Felines and mankind have been moving into harmony for quite some time but that has not always been the case. There have been times when pet cats have been practically destroyed in the name of God. And what took place the Black Fatality reigned supreme for a lot longer than it will. So we will go back to the origins of recorded history to enough time of the pharaohs of Egypt. Here pet cats were revered as Gods and many were mummified to last for eternity. Because the pet cats guarded the grain warehouses and wiped out the rats and mice that fed on the grain. Therefore reducing famines, that were the curse of Egypt. It was illegal to get rid of cats in those times, like cows in India today.
I believe one of the reasons there were few cats around is basically because they used to consume them. And once in a while the restaurant feline catches would grab an kitten they could find and take them back again to the restaurant. I recall seeing cats in glass displays out leading of the restaurants. But somewhere between then and today they suspended eating pet cats. So cats are now not on the menu and now there are pet cats everywhere. Many of them started off in someone's house and got thrown away, since several are extremely friendly. Also they have this thing about stomach worms. And in those times China was not as modern as now so stomach worms would have been a problem. Fleas are not really a problem because they have got tile flooring and real wood furniture.
If this attitude towards cats goes back generations the other can understand why historians say the Black colored Death were only available in China. Where there are rats and no cats then your rats dominate and that would have been a precursor for the condition to get near people. Now after i get back to China you may still find rats playing around however, not so many in the real estate estates. There are plenty of down by the river. Also they have a very efficient rubbish clean up system that helps to keep the towns very clean. Where I stay the rubbish is accumulated everyday. That would also keep carefully the rat people down. And with so many discarded felines running around the rats don't possess much of an opportunity. I've never seen this but I think the government picks up a whole lot of felines. There used to be colonies of stray cats residing in some places however now I don't see them any more.