The Felis catus is somewhat larger than the Felis (silvestris) lybica, of robust physique, long legs and rather short tail. About the Egyptian mau. The wildcat species is known for its sociable nature and for being a good hunter, its main prey being small mammals and rodents. Both these traits that make it suited to becoming the first domestic cat. So, it is hardly surprising to find that the domestic cat evolved from Egyptian and Near Eastern populations of African wildcats. CFA. The Jungle cat is most prevalent in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. They retain some of the hunting instincts of wild cats, but are affectionate and playful, developing strong bonds with humans. The jungle cat has a calmer temperament than its African counterpart and as a result, was domesticated more frequently. Cats were worshipped by the Egyptian people for various reasons. The face is relatively slender. (2018). The jungle cat (also known as a reed cat or swamp cat) is found across the Middle East, Asia, and southern China, and makes it into this list of African wild cats due to its occurrence in parts of Egypt. The African wildcat and jungle cat were the two major cats, which occurred, in ancient Egyptian culture. Retrieved on December 24, 2019, from, CFA. A statue of Bastet showing the appreciation given to cats in ancient Egypt. Don’t get into a race with an Egyptian Mau—it will … The cult of the cat Bubastis was by far the most popular animal cult in ancient Egypt. The first hybrids of the jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) may have been born in Egypt several thousand years ago. As the two species interbred over time, a new species evolved that was a close relative of the modern-day Egyptian Mau. Size and Appearance: Similar in build to the Serval, the Jungle cat has long legs and a slender body. It has a small tuft on the ears, a comparatively short tail, and a distinct spinal crest. HISTORY The Jungle Cat was tamed by ancient Egyptians to hunt wildfowl and has been featured in Egyptian art. Based on the evidence gathered, there were two breeds of felines that were found around Egypt during those times. Ancient Egyptian cats had a sacred status in because of the religious beliefs of Egyptian society. Cats of both these types began to be domesticated during the Pre-dynastic Period. African wildcats are an intelligent species and studies have suggested that they may, in fact, have domesticated themselves in places like Egypt[5]. The earliest representation of a cat or lion in Egyptian religion was the fur-midable Mafdet, a cat-like deity associated with justice and execution. Videos related to Amazing Egyptian Cat Breeds, Click to attach a photo related to your comment, https://www.tica.org/breeds/breed-of-the-week?view=article&id=304:abyssinian-breed&catid=79, https://www.tica.org/breeds/browse-all-breeds?view=article&id=834:chausie-breed&catid=79, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/8540/50651463, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/8541/50651884, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0139, http://cfa.org/breeds/breedscj/egyptianmau.aspx, http://cfa.org/Breeds/BreedsAB/Abyssinian/AbyssinianArticle.aspx, https://www.tica.org/breeds/browse-all-breeds?view=article&id=840:egyptian-mau-breed&catid=79, 8 Domestic Cat Breeds That Look Like Tigers, Types of German Shepherd - All Breed Variations, Orange Cat Breeds - Long Haired & Short Haired, TICA. (2016). If you want to read similar articles to Amazing Egyptian Cat Breeds, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category. Nile Valley Egyptian Cat. The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat. Ancient Egyptian cats enjoyed a sacred status in the religion of this country and cat deities existed even before the formation of the Kingdom itself in 3100 BC. Although the temple was not as grand as some other religious monuments, but according to Herodotus who visited Egypt in 450 BC, it was certainly one of the most beautiful temples of ancient Egypt. These are the Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). Broadly speaking, ancient Egyptian cats can be classified into two main types. These two types are jungle cat and African wild cat. However, in this AnimalWised article we are going to look at present-day Egyptian cat breeds, both domestic breeds and wild cat species. The Jungle Cat, (Felis chaus), is a successful and widespread wild cat. The Abyssinian. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. The distribution of jungle cat is largely oriental; it occurs in the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, central and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and in southern China. Most of these animals were cats, although there were other animals as well, such as dogs and foxes. The other cat native to Egypt is the swamp or jungle cat-(Felis chaus), but it is the wild cat which is believed to have been the cat to "domesticate the Egyptians." Abyssinian breed. