Researchers at Scotland’s University of Aberdeen got a small surprise when they used a CAT scan to take a peek at what was inside an ancient Egyptian cat mummy in their collection. Instead of a full-grown cat, what was inside the mummy’s wrappings was actually just a kitten. Its neck had been broken. While we may think of the Egyptians mummifying their dear, departed pets, there also existed an industry that bred cats specifically to be mummified and sold to worshipers as temple offerings, possibly to Bastet. In this case, the seller might have made more money from a large cat than a kitten, so he likely bulked up the mummy to charge a higher price.
However, Jaromir Malek* has written that, judging from the evidence of other cat mummies, it wasn’t unusual for young cats to be killed and mummified, most likely for sale. So it isn’t clear to us that the seller was cheating the buyer in this case (though he may well have been).
*The Cat in Ancient Egpyt. Revised edition. London: British Museum Press, 2006.