Interestingly, while the cats of the rich people enjoyed special status, cats of the common people were also carefully mummified. Cats were domesticated in Egypt 5,700 years ago, according to recent study. Cats in Ancient Egypt. Retrieved on December 24, 2019, from. They are also very intelligent and make engaging and active companions. During the later kingdoms, even temples for animals were erected where specific animals were raised. Egyptian mau breed. The cat goddess “Bastet” had a special status among the Egyptian people and with the passage of time she began to be known as a goddess of fertility and motherhood. The Sand Dune cat or Sand cat (Felis margarita) is the only desert-dwelling cat. Their hybrid heritage is also responsible for Chausies being among the largest cat breeds in the world. Hunting and trade of Jungle cats is prohibited in several countries under the CITES agreement. Egyptian Jungle Cat. Making “a career of assas… (2018). Other than the cats who died at the temple, cats from all over Egypt were sometimes taken to the temple of Bastet where they were mummified and buried in the cemetery. About the Egyptian mau. Like the Abyssinian, these cats resemble cougars, although they are actually a hybrid between Jungle cats (Felis chaus) and domestic cats. The primary diet of wild cats includes mice, rats, snakes and pests. Ottoni, C., et al. iStock. The jungle cat (also known as a reed cat or swamp cat) is found across the Middle East, Asia, and southern China, and makes it into this list of African wild cats due to its occurrence in parts of Egypt. The current population of the species is difficult to assess, although the IUCN lists their status as least concern as of 2016. Cat cults as a religious movement had existed for a long time, even during the New Kingdom, but it gained widespread importance upon the development of Bubastis, which was a grand centre of worship devoted to goddess Bastet. The Jungle Cat, (Felis chaus), is a successful and widespread wild cat. Chausie breed. However, there are also incredible wild cat species found in Egypt, such as the following: The Jungle cat (Felis chaus) is, as we have said, a wild cat species from which the Chausie has been bred. The Jungle cat, also known as a swamp cat is a medium-sized cat occurring from the Middle East, to South and Southeast Asia and southern China. According to the DNA tests that have been carried out in the modern times, it is made clear that the cats belonged to a Wildcat subspecies of the Middle East and were domesticated around 10,000 BC. Cats of both these types began to be domesticated during the Pre-dynastic Period. The Chausie is a big, athletic cat with tufted ears, high cheekbones, long legs, and a deep chest. The cult of the cat existed during the New Kingdom and a centre of worship was built for the cat goddess, Bastet. This cult was devoted to ancient Egyptian cats and the cat goddess Bastet. Although it is called a ‘Jungle’ cat, this adaptable species lives in wetlands, grasslands and shrubby forests in different parts of the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia including, of course, Egypt. Nile Valley Egyptian Cat. Their mummified remains have been found in tombs throughout ancient Egypt. The cats were mummified after death and were buried in the cemetery of the temple. Cats were considered a symbol of grace and were useful for their helpful services such as the killing of snakes and controlling vermin. Chausies are similar in appearance to Jungle cats. If you want to know more about the evolution of the domestic cat, and its relation to cats in Ancient Egypt, take a look at our article on the history and evolution of cats. The latter had a calmer temperament and so was more commonly domesticated than its wilder relative. So, for instance, the god Thoth was associated with the Baboon, and Taurt had the head of a hippopotamus and the claws of a lion. Like the African wildcats and domestic cats, the Jungle Cat has been mummified and placed in tombs in Ancient Egypt. Cats had attained sacred status even before the formation of the Egyptian Kingdom and after that the status was institutionalised. Ancient Egyptian cats enjoyed a sacred status because of their utility as domesticated animals against various pests, mice, and snakes. Based on the evidence gathered, there were two breeds of felines that were found around Egypt during those times. The breed was developed to its current standards in the UK. The distribution of jungle cat is largely oriental; it occurs in the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, central and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and in southern China. African wildcats are an intelligent species and studies have suggested that they may, in fact, have domesticated themselves in places like Egypt. People belonging to this cult travelled long distances every year for a pilgrimage to the Bubastis. They have a coat color that varies from sandy, greyish brown to tawny red with a slender body with underparts of cream and pale fur. A selection of cat sculptures and mini figurines of Bastet. Similar looking spotted cats are depicted in Ancient Egyptian paintings and described in hieroglyphs, suggesting that the origins of the Mau go way back to when cats were first domesticated. 1. HISTORY The Jungle Cat was tamed by ancient Egyptians to hunt wildfowl and has been featured in Egyptian art. Jungle cats are typically diurnal hunting thought the day. Felis chaus affinis - East Afghanistan, Indian subcontinent and Sri … Retrieved on December 24, 2019, from, TICA. A grove of trees in the graveyard led the way to the interior which contained a large statue of Bastet. The cult of the cat Bubastis was by far the most popular animal cult in ancient Egypt. My sighting of a jungle cat also happened during the day in Kanha Tiger Reserve in India. Both had smaller body sizes. The Jungle cat is most prevalent in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Vertical bars are visible on the fur of kittens, which disappear in adult … It has short yellow, ash or sandy fur, with dark stripes from the back to the tail. The Egyptian Mau is the most popular of all Egyptian cat breeds. Their head is narrow with a high domed forehead along with tall and rounded ears. The face is relatively slender. Broadly speaking, ancient Egyptian cats can be classified into two main types. The tomb discovered at the temple of Bastet in 1888 had over nineteen tons of animal mummies and remains. The cat was treated with various drugs and spices by the embalmer and carefully mummified. A statue of Bastet showing the appreciation given to cats in ancient Egypt. They were popular because they kept away vermin, killed snakes and caused various other blessings for the people. The temple was surrounded by a canal which gave it the look of an island. Jungle cats were worshipped as guardians of the underworld by the ancient