Cats were very important to the ancient Egyptians and were even considered to be demi-deities. Not only did they protect the crops and slow the spread of disease by killing rodents, but they were also thought to be the physical form of the goddess Bastet.
Bastet was the goddess of protection, pleasure, and the bringer of good health. She had the head of a cat and a slender female body. Bastet was the daughter of Ra, sister of Sekhmet, the wife of Ptah, and the mother of Mihos. Since the Second Dynasty, Bastet was worshiped as a deity, most commonly in Lower Egypt.
It was believed that every day she would ride through the sky with her father, the sun god Ra. As his boat pulled the sun through the sky she would watch over and protect him. At night, she would turn into a cat to protect Ra from his greatest enemy, the serpent Apep. Bastet is still worshipped today and her protection is believed by some to be cast over modern cats. The Isle of Man issued a 1 crown coin in the year 1997 which depicts Ancient Egyptian art in the reverse and the effigy of Queen Elizabeth on the obverse.
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