How Long Have Cats Been Messing With Humans?

Every once in a while, I look at my cat and wonder how evolution took feral, deadly feline predators and turned them into the slightly pudgy, balding, neurotic fluffball I see before me. Maybe we'll never know the true answer to that question, but judging from the recent discovery of a Roman roof tile with paw prints, cats lost their edge a long time ago. On the other hand, the tile is proof that although cats might not be the feared hunters they used to be, they've more than made up for that with their new favorite pastime, messing with humans.

According to Discovery News, the 2,000-year-old Roman tile was dug up in Gloucester back in 1969, but "archaeologists seem to have been more interested in digging things up than looking at what they found," according to Gloucester City Museum curator David Rice. (Oh, academic shade. It's a beautiful thing.) The paw prints went unnoticed until an archaeologist came across them while studying the museum's collection of roof tiles. Researchers believe that the prints occurred when a cat trotted across the roof tiles while they were drying in the sun, all the way back in 100 A.D. In other words, cats have been happily ruining humans' hard work for more than 2,000 years.

The people in the area, however, didn't seem to mind that much. "I believe there are more cat paw prints found on ancient Roman tiles in Britain than anywhere else in the Roman Empire... Roman Britons must have had a special liking for cats," Rice told Discovery News. In fact, archaeologists believe that it could have been an "army cat," much in the same way that military units adopt dogs today. Only much fluffier and better, of course.

It looks like the Romans found cats just as irresistible as the rest of us. If only they'd been around to see laser pointers.

Images: Giphy (3)