Mummified Cat



X-rays show that this object contains the body of a kitten that is much smaller than the outer wrappings suggest. Like most cats bred in ancient Egyptian temples it was sacrificed before reaching 12 months old. Mummified cats were given as gifts to goddesses who were associated with cats and lions, such as Bastet. Pakhet and Sekhmet. Bastet could appear in the form of a cat or as a cat-headed woman. People attending festivals to celebrate the cult of the goddess gave mummified cats or bronze statues of cats to the priests as offerings for the goddess. The mummy has a cylindrical shape with a naturalistic cat’s head. The arrangement of the bandages, in geometrical patterns using interlaced dyed strips of material, follows a style which is common in the Ptolemaic and Romano-Egyptian periods and it allows us to date the cat to about the 1st century AD. The mummy was X-rayed in 1995 for the exhibition, "Caught in Time" (1996-2005) at National Museums Liverpool’s Conservation Centre, the first permanent UK exhibition dedicated to explaining the work of museum conservators. The mummy was included in the Ancient Egyptian Animal Bio Bank Project (2015) for radiographic analysis (X-ray and CT scanning), specimen no. AEABB734: "Complete mummy bundle modelled in the form of a cat with false ears and facial decoration. Radiographs reveal the presence of a highly compressed cat inside, however the cat is much smaller than the bundle itself and is placed in the centre of the bundle. Epiphyses are visible on the long bones indicating that cat was immature at the time of death. Radiodense patches are visible throughout the layers of linen which are likely to be resin applied as an adhesive during the wrapping process."