Everlasting Pets Of The Pharaohs

Animals have been part of the Egyptian household and when they died, they looked after their pets as well. Instead of dumping them in a ditch, they also believed the pets would experience the after life. For this, they needed their bodies just like the Pharaoh. They were mummified and laid to rest with the Queen or King.

Mummified Cats

Animal mummies discovered in Egypt hold intriguing clues to life and death in ancient Egypt. Then in 1888 and Egyptian farmer discovered a mass grave. It was soon apparent that there were not humans in the grave but mummified cats. Near the Village of Istabl Antar, mummified cats were discovered in staggering numbers. Thousand of them.


These mummies of the cats were mostly turned into fertilizer, a few were sold to tourists and the remainder of the treasure found its way to the Cairo museum. Today this animal collection is one of the most popular exhibits in the treasure-filled museum. The fact that we know the Pharaohs had pets make them human while scientist can study these animals, x-ray them and take precise measurement.

Other animals

In the Cairo museum, you can see more than cats. You can see shrews in boxes of carved limestone, rams in beaded casings, gazelles, crocodiles, hawks and fish.

The scarab beetles with some dung tell us more about these creatures than books could have told us. Most of the animals were buried with a prayer.

The Nile itself starts in mid – Africa and all along the river; sites are discovered with mummified animals. Some of these places were associated with gods and we find symbolic animals such as bulls, dogs, horses, monkeys and cats mummified. The Ibis mummies obviously represented the god Thoth while Falcons represented the god hours. Dogs had ties to the god Anubis. In the city of Memphis they discovered what is referred to as an embalming house. Here the Apis bulls lay in natron on a massive stone bed where the sun could help disinfect the animal. These stone structures can still be seen near the village of Mit Rahina.

As a pet for a Pharaoh, a dog or cat would have been spoiled rotten. This earthly life would not end but the Pharaoh would take his pets with him. When the Pharaoh or the pet died, the pet was interred in a specially prepared tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

While many of these mummies were destroyed or pulped as fertilizer, a collection of mummified animals can still be seen in the Cairo museum today.

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