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Cats have a long and storied history in ancient societies. They were prized as pets and were treated as children in many societies. They were also praised by ancient Egyptians as magical creatures that brought luck to their owners. As a result, cats were often depicted in ancient art.
Cats were renowned for their maternal instincts and protectiveness towards their offspring. The ancient Egyptians recognized these traits in cats and associated them with the goddess Bastet. Cats were worshipped in temples throughout Egypt. During the New Kingdom, the city of Bubastis became the most important sacred site in Egypt. According to Herodot, cats were venerated and praised and were associated with the goddess Bastet, who defended the household and sanctified women.
Cats were also used for practical purposes. In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped as protectors and were considered gods. The feline goddess Bastet, who was depicted as half-woman and half-cat, was entrusted with the duty of guarding the country. Another popular cat god in ancient Egypt was Mafdet, who warded off danger with her claws. Another fearsome goddess in ancient Egypt was Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess who feared mankind and threatened to destroy it.
Cats were also revered as protectors of the underworld. They were mummified and buried in elaborate coffins. This ritual allowed the deceased person to inhabit the cat in the afterlife. In ancient Egypt, cats were also associated with royal families. Royals were seen as the trendsetters and modeled their tastes after their ruling class.
The history of domesticated cats dates back over five thousand years. In China, the oldest evidence of cats living alongside humans is from Quanhucun. These cats were not strictly carnivorous; instead, they hunted rodents in the early farming villages. As a result, the domesticated cats of today are closely related to their wild relatives. Cats eventually spread to other parts of the world, namely Africa and Asia. During the New Kingdom, the city of Bubastis became the most important sacred site in Egypt. According to Herodot, cats were venerated and praised and were associated with the goddess Bastet, who defended the household and sanctified women.
In ancient India, cats have been associated with witchcraft. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, two ancient Indian collections of fables, were written nearly two millennia ago. Although cats are not mentioned in earlier Vedic literature, their stories became more common after the fifth century B.C.
Ancient Egyptians even wore cats as amulets. Cat sculptures were used as votive offerings to the goddess Bastet. They also served as a form of gratitude when their prayers were answered. The British Museum has a famous cat sculpture by Gayer-Anderson. It features golden earrings and a gold nose ring.
Ancient Egyptians also revered cats and depicted them in art. They believed cats were powerful forces, both protectors and destroyers, and a symbol of the gods. Cats were also associated with women and were often represented as deities in sacred temples. So, cats have a long and storied history in ancient societies. They were prized as pets and were treated as children in many societies.
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