The Role of Cats in Ancient Egypt

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Everyone knows the feisty, fiercely independent, soft and cuddly common house pet known as the cat. Surprisingly many people do not enjoy the company of cats, but thousands of years ago in Ancient Egypt cats were treated like gods. The Egyptians are famous for their infatuation with cats, and how they went to great lengths to protects and love their cats.

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Cats were known to be domesticated thousands of years ago and went on to be represented by Gods in the Egyptian religion. Cats even played important roles in Egyptian society and were protected to great lengths, but inevitably the worship of cats did not last forever.

In order to understand how cats were initially domesticated, one must look back to when humans began their sedentary lifestyles. Humans made the switch from being hunter gatherers to farmers in the Fertile Crescent. The Fertile Crescent had an abundance of natural resources and readily domesticable plants and animals that fueled their sedentary life. With the abundance of resources in one are there was no longer a need to travel from place to place based on the season, rather people could remain in one place. The sedentary lifestyle of people then lead them to congregate in communities where they would produce large amounts of food and store the excess. Therefore large cellars and storage units were built to store the large amounts of food produced. Having communities of people and becoming food producers was beneficial to humans, but inevitably this lifestyle attracted unwanted guests.

The sedentary lifestyle of humans created large congregations of people and large cities, such as Egypt. The rise of cities, also meant the increase in food production and in turn waste. Cities attracted small vermin such as mice and rats, and even snakes. The increase in waste as well as small animals led to cats moving into human communities. The domesticated cat is thought to come from Felis Silvestris Lybica, or the African Wildcat. The wildcat saw human cities as easy hunting grounds for a meal, and since cats kept the vermin population down, farmers accepted the ancient felines. In addition to being attracted to the vermin, cats were also big scavengers and feasted off the waste and garbage humans produced from their sedentary lifestyle.

Although it may seem cats have changed drastically since they first entered into humans’ lives, in reality they were never truly domesticated (Huizen, 2016). It is true that cats were tamed, but they were never bred to attain a desirable trait that would help humans to survive. Animals such as cattle, pigs, horses and other livestock were specifically domesticated and bred to attain desirable traits useful to humans. In fact, humans never actually domesticated cats, rather cats domesticated themselves. Most animals,

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