did cleopatra have a cat

While contemporary records don’t mention Cleopatra owning any cats, some believe that she owned an Egyptian Mau named Tivali. Others claim that she had a pet leopard named Arrow. We can only speculate about the question, as we lack evidence to support or deny these claims.

Cats in Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, cats were highly valued for their ability to keep rats and poisonous snakes out of homes. Cats were usually free to roam wherever they pleased, though some families would give them names and fancy collars. Despite their reputation as being associated with royalty, cats were more common in lower-class homes because they were more independent and needed less training than dogs.

With that said, cats were beloved by Egyptian royalty too. When cats passed away, they were mummified like members of the aristocracy because they were revered as sacred animals. Numerous hieroglyphics show how their royal owners would shave their eyebrows and lament the cat until they grew back.

The oldest known cat mummy was dated back to 1350 BC and found in an intricately decorated limestone casket.1 Given the timing, historians think the cat was Prince Thumose’s favorite pet.

The African word “quattah” inspired most of its European counterparts, including the Spanish word “gato” and the French word “chat”; in fact, the modern word “cat” originated in Egypt! This occurred as a result of Egyptian strict export laws, despite Greek smugglers smuggling three pairs of cats out of the country to be sold. Egyptians were so protective of their cats that they established an entire government department to look into and prosecute cat thieves and other felons.

did cleopatra have a cat

“Salam Alaikum,” I said, “a greeting — peace be with you.” You like cats?” He replied, “Alakaum Salaam”. “Everyone in Egypt adores cats!” I said, putting my hand over my heart as I thought about how the cat was a sacred symbol in Egyptian history and how it influenced Egyptian art and culture. When I travel to Egypt, I look for various feline sculptures and artwork because I adore cats.

Cats held a very honored place in ancient Egyptian culture. Inscriptions dedicated to cats from the 18th to the 26th dynasties have been discovered in Luxor. Their practical use was to keep the granaries and….

The ancient city of Luxor, also known as “Thebes,” is an outdoor museum dedicated to Egyptian history. Every day archaeologists are making discoveries. I could not wait to visit the archaeological sites that I had read about in books and National Geographic magazines. My to-do list included:

I was waiting for the boat when vendors began to approach me following the prayer call. Their faces were sunburned and warm from laboring in the heat. An elderly man wearing a white turban and khaki kandora smiled toothlessly, beckoning me to view his souvenirs, which were small statues of cats. My guide tried to keep me from being bothered by the vendors, but he was unable to prevent me from glancing at the tiny cat figurines covered in a tattered hessian cloth.

On my first day in Luxor, I was one of the few visitors to the town and it was hot and dusty. We were anticipating a dhow, or sailboat, to transport me to the hotel from the west to the east bank of the Nile. Sitting on my suitcase and sipping water in the afternoon sun, I took in the sound of the late-afternoon prayer call reverberating from both sides of the river and floating from the minarets in unison.

Cats in Egyptian Mythology

Most closely associated with cats is the goddess Bastet, originally pictured with a lion’s head. Ra, the sun god, was protected by Bastet, a warrior goddess, when she assumed the form of a lion. Later on, Bastet softened into a more domestic fertility goddess, which is why her head is depicted more like that of a housecat.

Cats were thought of as Bastet’s envoys, guarding Egypt from snakes that prowled the area and rats that could destroy important grain reservoirs. By the 22nd dynasty, they had become so well-liked that Bastet had a whole temple in the city of Bubastis filled with innumerable carved figurines of cats.

From 500 BC onward, the cat craze only got bigger. According to the fabled historian Herodotus, the festival at Bastet’s Bubastis temple was the biggest in all of Egypt. Cats were frequently coffined, mummified, and even given their own graves. Around this same period, Isis came to be associated with cats as well. According to some accounts, cats would be offered as sacrifices, which is a questionable assertion considering cats’ sacred status.

did cleopatra have a cat


What was Cleopatra’s cats name?

Background. Cleopatra is the most beautiful woman in Egypt, she even had a pet cat named Cleocatra, and inside Cleopatra’s house was the legendary puppy, Buddasi.

What breed is Cleopatra’s cat?

She had an Abyssinian, which is a breed of domestic cat, most likely of Egyptian origin. This type of cat has been considered to approximate the sacred cat of ancient Egypt more closely than any other living cat.

Did Cleopatra marry her son?

Caesarian (full name Ptolemy XV Caesarion), was not Cleopatra’s husband, but her son by Julius Caesar. Caesar was not permitted under Roman law to marry a foreigner, and already had a Roman wife, so he and Cleopatra did not marry.

What did Cleopatra actually look like?

In contrast to the romanticized portrayals of Cleopatra, the extant artistic depictions and coinage of her profile provide a more realistic, albeit stylized, representation of her appearance. Coins minted during Cleopatra’s reign depict her with a prominent nose, a strong chin, and deep-set eyes.