WORLD — House cats may seem like they could care less about their owners, but the species and their humans apparently go way back.
The Smithsonian reports that a team of scientists mapped out the modern felines' storied history with people, finding that they all descended from a single type of wild cat, Felis silvestris lybica, and spread across the world in two waves.
Ten thousand years ago, when agriculture boomed in the Near East, farmers began using cats to drive rodents out of their grain stores. From there, the felines spread north and west to Bulgaria and Romania.
The second wave came thousands of years later with the ancient Egyptians, who loved kitties so much they worshipped a cat goddess and mummified their dead pets.
Egyptian kitty love spread to Europe during the Roman era, but the cats' popularity really took off with the Vikings, who put them on ships to keep the rodent population in check.
A separate study found that in China, cats may well have have been catching pesky mice since 5,300 years ago.
Their strategy seems to be just to stick to humans, and clearly that's worked because flash forward to the present and they're on every continent on Earth except for Antarctica.
They've even conquered the internet, and are probably already plotting their domination of space.