Cat Mummies

One of the most popular cults to arise in Late Period Egypt was of the cat goddess Bast. At this time many thousands of Cats were mummified for sale to pilgrims, who presented them to the goddess as an offering.

X-rays show that the cats were often killed by having their necks broken. The bodies were then dried out using Natron salt, this process was similar to that used for human mummification.
They were then elaborately wrapped with the forelegs lying down the front and the hind legs drawn up beside the pelvis.

The example shown here is from the collection of the British Museum. It illustrated well the elaborate standard of wrapping which was used on these sacred offerings.

Vast cemeteries have been discovered containing many thousands of these cat burials and it is likely that the animals were specially bred for this purpose. The main center for the cult of bast was at the town of Tell Basta.

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