“Cats, unlike dogs, are really only semi-domesticated,” says Wes Warren, professor of genetics Washington University. Comparing the DNA differences between house cats and wild cats, Warren and his colleagues found that where the genes of domesticated kitties and wild cats diverge has to do with fur patterns, grace, and docility. The latter are the genes that influence behaviors such as reward-seeking and response to fear.

Instead of being tamed by humans, cats have basically tamed humans to be friendly to them. Although cats appreciate being fed by humans, they’re perfectly capable and content to go out and get their own food if necessary. Because humans have been breeding cats far less than they have been breeding dogs, cats still retain their wild streak.

Of course, this isn’t news to anyone who owns a cat. Cats have been bossing humans around for generations and it’s not going to change any time soon just because humans try breeding cats to be more docile. Most likely cats will simply give humans the illusion that they’ve changed, and then do what they want anyway.

To read more about how cats have stayed wild, click here.

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