Cat Mummy

1973.4.144
Mummified cats were given as gifts to goddesses who were associated with cats and lions, such as Bastet. Pakhet and Sekhmet. The mummy was X-rayed and CT imaged at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital on 19th April 2016 as part of the University of Manchester’s Animal Bio Bank Project (no. AEABB638). This is an extract from the report written by Lidija McKnight and Stephanie Woolham: “X-rays show the complete and articulated remains of a cat, positioned in the characteristic ‘skittle’ shape, which completely fill the bundle. No epiphyses are visible, indicating that this animal had reached skeletal maturity at the time of death. There is a fracture in the cervical spine. This correlates with an air void and a fracture which appears to transect the bundle at the same point, indicating that the spinal fracture is likely to have occurred post-mummification when the body had desiccated. The skull is complete. The sagittal reformats show that the tail has been broken to allow it to be curled round and up through the hind legs (it appears as to be unnaturally right-angled in the images). One rib appears to have been displaced and is lying at the rear. The facial features appear modelled with the addition of false ears. There is some padding on top of the skull which appears to have been formed from a pad of rolled linen. There is some material within the eye sockets and in the rear of the cranium; however, this cannot be clearly identified from the scan data. There appears to be a dense material in the mouth and the coronal scan shows similar density material to either side of the skull, just below the false ears.”