Ancient Egyptian cat mummies are commonly found objects in the archeological world. Numerous cat mummies have been previously discovered at burial sites. According to Live Science’s report, the desire to preserve animals as offerings to the gods led to the establishment of a whole industry and the mummification of over 70 million animals. Egyptian cats were often buried with their owners.

Recently, Archeological experts from the French National Institute for Preventive Archeological Research (INRAP) carried out a CT scan and investigations on a 2,500 year old mummified Egyptian cat. They reconstructed it in 3D; and to their amazement however, they discovered that the mummy contained 3 tails and 5 hind legs. According to the researchers, there is a ball of textile instead of a head and the scary looking creature has some missing, vertebrae and a skull. A suggestion that the mummy is a combination of 3 cats.

Dissected CT scan image of the ancient Cat mummy showing its content
Credit- IRISA/INSA Rennes)

This discovery didn’t come as a surprise to the researchers as Theophane from INRAP disclosed that there are millions of mummies. Sometimes, they come empty, some contain a single bone while at other times they come with a complete set of bones.

According to Live Science, the INRAP scientists projected the 3D reconstruction onto the 3D printed model of the cat mummy. They further reported that the mummy was presented last month in Sweden at the European Heritage Days 2019 event. It will also be placed on display for people to view at the Museum of Fine Arts in France.

3D replica of the cat mummy. It is made transparent so viewers can see the content.
Credit- MBAR

Furthermore, he revealed that the mummy of Rennes is a variant and some researchers believe that they were they were probably dealing with an ancient scam by some unscrupulous priests who felt there were several different ways to make animal mummies. Some experts opine that the high demand for mummified animals caused it to become a rogue trade – many of these unscrupulous priests created fakes to fulfill the demand for the mummified animals.

Ancient Egyptian people used animal mummies as religious offerings – they were also mummified to be worshiped as representations of certain gods, provide food in the afterlife and to also allow pets to survive in the afterlife. While human mummies were so preserved, to keep them intact and ready for the journey to the afterlife. Cats were named ‘Mau’ and in later years became important and also, a symbol of grace in ancient Egypt.

It was believed that two Egyptian goddesses took the form of cats – Mafdet, a lion headed goddess that was seen as a protector against snakes and scorpions. It also represented justice and execution –, and Bastet, a cat that represented fertility and motherhood – was worshipped during the 1st Egyptian Dynasty between 3,400 BC and 3000 BC. The cat mummy is now kept safely at the Museum of Fine Arts, Rennes in France.

One may recall that a couple of years ago, at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, a team of radiographers and Egyptologists from the Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at Manchester Hospital performed scans on hundreds of  animal mummies taken from Egypt during the 19th and 20th centuries. It is also regarded as the biggest survey of its kind in history.

In Fall of 2014, Horizon filmed around a dozen of these scans which have has been the main talking point in a documentary that reveals the strange role played by animals in ancient Egypt.

Below, are some of the most major facts about the Ancient Egyptian Culture:

  • The earliest civilization in Africa started in Egypt around the 10th Millenia.
  • The Egyptians became so advanced; they built complex cities, massive pyramids and other spectacular structures.
  • They were ruled by pharaohs.
  • The civilization thrived for about 3,000 years before its collapse.
  • They were very religious. They offered a lot of sacrifices and believed in the afterlife.
  • Corpses of humans and some selected animals like cats were mummified for religious and superstitious reasons.
  • They invented one of the world’s oldest writing system called hieroglyphics.
  • They also invented a solar calendar
  • Ancient Egypt collapsed due to constant wars with other kingdoms. This gradually and effectively weakened the Kingom and it was conquered first by the  Persians, then the Greeks and later the Romans

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