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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2012, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Cats and Egypt

The other day I downloaded an ebook on Egyptian history from Project Gutenberg. It turned out to be a book aimed at children, but I found the following interesting.

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When people go shooting nowadays, they take dogs with them to retrieve the game. Well, the Egyptians had different kinds of dogs, too, which they used for hunting; but when they went fowling they took with them a cat which was trained to catch the wounded birds and bring them to her master....and when a bird was knocked down, the cat, which had been sitting quietly in the bow of the....boat, dashed forward among the reeds and secured the fluttering creature before it could escape.James Baikie. Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Egypt

Note: They used what are called 'throwing sticks', to bring the birds down.
'
I wonder if those members who have cats that fetch (retrieve), also have cats with some Egyptian cat genes in them.

I've also discovered that the reason cats are said to have domesticated themselves in Egypt first is because that's where remains have been found, but it's only theory.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2012, 04:22 PM
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It's long been hypothesised that the Egyptians were the first 'advanced' culture to keep cats as pets and not live-stock. I remember reading online that cats remains where found in burial sites along with treasures and that when a family lost a cat they would shave their heads in mourning, as well as that killing a cat in Egypt was a crime punishable by death.

How much of this is accurate I can't say, perhaps no one can, but seeing how the cat was featured in sculptures, arts and architecture, I think it's a pretty safe bet they were definitely loved.

Last edited by Cat-Daddy; 09-25-2012 at 04:25 PM.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2012, 07:43 PM
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Wow, that’s fascinating. I’ve never hear anything like it before.

One of my cats fetches and I didn’t teach her, but I don’t think she would bring back a live bird, but maybe a dead one. (LOL)

She has a toy bird that I toss and she runs to bring it back. She’s so obsessed with it that she sometimes drops it on my face when I’m sleeping
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2012, 10:02 AM
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The Egyptian "fetching" cats were usually domesticated servals. The pictures on some of the tombs that visualize these cats are dead ringers for the serval cats. Egyptians also had domesticated cheetahs they used for hunting antelope from chariots. The nobel would drive the chariot and a servant would hold the cheetah's chain in the back of the chariot and release the cat when the noble directed them to do so. Egyptians also tried to domesticate the lion for household "watch cats" but were unsuccessful. There are also representations of hunting leopards, but they are not sure if these were just pictures of leopards or if they tried to use the leopards like they did the cheetahs.

Egyptian household cats were a major part of the home, and it is true that killing a household cat was punishable by death if it was a "malicious" crime. If you killed a neighbor's cat by accident, you were required to replace it immediately and the neighbor could reject your replacement if they didn't feel it was adequate. Egypt was one of the first major civilizations to store huge amounts of grain and the people recognized the majolr role housecats had in controlling the rodent population and conserving grain for human use. Another very early civilization that recognized this was the Japanese. In Japan during the medieval period in Europe, it was unlawful to lock a cat up in a house at night because the government wanted as many roaming cats as possible available to control rodents.

The Egyptian goddess Bast or Bastet is usually shown in the form of a housecat. She is the goddess of childbirth, mothering and fertility. There was also a lionheaded goddess and a leopard goddess as well. Cats were very important to Egyptians.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2012, 05:47 PM
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LaurulFeatherCat! Now I’m really impressed wow! Cheetahs OMG
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2012, 06:59 PM
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Oh, piffle! I have been facinated by cats and Egypt since I was a kid and read everything I could find about both subjects. Just the other day I was looking at some tomb carvings in an old book about the Valley of the Kings that showed caracal cats riding in chariots like I described they did with the cheeta. Caracals specialize in hunting birds in their wild habitat, so I wonder what kind of birds they were using the caracals to hunt. They did not give any details about the tomb carvings, just showed the art work.

Cats were seen in ancient civilizations as wonderous and wonderful creatures until the advent of the Christian era when they were demonized as being 'familiars' of witches. You have probably heard the popular theory that the black plague was more wide spread in Europe than in Asia because of the persecution of cats by the Christian clergy as demons. Hundreds of thousands were killed for no reason except their color (black) or because their owner was a 'suspicious' person and maybe a witch.

See, I told you. I read to much....
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2012, 07:37 PM
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I guess I should read more
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2012, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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National Geographic has The Science of Cats special on You Tube in four parts as part of an investigtion into how cats, as we know them, came about. The belief is that they mutated from larger wild cats. There was an attempt to get DNA from cat mummies in Egypt. It failed.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2012, 09:55 PM
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Great Nat Geo series. I loved it. They also followed a study by a college professor who collected DNA from Asia, Egypt and other places in Africa to try and pinpoint the origin of the domestic cat. Really interesting findings.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-26-2012, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jusjim View Post
National Geographic has The Science of Cats special on You Tube in four parts as part of an investigtion into how cats, as we know them, came about. The belief is that they mutated from larger wild cats. There was an attempt to get DNA from cat mummies in Egypt. It failed.
Thanks for sharing that. I just finish watching it. Well that was very informative and enlightening, but I had to turn it off when the genetically altered cats were introduced in 4/4. Thatís just something that I cannot tolerate, but thatís just me
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