Figure of a Cat



Figure of a Cat


664-525 BC


Late Period, Dynasty 26


2 3/4 x 13/16 x 1 3/4 in. (7 x 2.1 x 4.5 cm)

Object Number



The cat was honored throughout Egyptian history as both a pet and a domestic guardian, keeping the household free of pests. In addition, the cat was associated with the goddess Bastet, who often appears with a human body and feline head. The primary cult center of Bastet was located at Bubastis (modern Tell Basta), where enormous numbers of mummified cats have been discovered within the temple precinct.

In the Late period and thereafter, sacred animals were bred, mummified, and presented as offerings in temples before being buried in special necropoleis. The coffins for these mummies took two forms: a narrow box with a figure of the animal on the lid or a box in the shape of the animal itself. This diminutive example is not large enough to hold even a kitten and probably sat atop a small wood or bronze coffin. Tangs for attaching the figure to the box are preserved below the front paws and the tail.

Credit Line

Charlotte Lichirie Collection of Egyptian Art


Hall of Ancient Egypt, The Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, Texas, August 2014 - Present
Peter Lacovara and Betsy Teasley Trope, The Realm of Osiris (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2001), 67.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Peter Harholdt.
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On View



“Figure of a Cat,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 12, 2018,

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