How is it that wild cats cannot be domesticated?

Domestication: Genetically, cats are hardly any pets

According to genetic researchers, surprisingly little is known about the most popular domestic animals in humans - and therefore presented the most extensive genetic comparison to date of pure-bred and tame cats with wild cats. Above all, it was shown which genes have changed particularly quickly in the modern pet variants in the probably just 150 years of serious domestication.

The genetic underpinning of the hearing sense is striking and pronounced in all cats - the total of six genes, more than in other carnivores, ensure a particularly wide hearing range that extends far into the ultrasound. The olfactory sense of cats is less well developed, but the processing of pheromones - i.e. social scent messages from fellow cats - is more diverse and seems to have an important role in communication that is still underestimated.

In the course of domestication, fewer genes changed than in dogs, for example, which have been a much closer companion of humans for much longer. However, the researchers identified at least 13 genes in domestic cats that have evidently changed quickly in response to adaptation to humans: All of them play a role in brain processes that are involved in fear processing, memory or the reward system. It is speculative but obvious that changes in these genetic factors have contributed to making cats more relaxed in human presence, say the scientists.