11. Ancient Egyptians Liked Cats, But Not The Way Cat Owners Like Cats Today
Cats are probably the animal most commonly associated with Ancient Egypt. For good reason – there are thousands of cat statutes all over the place, and millions of cat mummies. Indeed, mummified cats were so common that archaeologists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries recorded that Egyptian farmers routinely crushed and used them as fertilizers. So it stands to reason that Ancient Egyptians must have really loved cats and treated them as pampered pets. That was a common assumption, but it turned out to be untrue. Recent discoveries and research indicate that while cats were popular in ancient Egypt, they were not popular for the same reasons as in the modern era.
Ancient Egyptians did not see cats like we do today: as pets and cute fur ball companions. Instead, they saw them as religious sacrifices to be killed in order to please one of their gods. Those millions of mummified cats? They were not dear pets, lovingly preserved by their saddened owners after their sad demise. Instead, they were bred by the millions near temples, and as soon as they got big enough – usually around five or six months old, but sometimes as young as two to four-month-old kittens – they were sold to the faithful to sacrifice at the temple. So while Ancient Egyptians liked cats, it was a different kind of “like” than that exhibited by modern cat owners towards their cuddly felines.