A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to author Roby Sweet. Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Craftsman, a Cat, and a Gazelle Go into a Cemetery …



Ha! You thought I was going to tell you a funny joke in this post, but I, Miss Cuddlywumps, am instead going to educate you a little bit more on the history of cats. It will be fun; trust me.

A cat for company in the
afterlife? 

In the middle part of Egypt there is a site called Mostagedda that was excavated in the 1920s. The excavations included a cemetery in which archaeologists found the grave of a man who’d been buried over 6,000 years ago ( before ~4000 BC) with some tools that seem to indicate he was a craftsman. The bones of a gazelle and a cat were found at the craftsman’s feet. Those cat bones are among the earliest remains of cats ever found in Egypt and give evidence of early interactions between humans and cats.

But why a gazelle and a cat?

And a gazelle for food?
My guess is that the gazelle was to provide food for the man and the cat was his pet and was killed and buried with him to keep him company in the afterlife. It makes so much sense that this craftsman would want to have his little cat with him forever. It makes a little bit less sense to kill the poor kitty just because its person died, but you humans have very strange ideas sometimes.*

[*Speaking of strange ideas, She of Little Talent is in the corner muttering about how we cannot possibly know this cat was a pet. She thinks maybe the cat was some kind of symbol or was buried with the craftsman to keep pests away. She thinks this particular craftsman had a phobia about mice and that is why they buried a cat with him. I think she is an idiot who will not let me have any fun.]

[Old SoLT wants me to tell you that this information is from the excellent book The Cat in Ancient Egypt by Jaromir Malek (Rev. ed. 2006, p. 45). She also wants me to tell you that the grave in question is Mostagedda Tomb 330.]

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