A cat has always been considered, across all cultures, a sacred or magical animal. This is both for its physical characteristics (the cat is an incredible neuro-muscular machine with movements of refined elegance) and for its characterological aspects.
In various cultures, the cat is synonymous with freedom, autonomy, intelligence, prosperity, health, joy, luck, and with undoubted thaumaturgical powers. The cat has always symbolized women, femininity, love, fertility, passion. Let’s not forget the parallel between the bright eyes of the cat and the night sky, the moon, the lights of the stars, and constellations.
Precisely for these reasons, cats have been attributed to some goddesses in order to protect and safeguard the health and prosperity of our magical animal.
5 Poweful Deities That are Associated with Cats
In ancient Egypt, Bastet represented the sacred cat, a cat able to charm and seduce. She is simultaneously peaceful and terrible: like all felines, she was maternal and dangerous, sweet and cruel.
The sweet caring loving version of this goddess is Bastet while the destructive and negative part of her was considered to be Sekhmet, even though some consider them to be two separated deities. Keep in mind that in ancient Egypt the cult of Bastet was spread widely; there was no house nor temple without a cat in it.
And when one cat died, the owner used to shave his eyebrows as a sign of mourning for his cat and to honor Bastes, the sacred cat goddess.
Buddhism, in addition to importing cats as “rat-eating” animals and as pets, also brought various legends and superstitions related to this animal to Japan. When Buddha died, all the animals gathered around him and cried, with the exception of the poisonous snake and the cat. Some say that the cat already knew of Buddha’s immortality, so in his wisdom, it would not make sense to cry. Others say that the cat stayed on the sidelines because he had an evil soul.
In any case, over the centuries, many legends about cats have been handed down in Japan, some spoke of their wickedness and their ability to change shape, others of their supernatural abilities, others of their intelligence and wisdom. Kashas were initially seen as Oni or “hellish” messengers tasked with carrying the corpses of people who have been evil alive into the darkness, using their fiery chariots to do so.
Over time their features have changed, becoming a particular version of bakeneko that shows its true essence during funeral rites, when it steals corpses to eat them or transform them into puppets. Once a kasha has taken a corpse with it, the corpse is impossible to retrieve, in many areas of Japan some techniques have been devised to prevent its appearance or to deceive it.
Both Bastet and Sekhmet are daughters of Ra, the sun god, and constitute one of the “Eyes of Ra” as this double deity was sent by Ra himself to eliminate the enemies of Egypt and its gods. A legend has it that Ra, disappointed by humanity’s improper behavior, sent Hathor to punish men. The latter took on the terrible form of Sekhmet, who began to wreak havoc on everything that stood in front of her.
Later, Ra, made more indulgent by the other gods, tried in vain to recall the furious goddess, until he devised a strategy: the sun god had a liquid prepared with beer and red ocher, so that it was similar to blood, and poured it on the ground. As soon as he saw the red liquid, Sekhmet drank it until he got drunk and fell asleep.
Sleep calmed the anger of the goddess, who when she awoke took the form of Bastet and stopped raging against mankind. A variant of the myth states that Sekhmet became Bastet after bathing in the Nile and that she later returned to Par Bastet, the homonymous center of worship of the goddess.
Bastet, therefore, represents in Egyptian mythology the essence of woman and femininity, which can be the emblem of love, sensuality, pleasure, but also of independence and mystery.
Even if the Greeks did not like the cat, they considered him, due to his shrewd nature and his skills as a cunning hunter. He was one of the sons of the goddess Artemis, goddess of the hunt.
According to legend, the goddess created the cat during a trial with her brother Apollo, god of the sun, who enjoyed proposing the most difficult tests to his sister. The goddess was very fond of competing with animals to affirm her courage and strength, so she did not give in to the difficult tests proposed to her.
One day, Apollo, with the intent to frighten her, gave life to the lion, but the goddess was not frightened. In response, she created the cat, a small beast similar to the king of the forest with graceful features, which contained within itself gifts of intelligence, courage, and regal indifference. The sun god laughed at the parody of his creation, thus putting an end to the fraternal challenge.
Freyja is considered the goddess of sexual love, beauty, gold, seduction, fertility, Seiὄr, war, death, and prophetic virtues. According to legend, Freyja traveled disguised as a cat. She is important for land, family, and animal care, but also love and fertility. She is highly associated with dogs, cats, and wild boars.
However, she has a special connection with cats: when she went to the sacred council in Asgard, the goddess rode on a sparkling chariot. Her chariot was pulled by a couple of cats, animals whose fierceness and intolerance towards any bond; the pair of felines symbolized Freya’s amorous restlessness, her being faithful only and exclusively to the flow of passions and desires.
These are the main deities associated with cats! If one of them makes you feel in tune with the energy and you feel a deep connection with them, you can try to establish a connection with them and explore their magical powers from a unique perspective.