In the highest esteem, the Ancient Egyptians held the cats, there were severe penalties for injuring or killing a cat. They actually worshiped a Cat Goddess, represented as half feline, half woman, whom they called Ba-stet.
The center of the Ba-stet was in northern Egypt at the city of Bubastis.
The festival honoring Ba-stet was one of the largest and most enthusiastically celebrated in all of Egypt.
There were large catteries maintained by the Temple priest and a vast cemetery of mummified cats were excavated outside of Bubastis.
The Ancient Egyptians respected other animals also that lived among them, but none of them respected like the cat. Cats were called “Mau” back then. The Egyptians also saw a great solution to their problems with rodents, bugs or snakes that destroyed their crops back then using the cats to help them with the problem.
The first domesticated cats found in Egypt
Ancient Egyptians are probably one of the first to domesticate a cat, about 6000-year-old drawings of a man with a cat, were found in a tomb in Mostagedda, but the cat might not have been domesticated as other evidence indicates that cats became domesticated around 4000 years before our era. But they were important for sure in the funerary rites of the deceased millennia before then.
Like we all know many of the Egyptians took the form of a cat, of which is the most famous goddess, Bubastis.
Cats were considered to be great mothers and often associated with other gods, including the God of Sun “Ra” and king of all Gods.
Exporting a cat to another country was also illegal in Egypt. But a black market appeared and cats were smuggled out of Egypt. The army was often engaged in the return of the stolen cats in the country.
Persians used cats in the war with Egypt
The Persians found a soft spot in Egypt and used the cats in their war with Egypt, knowing how much the Ancient Egyptians loved their furry friends, they would unleash a huge number of captured cats onto the battlefield so the Egyptians surrender and lose their battle so no cat would be harmed. And this actually worked for the Persians.
Breeds of Egyptian Cats
There were only two main breeds of cat native to Ancient Egypt. Jungle cat and the African wildcat.
These two breeds actually merged and eventually created a new breed which was closely related to the modern Egyptian Mau. As the cat was domesticated, the changes in temperament and appearance became apparent.
The cats became more colorful, their bodies became less muscled and smaller, even their brains became smaller and developed an increased tolerance for humans.
The first Egyptian feline goddess might be Mafded, depicted in the Pyramid texts as killing a snake with claws.
Mafded is actually translated as “runner” in Egyptian. Like many other cat goddesses, Bast is the only one represented as a domestic cat, and the Lion-headed goddess Sekhmet rules over the fame of humanity.
Cats nowadays in the Twentieth Century were introduced once again as household pets by Queen Victoria of England and have become a great part of modern society. Kings, Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers have all owned pet cats during the twentieth century. A lot of new breeds were created such as the Bengal, Sphynx and the Himalayan.
During the 1900’s cats even overtook the dog as the world’s favorite and most common pet and today there are thought to be close to 600,000,000 domestic cats in the world. Animations both Films and Sci-Fi have been created about cats and their huge part of family life and culture among modern society.
We hope you learned a lot of the cat history and some amazing facts from our timeline. From 6000 years before our era to modern day cats are still a very sacred animals to many people in our small world.