A cat feeding one kitten and playing with another is shown lying on a sarcophagus designed to store the mummified remains of cats. Cats were commonly portrayed in Egyptian art, especially during the Saite period, which was characterised by numerous images of animals in general.
Cats were devoted to the cult of Bastet, the goddess of fertility and protector of the home, and they usually had their ears pierced so that gold earrings could be worn. The goddess Bastet, who had a cat’s head, was one of the multiple deities in Egypt’s polytheist religion and had her own temple in Bubastis, in the Nile delta.
Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664-525 BC. Now in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon. Inv. 21