Is cat worship still practiced by Egyptians?

Travel Destinations

By Kristy Tolley

Background on Cat Worship in Ancient Egypt

Cats have long been an important part of Egyptian culture, with a history dating back over 4,000 years. In ancient Egypt, cats were regarded as sacred animals and were worshipped as such. They were seen as protectors of the home and were often depicted in artwork and sculptures. Cat worship was so prevalent in ancient Egypt that it became a central part of their religious practices.

The Importance of Cats in Egyptian Society

Cats played a significant role in ancient Egyptian society. They were highly valued for their ability to protect grain stores from rodents, which was essential for survival in a society reliant on agriculture. They were also kept as pets, and many were considered members of the family. It was not uncommon for cats to be buried with their owners, as it was believed that they would continue to protect and guide them in the afterlife.

The Role of Cats in Egyptian Mythology

Cats were also an integral part of Egyptian mythology. They were associated with the goddesses Bastet and Sekhmet, both of whom were believed to have protective powers. Bastet, the goddess of home, fertility, and music, was often depicted as a woman with the head of a cat, while Sekhmet, the goddess of war, was depicted as a lioness. Cats were also believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits and were often included in religious rituals.

How Cats Became Associated with the Goddess Bastet

Bastet was originally worshipped as a lioness goddess, but over time, her association with cats grew. This was likely due to the fact that cats were seen as protectors of the home, which was one of Bastet’s areas of influence. As a result, cats became associated with Bastet, and her worship became closely tied to the worship of cats.

The Rituals and Offerings Made to Cats in Ancient Egypt

Cats were often given offerings in ancient Egypt, including food, water, and even jewelry. They were also mummified and buried with their owners, often in lavish tombs. The killing of a cat was considered a serious crime, and those found guilty were often punished with death.

The Decline of Cat Worship in Ancient Egypt

The worship of cats declined in ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic period, when Greek influence began to spread throughout the region. The Greeks viewed cat worship as superstitious and irrational and discouraged its practice. As a result, the worship of cats gradually faded away.

Revival of Interest in Cat Worship in Modern Egypt

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in cat worship in Egypt. This is partly due to the popularity of social media, which has helped to spread images of cats and stories about their importance in Egyptian culture. Additionally, the Egyptian government has taken steps to promote cat welfare, including the establishment of animal welfare laws and the funding of animal shelters.

The Role of Cats in Contemporary Egyptian Culture

Cats continue to play an important role in contemporary Egyptian culture, with many people keeping them as pets. They are also seen as symbols of good luck and are often depicted in art and jewelry. In some parts of Egypt, street cats are fed and cared for by local residents and businesses.

The Continued Importance of Cats in Egyptian Homes

Cats remain an important part of many Egyptian homes, with some people believing that they bring good luck and protect the home from evil spirits. Many Egyptians keep cats as pets, and there are even special breeds of cats that are specific to Egypt, such as the Egyptian Mau.

The Popularity of Cat Cafes in Egypt

Cat cafes have become increasingly popular in Egypt in recent years, with several opening in Cairo and Alexandria. These cafes allow customers to enjoy drinks and snacks while interacting with cats, many of whom are rescue cats looking for a permanent home.

Controversy Surrounding Cat Treatment in Egypt

Despite the continued importance of cats in Egyptian culture, there have been concerns about the treatment of cats in the country. Some people have reported instances of animal abuse, while others have raised concerns about the number of stray cats on the streets.

Conclusion: The Legacy of Cat Worship in Egypt

The legacy of cat worship in Egypt is still visible today, with cats continuing to play an important role in both ancient and modern Egyptian culture. Although the worship of cats may have declined in ancient times, the renewed interest in cat welfare and the popularity of cat cafes suggest that their importance is still recognized and celebrated. As such, it is likely that cats will continue to play a significant role in Egyptian culture for many years to come.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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