While 12,000 years ago may seem like a bold estimate, nearly 3,000 before the date of the Cyprus tomb’s cat—it actually is a perfectly logical one, considering that is precisely when the first agricultural societies began to flourish in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent. When humans were predominantly hunters, dogs were of great utilization, and thus were domesticated long before cats. Cats, on the other hand, only became useful to people when we began to settle down, till the earth and, crucially, store surplus crops. With grain markets came mice, and when the first wild cats stumbled into town, the stage was set for what the Science study authors call “one of the more successful ‘biological experiments’ ever undertaken.” The cats were delighted by the great abundance of prey in the storehouses while people were pleased by the pest control. Many individuals thought what happened is that cats kind of domesticated themselves. The cats invited there own selves in, and over time, as people favored cats with more docile traits, certain cats adapted to this new environment, producing the dozens of breeds of house cats known today. In the United States, cats are the most well known house pet, with 90 million domesticated cats slinking around 34 percent of U.S. homes. Cats began their rare relationship with humans 10,000 to 12,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, the geographic region where some of the earliest developments in human civilization occurred. This area encompasses modern day parts of West Asia and one such development was agriculture. As people abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and settled permanently to farm the land, storing grain attracted rodents. Taking advantage of this new, abundant food source, Middle Eastern wildcats, or felix silvestris lybica, preyed on the rodents and decided to remain around these early towns, scavenging the garbage that all human societies inevitably produced. This is just as feral cats do today. Over thousands of years, a new species of cat eventually evolved that naturally made its home around people called felis catus. Today, pet, stray, and feral cats belong to this species that we call the domestic cat.