The cat was the most sacred and revered animal in Ancient Egypt. They fascinated the people and were adored by all. It was in Ancient Egypt that the cat was first domesticated around 4,000 years ago.
The first domesticated cats were probably used for warding off rats and snakes. Slowly but surely, the cat became a god.
Around 1540 to 1069 BC, there were many tomb scenes showing cats depicted in parts of everyday life. Statues of felines were placed outside the house to protect the inhabitants and to ward off evil spirits.
Mafdet was the first feline deity, but the most famous cat goddesses were Bastet and Sehkmet. They represented the balance of the forces of nature.
When a cat passed, their former owners would shave their eyebrows as a sign of grief. Cats were not only protected by their loyal owners, but the law as well. If a human killed a cat, they were sentenced to death.
Herodotus told a story of a Persian general collecting as many cats as he could, knowing the great importance they held. The soldiers then returned to the town of Pelusium and set the cats free on the battlefield. Horrified, the Egyptians surrendered the city to the Persians, rather than harm the cats.