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Housecats and the Theory of Domestication


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The history of feline-human companionship is not thoroughly understood. Nor is the theory of animal domestication fully agreed upon by scholars. The objective in the present commentary is threefold. The first is to review and critique the theory of animal domestication, favoring an evolutionary and ecosystem-oriented perspective over a materialistic and conquest-oriented perspective. The second is to shed light on the history of the housecat by bringing together insights from various disciplinary perspectives. The third is to argue that interdisciplinary thinking is the ideal way in which to critically understand human-animal interaction, using the domestication of the cat as an example of a topic that benefits from interdisciplinary examination.

Date December 2011
Pages 15
Language English
Notes This paper was originally presented at the ISAZ 2011 conference under the title of "Housecat Origins Revisited: Commensalism, Co-Domestication, and Behavioral Evolution."
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Anthropology
  2. Cats
  3. Domestication
  4. Evolution
  5. Pet ownership
  6. Social behavior
  7. systems approach
  8. Theories