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T8540A50651463. The last recorded sighting of Sand cats in Egypt was in the 1980s and, although there have been alleged sightings since, these have not been confirmed. Their legs are slender and long and occasionally retain faint horizontal strips from their younger age. The cult of the cat was very popular in ancient Egypt and their yearly festival was celebrated at the temple of Bastet. [4] Because of its long legs, short tail and tuft on the ears, the jungle cat resembles a small lynx. Broadly speaking, ancient Egyptian cats can be classified into two main types. This signified that cats were also domesticated outside of Egypt, and before its civilization even started. They are athletic, agile and known for being a very playful cat breed. The temple was considered one of the most beautiful temples in ancient Egypt. Egyptian Jungle Cat/Swamp Cat - Felis Rüppelii Prone to living in wetlands and forests, which are pretty rare in Egypt, these cats are mostly found in the Nile Delta region north of Cairo. Chausie breed. Gray, T. N. E., et al. Cats in Ancient Egypt. The Paleogenetics of Cat Dispersal in the Ancient World. Like the African wildcats and domestic cats, the Jungle Cat has been mummified and placed in tombs in Ancient Egypt. Retrieved on December 24, 2019, from. Copyright - 2007 - 2020 - Legends and Chronicles, Viking Funerals Buriels and the Afterlife, Medieval Chronicles - Medieval history, information and facts. The cat goddess Bastet was quite popular and the temple of Bastet was erected in her honour which housed thousands of cats. Trapping, snaring and poisoning have also caused population declines in many areas throughout their range. Fur colour varies with subspecies, yellowish-grey to reddish-brown or tawny-grey, and is ticked with black. 1. This cat is known as a predator-a hunter of small game-rather than a scavenger. The Jungle cat, also known as a swamp cat is a medium-sized cat occurring from the Middle East, to South and Southeast Asia and southern China. (2016). So far, the three breeds we have looked at are the only recognized domestic Egyptian cat breeds. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T8541A50651884. Ottoni, C., et al. All cat breeds could, therefore, be considered originally Egyptian. In ancient Egypt, there were two different primary breeds: one the fierce jungle cats, the other the more peaceful African wildcats. The noble appearance of this breed is similar to Ancient Egyptian statues, and, according to TICA, Abyssinians are one of the oldest cat breeds[1]. Chausie cats are active, intelligent, and independent in nature. As reeds and tall grasses are typical of its h… It is also found in Egypt, and throughout southwest Asia, southeast Asia and Central Asia, extending its range as far as the south of … They have a coat color that varies from sandy, greyish brown to tawny red with a slender body with underparts of cream and pale fur. Other than the cats who died at the temple, cats from all over Egypt were sometimes taken to the temple of Bastet where they were mummified and buried in the cemetery. DISTRIBUTION The Jungle Cat is widespread in Asia with the extreme edge of its range in north east Africa. Their fur is sandy-brown, reddish or gray, and is unpatterned except for some brown striping on the legs. The jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). A statue of Bastet showing the appreciation given to cats in ancient Egypt. The African wildcat is a small species, weighing around 7 kilos. Interestingly Mafdet probably translates as ‘runner’, and it’s possible she embodied a cheetah or jaguar. The mummified animal was then placed in a cemetery near the temple. It was a common tradition to mummify the cats when they died in this empire. Even tame cats, however, evidence signs of their wild ancestry, often hunting small prey. They are also very intelligent and make engaging and active companions. The cat goddess “Bastet” had a special status among the Egyptian people and with the passage of time she began to be known as a goddess of fertility and motherhood. Their head is narrow with a high domed forehead along with tall and rounded ears. A few mummified remains have been found in tombs. Chausies are similar in appearance to Jungle cats. Interestingly, while the cats of the rich people enjoyed special status, cats of the common people were also carefully mummified. It ranges from Egypt in the west to China in the east, and it is common in India. In Egypt the nickname for the Jungle Cat is 'Reed Cat', due to the