The history of cats and the history of Ancient Egypt are inextricably linked, since it was the Egyptians who first domesticated the feline, as evidenced by the evidence of cats in Egypt dating back to the 3rd millennium BC. On the paintings in tombs and frescoes, cats were already depicted in collars and in the house next to the owners.
We are convinced that the ancestors of modern Murok and Barsik left the first prints of their paws in Ancient Egypt. However, we still don't know how cats came to be? Some researchers claim that these animals appeared as a result of crossing between wild Euro-African and jungle cats.
The reason why fluffy owners of large mustaches and tails played such an important role in the history of Ancient Egypt is simple. This country has always been predominantly agrarian, and cats helped their owners by controlling the number of rodents, thereby protecting the crops. However, the history of the origin of cats in Egypt is not only about protecting their owners' crops. These animals were also used as hunters, training for rats, moles, birds and even hares.
We continue to cover the history of the appearance of cats in Egypt. These cute creatures were kept not only as hunters for rodents and birds. They were considered the true keepers of the hearth, they were loved, even idolized. When a cat died of old age, the Egyptians grieved over the loss, as if one of the family members had died. Cats were buried with all the honors in special cemeteries. Mummified remains of Egyptian cats have even been found in some of the tombs of the pharaohs.
There is no doubt that cats in Ancient Egypt were really worshiped. It is not for nothing that the goddess of female beauty, love, happiness, fun and fertility, Bastet was portrayed precisely in the form of a cat or a woman with a cat's head. The ancient Egyptian sun god Ra, by the way, was also sometimes depicted in the form of a red cat.
Cats as sacred animals and pets of Bastet were protected and protected in every possible way. For the deliberate murder of a poor cat or kitty, a person was sentenced to death, and for unintentional - to substantial fines.
True, there were also sad pages in the history of Egypt associated with the beloved pets of the Egyptians. According to Ptolemy, in 525, cats played a decisive role in the capture of the border city of Pelusia by the Persian king Cambyses II, who invaded Egypt. The Persians did not know how to storm fortified cities, and in order to capture Pelusius, Cambyses II went for a trick. Knowing about the love of the Egyptians for cats, he ordered his soldiers, who were in the front ranks of the army, to tie the poor animals to their shields. When the Persians went forward, the Pharaoh's troops did not dare to throw arrows and spears at the enemy, fearing inadvertently killing the sacred animals. According to another version, images of cats were applied to the shields of the Persian warriors.
Nevertheless, even in spite of this offensive defeat, the Egyptians did not stop considering cats as sacred animals and worshiping them.