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Cat Worship, Why Egypt Worships Cats

Updated on August 26, 2013

As far as a cat is concerned, being worshipped is an absolute birthright. In ancient Egypt the cat was revered as no other beast in that they were mummified, sat upon the thrones of kings, and often found themselves in the company of the great names throughout history. The single exception is the Christian bible, where cats were not mentioned at all. But, don't tell the cats!

The late Miss Chance had an elegance all her own.
The late Miss Chance had an elegance all her own. | Source

Mummified Egyptian Cats

Most cat lovers know that cats were worshipped in ancient Egypt, where they were considered to have ultimate importance. The Egyptians actually mummified cats protecting them for the afterlife, we know this because thousands of cat mummies have been uncovered there. Something a little less known is that Egyptians would shave off their eyebrows during the mourning period should a family cat pass away. But, the feline adulation doesn't stop there:

If you visit the Egyptian room at the British Museum, you will see just how perfectly the cat worshipping Egyptians have preserved their little gods, many are almost pristine in appearance. Cats were so worshipped during Egyptian times, that if you were the unlucky person who had accidentally killed a family cat, the punishment was sure to be fatal. What may be worst for the surviving family members was knowing that your human remains would not have been nearly as carefully attended to as were the remains of the cat.

Cat Mummies on Display at the British Museum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mummified cats on display at the British MuseumMummified cats on display at the British MuseumMummified cats on display at the British MuseumMummified cats on display at the British MuseumMummified cats on display at the British MuseumMummified cats on display at the British MuseumMummified cats on display at the British MuseumMummified cats on display at the British MuseumMummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
Mummified cats on display at the British Museum
British Museum, Great Russell Street, London
British Museum, Great Russell Street, London

The British Museum has one of the best cat mummy displays among a vastly superior Egytian exhibit.

Information desk

General information

  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7323 8299
  • Fax: +44 (0)20 7323 8616

The Museum is free to all visitors and is open daily
10:00 am –5:30 pm

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
There is an alternative entrance on Montague Place

http://www.britishmuseum.org/the_museum/contact.aspx

Tour the British Museum in this 1 min. 23 sec. YouTube video

Chance was royalty in many ways!
Chance was royalty in many ways! | Source

Cat Worship World Wide

In Siam (currently Thailand), where family cats enjoy complete reverence, it was mandated that during the royal celebration of a new king, a cat be presented at the front of the lead chariot.

In Norse mythology (a cat would tell you there is no myth about it), Freya, the most celebrated and desirable of the goddesses, would be pulled around in a chariot that was pulled only by cats.

Whether scorned or worshiped cats were considered powerful beings.
Whether scorned or worshiped cats were considered powerful beings.

Cats Would Surely Tell You the Devil Made Them Do It

As expected, for as many cultures that found cats worth worshipping, there were those who found the feline a villan to be scorned. The most notable display of hate would have to be during the dark ages, cats were considered to be connected with the devil. Due to this ridiculous theory, many cats were put to death, as well as those humans who appeared to be demons or connected to witchcraft.

Feline winged devil
Feline winged devil

Feline Devil or Cat Deity

No matter if cats have been considered devil or deity, they have through the years surely shown their worth many times over. They have maintained sentry on ships and farms protecting humans from disease ridden vermin and their attacks on food supplies like grains and rice. A halo may not be waiting in a cats afterlife, but to a cat, knowing we worship them in this life, makes a human worth all the work.

Egyptian art tells of worshiping felines
Egyptian art tells of worshiping felines

click to see full sized

Cat Body Condition Chart
Cat Body Condition Chart | Source

Cats Have Allowed us to Love Them Longer than we Thought

Until 1994, cats were thought to have been first domesticated in ancient Egypt. During excavation at a New Stone Age site (called such due to the advancements made in the developing architecture of the time and the stone implements that had been polished) located in Cyprus, a young cat was found buried alongside of a human.

We are now finding that the darling felines have been around far longer than we ever thought. It has been discovered that semi-feral cats have been hunting chubby grain-storage-rats for about 10,000 years, geographically located by what is now modern-day Iraq. These feline grain guardians were a welcome addition because they were such fantastic hunters. The Near East wildcat is considered to be the ancestor of the world's now nearly 700 million domestic cats.

A cat doesn't much care about its history or how it got to where it is in modern society. The only thing a cat truly cares about is that we love them and share our lives with them, as long as we Humans remain obedient to the deity we call "the family cat."

Comments for Cats - Why Ancient Egypt Worshipped Cats...

Submit a Comment

  • Suzie ONeill profile image

    Suzie ONeill 

    6 years ago from Lost in La La Land

    I enjoyed reading this hub!

    I'm a cerifiable cat-worshipper myself. ;) I even went so far as to name the two latest additions to my household after Egyptian gods-- Apophis and Amonet.

  • profile image

    soupie 

    6 years ago

    That's nice, you might like to read the story of the famous Mike and the other cats-in-residence, of the British Museum:

    http://www.purr-n-fur.org.uk/famous/mike.html

  • GusTheRedneck profile image

    Gustave Kilthau 

    7 years ago from USA

    Howdy K9keystrokes - Ahh me! I had never caught the cat worship fever to any palpable degree, but when my bride's mean-natured feline pest wee-wee'd in my radio's costly speaker, I gave up that practice altogether and for certain. :)

    Gus :-)))

  • DaNoblest profile image

    DaNoblest 

    7 years ago from California

    Awesome hub! You are right cats definitely feel it is their birthright to be royalty. My cats run the house and require that I go out of my way to make sure they are happy.

  • thehemu profile image

    thehemu 

    7 years ago from New Delhi, India

    that's pretty cool. never know cats also worshipped so much.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    7 years ago from San Francisco

    Very cool!! And I love the crowned cat photo XD

  • Lady_E profile image

    Elena 

    7 years ago from London, UK

    OMG... very interesting to read.

    Ps. Well done on your 100 Hubscore.

  • Reynold Jay profile image

    Reynold Jay 

    7 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

    I loved this in a big way. I love anything that invloves Egypt! I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. Up one and Useful. Hey! I'm now your fan! RJ

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