Cats, Bastet and the Worship of Feline Gods
Cats are among the most iconic animals in ancient Egyptian art and culture. The Egyptians encountered lions, panthers and jungle cats in the wild. Smaller cats lived among humans from early on, hunting vermin in homes and granaries. Through close observation, the Egyptians came to admire felines for their complex, dual nature. Felines combine grace, fecundity and gentle care with aggression, swiftness and danger. Gods ascribed with these qualities were often represented with feline features. But Egyptians did not worship felines.