Cats: The Original Party Animal

T’is the season for partying and enjoying the howlidays. But did you know that the Egyptian cat goddess Bast is credited as being the first known party animal?

Legend has it that, by day, Bast would ride through the sky with her father, the sun god Ra. But by night, she was a different creature entirely transforming herself into a cat (renown for its superb night vision) to guard her father from Apep, a serpent who was her father’s greatest enemy.

Even today tourist memorabilia depict her as a slender woman with the head of a domestic cat. The ancient Egyptians also considered her to be the goddess of music and dance. Sometimes she is shown holding a sistrum, a rattle used as a musical instrument. The rituals performed in her temples, designed for healing, protection, and insuring fertility, were decidedly sensual, full of music and dancing.

Many festivals were held in her honor, and they tended to be quite rowdy affairs.  During major festivals in her honor, thousands of men and women (children weren’t invited) traveled on barges down the river to her temple in Bubastis, drinking and partying with wild abandon, hence the term labeling her a party animal.

In reality, domestic cats don’t like rowdy partying. If you are planning on having friends over during the holidays, it’s a good idea to sequester your cats in one room complete with their food, water and litter box. Put a sign on the door and prevent visitors from bothering them. This is an excellent safety measure to keep them happy and you secure in the knowledge they are unable to escape through an unattended open front door.

Photo credit: Roslyn_cat by Ocean Yamaha

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