Back in Ancient Egypt, cats were treated like royalty in this country, which isn’t exactly surprising. With a few ancient gods and the Sphinx depicted as looking extremely feline-like, this is not exactly a mystery. As the years went by, many people thought the hold cats had over Egypt ended.
In this article, however, we’d like to tell you that these people are wrong—cats still have a heavy, undeniable presence in Egyptian culture, affecting everything from the way we talk to the way we eat!
History Of Cats In Ancient Egypt
In Ancient Egypt, cats were considered noble creatures, used to represent justice, fertility, and power. They were also thought of as worshippers of the dual goddess Sekhmet/Bastet, who was depicted as having the body of a woman with the head of a lion.
Ancient Egyptians used to love cats so much that the name ‘meit’, meaning ‘female cat’ in the older Egyptian language, was very common among their daughters. Additionally, cats were seen as essential to every household and field, as they chased away unwanted vermin and other animals. They were divine magical creatures that offered protection simply by being there—which clearly explains why they all seem to have a superiority complex, we’re sure!
The influence of cats in Modern Egypt
Now that worshipping cats is in the past, you may think that Egypt has a normal relationship with our feline friends. However, you’d be totally wrong. Cats are so ingrained in our cultural background that we have many folkloric sayings in which cats are the main heroes, such as ‘en ghab el ott el’ab ya far’’ and ‘el ottat takol wa tenker’.
Cats have somehow even affected the way we eat, which is best seen in how the bread used to scoop our molokheya is called ‘wedn otta’. However, the oddest way that cats affect our modern culture is actually through urban legends.
Perpetuated by many people in the Egyptian countryside, one of the more popular Egyptian urban legends is that human twins shapeshift into cats when they sleep. Yes, really. Apparently, everyone is Bran from Game of Thrones—as if twins weren’t creepy enough on their own!