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Ancient Egyptian Cats

 Cats in Egyptian culture

We know that animals were worshiped by the ancient Egyptians. Feline reverence had a remarkable significance in their religious life. The cat was domesticated in Egypt, probably around 2000 BC. There was a word for cat and that was miu or mii, meaning "one who meows." The fact that the armies were even sent to retrieve cats from abroad tells us how much they appreciate these loving animals .

The cats were considered sacred and respected. These adorable animals fascinated the Egyptians. Initially they were used to ward off snakes and slowly, they were started to be worshiped as deities. Whoever killed a cat was sentenced to death in the country. A household would go into mourning when a cat died. Children, especially young girls were often named after cats. The goddess who symbolizes Mafdet of justice and execution, was a lion-headed goddess.

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats


The cat goddess Bastet eventually replaced the cult of Mafdet, and Bast's image softened over time and became the deity representing protection, fertility and motherhood. Bastet was often described as having the body of a woman and the head of a domestic cat. It has been associated with the Eye of Ra, acting within the power of the sun god. 

Cats were mummified after death as humans. The discovery of a large tomb outside the town of Beni Hasan had 4-20000 cat mummies, dating from 1000-2000 BC. Mummified cats were given to the cat goddess. Bubastis contains the remains of over 300,000 cat mummies. In the tombs of the cats were set bowls of milk with mice and rats.

The two native species were the Egyptian Cat Jungle Cat and the African wild cat. The wild cat has been largely tamed, the jungle cat was not as docile, and was probably not particularly useful in the initial stages of domestication. During the New Kingdom, there were funeral scenes that started showing cats as part of everyday life. The ancient Egyptians took their cats on hunting excursions instead of dogs. 


 Another very common scene in tomb paintings was a cat sitting under the chair of a woman, showing that the cat had become an integral part of the ancient Egyptian family life. During periods of time, statues of cats were made for shrines or for burial. There was a festivel Bastet conducted each year in October to please the god Bastet. There were cats with gold bracelets, pendants complex small golden cat, cats amulets soapstone for necklaces and rings.

Women accounted for their support surfaces mirrors with cats on the wooden handles and on their cosmetic pots. The best part is that ordinary people could not enjoy the protection of the cat goddess through their amulets on their clothing or around their necks or in their ears. Cats even figured in dream interpretation. There were even laws prohibiting the export of cats.


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Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats

Ancient Egyptian Cats


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