Ancient Egyptian Pets

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Tutankhamun

Most Ancient Egyptians loved having pets.  Some of the pets included cats, monkeys, birds, dogs, ferrets, lions, tigers, cheetahs and more.

Job of Animals

There were many animals in Ancient Egypt and many of them were kept as pets and many of them were used for work.

Some of the jobs that the animals had were food, farming, transportation and used for cooking such as their fat for oil and their body for meat.

Different Animals

There were many different animals that were brought into Egypt that normally wouldn’t be there.  When the Ancient Egyptians would write and use hieroglyphics, they would include animals that most people would never see.

Some of the animals were cows, deer, antelope, cheetahs and lions.  Some of these animals were kept as pets, especially in the homes of people that were very rich and wealthy.

Domesticated Animals

Some of the animals such as pigs, goats, sheep, geese and more were used to give people food.  The Ancient Egyptians would raise them and kill them so that they could eat them and use their skin, fat and horns for other things.

Most historians believe that the Ancient Egyptians would eat almost all animals but that they did not eat any type of pork.

In Ancient Egypt, many of the people tried to domesticate animals such as hyenas and gazelles but they failed because they were not able to train them.

Chickens were another animal that was domesticated but this was only found in Ancient Egypt during the New Kingdom and was not found in all places.

Animal Dung

Even though parts of the animals were used as food, even the dung of the animals were used in some useful way such as for fertilizer.  The skin of the goat was used to allow people to float and to hold water.

Cattle

There were many cattle found in Ancient Egypt including oxen.  Some of these cattle were wild and some had horns while others did not.

One kind of cattle was called the Zebu, and this was also found in the New Kingdom.

Most of the cattle were used to work in farms but others were used for ceremonies.  Cattle was considered a popular thing to have and if you had one in Ancient Egypt, chances are you were very wealthy.

Horses

After the 13th Dynasty, some Ancient Egyptians had horses.  Horses were a very valued possession and they were expensive to own so only the rich people had them.

Horses were not usually used to ride on, but they were used to pull the chariots.  The horses were used to transport people and things from one place to the other.

Sometimes, the Ancient Egyptians would choose to purchase a mule over a horse because they could carry a lot of weight and were not as expensive to buy as horses.

Another animal that the Ancient Egyptians owned were camels.  Camels were important because they could walk long ways and they did not need a lot of water if the Egyptians were going on a journey.

House Pets

One of the most famous animals that the Ancient Egyptians owned was the cat.  The cat was considered a favorite pet because they were considered to bring good luck and protection to the people.

Cats were so popular and loved that it was illegal for Egyptians to kill them and if one did, they would most likely be put to death.

Most Ancient Egyptians thought that the cat was like a god, but they did not worship them.  Egyptians would put cat statues or pictures in their loved one’s tombs to bring them good luck.

Dogs were found in Ancient Egypt but most of the dogs were used to protect the people.  They would guard the house and guard the family.

People that were rich would sometimes have lions or cheetahs that lived in their homes.  People that were not as wealthy would own monkeys and birds or ferrets that they would keep for pets.

Wild Animals

Some of the wild animals were hippos, jackals, crocodiles and more.  There were many different wild animals because of where Egypt was located close to the water.

More Facts About Ancient Egyptian Pets:

  • There were many different types of birds and fish found in Ancient Egypt.
  • Animals were important to the gods of Ancient Egypt and some of the gods were shown as different kinds of animals.
  • The gods that had the heads of animals were usually powerful and there were many statues found in Egypt to show off these gods.
  • Some tombs in Ancient Egypt have animals in them such as bulls and birds to give the dead power in the afterlife.
  • If an Egyptian killed an animal, all the parts of the animal would be used for something.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What types of animals were there in Ancient Egypt?  There were many different types of animals such as cows, camels, bulls, fish, birds, cheetahs, tigers, lions, crocodiles and more.
  2. What was one of the most important house pets that the Ancient Egyptians had? One of the most important house pets that the Ancient Egyptians had were cats.
  3. Why were cats so important? Cats were so important because they were considered to be god-like, and they were considered to be good luck.
  4. What animals did some wealthy Ancient Egyptians have? Some wealthy Egyptians had horses, cheetahs, lions and tigers.
  5. What were animals used for in Ancient Egypt? Some animals were used for jobs and some were used for pets.