1. Silentbob says

    … since the 15th century.


    Ancient Egyptians considered domestic cats sacred, and I’m sure they walked all over their stuff.

    In the first millennium BC, when domesticated cats were popularly kept as pets, [the goddess] Bastet began to be represented as a woman with the head of a cat and ultimately, by the 22nd dynasty [945-712] emerged as the quintessential Egyptian cat-goddess. In the Middle Kingdom [2040-1640], the domestic cat appeared as Bast’s sacred animal and after the New Kingdom [1550-1070] she was depicted as a woman with the head of a cat or a lioness, carrying a sacred rattle and a box or basket.


  2. Silentbob says

    Incidentally, in ancient Egypt cats were often mummified so they could keep on walking on stuff in the afterlife.

    In her book The Cult of the Cat, Patricia Dale-Green states that, “The cat’s body was placed in a linen sheet and carried amidst bitter lamentations by the bereaved to a sacred house where it was treated with drugs and spices by an embalmer”. She goes on to state that although the cat of an Egyptian noble would receive more extravagant burial status, the body of a worker’s cat would still be carefully prepared and the embalming carried out with the same conscientiousness as for a human body, often with provisions for the afterlife such as pots of milk and even mummified mice.


  3. Silentbob says

    Sorry for comment spamming; I’m reminded of one more funny story related by Hitchens:

    Many Muslims allow their attitude to everyday life to be determined by these anecdotes [the hadith]: regarding dogs as unclean, for example, on the sole ground that Muhammad is said to have done so. (My own favorite tale goes the other way: the Prophet is said to have cut off the long sleeve of his garment rather than disturb a cat that was slumbering on it. […])

    C. Hitchens, God is not Great (Allen & Unwin, 2007), p. 158.

  4. RJW says

    @3 Silentbob,

    Sometimes the priests were somewhat less than conscientious, animal mummies were produced by the million in Ancient Egypt, the obvious implication is that cats and other animals were bred on an industrial scale just to be sacrificed. Why spoil a nice little earner.

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