Mourning Cats in Ancient Egypt

Cats were revered and worshipped in Ancient Egypt. It was believed that they were sent by Egyptian gods to kill the insects and rodents that invaded the grains, threatening the food supply.

In these ancient times, killing a cat, even accidentally, was considered an act of treason and punishable by death.

At one time it was unlawful to export cats from Egypt. The Egyptian army was sent on rescue missions to retrieve cats that were being smuggled out of the country. Of course, eventually the Egyptian cats found there way out and many of today’s breeds are descended from them.

When an Egyptian’s cat died, it was the custom for the human to shave off the eyebrows as a sign of mourning. The cat would be mummified and buried with great ceremony. Included in the burial ground were items such as milk, rodents or anything else the cat might need in the afterlife.

Anyone who shares their home with a cat (or cats) understands what wonderful, loving creatures they are. While we may not worship them, we know how much they have benefited mankind.

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