Pakhet Cat Cemetery
Animal Mummy
Biographical Information
Clas Unknown
Species feline
Sex both
Length varied
Culture Unknown
Current Location
Catalog # Unknown
In 1888, near the rock-cut temple dedicated to the lion goddess Pakhet in Beni Hasan, Egypt, a massive cat cemetery was unearthed.

British researcher W. M Conway recorded: "...dozens, hundreds, hundreds of thousands, a layer of them...ten to twenty cats deep, mummy squeezed against mummy.... The surface sand was stripped off and the cats laid bare. All sorts and conditions of them appeared–the commoner sort caked together in black lumps, out of which here a grinning face, there a furry paw, there a backbone or row of ribs of some ancient puss.... The better cats and kittens appeared in astonishing numbers, with all their wrappings as fresh as if they had been put into the ground a week, and not 30 centuries, before. Now and again an elaborately plaited mummy turned up; still more rarely one with a gilded face...The path became strewn with mummy cloth and bits of cats’ skulls and bones and fur in horrid profusion, and the wind blew the fragments about and carried the stink afar. *(Tabor, 1991)


Little merit was seen in cat mummies at the time, dozens were taken by local children and sold to the tourist trade, thousands of the 2 to 300,000 mummified cats weighing 20 tons were stripped of their wrappings, which were made into paper, and sent to be used for fertilizer in Britain at 4 pounds a ton.

It is possible one of the cat mummies from Beni Hasan ended up in either the British Museum or London’s Natural History Museum.

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