Cats and mankind have been living in harmony for quite some time but that hasn't always been the situation. There were times when felines have been nearly destroyed in the name of God. And what took place the Black Death reigned supreme for considerably longer than it should. So we will go back to the beginnings of recorded record to enough time of the pharaohs of Egypt. Here cats were revered as Gods and many were mummified to last for eternity. As the felines guarded the grain warehouses and killed the rats and mice that given on the grain. Therefore reducing famines, which were the curse of Egypt. It had been illegal to eliminate cats in those times, like cows in India today.
If this frame of mind towards cats dates back generations then one can realize why historians say the Dark Death started in China. Where there are rats and no cats then your rats dominate and that would have been a precursor for the disease to get close to people. Now after i get back to China you may still find rats running around however, not so many in the housing estates. There are lots of down by the river. Also they employ a efficient rubbish clean up system that will keep the locations very clean. Where I stay the rubbish is accumulated everyday. That could also keep the rat human population down. And with so many discarded cats playing around the rats don't have much of the opportunity. I've never seen this but I suspect the government accumulates a great deal of pet cats. There used to be colonies of stray cats moving into some places however now I don't see them any more.