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Cat Nursing Kittens

Cats were valued in Egyptian society as mousers and, over time, cats became associated with magical powers. They may have become linked to several powerful goddesses with feline characteristics, such as Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess, and Bastet, the cat-headed goddess. Many cat statuettes were created as votive offerings; moreover, cats themselves were protected so that they, in turn, would act as spiritual guardians of the household. This statuette of a cat and her kittens, a type popular in the late period, is remarkably naturalistic. It calls attention to the female cat’s fertility and ability to protect its young.

Egyptian
Cat Nursing Kittens
Late period, 664–342 BC
Bronze
L. 4 in. (10.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Burton Y. Berry Collection, 69.135.5