New research indicates that cats probably domesticated themselves. Why? Because they have no opposable thumbs. Domestic cats may be genetically traced from five wild cats. They were either lured into domesticated by the mice in ancient people's grain storage places or they mated with domesticated cats. All this happened downwards of 160,000 years ago, although some people argue it's most likely 12,000 years ago .
You can read The Washington Post's David Brown's interview with Carlos Driscoll from the University of Oxford here.