The ancient civilization that worshipped cats as gods was the Egyptian civilization. The Egyptians held cats in high regard, and their love for these creatures was evident in their art, literature, and religious beliefs.
The Role of Cats in Ancient Egypt
Cats were considered sacred animals in ancient Egypt, and their presence was highly valued. They were believed to possess divine qualities and were often associated with various deities. For example, the goddess Bastet, who was the protector of women and children, was often depicted with the head of a cat.
The Worship of Cats
The worship of cats in ancient Egypt was widespread and varied. In homes, cats were treated as members of the family and given special privileges such as sleeping on beds. When a cat died, it was mummified and buried in a special cemetery.
In temples, cats were worshipped as symbols of divinity. They were given offerings such as food, drink, and jewelry. Some temples even had resident cats that were taken care of by priests.
- Cat Goddesses: Several goddesses in ancient Egyptian mythology had cat-like features or associations with felines. Bastet was perhaps the most well-known among them.
- Cat Mummies: The Egyptians believed that mummifying a cat would help it reach the afterlife safely.
As a result, many cats were mummified alongside pharaohs.
- Cat Burials: Some Egyptians went to great lengths to give their beloved pets an appropriate burial. Cat cemeteries have been found throughout Egypt.
The Importance of Cats in Egyptian Art
Cats played a significant role in Egyptian art as well. They were often depicted alongside gods and goddesses or as symbols of protection.
One of the most famous examples of cat art in ancient Egypt is the Gayer-Anderson Cat. This bronze statue is thought to have been created during the Late Period (664-332 BCE) and depicts a seated cat wearing a collar with a bell. The statue is now on display at the British Museum in London.
The Legacy of Egyptian Cat Worship
The worship of cats in ancient Egypt has had a lasting impact on modern culture. Cats are still considered sacred animals in some parts of the world, and their images continue to be used in art and design.
In addition, cats are beloved pets around the world, and their popularity can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Whether you believe that cats possess divine qualities or not, it’s hard to deny their enduring appeal.
In conclusion, the Egyptians worshipped cats as gods, and this love for felines was evident in their art, literature, and religious beliefs. While we may not worship cats in the same way today, their popularity as pets shows that they continue to hold a special place in our hearts.