About this object

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.”

Object specifics

  • Type
    Animal Remains
  • Culture
    Late Period; Ptolemaic; Roman Period
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date made
    664 BC - AD 200 about
  • Materials
    Animal; Textile
  • Location
    Item currently on loan
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
    Henry Solomon Wellcome
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date collected
    1920 before
  • Measurements
    500 mm x 95 mm
  • Note
    Ex Wellcome collection no. 7178. Purchased at Steven's auction house, London, 19 October 1920.
  • Related people
    Wellcome Historical Medical Museum ( Previous owner); Henry Solomon Wellcome ( Collector, previous owner)

Explore related


  • Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed

    Start date: 2015-10-08
    End date: 2015-10-08
    Description: This fascinating exhibition explores ancient Egyptian animal mummies, prepared in their millions as votive offerings to the gods. Discover the background behind this religious practice in the context of life in ancient Egypt and the environment in which the animals lived. Featuring mummified specimens such as jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds, the exhibition will also include a recreation of a subterranean animal catacomb, creating an immersive and atmospheric experience. Using animal mummies from a variety of UK collections, the exhibition will also look at the use of science, such as CT imaging, to learn more about the subject. World Museum has worked on this exhibition in partnership with Manchester Museum, Glasgow Museums and The University of Manchester. The touring exhibition will be hosted at three cities - Manchester: 8 October 2015 2016 - 17 April 2016 Glasgow: May 2016 - June 2016 Liverpool:14 October 2016 - 26 February 2017


Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
Have 20 place tagsPage load time: 140 ms