The ancient Egyptians were a cat-loving people; cats are represented in a multitude of contexts, that is, as pets or as deities.
Their respect and veneration for this animal was so great that the year 525 BC, when the Persians besieged Pelusium, ancient Egyptians lost the city since Cambyses II, knowledgeable about their customs, had cats tied to the shields of his soldiers.
The ancient Egyptians did not attack for fear of hurting the cats.
12 Amazing facts about cats in ancient Egypt
1- The goddess Bastet had the cat as her sacred animal and was usually depicted as a woman with cat’s head or an entire cat and defended Ra, god of the Sun. Bastet represented beauty, love, joy, happiness and was also the protector of humans.
2- In Egypt it was forbidden to take cats out of the country. Even a law was enacted in this regard.
3- In the temples or in the wealthiest families it was customary to mummify the cats that died.
4- Causing the death of a cat entailed capital punishment. It is believed that not even Pharaoh could commute the penalty.
5- The death of a family cat was a tragedy in Ancient Egypt. The family began mourning that in many cases involved shaving their eyebrows (according to the Greek historian Herodotus) as a symbol of the pain they felt.
6- An ancient cat cemetery was discovered in an archeological excavation carried out in 1890. More than 170,000 cats were buried in it.
7- The Egyptian word for cat was “miu” or “mieu.”
8- As they were associated with divinity, the ancient Egyptians believed that cats, with their eyes, could see inside the human soul.
9- As the eyes of cats had that supernatural consideration, the women put on their makeup trying to look like those of the cats.
10- Cats were used for hunting. The ancient Egyptians hunted birds with a wooden object that they threw into the air. The cat collected the piece charged, replacing the dog in these tasks.
11- In Egypt we can distinguish two types: The jungle cat (Felis catus), also called reed cat or swamp cat and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica).
The Felis catus is somewhat larger than the Felis (silvestris) lybica, of robust physique, long legs and rather short tail. The Felis (silvestris) lybicaIt has a physique and characteristics similar to the European domestic cat, although it has a slightly shorter tail than the domestic cat.
12- Cat in general was a solar symbol, but, in addition, it was a protector of the home, becoming a beloved and appreciated pet, judging by the representations recorded in the tombs of the New Kingdom, from the reign of Thutmose III.