Egyptian Cats

Cats have a long history in Egypt, where they were considered sacred animals.​

In ancient Egypt, cats were domesticated and kept as pets, but they were also revered for their ability to kill pests and protect grain stores.

Often depicted in ancient Egyptian art, cats were associated with the goddess Bastet, the protector of homes and families.

Two Egyptian Cats Inside Egyptian Building

HISTORY OF EGYPTIAN CATS

Cats have played an important role in various cultures throughout history, often serving as pest control, religious and spiritual icons, and beloved household pets.

Origins​

The origins of Egyptian cats are not entirely clear, but it is believed that they may have been domesticated from wild African wildcat subspecies, which still exist in Egypt today.

The African wildcat is a small feline that is closely related to the domestic cat and can interbred with domestic cats. It is considered the ancestor of the domestic cat and is closely related to the domestic cat.

The African Wildcat​

Egyptian Cat Clipart of African Wildcats

The African wildcat (Felis lybica lybica) is a subspecies of the wildcat (Felis silvestris) that is native to Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

The African wildcat is a small carnivorous mammal that typically has a sandy or reddish-brown coat with black spots. It has a short, tufted tail and long legs. 

African wildcats crepuscular, or most active at dawn and dusk and can be found in a variety of habitats, including deserts, grasslands, and woodlands. 

They are solitary animals who hunt small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Wildcats are also known to scavenge on carrion, and they are capable of killing larger prey if necessary.

Scientists believe that the process of cat domestication began when the wildcats started to settle near human settlements, attracted by food sources such as scraps and rodents, which were readily available there. These wild cats gradually lost their fear of humans and over time, humans began to tame them.

Some experts believe that the Egyptians may have actively tamed and bred felines to produce a distinct domestic cat species by the 20th or 19th century BCE.

Two Cute Egyptian Mau Cats with Blue Skies and Egyptian Architecture in Background
Two Egyptian Mau Cats With Warm Lighting in Egypt

Were The Egyptians The First To Domesticate Cats?

It was previously thought that cats were first domesticated in Egypt around 4000 years ago, but a study published in Scientific American in 2009 research suggests that they were domesticated in Mesopotamia over 12,000 years ago, around the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats.

This conclusion is based on DNA evidence showing that the Near Eastern Wildcat is the closest relative of the modern domestic cat and was likely bred by Mesopotamian farmers to control pests.

Ancient Egyptian Cats

In Ancient Egypt, cats were highly valued, revered and depicted in art and mythology.

Considered sacred, cats were protected by law and the export of cats from the country was strictly prohibited. Killing a cat, even accidentally, was punishable by death.

Ancient Egyptians had a strong love for cats, which were frequently depicted in art and religious rituals.

Though Egyptian cats were initially domesticated for their usefulness as pest control in granaries, they quickly became loved family pets as well as icons in art and religious rituals.

Cats were also able to kill poisonous snakes, which were a threat in Ancient Egypt, and were therefore seen as protective animals.
Through their representation in popular culture and usefulness around the home, cats became a prominent symbol of the home, women, and fertility in Ancient Egyptian society.

When a family cat died it was common for people to shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning. Many families mummified their cats after death.

Cats in Egyptian Religion

Egyptian Cat Clipart

Cats played a significant role in Ancient Egyptian religion, with cat-like deities such as Mafdet, a deity associated with justice and execution, and Sekhmet, a lion-headed goddess, being worshipped.

The most famous cat deity was Bastet, a goddess associated with music, dance, and joy.

Egyptian art and mummified remains from as far back as 4,000 years ago provide evidence that cats held a special place in ancient Egyptian society, frequently represented in their mythology and religious rituals.

Cats were considered sacred animals and associated with the goddess Bastet, a goddess of fertility, motherhood, and the home. They were also used as pest control to eradicate rats, mice, and other rodents.

Bastet was usually depicted with the head of a cat or a woman with the body of a lion. In some depictions, Bastet is shown holding a sistrum, a musical instrument that was often associated with joy and celebration.

Cats As Egyptian Pest Control

Cute Egyptian Chausie Cat In front of Egyptian Architecture

Egyptian cats were revered for their ability to keep homes free of pests, such as mice and rats, which were seen as a threat to the grain stores that were critical to the ancient Egyptian economy.

Due to their great importance, cats were often depicted in tomb paintings and other works of art, and were often buried with their owners when they died.

Cats As Small Game Hunters

There is evidence that Egyptian cats were trained to hunt birds and other small prey, and they were sometimes depicted in hunting scenes in art.

In general, cats were highly valued and respected in ancient Egyptian society, and they played an important role in daily life.

