Pets: Cats in Ancient Egypt

SFGN File Photo

Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practicesfor more than 30 centuries. Severaldeitieswere depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads, representing justice, fertility and power. The deityMutwas also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat.

Cats were praised for killingvenomous snakesand protecting the Pharaoh. Skeletal remains of cats were found among funerary goods dating to the 12th dynasty. The protective function of cats is indicated in theBook of the Dead, where a cat represents Raand the benefits of the sun for life on Earth. Cat-shaped decorationsindicate that the cat cultwasverypopular in daily life. 

Cat cemeteries were used for several centuriesaccording to archeologists. They contained vast numbers of cat mummies and cat statues that are exhibited in museum collections worldwide.In view of the huge number of cat mummies found in Egypt, the cat cult was certainly important for the country's economy, as it required breeding of cats and a trading network for the supply of food, oils and resins forembalmingthem.


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