Cats in ancient Egypt were highly revered and probably considered sacred by some. This may be partly due to their ability to protect food supplies by hunting mice, rats and snakes.

The Gayer-Anderson cat is believed to date from the late period of ancient Egypt. The bronze sculpture, is a depiction of the female deity Bastet (also called Bast), here she wears a protective amulet and golden jewellery. She is more commonly depicted as a woman with a cat's head. Bastet was believed to be the daughter of the sun-god Ra, due to the fierce nature of cats Bastet is often depicted as a protector of the Pharaoh. Her worship appears to be native to Bubastis in the Nile River delta but she also had an important cult at Memphis. In the Ptolemaic periods large cemeteries of mummified cats were created at both sites. Traces of her cult have also been found in Greece and Italy.