The ancient Egyptians were respectful towards the animals that shared their world and associated many of them with deities or positive human characteristics.
However, no animal was held in such esteem as the cat.
There were two main breeds of cat native to Ancient Egypt. The jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). The latter had a calmer temperament and so was more commonly domesticated than its wilder relative. The two species eventually merged creating a new breed which was closely related to the modern Egyptian Mau. As the cat was domesticated, further changes in temperament and appearance became apparent.
From the New Kingdom cats often appear in tomb paintings along with their human families. One of the most common representations depicts the cat sitting under or beside the chair of the mistress of the house offering her protection and friendship.
Cats had always been popular and were associated with some very powerful goddesses. And one of them was Bastet.