CAT,' properly the name of the well-known domesticated feline animal usually termed by naturalists Felis domestics, but in a wider sense employed to denote all the more typical members of the family Felidae.
As regards the origin of the domesticated cats of western Europe, it is well known that the ancient Egyptians were in the habit of domesticating (at least in some degree) the Egyptian race of the African wild cat (Felis ocreata maniculata), and also of embalming its remains, of which vast numbers have been found in tombs at Beni Hasan and elsewhere in Egypt.
As it was to a cat of the latter kind that Linnaeus gave the name of Felis catus, Pocock urges that this title is not available for the European wild cat, which he would call Felis sylvestris.
Such a determination is, however, extremely hazardous, even if it be admitted that the remains of cats from the rock-fissures of Gibraltar pertain to Felis ocreata.
That these long-haired cats have an ancestry, to some extent at any rate distinct from the ordinary short-haired breeds, is practically certain, and it has been suggested that they are derived from the "manul" cat, or Pallas's cat (Felis manul), of the deserts of central Asia, which is a long-haired and bushy-tailed species with comparatively slight striping.