The Ancient Egyptian Cat: A Fascinating Look into Feline History - Cats

The Ancient Egyptian Cat: A Fascinating Look into Feline History

The ancient Egyptian civilization is widely known for its impressive feats in architecture, art, medicine, and religion. However, what many people don’t know is that the Egyptians shared a deep affection for the feline species, particularly cats, which came to be revered as sacred animals over thousands of years.

In ancient Egypt, cats were so highly thought of that they were often depicted in art, stories and mythology. They were believed to be protectors and even worshipped by some, for their ability to hunt vermin and their companionship. In fact, many archaeologists believe that the Egyptians were the first to domesticate cats, which eventually resulted in the development of several breeds of cats that we know and love today.

The connection between the Egyptian people and their furry companions is evident in the numerous depictions of cats in Egyptian art, the use of mummification for cats, and even the presence of cat statues in their homes. Once an individual had passed away, they would be embalmed and often buried with their beloved cat alongside them. These traditions were common, and it was believed that such an act would ensure their passage into the afterlife.

The cat’s association with ancient Egypt continued into the Ptolemaic period where cults of Bastet, a feline goddess, continued to thrive. Many cats were also bred specifically for the purpose of serving the temple and were seen as an essential part of worship.

The fascination of ancient Egyptians with cats goes beyond mere admiration for these creatures. For example, it was thought that the cat’s role in catching rodents provided a vital service in food storage systems, and thus, it contributed to healthy sanitation. Additionally, cats were respected for their ability to communicate with the spirit world, heal illnesses and ward off evil spirits.

The contribution of cats to the everyday life of Ancient Egyptians cannot be overstated. They were seen as members of the family and not just animals that were kept as pets. As a result of this, many people would have their cats depicted in their tombs and graves, as there was a clear understanding that they were important members of the household.

In conclusion, cats played a significant role in the Ancient Egyptian civilization, and their relationship with humans goes back thousands of years. They were seen as protectors, healers, and worshipped, and their association with the Egyptians continued up to the Ptolemaic period. The tribute that Egyptians made to their feline companions shows that the bond between humans and their pets is not a new phenomenon, and will continue as one of the most significant aspects of human history.

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