Many individuals do not realize just how important of a role cats have played in ancient Egyptians. Yes, cats can be purchased, adopted from animal shelters, bred or rescued from the streets, but the contributions they make to your household is invaluable. However, no culture out there has embraced cats as much as the ancient Egyptians did. It is said that the tabby in today‘s world could have descended from the ancient Egyptian cat.
In ancient Egypt, the cats were created, as they were gods. The role cats played in the ancient Egyptian world is nothing like the role they play in today‘s world. Cats in ancient Egypt were protected under certain laws and these laws were strict. If an individual harmed a cat, either intentional or unintentional, then the punishment they would be harsh. Whoever killed a cat in the ancient Egyptian ages would be put to death. The people in ancient Egypt would gather around and kill the person. There was a Roman who killed a cat on accident and he still faced the punishment. In addition, in ancient Egypt, there were laws that were forbidding the cats from going through exportation. When cats became illegally exported, armies would be sent out to get the cats back from the foreign lands. The ancient Egyptians had a strong love for cats, so strong that they surrendered to the Persians because of their cats.
The Egyptians were once at war with the Persians when a Persian general developed a plan that would work. He knew how much the ancient Egyptians cared for their cats so he sent the soldiers to still as many cats as they could. Instead of having their cats harmed, they surrendered and gave the city to the Persians. Yes, this was a big loss and was devastating for the Egyptians and this shows you how far someone will go for something they really care about.
When cats died, they would be mummified, just as humans would be. They would be put in their tombs that they built and in their tombs, they placed rats, mice and saucers of milk. Cat cemeteries can be found lining the Nile Rive. X-rays have shown that some of the cats who have been mummified died from broken necks, this may be implying that the priests of the Temples killed them in order to cut down on the population and they were used for offerings to Bast. In the city of Bubastis, there are about three hundred thousand mummified cats.
In ancient Egypt, when a cat died, the individuals who stayed in the house with the cat would go in mourning and shave their eyebrows. The next time that cute little ball of fur jumps on your lap purring away or meows for food, you should think of how his ancestors were worshipped and adored by the mummies. Cats really are great creatures that deserve that worship.
Wikipedia: Ancient Egypt
History Channel: Ancient Egypt
Live Science: Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt for Kids
British Museum: Ancient Egypt