Recent research sheds new light on the ancestry of the domestic cat. It is now believed that its evolution took place nearly one hundred thousand years ago, much earlier than initially thought, as it split from its wild cousin. The area of origin is believed to be the fertile crescent...involving the current countries of Iraq, Israel, Lebanon and Syria.
The cat was probably domesticated by the farmers of these areas since it protected their grains from rodents. The cat's charm and its hunting abilities won over the people's hearts and minds and thus a symbiotic relationship developed. Here's what Stephen O'Brien, of the National Cancer Institute had to say:
"The felidae family is well known as a successful predator - very deadly, very ferocious, very threatening to all species including humankind. But this little guy actually chose not to be that, he actually chose to be a little bit friendly and also was a very good mouser."