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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

Kitty Post February 2022: Cats: From Mills to Media By Lyla Ashburn

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

For 12,000 years, domestic cats have been a part of human society. They rose as figures of worship with the Egyptians and fell as symbols of witchcraft and superstition during the Salem Witch trials. But through it all, cats have always been an important symbol for humanity.

When humans first began settling and farming, stored grains attracted rodents. Small, local wild cats quickly associated human towns with plenty of prey. This migration into towns resulted in what we now call Felis catus, the domestic cat.

The image of the cat has been embraced in the last century, especially in the area of entertainment! In 1919, Felix the Cat made his debut in the early days of animation and became an instant sensation! Shortly after that, Felix appeared in his own comic strip printed in 250 newspapers around the world. The image of a cat was recognizable and relatable, and brought people together with the magic of humor.

Through the 20th century, many other cartoon cats gained their own fame. One would be hard-pressed to find someone who had not heard of at least one! Garfield, Hello Kitty, Cat in the Hat, and Puss in Boots are just a few names that can be recognized by people of all ages.

As the internet began to take off, one of the most popular forms of entertainment that emerged was sharing pictures of funny cats. This produced such feline celebrities as Grumpy Cat, Maru, and Colonel Meow. If you haven’t heard of them, no worries, a quick search online will have you laughing in no time!

Sharing cat pictures and cartoons on the internet has become a national pastime that has helped shelters and rescue organizations advertise cats and kittens available for adoption. The Garfield and Felix comic strips encourage people to adopt their own kitties, though hopefully with less trouble than these two felines cause!

Our furry feline companions have become an important symbol not just in our lives, but for the world as a whole. Cats have inspired people all around the world to love them. Hopefully, popular images of cats will remind us that we do not live alone in this world, and that we can and should strive to make the world a better place for cats and other animals as well.

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