The many cat goddesses of ancient Egypt were represented in the war-like aspect of the lioness, lynx or cheetah and were revered for their powers of protection and their skills as fierce combatants. Whilst there are many cat goddesses, Bastet is the only one represented as a domestic cat.
& Cat Mummies
Facts and Names of Egyptian Cat Goddesses
Names of Egyptian Cat Goddesses
Bastet: Bast or Bastet giver of blessings to the good and a deliverer of wrath to the evil. Protector of the domestic, or household, cats.
Mihos: Mihos was the name of the lion-headed son of Bastet.
Sekhmet: Sekhmet, the warrior lioness goddess, the "Powerful One". Her son, Nefertem, god of perfumes, also had a warlike aspect and could be depicted as a lion
Tefnut: Tefnut and her twin Shu were also worshipped as a pair of lions at Leontopolis
Mafdet: Mafdet, the first of the cat goddesses. She was ancient Egyptian lynx, lion or cheetah shaped war goddess, a cat goddess of protection, spitting fire at cobras. She was the original cat deity who killed the enemy of Ra, the monstrous serpent Apep. She was called the "Runner"
Mau: Mau, the ancient Egyptian word for cat, a personification of the sun god Ra, as a cat who killed Apep
Mekal: Mekal was the "fierce devourer" and a goddess of pestilence adopted from Canaan
Pakhet: Pakhet, "She Who Scratches", was a big cat goddess who protected the living and the dead from evil
Menhit: Menhit was an Egyptian war goddess, depicted in the form of a lioness who sometimes wore the red crown of Lower Egypt
Matit: Matit was a funerary cat goddess who had a cult center at Thinis
Mut: Mut the great Mother Goddess was merged with Wadjet, Bastet, Menhit and Sekhmet, who were all warrior lioness goddesses.
Wadjet: Wadjet was primarily a cobra goddess, similar in some respects to Meretseger, but she was also depicted in her aspect of a lion-headed goddess
Famous Egyptian Cat Goddesses
The Cat Temples at Leontopolis
The Greek name of this city means, "City of Lions" as there were many temples dedicated to cat goddesses and lion gods and deities which contained live lions and cats. Aelian (ca. 175 – ca. 235), an ancient Roman historian wrote:
"In Egypt, they worship lions, and there is
a city called after them. The lions have
temples and numerous spaces
The Lion gods worshipped at Leontopolis were mostly associated with the cults of the solar god Atum Ra or Ptah. The names of other lion gods worshipped at Leontopolis were Bastet, Sekhmet, lioness of war, and Mihos (Maahes), the lion prince. Leontopolis was also associated with the Horus, who according to ancient Egyptian mythology changed himself into a lion. The feline goddess Tefnut, the twin-sister of Shu, were worshipped as a pair of lions at Leontopolis
Egyptian Cat Goddesses - The Sphinx
Statues of Cat Goddesses
Picture of Sekmet
Picture of protective Cat Goddess
Egyptian Cat Goddesses and the Underworld
Facts about ancient Cat Goddesses
History, Mythology and Facts about Cat Goddesses
Fact 1 about Cat Goddesses: Egyptians believed that the journey through the Underworld brought them from the "Jaws of the lion in the West" to the "Jaws of the lion in the East".
Fact 2 about Cat Goddesses: Cats represented the soothing power of sleep and their beds and headrests were decorated with the heads of big cats
Fact 3 about Cat Goddesses: Pet lions and big cats were kept by the kings and pharaohs of Egypt as symbols of the sun god Ra for their powers of protection who also symbolized fierce combatants
Fact 4 about Cat Goddesses: The lioness was seen as a destroyer who annihilated the enemies of Egypt
Fact 5 about Cat Goddesses: The lion devoured the enemies of the gods and spat them out
Fact 6 about Cat Goddesses: Male big cats were depicted, in their protective role, crouching on the roofs of temples
Fact 7 about Cat Goddesses: The cat was a sacred animal and any person who killed a cat in ancient Egypt, either intentionally or unintentionally, was sentenced to death.
Fact 8 about Cat Goddesses: The earliest cat goddess recorded was Mafdet and described in the Pyramid Texts as killing a serpent with her claws
Fact 9 about Cat Goddesses: Every home in Bubastis would have a small shrine to the goddess Bastet as a protector of the household.
Fact 10 about Cat Goddesses: The domestication of cats in ancient Egypt is believed to date as far back as 3000BC. The first domesticated Egyptian cats were used for warding off snakes and rodents.
Offerings to the Cat Goddesses