Today, according to statistics cats have a slight edge over dogs in popularity as pets. But we are not the first cat lovers. Way back in Ancient Egypt they were first kept as pets, and were praised for controlling vermin and killing snakes such as cobras, but with time cats became gods – like the goddess Bastet, who became the deity representing protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Due to their elevated status and their importance to Egyptian society and religion cats often received the same mummification after death than humans. In 1888, outside the town of Beni Hasan, an Egyptian farmer uncovered a large tomb with eighty thousand cat mummies, dated after 1000 BC.
In temples throughout Egypt there were thousands of bronze figures of cats, varying in sizes and forms. The donors of the statues hoped to communicate with the gods.
One of these statues is today in the British Museum and is known as The Gayer Anderson Cat.
R.G.Gayer-Anderson got his decree as a Doctor in 1903 in London, and moved to Egypt in 1906, where he spend most of his life. When he returned to England he bequested this statue to the Museum in 1939.
This bronze statue – The Gayner-Anderson Cat – is believed to be a representation of the God Bastet.
More from Egypt soon