Feline experts say cats have surpassed the dog and become the most popular pet on earth. But how did the cat evolve from a wild animal to a pampered pet? In the upcoming National Geographic Channel documentary Explorer: Science of Cats, (Watch June 17) anthropologists and feline geneticists trace the evolution of the cat. Dr. Leslie Lyons leads a research team studying the genetics of the domestic cat at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. In the interview excerpted here, she explores the origins and domestication of the house cat. The interview with Lyons shares some fascinating facts. For example, while humans deliberately domesticated dogs, cats adapted themselves to us rather than the other way around. We used dogs and made them work for us, but cats cats tolerated humans because we provided food.