We know that canines were domesticated from wolves during a period from 40,000 to 10,000 years ago. Homo sapiens, or their traits (genes) began appearing hundreds of thousands of years ago, with 100,000 years ago being a point at which a strong population of real Homo sapiens is certainly found in the fossil and genetic record.
Before Neanderthals died out around 40,000 years ago, they shared Africa and Europe with Homo sapiens. So around the time Homo sapiens achieved dominance, domestication of canines began. It is certain that by 10,000 years ago Homo sapiens had domesticated cattle, later goats and chickens. Around this time humans domesticated the bottle gourd and agriculture started to develop, especially in the fertile crescent.
10,000 years ago, sea levels were 33 feet lower than today. The Persian Gulf was less than half the size of today, with large areas suitable for farming. By 9,000 years ago grasses became used for food, maybe first grown to feed livestock, but developing into grains like rye, wheat and barley. Evidence exists of rye domestication 10,500 years ago.
As grains developed, there came a need to stockpile them. Grain storage brought rodents, and this attracted feline species including the near eastern wildcat.
Some of that cat population recognized the need to be nice to humans, so the supply of rodents would continue. Conversely, wishing to protect their children, human parents would kill off aggressive cats, or at least the cats that were aggressive towards humans.
So in a fashion similar to any other form of animal husbandry, Homo sapiens domesticated cats. But to this day, the cats think the opposite.
(We published this on June 3, and on June 19, Sarah Zhang at the Atlantic published