One of the most popular stops on our Virtual Tour of the British Museum is the mummies. The ancient Egyptians mummified their dead because they believed in the after-life. But it wasn’t just humans that got the end of life wrap up…
They also mummified animals, everything from crocodiles to falcons, because they believed their gods could metamorphose in to animals.
Most magical of all the animals in ancient Egypt were cats which were treated as demi-Gods and were associated with the goddess Bastet
Cats became worshipped in ancient Egypt. The upper classes would dress them in jewels. If your cat died you’d have to embalm it, and take to a priest so he could work out how it died. Anyone who killed a cat, even if it was accidental, would be sentenced to death.
When their cats died, ancient Egyptians started to mourn by shaving off their eyebrows. They wouldn’t stop their mourning till their eyebrows grew back.
Their elevation from granary mouse-catchers just a few thousand years ago to the divine was complete and it’s something modern cats have never forgotten.