Role: Goddess of cats, women, and secrets
Appearance: Cat or cat-headed woman
Sacred animal: Cat
Center of Worship: Bubastis
Relations with other gods: Ptah (husband), Atum and Re (both have been said to be her father), Nefertem (son)
As the daughter of Re, Bastet is affiliated with the warmth and power of the sun. She was a protector of women and the home. Bastet also was the patron god of cats, and to hurt one of these sacred animals was a huge no-no! Cats were treated with the same care and respect that many pet lovers do today... sometimes even more so: they wore jewelry and were allowed to eat from the same plate as their owners! Even stray cats were fed milk-soaked bread and fish. Their love for cats was so deep that the Egyptians would save the cats from a burning building before even attempting to put the fire out. And when a pet cat died, ancient Egyptians would shave off their eyebrows as a gesture of grief.
There is one story of how a Persian army took advantage of the Egyptians' devotion to the cat. They were attacking an Egyptian fort when one of the Persians came up with the idea of throwing live cats over the walls. The Egyptians surrendered the fort. They didn't want to risk the wrath of Bastet if any of her sacred cats had been injured... after all, Bastet also had a wild savage side. She was believed to be sent by Ra to punish sinners and the enemies of Egypt.
Although she was worshiped all over Egypt, the center of her cult was in Bubastis in Lower Egypt, where a huge burial site of cat mummies has been found.