The earliest known indication for a tamed African wildcat was excavated close by a human grave in Shillourokambos, southern Cyprus, dating to about 9,200 to 9,500 years before present. As there is no evidence of native mammalian fauna on Cyprus, the inhabitants of this Neolithic village most likely brought the cat and other wild mammals to the island from the Middle Eastern mainland. Scientists therefore assume that African wildcats were attracted to early human settlements in the Fertile Crescent by rodents, in particular the house mouse (Mus musculus), and were tamed by Neolithic farmers. This commensal relationship between early farmers and tamed cats lasted thousands of years. As agricultural practices spread, so did tame and domesticated cats. Wildcats of Egypt contributed to the maternal gene pool of the domestic cat at a later time. The earliest known evidence for the occurrence of the domestic cat in Greece dates to around 1200 BC. Greek, Phoenician, Carthaginian and Etruscan traders introduced domestic cats to southern Europe. During the Roman Empire they were introduced to Corsica and Sardinia before the beginning of the 1st millennium. By the 5th century BC, they were familiar animals around settlements in Magna Graecia and Etruria. By the end of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the Egyptian domestic cat lineage had arrived in a Baltic Sea port in northern Germany.
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