What was the sacred animal of ancient Egypt?
The Ancient Egyptians held cats in the highest esteem, the penalties for injuring or killing a cat were severe. They worshipped a Cat Goddess, often represented as half feline, half woman, whom they called Bastet. The main center for the worship of Bastet was in northern Egypt at the city of Bubastis. The festival honoring Bastet was described as one of the largest and most enthusiastically celebrated in all of Egypt by the visiting Greek historian Herodotus.
Large catteries were maintained by the Temple priests and a vast cemetery of mummified cats has been excavated outside of Bubastis. Thousands of small cat sculptures, probably left with offerings to the Temple by devotees, have also been recovered at Bubastis.