The Interesting History on Why Ancient Egyptians Worshipped Cats


Qualities of the family of cats were apparently next to godliness. The ancient Egyptians are well known for their love of all things feline. There’s no scarcity of artifacts that are cat-themed – from bigger-than-life statues to complex jewelry – that have got through the millennia since the pharaohs led the Nile.

Egyptian Mummies Paraded To New Museum Home

(Photo : Getty Images)

The First Known Pet Cemetery in the World 

The ancient Egyptians mummified numerous cats and even made the first known pet cemetery in the world, and almost 2,000-year-old burial ground that largely contains cats putting on remarkable beaded collars and iron.  

But why were cats valued so highly in ancient Egypt? Why, as stated by the ancient Greek Historian Herodotus, would the Egyptians shave off their eyebrows as a sign of respect when grieving the loss of a family cat?

Many of this reverence is due to the fact that the ancient Egyptians thought their rulers and gods had the qualities of cats, according to an exhibition in 2018 on the usefulness of cats in ancient Egypt that was held at the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, D.C.

Also Read: There’s Hope for Europe’s Rarest Cat

Feline-esque Statues 

Specifically, cats were viewed as having a duality of temperaments that are desirable – on one hand, they can be trustworthy, nurturing, and protective, but on the other hand, they can be fierce, aggressive, and independent. To the ancient Egyptians, this made cats appear like unique creatures that are worthy of attention, and that might give an explanation on why they made feline-esque statues. 

The Great Sphinx of Giza, a 73 meters (240-foot-long) statue that possesses the face of a man and the body of a lion, is possibly the most well-known example of such a statue, although truly, historians aren’t exactly certain why the Egyptians went through the difficulty of carving the sphinx.

As well as, the strong goddess, Sekhmet (also spelled Sakhmet), was portrayed as possessing the head of a lion on a woman’s body. She was called a protective deity, especially during transition moments, including dusk and dawn.


(Photo : Flickr)

Ancient Egyptians Named their Children After the Felines

Another goddess, Bastet, was frequently represented as a cat or a lion, and the ancient Egyptians had a belief that cats is sacred to her. Cats were possibly also loved for their snakes and mice hunting ability. They were so loved that the ancient Egyptians nicknamed or named their children after the families of cat, both the name “Mitt”‘ (which means cat) for females, according to University College London. 

Live Science previously reported It’s not obvious when cats that were domesticated emerged in Egypt, but archaeologists have discovered burials of kittens and cats dating as far back as 3800 B.C.

Most study has suggested, however, that this obsession wasn’t often doting and kind, and there’s proof of a more menacing side to the feline fascination of ancient Egyptians. There were likely whole industries that have the devotion to breeding millions of kittens to be killed and then mummified so that humans could be buried close to them, largely between around 700 B.C. and A.D. 300. 

Related Article: Cats Can Interpret Their Owner’s Emotions, New Study Reveals

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