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Declaw Debate

The domestic cat has a history unlike most other domestic species, and one that is also comparatively recent.Whereas dogs have been domesticated for at least 10,000 years, cats have only been domesticated for around 5,000 years (Beadle 66).Juliet Clutton-Brock describes the cat as'an exploiting captive' and'a carnivore that enjoys the company of man.'Unlike the dog, a manmade species, or a captive animal domesticated for utilitarian purposes, like the elephant, the cat has been said to have domesticated itself (Bradshaw 6).
Domestication probably began around 4000 BC, as remains of ancient cats Felis silvestris and Felis chaus were found in the Egyptian tombs of the period.Thefirst tangible evidence of the domestic status cat comes from ancient Egyptian paintings and sculptures dating back to 1600 BC, in which cats are shown eating and hunting with man (Bradshaw 6)."From about 1450 BCE onwards, images of cats in domestic settings became increasingly common in Theban tombs, and it is likely that these animals were fully domesticated.The cats are usually illustrated sitting, often tethered, under the chairs of the tomb owners' wives, where they are shown eating fish, gnawing bones, or playing with other household pets" (Bateson 182).
Theories of domestication are varied, but it is known that the economy of Egypt at the time was based primarily on grain, and cats with their ability to control outbreaks of mice and rats, must have earned at least some encouragement from the people (Bradshaw 6).In this way, cats began to be tolerated and then encouraged around the Egyptians granaries and homes, establishing populations of urban cats that some theorize began to become more and more dependent on humans for food and shelter (Bateson 182).Others insist that the encouragement from Egyptians resulted only in a commensal relationship, at which cats began to domesticate themselves (Bra…

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