Egyptians regarded cats as sacred animals to their cat goddess Bastet. She was the goddess of warfare in Lower Egypt.
Because of this any killing of cats was a crime punishable by death. They were so important that when a house cat died the owners went into mouring. Herodotus a Greek historian (484-425 BCE),writes
“All the inhabitants of a house shave their eyebrows [as a sign of deep mourning]. (Source)
The dead cats were mummified, along with many other animals, and treated with respect given their relationship to their deity. The temple of Bast discovered in 1888 is probably the most significant find regarding this. This tomb, outside of Beni Hasan, held more than nineteen tonnes of animal mummies and remains, the vast majority being cats but a number of mongooses, dogs, and foxes were among the specimens that made it to the British Museum (source).
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