Understanding how our dogs and cats evolved helps us understand who they are, where they came from, what we should be feeding them, and how we can add to their overall health, well-being, and length of life.
According to historians, modern-day dogs and cats belong to the order Carnivora, which means they are meat-eaters. The dog, Canis Familiaris, is a direct descendant of the gray wolf. DNA tells us that the wolf and modern dog are separated in their mitochondrial DNA sequencing
by less than two-tenths of a percent. The transformation from wolf to dog began some 130,000
years ago. This means that wolves began to adapt to human society long before humans settle down and begin practicing agriculture. This casts doubt on the long-held myth that humans domesticated dogs to serve as guards or companions. Rather, wolves may have exploited a niche they discovered in early human society and got humans to feed them and take them in out of the cold.
No one knows exactly when or how the cat first appeared on earth. Most investigators agree,
however, that the cat’s most ancient ancestor roamed the earth some 40-50 million years ago. Evidence of modern small cats is estimated to be 12 million years old, however, archaeologists
assume these were mostly wildcats. The earliest true record of domesticated cats comes from Egypt about 2,000 years ago.
Most of the 400 canine breeds and 40 feline breeds we know today have all come about in the last 400 years. This artificial evolution of the domestic dog and cat into the numerous breeds we have today required years of selective interbreeding by humans. One consequence of interbreeding to create man-made purebreds is that over the years many behaviors and disease-causing genes have been introduced and concentrated in these breeds, creating numerous pet health problems. The best way to avoid health issues is to strengthen your pet’s immune system – this can be accomplished through optimum nutrition.