Breed Tips

Egyptian Cat Breeds: Important Information

Cats and Egypt have a unique and ancient connection. Cats have been represented in social and religious contexts in Egypt since 1980 BC. Even some deities were sculptured with cat-like heads. Some examples of this are Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility, and power, respectively. The reason for this could possibly be cats killing venomous snakes, rodents and birds that damaged crops, and protecting the Pharaoh. These noble creatures have also been found mummified across the country. (1)

Ancient Egyptians worshipped many animals. Dogs were valued for their protection and hunting skills. But cats always held a special place in their hearts. They thought of cats as magical creatures capable of bringing luck to the house. You must have seen some memes of cats dressed in jewels and served like royalty. It was actually true in ancient Egypt. You wouldn’t want to be a cat murderer then or else you would be sentenced to death! (2)

Cats really do hold a special place in Egypt’s history. Well, there must be a reason why Egypt is known as the ‘Cat Capital of the World’. Now that you’ve searched for this, let’s dig into the history more and understand the importance of these feline creatures in Egypt.

What Kind of Cats Did the Egyptians Have?

Egyptians can be credited for domesticating the cats and popularizing them all over the world. But unlike what you must be thinking, few cats actually have their roots back in Egypt. The list includes – 

Egyptian Mau Cat

With a history that takes them back to 1500 CE, they are the most Egyptian of all other cats around. Some paintings and texts from ancient Egypt describe this spotted cat as one that was worshipped. They are the only domestic cats that are naturally spotted. Another record in their name is being the fastest domestic cat. They can do 30 mph! 


It cannot be said for sure if these cats are from Egypt, but they have a strong resemblance to the African Wildcat, their closest ancestor. They are considered to be the smartest cat breeds out there. WW2 and feline leukemia nearly wiped them out. But luckily we have them with us today and they live a healthy life of 15 years.


One of the largest domesticated cat breeds out there, the Savannah was created by crossing a domestic cat and an Egyptian cat called Serval. Servals were treated as exotic gifts in ancient Egypt. Savannah on the other hand is a recent development as they were bred in the 20th century. 

  • Nile Valley Egyptian Cat

These are controversial cats as some say they are just a native version of the Egyptian Mau. However, The International Cat Association has recognised them as a separate breed. Efforts are going on to rescue the population. 

Chausie and Shirazi are 2 other breeds that are considered to have ancient Egyptian roots. 

What Was the Most Famous Cat in Egypt?

Felines were known for their grace, fecundity, gentle care with aggression, swiftness, and danger. These characteristics were denoted by feline features in gods. Bastet is the most popular form of a feline Goddess, making it the most famous cat in Egyptian History. Bastet was initially depicted with a lion head, Panthera Leo. Seals and stone vessels with her name were found in the tombs of the pharaohs. She was later shown with a small cat head. 

What Does the Black Cat Mean in Egypt?

When the black cats meant bad luck for the world, Egyptians had a different view. For them, it became a creature of fascination and intrigue, with many myths, legends, and superstitions surrounding them throughout history. Several artefacts discovered show black cats in various settings, including in commoners’ homes and the gods’ temples. They even considered black cats to be the descendants of their goddess Bastet. They believed that gods could take the form of any animal but only the Bastet could take the form of a cat. And that it would take that form and protect the household from fire and disease.

Who is the Egyptian Cat God?

The goddess that was depicted by a cat’s head was Bastet. Egyptians depicted several gods using animal heads and features. You could see the fascination of animals by ancient Egyptians as they are noted, drawn, painted, and depicted in various forms including art, culture, literature and even architecture. ‘Mafdet’ for example was another goddess regarded as the protector of the pharaoh’s chambers against snakes, scorpions and evil. She was often depicted with a head of a lion or a cheetah. 

More About Spot Pet Insurance

There’s no doubt that cats are fascinating creatures. They’ve fascinated people, not just in Egypt but around the globe and since the early ages. While Egyptians considered cats as goddesses and deities, the beautiful creatures we have as pets today are prone to medical conditions that can make them sick. Sometimes the illness can even be fatal. 

Breeds like the Abyssinian survived the feline leukemia virus but even today they are prone to it as it forms one of the most common illnesses in cats. Other illnesses that we often see in cats are kidney diseases, heartworms, feline panleukopenia, upper respiratory tract infections, cancer and more. These conditions not only put our pet’s life in danger but can also put a big dent in our savings as the treatment costs can be huge. With pet health insurance you can save up to 90% of the costs.

With a Spot accident and illness plan, you can take your cat for treatment at any licensed vet in Canada or the U.S. Spot plans don’t have networks, so whether you’re home or traveling within the U.S, veterinary services your cat receives for the diagnosis, treatment, or management of eligible services can be covered. Spot’s accident and illness plans can help cover a variety of conditions, ranging from broken bones and bite wounds to behavioral conditions, and cancer. While base plans do not offer coverage for preventive care services, Spot’s Wellness Riders can be added to any base plan for an additional fee and can help cover the eligible costs of wellness exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more! 

Learn more about cat insurance or get a free quote. 


  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2024, June 4). Cats in ancient Egypt. Wikipedia.

  2. Cats rule in Ancient Egypt. (2021, February 10). Pages.

  3. (2023, January 27). Uncovering the myth and magic of black cats in ancient Egypt - Cats Parents. Cats Parents - Cat  Parents, for feline-loving families.

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