In Ancient Egypt, cats were originally used to hunt mice in the grain stores. Indeed, cats became an integral part of Egyptian culture and were associated with the goddess Bast. The devotion of the ancient Egyptians to cats is evident in the vast array of cat iconography. They were depicted playing instruments, ruling the state, eating fish, strolling along the river – in other words, the ancient Egyptians fit them into every part of their culture.
Cats were considered to be excellent mothers and protectors by the Egyptians and mummified remains of thousands of Egyptian cats are testament to their high status. Part of the reason for the deification of the cat in ancient Egypt was the concept that upon death a human’s soul would pass into an animal that would carry it into the next world. The ancient Egyptian goddess Bast was often depicted as a cat. She was one of the most influential of the Egyptian goddesses and her iconography is still found in modern popular culture.
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