What’s the deal with cats and ancient Egypt? In today’s world where cats are seen by so many as just one step above rats, it’s hard to imagine that a culture once revered felines as near god-like creatures. In fact, several ancient Egyptian deities are depicted with cat heads, including Mafdet and Sekhmet. Other deities that have cat heads include Mut and Bastet.
Who are these four cat deities?
Let’s begin with Mafdet.
Mafdet was seen as the guardian of the pharoah’s chamber. Mafdet protected against eveil and snakes. Mafdet was depicted as a strong feline: a leopard.
Now let’s move on to Bastet
Bastet was a goddess and was depicted as a lion. Bastet’s role was to be the protector of Lower Egypt and be a defender of the king. Bastet also had other roles and responsibilities pertaining to fertility. Some have said that Bastet also protected against evil spirits and plagues. There’s no question that Bastet wore a lot of “protector” hats.
And what about Sekhmet?
Sekhmet was a warrior goddess, and like Bastet was depicted with the head of a lioness. As far as roles and responsibilities in ancient Egypt, Sekhmet apparently had the power to breathe fire! She also had the power to cause plagues. Let’s hope Sekhmet and Bastet never fought with each other.
Lastly, there’s Mut
Although the name “Mut” isn’t very sexy, Mut was a mother goddess that was worshipped in ancient Egypt. Mut wasn’t always depicted with the head of a cat, but often was.
If you’re a cat, Egypt is a great place to be.