POPULAR EGYPTIAN CAT NAMES

Egyptian Cat Names

  1. Sphinx: This mythical creature has the body of a lion and the head of a human. Plus, there’s even a breed of cats named after it.
  2. Bastet: This goddess was not only fierce, but also nurturing. Plus, she was associated with protection and fertility.
  3. Mau: This divine cat is said to be the origin of all cats on Earth. Plus, there’s even a breed of short-haired, spotted cats named after it.
  4. Tut: Short for Tutankhamun, this pharaoh was known for his extravagant tomb and young reign.
  5. Cleopatra: This powerful queen was known for her beauty and charismatic leadership. Plus, she’s one of the most famous Egyptian queens out there.
  6. Nefertiti: Meaning “a beautiful woman has come,” this queen’s bust is one of the most iconic symbols of Egypt.
  7. Merit: This goddess of music helped establish cosmic order through music. Plus, this name is perfect for a cat that loves to trill, chirp, or meow.
  8. Ra: This sun god is known for his association with cats and their love of napping in the sun. Plus, it’s short and sweet.
  9. Hathor: This goddess was known as a friend to all, the patron of joy and celebration and the goddess of drunkenness.
  10. Isis: This goddess was known as the goddess of motherhood, fertility, and magic. She was considered to be the protector of the dead and the goddess of children.
  11. Nefertiti: This queen’s name means “the beautiful one has come,” and she was known for her striking beauty and elegant appearance.
  12. Horus: This god was the son of Osiris and Isis and was known as the god of the sky and protector of the pharaohs.
  13. Anubis: This god was the god of mummification and the afterlife. He was often depicted as a man with the head of a jackal.
  14. Set: This god was the god of chaos, storms, and the desert. He was often depicted as a man with the head of a set animal, which is an ancient Egyptian sacred animal.
  15. Aten: This god was the god of the sun disk, and was considered to be the creator god. He was worshiped during the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti.
  16. Nekhbet: This goddess was the goddess of Upper Egypt and vulture, and was considered to be the protector of the pharaohs.
  17. Sobek: This god was the god of the Nile, fertility, and the military. He was often depicted as a man with the head of a crocodile.
  18. Tawaret: This goddess was known as the goddess of childbirth and fertility. She was often depicted as a woman with the body of a hippopotamus.
  19. Thoth: This god was the god of wisdom, writing, and knowledge. He was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis.
  20. Ma’at: This goddess was the goddess of truth, justice, and order. She was often depicted as a woman with an ostrich feather on her head.

ALL ABOUT EGYPTIAN CAT BREEDS

Egyptian Cat Breeds

Egyptian Mau Cats

The Egyptian Mau is a breed of domestic cat that is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt.

The breed is known for its distinctive appearance, with a short, sleek coat that is typically silver or smoke in color and distinctive “mascara” markings around the eyes.

Egyptian Maus are medium-sized cats with long, slender bodies and legs.

They are known for their intelligence, athleticism, and playful personality. Egyptian Maus are affectionate and loyal pets, and they are known to be good with children and other pets.

The Egyptian Mau is believed to be one of the oldest breeds of domesticated cats, and it is thought to have originated in ancient Egypt.

There is evidence to suggest that cats have been domesticated in Egypt for over 4,000 years, and the Egyptian Mau is thought to be descended from these ancient cats.

The breed is named after the ancient Egyptian word for cat, “mau,” and it is known for its distinctive appearance, with a short, sleek coat that is typically silver or smoke in color and distinctive “mascara” markings around the eyes.

The breed is also known for its intelligence, athleticism, and playful personality, which are characteristics that are thought to have been present in ancient Egyptian cats.

The average lifespan of an Egyptian Mau is around 15 years. However, some Egyptian Maus have been known to live into their 20s. Like all breeds of cats, the Egyptian Mau can be prone to certain health issues, such as respiratory problems and eye problems, so it is important to keep your cat up to date on regular veterinary check-ups and screenings.

Egyptian Chausie Cats

The Egyptian Chausie cat is a breed of domestic cat that is believed to be one of the oldest breeds of domestic cat. They are known for their striking, “wild” appearance and are often referred to as the “Pharaoh Cat” because they are believed to resemble the sacred cats of ancient Egypt.

Chausie is a breed of domestic cat, originated from breeding of Egyptian Mau and Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) resulting in a large, muscular cat with a wild, exotic appearance.

Chausie cats are typically larger and more athletic than most domestic cats, with a long, lean body and a short, silky coat that comes in various shades of silver, gold, or brown.

They have a distinctive “M” shaped marking on their forehead and many have dark spots or “ghost” spots on their fur. Their eyes are usually green, but can also be gold or copper.

Chausie cats are known for their friendly, outgoing personalities and their intelligence. They are also very active and playful, and enjoy climbing, jumping, and exploring. They are not as demanding as some other breeds, but they do require a moderate amount of grooming to keep their coat shiny and healthy.

Due to their wild ancestor Jungle cat, they have a tendency to have some wild instinct and hunting behavior, so if you adopt a Chausie, make sure you provide enough stimulation and activities that can keep them entertained.

Keep in mind, Chausie cats are not suited for everyone, they might need more space and are not suitable for apartment living, and you must be ready to meet their physical and mental needs.

Chausie cats are known for their friendly, outgoing personalities and their intelligence. They are also very active and playful, and enjoy climbing, jumping, and exploring. They are not as demanding as some other breeds, but they do require a moderate amount of grooming to keep their coat shiny and healthy.

Due to their wild ancestor Jungle cat, they have a tendency to have some wild instinct and hunting behavior, so if you adopt a Chausie, make sure you provide enough stimulation and activities that can keep them entertained.

Keep in mind, Chausie cats are not suited for everyone, they might need more space and are not suitable for apartment living, and you must be ready to meet their physical and mental needs.

Egyptian Cat Breeds Illustration of Egyptian Chausie Breed Cat

WANT MORE CATS?

Cute Cat Clipart of British Longhair Cat with Purple Flowers and Blue Curtains

HEAL YOURSELF WITH CUTE CAT PICTURES

Research suggests that cat lovers can improve their health outcomes and even trigger weight loss merely by viewing cute cat photos.
Italian Cat Climbing a Church

WHY DO CATS PURR?

A cat’s purr serves as both a communication mechanism as well as a way to heal, calm, and soothe themselves and their human or animal companions.
Two Italian Kittens Playing with Glass Orb with Historic Italian Architecture in Background

A HISTORY OF ITALIAN CATS

Italian cats were brought by Roman armies from egypt. Learn about these fascinating felines and the role they played in human history.

Where Did Cats Come From Two Cats In Ancient Mesopotamia

WHERE DID CATS COME FROM?

Cats were domesticated around 12,000 years ago from African Wildcats.

Get In Touch

get in touch