Why were cats so prized in ancient Egypt?


Mon, 19 Apr 2021 - 01:52 GMT

Cats were prized in ancient Egypt - Shutterstock

Cats were prized in ancient Egypt - Shutterstock

CAIRO – 19 April 2021: The ancient Egyptians were famous for their fondness for cats, and this was obvious in the huge number of embalmed cats.




They even created the world's first pet cemetery nearly 2,000 years ago, where statues of cats wearing iron and bead collars are placed all over the cemetery.




Much of this respect is due to the ancient Egyptians believing that their gods and rulers had cat-like traits, according to a 2018 exhibition on the importance of cats in ancient Egypt at the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art in Washington DC. Much like an ideal ruler, cats were seen as protective and loyal on one hand, and quarrelsome, independent and fierce on the other, according to Live Science. 




It is also possible that cats were loved for their ability to catch mice and snakes.




The ancient Egyptians made cats look like special creatures that deserve attention. It is not clear when domesticated cats appeared in Egypt, but archaeologists have found burials of cats and kittens dating back to 3800 BC.




Plenty of research indicated that this obsession was not always pleasant and affectionate, as there is evidence of a more sinister side to cat magic. There were likely an entire industry devoted to raising millions of kittens to be killed and embalmed so that people can be buried next to them, largely between about 700 BC and 300 AD.



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