Cats have a rapid breeding rate. Under controlled breeding, they can be bred and shown as registered pedigree pets, a hobby known as cat fancy. Failure to control the breeding of pet cats by spaying and neutering and the abandonment of former household pets has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, with a population of up to 60 million of these animals in the United States alone. As The New York Times wrote in 2007, “Until recently the cat was commonly believed to have been domesticated in ancient Egypt, where it was a cult animal”, but a study that year revealed that the lines of descent of all house cats probably run through as few as five self-domesticating African Wildcats (Felis silvestris lybica) c. 8000 BC, in the Near East. The earliest direct evidence of cat domestication is akitten that was buried alongside a human 9,500 years ago in Cyprus.