fact that the Jungle Cat makes his habitat near reed beds and the wetlands of several … Not only is there artistic and fossil evidence for this, the Ancient Egyptians even worshiped a cat in the form of Bastet, the cat-headed goddess of healing and womanhood, protector of the home. The jungle cat is the largest remaining species of the wild cat genus Felis. Felis chaus chaus - Egypt and Middle East to Turkestan, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan and Afghanistan (riverine habitat). Although it is called a ‘Jungle’ cat, this adaptable species lives in wetlands, grasslands and shrubby forests in different parts of the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia including, of course, Egypt. Egyptian Jungle Cat. Making “a career of assas… They are elegant but highly athletic cats. They were popular because they kept away vermin, killed snakes and caused various other blessings for the people. Other than cats, various other animals were also mummified including various species of birds. The origins of the Abyssinian cat are still a mystery. They are the only domestic cat that has naturally occurring spots, giving them an exotic appearance. Jungle cat (Felis chaus). Although there are still debates around the subject, the most accepted hypothesis is that domestic cats evolved from Near Eastern and Egyptian populations of the African wildcat (Felis lybica). The goddess Bastet was the cat goddess which was originally a warlikeCat lioness but eventually became associated with domesticated cats. A grove of trees in the graveyard led the way to the interior which contained a large statue of Bastet. (2017). Cats were considered a symbol of grace and were useful for their helpful services such as the killing of snakes and controlling vermin. These were the Jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica).Both look remarkably similar, differing more in temperament. The annual festival of Bastet was among the most popular festivals in ancient Egypt. Interestingly, these cats are also known for a distinctive ‘M’ marking on their foreheads, sometimes called the “mark of the scarab”. Thousands of pilgrims came to the temple every year. They are currently listed as least concern in the IUCN Red List, but their populations are in sharp decline in countries like Egypt. Middle Eastern species of cats were domesticated in Egypt about 10,000 years ago and while various other animals were also considered sacred, cats had a special status among those animals. It can primarily be found in the swamps along the Nile River. Sliwa, A., et al. The Chausie is a large, statuesque, good natured domestic cat with the exotic looks and beauty of a Jungle Cat. Egyptian mau breed. The jaguar is quintessential in its grace, perseverance, beauty and strength. Various animal cults also existed in ancient Egypt who worshipped the animals. The jungle cat is native to a vast region spanning Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East (Sunquist, 2002). The Egyptian Mau is the most popular of all Egyptian cat breeds. We all know that cats were revered in Ancient Egyptian civilization. Cats had attained sacred status even before the formation of the Egyptian Kingdom and after that the status was institutionalised. Their mummified remains have been found in tombs throughout ancient Egypt. A habitat generalist, the jungle cat inhabits places with adequate water and dense vegetation, such as swamps, wetlands, littoral and riparianareas, grasslands and shrub. The History of ancient Egyptian cats can be traced back well into pre-historic times. This interesting feline jungle cat is found in other parts of Africa, but Felis chaus nilotica is the subspecies that lives in Egypt. Keep reading to learn more about these unique breeds from the ancient home of cats! Jungle Cats are widespread and common in some parts of their range, but in Egypt and many parts of Asia their populations are showing sharp declines. Linen sheets were used to wrap the dead cat and a procession was taken out for it. Felis chaus affinis - East Afghanistan, Indian subcontinent and Sri … The skeleton of a jungle cat discovered in an elite cemetery dated to c. 3700 B.C.E. The name ‘Mau’ comes from the Egyptian name for cat, which also sounds like the meowing sound cats make. Browse all the additions to Legends and Chronicles. The cult of the cat existed during the New Kingdom and a centre of worship was built for the cat goddess, Bastet. EGYPTIAN MAUS ARE FAST RUNNERS. There is only limited information about this elusive species, although it is known to occupy areas of Southwest and Central Asia as well as North Africa. With the passage of time, Bastet evolved into a more powerful deity which represented fertility and protection and was called Eye of Ra. Cats of both