More to explore:
In Ancient Egypt, many animals were thought to be the embodiment of certain gods and goddesses; cats were believed to represent the goddess Bastet. Consequently, they were raised in and around temples devoted to Bastet. When they died, they were mummified and buried in huge cemeteries, often in large communal graves. From about 332 B.C. to 30 B.C., animals began to be raised for the specific purpose of being turned into mummies. The mummies were sold to people on their way to worship a god and left at the temple as offerings. Scientists have uncovered a gruesome fact: many cats died quite premature and unnatural deaths. Two- to four-month-old kittens seemed to have been sacrificed in huge numbers, perhaps, as due to their smaller form they would fit into a mummy container better. X-rays show that the cats were often killed by having their necks broken. They were then elaborately wrapped with the forelegs lying down the front and the hind legs drawn up beside the pelvis. The bodies were then dried out using Natron salt, this process was similar to that used for human mummification. In the late 1880’s in England, a company bought 38,000 pounds of cat mummies to pulverize and sell as fertilizer. This shipment alone probably contained 180,000 mummified cats.
The British Museum is home to a veritable menagerie of ancient Egyptian animal mummies. Many were beloved pets given elaborate burials upon death, or upon the death of their owner. Sacred animals were mummified as deities in their own right. Then there were the vast quantities of “votive mummies” offered by pilgrims as gifts to please the gods. Mass catacombs have been found containing mummified cats buried ten to twenty deep.
gorgeous wrapping on Egyptian cat mummies.