14 Fascinating Facts About Cats in Ancient Egypt

Cats have always had this air of mystery and reverence around them, right? However, in no other civilization were they as esteemed and adored as they were in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians were smitten with their cats and held them in the highest regard, believing them to possess divine qualities. I mean, they thought cats were practically gods!

Let’s delve into 14 fascinating facts about cats in ancient Egypt, shedding light on their significant role in this ancient civilization.

Sacred Creatures

Young egyptian mau
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Our furry friends were considered sacred animals in ancient Egypt. They were connected with the goddess Bastet, who was the goddess of home, fertility, and domesticity. Bastet was often depicted as a lioness or a woman with the head of a lioness or domestic cat. This connection elevated cats to a divine status in Egyptian society.

Protecting the Home

Hairless sphynx cat lying on ottoman at home
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

In ancient Egypt, cats were more than just fluffy cuddle buddies. Cats were believed to protect homes from evil spirits and vermin. Their presence in households was thought to bring good luck and ward off malevolent forces. Egyptians kept cats not only for their companionship but also for their protective qualities.

Punishment for Harming Cats

Sphynx Looking in camera Isolated on Black
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Think twice before harming a cat in ancient Egypt. It wasn’t just frowned upon; they took “cat person” to a whole new level. The penalty for harming or killing a cat in ancient Egypt was severe. Violators could face the death penalty or heavy fines. This strict punishment underscores the high regard in which cats were held.

Feline Healers

Egyptian mau grey cat closeup portrait
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Broken bones? Cat purrs to the rescue! Cats were thought to possess magical healing powers. Egyptians believed that the purring vibrations of a cat could help heal various ailments, including bone fractures and internal injuries. Cats were often kept in homes to aid in recovery from illnesses.

Cat Cemeteries

white cat is seen on top of the tombs of Campo Santo Cemetery, in the city of Salvador, Bahia
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

To honor their beloved feline companions, Egyptians established elaborate cat cemeteries. Imagine ornate tombs filled with mummified cats and mini cat coffins. It’s proof of how seriously Egyptians took their feline companions. In 1890, during an archaeological excavation, an ancient cat cemetery was unearthed. It contained the burial remains of over 170,000 cats.

Cat Iconography

Close up of a white Khao Manee cat
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Egyptians loved their cats so much that they adorned everything with cat imagery. Cats were frequently depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Amulets, jewelry, pottery—you name it, it had a cat on it, symbolizing protection, and good luck. This widespread depiction illustrates the cats’ cultural significance.

Exporting the Love

shadow cat purring at owner's hand devon rex cat
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Talk about spreading the love, one cat at a time! You know, Egyptians may not have been the first to domesticate cats, but they sure played a huge role in making them popular pets! Their love for cats led to a cat breeding frenzy, which helped shape the lovable, domestic kitties we have today. So, we can thank ancient Egypt for giving us these adorable furballs!

Cat Jewelry

Jewelry, Pendant Cat. Stainless steel. One background color
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Cats weren’t just a motif; they were a fashion statement. Cat-shaped amulets and pendants were worn as protective charms, emphasizing the strong bond between humans and cats. Cats adorned the jewelry of both royalty and commoners.

Cat Mummies

old egyptian mummy cat close up detail
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Millions of cat mummies have been discovered in Egypt’s archaeological sites. These mummies were often left as offerings at temples dedicated to Bastet, while others were treasured pets immortalized in death. They also served as symbols of devotion and protection.

Loss of a Cat

orange kitten cat hand clasp together praying looking above in gray background
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

In Ancient Egypt, the loss of a family cat was a tragic event. Families would go into mourning, a process that sometimes included shaving their eyebrows, symbolizing the deep pain and sorrow they felt over the cat’s death.

Bird-Watchers

Birds sitting on rope and cat hunting them
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In ancient Egypt, cats were the original bird-watching champions! Instead of using dogs, Egyptians tossed a wooden object into the air to scare birds. Cats would spring into action, retrieving the thrown object and taking over the hunting duties, making them the OG bird hunters of their time.

Cat-Named Places

White Cat in a grass
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The influence of cats even extended to town names! Cities and towns were named after the Egyptian word for cat, “miu,” because, well, why not celebrate the coolest creatures on Earth?

Cats in Literature

The Fluffy kitten tilted his head to the left and looked inquisitively at the camera. Inquisitive kitten on book shelf
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Cats also had a literary moment in ancient Egypt. They found their way into Egyptian literature, poems, and stories. They were often depicted as cunning and resourceful creatures, weaving their way into the fabric of Egyptian storytelling.

Deities with Claws

Egyptian cat, a pyramid and papyrus - souvenirs from travels. Objects from a trip to Egypt.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Besides Bastet, there were other feline deities in ancient Egyptian mythology, such as Sekhmet, the lioness goddess of war and destruction. These goddesses reinforced the importance of cats in the Egyptian pantheon.

12 Things You Should Never Do to Your Cat

Young woman at home playing with her cat with open hand doing stop sign
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We all have our dos’ and don’ts. Don’t we? Cats, too, have their dos’ and don’ts. As cat owners, understanding these boundaries is vital.

Here, we’ll explore 12 actions that should never be done to your cat.

Kitten Wonders: Discover the Charm of These 12 Irresistible Photos

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There’s something truly uplifting about a kitten. That newborn curiosity, the boundless energy (until it’s naptime), and the face that just looks like the picture of innocence…we really do struggle to resist their charms, don’t we? So why try?

Irresistible Kitten Pictures

Chatty Cats: 10 Talkative Cat Breeds that Love a Good Conversation

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Are you ready for a lively and engaging conversation with your feline friend? Some cats are known for their talkative nature.

If you are ready for a chat, read more here.

Kitten Cuties: 12 Adorable Photos That Will Make You Go “Aww”

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Discover the endearing magic in their delicate whiskers as these kittens explore their surroundings with curiosity, captivating us with their adorable expressions.

These little moments just capture our hearts.

Top Reasons Why Cats Follow Us to the Bathroom: Unraveling the Feline Fascination

Bearded man washing his hands in a bathroom with a calico cat standing on his back watching him wash his hands
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Cats have a peculiar habit of following us to the bathroom, turning what should be a private moment into a shared experience.

Let’s delve into the top reasons why they can’t seem to leave us alone.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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