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Sometimes a friendly fireside companion, more often elusive and independent, the cat possesses an enigmatic appeal and unfathomable mystery, which have inspired writers poets, artists and craftsmen alike from the illuminations of the Lindisfarne Gospels to Rudyard Kipling. The illustrations in this survey of the development of the cat and its special relationship with people over 7000 years are drawn mainly from the collections of the British and Natural History Museums, both rich in catimagery from many cultures and civilizations. This book looks at the different roles cats have played in human life and also describes the various modern pedigree breeds – from short-haired tabby to long-haired Persian – which have evolved from theoriginal wild cat.