What Did Ancient Cats Look Like?
 
Geneticists investigating the ancient domestication of cats happened to find that ancient cats had stripes -- but no spots. A specific gene is responsible for spotted fur, and it is absent in ancient cats. How fur patterns relate to when cats began to live with humans, I do not know. 

Anyways, the researchers' findings were confirmed by Egyptian murals, which only show striped cats. The gene causing blotched or spotted coats began to appear in Europe during the Middle Ages. 

The mosaic above comes from the House of the Faun, in Pompeii, during the early Roman Empire. Roman cats, which were descended from Egyptian cats, were striped too.

Notes and Sources

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National Geographic History, November/December 2017. "Finicky Felines Take Their Time with Domestication." Pp. 4 - 5 

Image source 


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