Washington: A new research about cat genome has revealed that the cats, unlike dogs, are "really only semi-domesticated."
Senior author Wes Warren of the study at Washington University School of Medicine said that cats only recently split off from wild cats and some even still breed with their wild relatives and so they were surprised to find DNA evidence of their domestication.
The scientists found changes in the domestic cat's genes that other studies have shown are involved in behaviors such as memory, fear and reward-seeking and these types of behaviors, particularly those when an animal seeks a reward, generally are thought to be important in the domestication process.
Warren added that humans most likely welcomed cats because they controlled rodents that consumed their grain harvests and the researchers hypothesized that humans would offer cats food as a reward to stick around.
This meant that certain cats that would normally prefer to lead solitary lives in the wild had an additional incentive to stay with humans and over time, humans preferred to keep cats that were more docile.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.