A 2016 study found that leopard cats were undergoing domestication independently in China around 5,500 BC, though this line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domesticated populations of today. Cats have either a mutualistic or commensal relationship with humans.
The alternative idea is that cats were simply tolerated by people and gradually diverged from their wild relatives through natural selection, as they adapted to hunting the vermin found around humans in towns and villages.
The origin of the English word cat (Old English catt) and its counterparts in other Germanic languages (such as German Katze), descended from Proto-Germanic *kattōn-, is controversial.
Lionel Bender says the Nubian term is a loan from Arabic قِطَّة qiṭṭa.
Huehnergard opines it is "equally likely that the forms might derive from an ancient Germanic word, imported into Latin and thence to Greek and to Syriac and Arabic".
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