Historical interest in cats
Although believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, domestic cats became widely dispersed around the world, and many distinct populations and breeds have arisen. As with dogs, it has been observed that cats have hundreds of potentially disease-causing genetic similarities with humans.
Cats and cancer studies
Many people are aware of the importance of the studies of the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and the feline sarcoma virus (FeSV) that can cause cancers in cats. These cancer-causing infectious agents have taught us much about both viral mechanisms and cancer biology. Studies of the lymphomas and sarcomas that are observed in felines have yielded benefits for both cats and humans. Additionally, many investigations of mammary carcinomas continue to be actively pursued in cats.
Further support in the way of knowledge and tools from the ongoing feline genome sequencing project, which has included researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), also provide avenues for greater cross-species understanding, bringing benefits for both human and veterinary oncology.