expert in this field, I have researched the subject and compiled information on the potential downsides of domesticating cats.

One significant concern is the environmental impact of domesticated cats. Cats are natural hunters, and even well-fed ones will hunt and kill for pleasure. This can have a severe effect on local ecosystems, resulting in declines in bird and small mammal populations. If you let your cat roam outside, you should be aware of the impact they may have on wildlife in your area.

Domesticating cats can also lead to health problems for both the cats and their owners. Indoor cats are at risk for obesity, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and joint issues. Outdoor cats may encounter fights with other cats or wild animals, resulting in injuries. Owners too may contract diseases from their pets.

Another potential issue with domesticated cats is behavioral problems due to lack of stimulation and exercise. Indoor cats may become bored, anxious, or depressed, leading to destructive behaviors such as scratching furniture or urinating outside the litter box. It’s crucial for cat owners to provide plenty of toys, scratching posts, and interactive playtime to keep their cats mentally stimulated and physically active.

Finally, owning a cat can be expensive. Costs such as food, litter, toys, and veterinary care add up quickly. Some cats may require medications or specialized diets for health problems, further increasing expenses.

However, there are ways to mitigate these risks and ensure a happy and healthy life for your feline friend while minimizing their impact on the environment. Consider keeping your cat indoors or providing plenty of mental and physical stimulation if you choose to let them outside. Additionally, budgeting for unexpected veterinary expenses or obtaining pet insurance can help cover costs.


In conclusion, the question of whether cats are fully domesticated is a nuanced one. Although they have lived alongside humans for thousands of years, they have not undergone the same selective breeding as dogs to modify their behavior and appearance. As such, cats retain many of their natural instincts and behaviors that can sometimes lead to conflicts with their human companions.

To ensure that our feline friends live happy and healthy lives, it’s essential to understand and provide outlets for their wild behaviors. By offering appropriate opportunities for hunting and scratching, we can prevent destructive behavior while keeping them mentally stimulated and physically active.

The impact of domesticating cats extends beyond just the individual pet owner. Domesticated cats tend to be more docile, friendly, adaptable, and sociable towards humans. They provide companionship and entertainment while reducing stress levels. Additionally, they are less likely to roam and hunt wildlife, making them an invaluable asset as pest control in homes and businesses.

However, owning a cat does come with potential drawbacks. These include environmental impact, health problems for both cats and owners, behavioral issues due to lack of stimulation or exercise, and expenses associated with caring for a pet. To mitigate these risks, keeping your cat indoors or providing plenty of mental and physical stimulation can ensure a happy life for your feline friend while minimizing their impact on the environment.

In summary, understanding the complexities surrounding cat domestication is crucial in ensuring that our furry companions thrive in our homes while also benefiting society at large.