Tracing the Cat-alogy

Greetings to all! Welcome to our very last blog post. In light of the cat-craze on the Internet and in consideration of all cat lovers in the community, we have decided to dedicate this post to cats today and in ancient Egypt. Cats are a huge part of many animal lovers’ lives in Singapore today as it was in ancient Egypt, coy but beguiling. But cats do not always have it easy despite being well-loved by many, if we may bring up the unfortunate strings of cat abuses and deaths in Yishun, Singapore in recent months. This post shall also raise awareness of the importance of cats, it is meow or never! Cats which were also referred to ‘mau’, (due to the sounds they make) were highly important in ancient Egypt because they shared intimate relationships with humans. The close relationships were formed when people started noticing that cats were hunting and killing off pests such as rats, that were destroying their crops and spreading diseases. Thus, they began placing food around the village to attract more cats. Subsequently, cats began entering people's houses and eventually developed friendly relations with humans.

In fact, ancient Egyptians were the first few civilizations to keep cats as pets. Similarly today, many people own cats as pets and companions. There are also evidences suggesting that most domesticated cats across the world today could have probably originated from a common (cat) ancestor in Fertile Crescent, which included ancient Egypt.

Additionally, ancient Egyptian cats were associated with many well-known and respectable goddesses and therefore they are revered.

Notably, there are two respectable goddesses that are associated with cats. There is Mafdet, the goddess of justice and the first goddess associated with cats. People in ancient Egypt strongly believed that Mafdet protects humans from poisonous creatures like snakes and scorpions . She was also famous for executing a serpent with her sharp claws. (talk about the meow power)

Are you already intrigued by the cats of ancient Egypt? There is another well-known feline goddess associated with cats as well! This picture shows Bastet (also known as ‘Bast’).  Like Mafdet, she was strongly regarded as a protector for she acts as the defender of homes and the protector of women, children and royal families. She was also referred to the “Eye of Ra” who is the god of sun, and Egyptians believed that she could protect Egypt from threats.

Disclaimer! Content below is largely fictional  

During a trip to Egypt a few years back, we had managed to excavate a diary that belonged to the mistress of a cat named Layla. The mistress had  such a close relationship with Layla that she wrote a diary based on its life, from the perspective of a cat in most parts.

We are delighted to share all of the entries in the diary with all of you. Therefore, we have created an Instagram account and you can click on the link right below and we hope you will be able to gain a better insight of the life of an ancient Egyptian cat!

(https://www.instagram.com/laylathemau/)

References

Alchin, L., Egyptian Cat, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.historyembalmed.org/ancient-egyptians/egyptian-cat.htm

Alchin, L., Cat goddesses, March 2015. Retrieved from http://www.landofpyramids.org/cat-goddesses.htm

Audrey, T., Second man arrested over cat abuse in Yishun, January 24 2016. Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/second-man-arrested-over-cat-abuse-in-yishun

Hill, J.,  Cats in Ancient Egypt, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/cat.html

Hill, J., Ancient Egyptian gods: Bast, 2010. Retrieved from  http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/bast.html

Amstutz. L. J., Ancient Egypt, January 1 2015. Retrieved from Google Books

Larson, K., Egyptian cat names, n.d. Retrieved from http://www.findcatnames.com/egyptian-cat-names/

Names and meanings, Egyptian girl names, n.d. Retrieved from http://www.names-meanings.net/names/female-egyptian

Petcentric, Why Ancient Egypt worship cats, n.d. Retrieved from https://www.petcentric.com/11-27-2012/why-ancient-egypt-worshipped-cats

Springer, L., The cat in Ancient Egypt, June 5 2011. Retrieved from http://www.touregypt.net/egypt-info/magazine-mag04012001-magf1.htm

The goddess Bast, n.d. Retrieved from http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/goddess_bast.htm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The art of ancient Egypt. Retrieved from http://www.metmuseum.org/~/media/Files/Learn/For%20Educators/Publications%20for%20Educators/The%20Art%20of%20Ancient%20Egypt.pdf

Unwrapping the secrets of ancient Egypt: Cats, September 2014. Retrieved from http://www.themuseum.ca/blog/unwrapping-secrets-ancient-egypt-cats

Wade, N., Study traces cat’s ancestry to Middle East, June 29 2007. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/science/29cat.html?_r=1

Citations for images (according to the order in Instagram)

By Malcolm Gin derivative work: Abujoy. Egyptian-mau-face [CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 ]

By Anonymous Egyptian tomb artist(s) Sennedjem and Ti harvesting papyrus [Public domain]

Screenshot of GIF Via giphy

By Maler der Grabkammer des Horemhab. Locust detail from a hunt mural in the grave-chamber of Horemhab. Ancient Egypt [Public domain]

By aneplhia. Egyptian cat with his mistress via http://anelphia.deviantart.com/art/Egyptian-Cat-293539443 [CC BY 3.0]

John Reinhard Weguelin. The Obsequies of an Egyptian Cat [Public domain]

Manfred Heyde. Tomb of Nebamun [public domain]

Own work

By Avsar Aras. Baby Face [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Own work

Own work

Own work

By Alma E. Guinness. Egyptian professional mourners in a sorrowful gesture of mourning [CC 0]

Own work

By Greudin. Antiquité égyptienne, Musée du Louvre, pavillon sully, 2002[CC 0]

By Larazoni. Sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose's cat by Madam Rafaèle (http://www.flickr.com/photos/laraz/2063179834/) [CC BY 2.0)]

Video by: Muhammad Irfan Danish Bin Azhar