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Examining a cat mummy

Gnudi G, Volta A, Manfredi S, Ferri F and Conversi R. Radiological investigation of an over 2000-year-old Egyptian mummy of a cat. J Feline Med Surg. 2012; 14: 292-4.

The mummy of a cat was examined radiographically to determine the content and to describe how cats were wrapped and mummified in ancient Egypt. The mummy is part of the Egyptian collection of the National Archaeological Museum in Parma, Italy. From the time of 1350 BC, cats were occasionally buried with their owners. In later dynasties (945-715 BC), many animals were thought to be the embodiment of gods and goddesses. Female cats were believed to represent the goddess Bastet. From approximately 332 to 30 BC, animals were raised near the temples for the specific purpose of being mummified and left at the temple as offerings. This mummy contained the complete skeleton of a 4 to 5-month old cat. Radiology revealed the cat’s body was wrapped to occupy the smallest space possible. This cat mummy was not buried with its owner and most likely it was an offering to the goddess Bastet. It is considered a high quality archeological finding. [VT]

See also: Falke TH, Zweypfenning-Snijders MC, Zweypfenning RC and James AE, Jr. Computed tomography of an ancient Egyptian cat. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 1987; 11: 745-7.