Is there a Greek god of cats?

Answered by Michael Wilson

In ancient Greek religion, there was a goddess associated with cats. This goddess was known as Ailuros, which translates to “cat” in Koinē Greek. However, it is important to note that the worship of cats in ancient Greece was not as prominent or widespread as it was in ancient Egypt.

The most well-known Egyptian goddess associated with cats is Bastet, who was later adopted by the Greeks as well. In ancient Egypt, Bastet was primarily worshipped in the city of Bubastis in Lower Egypt. Initially, she was depicted as a lioness goddess, sharing this role with other deities such as Sekhmet. However, over time, Bastet’s image shifted to that of a domesticated cat.

Bastet was revered as a protective goddess, associated with fertility, motherhood, and the home. Cats were highly regarded as sacred animals in ancient Egyptian society, and Bastet was believed to embody their qualities. Cats were seen as guardians against evil spirits and were often kept as pets in households. They were even mummified and buried with their owners to ensure their protection in the afterlife.

The Greeks, who were known for assimilating and adopting gods from various cultures, incorporated Bastet into their own pantheon. The Greek version of Bastet was similar in many aspects but was often referred to as Ailuros or simply the “cat goddess.”

However, it is important to note that the worship of Ailuros or Bastet was not as prevalent in Greece as it was in Egypt. The Greeks had their own pantheon of gods and goddesses, and while they may have recognized the existence of a cat goddess, she did not hold the same level of importance or have dedicated temples and cults like other Greek deities.

While there was a goddess associated with cats in ancient Greek religion, she was primarily a borrowed deity from Egyptian mythology. The worship of cats and the cat goddess was more prominent and significant in ancient Egypt than it was in ancient Greece.