Sacred Cat of Bast

This passage describes a sacred symbol used by the ancient Egyptians called the "Sacred Cat of Bast."

Lexile Level: 900L

Categories: History Animals & Nature

Like me, you probably like cats, but would you worship one? The ancient Egyptians did! In fact, the cat became the sacred symbol for the goddess, Bast. This goddess was the daughter of the sun god, Ra. The Egyptians found that "reed" cats were great for scaring away rats. After years of living around the Egyptians, the cats became tame, and the Egyptians grew fond of these creatures. So fond, that they began to use the cat as a war totem to be worshipped. Cats were worshipped as far back as 3100 BCE. The goddess Bast was, at first, pictured as a wild lion, but later the Egyptians portrayed her as a domestic cat, much like the ones today. In some Egyptian paintings, Bast was pictured as a human woman with a cat's head. Cats, just like pharaohs, were mummified. In 1888, an Egyptian farmer unearthed an ancient tomb of 80,000 cat bodies dating back to 1000 to 2000 BCE.


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