Egyptians. If you want to read similar articles to Amazing Egyptian Cat Breeds, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category. These two types are jungle cat and African wild cat. Retrieved on December 24, 2019, from, CFA. With the passage of time, Bastet evolved into a more powerful deity which represented fertility and protection and was called Eye of Ra. As the two species interbred over time, a new species evolved that was a close relative of the modern-day Egyptian Mau. Linen sheets were used to wrap the dead cat and a procession was taken out for it. The Abyssinian. More about the Jungle Cat range, habitat and subspecies. They are the only domestic cat that has naturally occurring spots, giving them an exotic appearance. It can primarily be found in the swamps along the Nile River. So, it is hardly surprising to find that the domestic cat evolved from Egyptian and Near Eastern populations of African wildcats. It ranges from Egypt in the west to China in the east, and it is common in India. The jungle cat (Felis chaus), also called reed cat and swamp cat, is a medium-sized cat native to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia and southern China. The tails of jungle cats are relatively short encompassed with several blac… Due to their divine relevance, there was not only a cat goddess, but cats were also honoured upon death through mummification. The skeleton of a jungle cat discovered in an elite cemetery dated to c. 3700 B.C.E. The African wildcat and jungle cat were the two major cats, which occurred, in ancient Egyptian culture. Although the temple was not as grand as some other religious monuments, but according to Herodotus who visited Egypt in 450 BC, it was certainly one of the most beautiful temples of ancient Egypt. In the villages, the greatest danger to Egyptian households were the The last recorded sighting of Sand cats in Egypt was in the 1980s and, although there have been alleged sightings since, these have not been confirmed. 11- In Egypt we can distinguish two types: The jungle cat (Felis catus), also called reed cat or swamp cat and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). The status of animals, other than cats, was important in ancient Egyptian religion. Rich symbolism was associated with ancient Egyptian cats. The Paleogenetics of Cat Dispersal in the Ancient World. While the jungle cat is common, it shows greater density in natural wetlands than near human habitations, and … Mafdet was followed by Sekhmet, meaning strength and ferocity, a lion-headed goddess. The name Abyssinian comes from the name for Ethiopia under British rule, Abyssinia.  Because of its long legs, short tail and tuft on the ears, the jungle cat resembles a small lynx. Egyptian Jungle Cat/Swamp Cat - Felis Rüppelii Prone to living in wetlands and forests, which are pretty rare in Egypt, these cats are mostly found in the Nile Delta region north of Cairo. An adult Chausie can weigh as much as 25 pounds, although 10 to 15 pounds is a more common top weight. The first hybrids of the jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) may have been born in Egypt several thousand years ago. Their fur is sandy-brown, reddish or gray, and is unpatterned except for some brown striping on the legs. They are currently listed as least concern in the IUCN Red List, but their populations are in sharp decline in countries like Egypt. The wildcat species is known for its sociable nature and for being a good hunter, its main prey being small mammals and rodents. In Egypt the nickname for the Jungle Cat is 'Reed Cat', due to the fact that the Jungle Cat makes his habitat near reed beds and the wetlands of several … (2018). Felis chaus chaus - Egypt and Middle East to Turkestan, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan and Afghanistan (riverine habitat). Jungle cats are medium-sized wild cats. In fact, the Mau has been recorded as the fastest domestic cat breed, thanks to a pocket of fur behind their legs which allows them to take longer strides. The latter had a calmer temperament and so was more commonly domesticated than its wilder relative. For the most part, it is an Asian species of wild cat that lives by rivers and lakes. The other cat native to Egypt is the swamp or jungle cat-(Felis chaus), but it is the wild cat which is believed to have been the cat to "domesticate the Egyptians." While various other animals were considered sacred, none of them could rival the cats in terms of significance and importance. Don’t get into a race with an Egyptian Mau—it will … As reeds and tall grasses are typical of its h… The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T8540A50651463. The cult of the cat was very popular in ancient Egypt and their yearly festival was celebrated at the temple of Bastet. They retain some of the hunting instincts of wild cats, but are affectionate and playful, developing strong bonds with humans. Gray, T. N. E., et al. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T8541A50651884. A habitat generalist, the jungle cat inhabits places with adequate water and dense vegetation, such as swamps, wetlands, littoral and riparianareas, grasslands and shrub. They are particularly recognizable by the small tufts of their ears. Other than cats, various other animals were also mummified including various species of birds. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. Abyssinian cats are characterized by their cougar-like appearance, with a triangular head, wide ears and sandy coat color. Even tame cats, however, evidence signs of their wild ancestry, often hunting small prey. Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) SubspeciesUp to ten subspecies have been recognized in the past, however the last Felidae taxonomy revision in 2017 proposed three subspecies pending further research:. Although there are still debates around the subject, the most accepted hypothesis is that domestic cats evolved from Near Eastern and Egyptian populations of the African wildcat (Felis lybica). The Chausie is a large, statuesque, good natured domestic cat with the exotic looks and beauty of a Jungle Cat. Sliwa, A., et al. Cats were worshipped by the Egyptian people for various reasons. Retrieved from. The Egypt civilization is likely to have tried to domesticate one of two breeds of cats that were found around Egypt at the time. A few mummified remains have been found in tombs. Not only is there artistic and fossil evidence for this, the Ancient Egyptians even worshiped a cat in the form of Bastet, the cat-headed goddess of healing and womanhood, protector of the home. However, Leopards and Cheetahs are both extremely rare and perhaps even extinct in Egypt, while the Sand Cat, Wild Cat … The temple was considered one of the most beautiful temples in ancient Egypt. The jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica).
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