From Abyssinians to Turkish Vans, cat fanciers love their cats. And, they love to show them off. In fact, on December 27, 1871, cat lovers came together for the first cat show in history. This took place at the Crystal Palace in London.
The first true cats were around at the beginning of the Pliocene Period, about 12 million years ago. Through evolution, three main types of cats came into being: The forest cat, African wild cat and the Asiatic desert cat. Domestic cats arrived on the scene about 3,000 BC in Egypt, when they were used to protect grain silos from rats and mice. Cats were considered so valuable, they were regarded as gods.
Phoenician trading ships probably brought cats to Europe around 900 B.C. The Romans, who portrayed cats as a symbol of liberty, are believed to have brought the cat to England. Today’s domestic cats are descended from those in Egypt.
The idea of cat breeds began in the 19th century, around the time of the first cat show. Pedigrees were developed by breeders from naturally-occurring breeds already in existence. In breeding, people took the cats were the traits they liked most then bred them to continue those particular characteristics.