Journal of Archaeological Science vol:34 issue:12 pages:2081-2090
The remains are described of a young small felid found in a Predynastic burial at Hierakonpolis, Upper Egypt. Osteometric and zoogeographical
arguments indicate that the specimen, dated to around 3700 B.C. on the basis of the associated pottery, belongs to Felis silvestris. In the same
cemetery several other animal species, both wild and domestic, have been found. The left humerus and right femur of the cat show healed fractures
indicating that the animal had been held in captivity for at least 4e6 weeks prior to its burial. We believe that this pathology suggests early
cat taming more convincingly than a buried cat recently reported from Neolithic Cyprus (7500 B.C.). Such taming events were probably part of
the processes that eventually led to the domestication of Felis silvestris. However, the absence of the cat in Predynastic and Early Dynastic depictions
and its rare attestation in the archaeozoological record indicates that domestic status had not yet been attained during those early periods.
Other species that were also held in captivity by Ancient Egyptians probably never became domesticated because they had one or more
characteristics that prevented it.