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Earliest Cat Domesticated in China Was the Leopard Cat, Scientists Say

The wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) ancestor of today’s beloved house pet was not the only species of felid to adapt to human society and be domesticated, according to research published in the science journal PLOS ONE. In China a different species, the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), adapted independently to living with humans.

Secrets of the World’s 38 Species of Wild Cats

© Emmanuel Keller, courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing. Perhaps the most popular pet on Earth, the family cat is a beloved member of countless households. Millions of others abandoned or strayed are flourishing independently outdoors, where they may pose serious threats to birds and other small animals. But as familiar as the house cat is, not many people know it has…