Are domestic cats actually larger than they once were?

By May 10, 2019Blog

 

 

Yes! During the Viking age, felines were very popular for their pest control abilities. Jumping from the Viking age to contemporary cats, they’ve increased in size on average by 16 percent. Most animals tend to shrink as they’re domesticated. For example, the average dog is 25 percent smaller than its wild relative, the wolf. 

The reason for the size increase remains unknown. A few explanations include the increase of food availability as well as a shift in culture from treating cats as “rodent catching” animals to inviting cats indoors, feeding and caring for them.

To compare cats from the ancient to cats of the present, skulls, femurs, tibas and other miscellaneous bone were extracted.

It is unclear whether or not a change in diet or a genetic shift triggered cats to increase in size over time, but very interesting!