these types began to be domesticated during the Pre-dynastic Period. Due to their divine relevance, there was not only a cat goddess, but cats were also honoured upon death through mummification. Cats were domesticated in Egypt 5,700 years ago, according to recent study. Their hybrid heritage is also responsible for Chausies being among the largest cat breeds in the world. The breed gets its name from the Jungle Cat's scientific name, felis chaus. Several ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. However, they can be aloof and wary of strangers. The Egypt civilization is likely to have tried to domesticate one of two breeds of cats that were found around Egypt at the time. According to the DNA tests that have been carried out in the modern times, it is made clear that the cats belonged to a Wildcat subspecies of the Middle East and were domesticated around 10,000 BC. The Sand Dune cat or Sand cat (Felis margarita) is the only desert-dwelling cat. Despite its name, the jungle cat inhabits wetlands with dense vegetation rather than jungles, camouflaged by its uniformly sandy, spotless fur. Rich symbolism was associated with ancient Egyptian cats. In fact, the most difficult of Egypt's true wild cats is the Felis silvestris (Wild Cat), because it is so similar to a large domestic tabby-type feral cats. Ancient Egyptian cats enjoyed a sacred status because of their utility as domesticated animals against various pests, mice, and snakes. It has special adaptations such as fur on its feet that allow it to walk in the sand, and can withstand the extreme hot and cold temperatures characteristic of deserts. Jungle cats are medium-sized wild cats. They earned their status due to various reasons such as the killing of mice and various pests in addition to killing snakes. Cats have been a friend to man throughout antiquity, beginning with the Egyptian society. The Chausie is another Egyptian cat breed, although it is a hybrid cat and not recognized by associations such as the CFA. Facts about Egyptian Cats 10: the diet. The breed first appeared in Egypt, where Jungle cats and domestic cats appear to have a record of mating that goes back several centuries[2]. While the jungle cat is common, it shows greater density in natural wetlands than near human habitations, and … However, Leopards and Cheetahs are both extremely rare and perhaps even extinct in Egypt, while the Sand Cat, Wild Cat … The latter had a calmer temperament and so was more commonly domesticated than its wilder relative. 11- In Egypt we can distinguish two types: The jungle cat (Felis catus), also called reed cat or swamp cat and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). A selection of cat sculptures and mini figurines of Bastet. An adult Chausie can weigh as much as 25 pounds, although 10 to 15 pounds is a more common top weight. These two types are jungle cat and African wild cat. Similar looking spotted cats are depicted in Ancient Egyptian paintings and described in hieroglyphs, suggesting that the origins of the Mau go way back to when cats were first domesticated. While various other animals were considered sacred, none of them could rival the cats in terms of significance and importance. Sand cat (Felis margarita). (2018). Jungle cat. However, cat worship declined during the later period of ancient Egypt until the cult of Bastet was officially banned in 390 AD. This cult was devoted to ancient Egyptian cats and the cat goddess Bastet. iStock. Cats were associated with … During the later kingdoms, even temples for animals were erected where specific animals were raised. 2. The tails of jungle cats are relatively short encompassed with several blac… Many cats were housed in the temple and enjoyed a sacred status. It is 20 to 37 inches in body length (50 to 97 cm), with a 8 to 12 inch tail (20 to 31 cm). Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) SubspeciesUp to ten subspecies have been recognized in the past, however the last Felidae taxonomy revision in 2017 proposed three subspecies pending further research:. All these creatures threatened the grain stock of the Egyptian people and thus cats saved the people from hunger and starvation. People belonging to this cult travelled long distances every year for a pilgrimage to the Bubastis. If you want to know more about the evolution of the domestic cat, and its relation to cats in Ancient Egypt, take a look at our article on the history and evolution of cats. The tomb discovered at the temple of Bastet in 1888 had over nineteen tons of animal mummies and remains. Retrieved on December 24, 2019, from, TICA. More about the Jungle Cat range, habitat and subspecies. Chausies are similar in appearance to Jungle cats. There were two main breeds of cat native to Ancient Egypt. Mafdet was followed by