Cats and mankind have been residing in harmony for quite some time but that has not always been the case. There have been times when felines have been almost destroyed in the name of God. And what happened the Black Death reigned supreme for considerably longer than it will. So we will go back to the origins of recorded history to the time of the pharaohs of Egypt. Here felines were revered as Gods and many were mummified to previous for eternity. As the pet cats guarded the grain warehouses and killed the rats and mice that given on the grain. Therefore minimizing famines, that were the curse of Egypt. It had been illegal to kill cats in those times, like cows in India today.
I think one of the reasons there were not many cats around is because they used to eat them. And once in a while the restaurant pet cat catches would grab an kitty they could find and take them back to the restaurant. I recall seeing pet cats in glass exhibits out leading of the restaurants. But somewhere within then and today they suspended eating felines. So cats are now not on the menu and now there are pet cats everywhere. Most of them started off in someone's house and acquired thrown away, as most are very friendly. Also they have this thing about abdomen worms. And in those times China had not been as modern as now so belly worms is a problem. Fleas aren't a really problem because they may have tile flooring surfaces and real wood furniture.
Then your nine lives of the humble pet cat who only wished to help mankind by eliminating rodents that transported disease took a serious switch for the worse during the dark ages. Where witch hunts and burning up at the stake were the norm. Someone who didn't like cats somehow connected those to witches and they were burnt at the stake with there owners. That they made that interconnection I'll never know. It started off with Pope Gregory IX in the 1232 who regarded the common house kitten as diabolical. Then to make issues more serious in1484 along emerged the greatest feline killer of all time, Pope Innocent VIII, who decreed something along the lines of all cats came from hell and should delivered to the fires of hell by fireplace. Pet cats were mercilessly prosecuted and were burnt so they might go back to the fires of hell. It is amazing any survived because if you were trapped with a cat you were burnt collectively. I still go to cathedral and sometimes I just wonder why. And of course the Black Fatality was in the backdrop surviving and growing because there were no felines to kill the rats that transported the fleas that caused the disease. Then along arrived the cat's savior King Louis XIII of France, who in the 1630s repealed regulations and cats once more began to live. However they were still hated and killed for many centuries from then on. I don't know if the Black color Loss of life subsided but cats once again protected mankind resistant to the diseases carried by rodents. Plus the famines brought on by mice plagues.