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The cult of cats

Throughout history, humans have projected their dreams, fears and peculiarities onto felines. Why?

By Tom Chatfield   185

Left, one of the many drawings of cats by Louis Wain (1860-1939); right, a lolcat—captioned pictures like these are an internet phenomenon

Cats first decided to live among humans over 9,000 years ago. A burial site in Cyprus dating from 7,500BC provides the earliest evidence, with the corpse of an eight-month-old cat carefully laid out in its own tiny plot less than two feet away from its companion human. This gives human-feline cohabitation a more recent pedigree than human-canine, with dogs having lived alongside humans for well over 10,000 years, but…

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