Sekhmet, meaning strength and ferocity, a lion-headed goddess. However, there are also incredible wild cat species found in Egypt, such as the following: The Jungle cat (Felis chaus) is, as we have said, a wild cat species from which the Chausie has been bred. Wild cats range from lions, which often symbolize power, to swift leopards and cougars; the most unusual, however, is the South American jaguar, or jungle cat. Jungle cats were worshipped as guardians of the underworld by the ancient Egyptians. The temple was surrounded by a canal which gave it the look of an island. IUCN Status: Least Concern. Egyptian Maus built special bonds with their owners, making very loyal companions. For the most part, it is an Asian species of wild cat that lives by rivers and lakes. It inhabits foremost wetlands like swamps, littoral and riparian areas with dense vegetation. The breed first appeared in Egypt, where Jungle cats and domestic cats appear to have a record of mating that goes back several centuries. The two species eventually merged creating a new breed which was closely related to the modern Egyptian Mau. In fact, the Mau has been recorded as the fastest domestic cat breed, thanks to a pocket of fur behind their legs which allows them to take longer strides. The breed was developed to its current standards in the UK. Cats symbolically represented the guardian of the underworld. Both had smaller body sizes. They are particularly recognizable by the small tufts of their ears. Like the Abyssinian, these cats resemble cougars, although they are actually a hybrid between Jungle cats (Felis chaus) and domestic cats. The current population of the species is difficult to assess, although the IUCN lists their status as least concern as of 2016[4]. The Chausie is a big, athletic cat with tufted ears, high cheekbones, long legs, and a deep chest. Jungle cats have sandy brown fur, and are the largest of the Felis or wild cat species. Jungle cats are typically diurnal hunting thought the day. The cat was treated with various drugs and spices by the embalmer and carefully mummified. Mummified remains of what appear to be cats have been found in Egypt, suggesting that they may have been among the first to be domesticated by Ancient Egyptians. Hunting and trade of Jungle cats is prohibited in several countries under the CITES agreement[3]. The jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). The two species eventually merged creating a new breed which was closely related to the modern Egyptian Mau. Animal worship had existed since the prehistoric times and gods were usually embodied in the form of animals that represented their specific abilities. My sighting of a jungle cat also happened during the day in Kanha Tiger Reserve in India. Retrieved from, TICA. Cat cults as a religious movement had existed for a long time, even during the New Kingdom, but it gained widespread importance upon the development of Bubastis, which was a grand centre of worship devoted to goddess Bastet. Vertical bars are visible on the fur of kittens, which disappear in adult … The status of animals, other than cats, was important in ancient Egyptian religion. This is where it is believed that the first specimens of the breed were brought to Britain from. The jungle cat is the largest of the living Felis species. Like the Abyssinian, these cats resemble cougars, although they are actually a hybrid between Jungle cats (Felis chaus) and domestic cats. Recent research has suggested that they may in fact have originated in South Asia, but their likeness to Egyptian cats and the possibility of different crosses has left the discussion open to debate. The latter had a calmer temperament and so was more commonly domesticated than its wilder relative. Egyptian Maus come in silver-grey, smoke or brown shades, with clear spots on the body and stripes on the tail and extremities. The cats were mummified after death and were buried in the cemetery of the temple. So, for instance, the god Thoth was associated with the Baboon, and Taurt had the head of a hippopotamus and the claws of a lion. As time went on and the two species merged, as well as both cats became accustomed to softer, human food, the species grew to become sleeker, less muscled, and much more tolerant. The name Abyssinian comes from the name for Ethiopia under British rule, Abyssinia. Facts about Egyptian Cats 9: the types of cats. It has short yellow, ash or sandy fur, with dark stripes from the back to the tail. The jungle cat (Felis chaus), also called reed cat and swamp cat, is a medium-sized cat native to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia and southern China. Retrieved from. A bronze cat sculpture even shows the cat adorned with it’s own jewelery. 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