Bastet and the Cats of Zagazig

by Sharon Haggag
(Hurghada, Egypt)

Siwa enjoying the coolness of the basin in the mid day heat

Siwa enjoying the coolness of the basin in the mid day heat

Hello Michael ! Thank you for your kind comments!! As I mentioned in my story about Siwa we got her in Zagazig… Well Zagazig is the place where they mainly worshipped Bastet! The temple to Bastet is there and they are currently restoring the area. They are also building a visitor center so hopefully this will be eventually one of the sights people will come to see in Egypt!! It is a massive sight and they have found lots of statues etc there relating to the cat goddess.

The local people are still finding things today for example when digging foundations for the houses ploughing fields etc…

My husband said as a child they would play amongst the statues and often find small pieces! I guess that is what started him along the path of becoming an Egyptologist!

Zagazig itself is absolutely full to the brim with wild cats which I would guess descend from the cats of ancient times that were worshipped there.

Also there are hundreds of white cats with black spots that you don’t normally see anywhere else in Egypt. My boys and I call them Zagazig cats!!

As you said there are thousands if not millions of wild cats in Egypt in fact we have two that live in our garden or are we living in theirs??

Yet I have not seen a city as densely populated by cats as Zagazig which I guess stems back to its rich history !

Sharon

Bastet and the Cats of Zagazig to Egyptian Cat Art

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Bastet and the Cats of Zagazig

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Sep 16, 2009
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How Cute!
by: Jen Desaulniers OMG! What a beautiful cat…With lots of personality!! I love it!

Sep 08, 2009
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nice cat
by: kathy I love your picture. I would love to see a picture of one of those black spotted cats.

Sep 07, 2009
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Bastet and the Cats in Egypt
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado Visited Cairo in October 2008 and found it a crowded city with some classic localities along the Nile river. Cats were worshipped in Ancient Egypt and nice to read the accounts of the various ancient cat breeds in Cairo. This really enlivens this site, reading of unheard and rare cat breeds, almost lost to cat fanciers.

Sep 07, 2009
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Siwa enjoying the coolness
by: Finn Frode Hansen What a great picture. Hopefully nobody turns on the tap… 😉Btw. I have seen some great photos of Egyptian (mainly feral) cats in Lorraine Chittocks book “Cairo Cats”, which also features some great stuff about the cat in Middle-eastern tradition. Recommended for all cat lovers.

Sep 07, 2009
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Reporter from Egypt
by: Michael (PoC Admin) Sharon, thanks for a very interesting article (Siwa looks gorgeous by the way). Yes, I am appointing you chief reporter from Egypt, the ancient home of the Egyptian cat to report back on the cats of Zagazig:-)I have a feeling we are all going to learn something about the beginnings of the domestic cat from you. Egypt is very important in respect of the early days of the domestication of the cat. The Egyptians seem to have been ahead of the world in appreciating the benefits of the cat as a companion.If you can get a picture of a Zagazig cat and a true Egyptian Mau cat that would be great. The feral Egyptian Mau is similar to the purebred version only less refined and there will be cross breeds of it. It is claimed to be the only naturally occurring spotted cat.

If you look for slender spotted tabby cats with a belly flap (!) it will be a feral Egyptian Mau!

Thanks again Sharon. It is nice to hear from Egypt.

P.S. Of course, I am joking about the reporter thing but I would love it if you could find the time to talk some more about the cats of Egypt….


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