The importance of cats in Egyptian culture

The importance of cats in Egyptian culture


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According to Diego Pérez de Guiademascotas, there are different investigations in which the peculiar behavior of felines stands out when compared with that of other domestic animals.

The expert affirms that there is a differential factor between, for example, dogs and cats: «A dog always changes its behavior when interacting with a person. In contrast, cats do not change their attitude at all. That is, cats lift their tails, rub against our legs, and sit next to us. Exactly the same as they do with other cats. That makes them quite peculiar pets.«, Manifests.

Probably this defiant attitude was what made them one of the most worshiped species in Ancient Egypt. And it is that, the population of this time attributed a series of divine meanings to them. They were also revered as They were considered the reincarnation of the goddess Bastet.

The domestication of cats in Egyptian culture

Even though in Ancient Egypt they always tried to domesticate animals, the case of cats was special, since they had an important place in Egyptian homes for all that they represented. So far, it has been recognized two species of felines most popular during the time.

The first is the wild cat. This species is the one that has spread the most around the world, it can be found everywhere except the tropical jungle and the Sahara, due to its climate.

The referred feline weighs between 3 to 7 kg and can grow up to 75 cm. It is mostly nocturnal and during the day it is usually protected from the heat in trees or closed spaces. This species was one of the favorites among the settlers.

Also, another race identified in ancient Egypt was the swamp cat, which, as its name implies, lives in humid areas. It is also larger than a wild cat but has short legs and weighs up to 15 kg.

It should be noted that in ancient times they never allowed obesity in cats, well they also took great care of their diet. Being considered a divinity, the entire family suffered if he fell ill. Even more, if the cat died, all family members shaved their eyebrows. This represented the mourning they were going through.

The mummification of cats

Wealthy families had a habit of mummify your cats when they died. The adoration received by the felines was such that in the event of a fire, people were located around the fire to prevent any of these animals from jumping into the flames.

The worst would happen if an Egyptian killed a cat. It did not matter if it was by chance or on purpose, the unfortunate received the maximum penalty, that is, he was sentenced to death. Even some anthropologists point out that not even the pharaoh himself could prevent this from happening.

According to findings made in Egypt, in 1890 a cat cemetery was found, which contained more than 170 thousand felines buried. Many of them had been mummified to ensure their preservation.

The preservation by cats was not there, because in ancient Egypt it was also forbidden to take cats out of the country, either by travel or sale. There was no valid reason for the villagers to take the cat with them.

A law was even proclaimed referring to this prohibition. In any case, then these animals were illegally taken and that was precisely the way in which the felines began to spread throughout Europe.

Being considered also as divinities, the Egyptians believed that the cat could see inside the human being. In this way, they blindly trusted their pet's intuition or reaction when they observed a different behavior when faced with the visit.

The word "cat", as it is now known, was not the one used by the Egyptians. They, in their language, used onomatopoeia "Miu" to refer to male cats and "Miut" for females.

After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.


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