If you’ve been on the internet lately, you’ve probably noticed people kind of like cats.
This is hardly news; we’ve always liked having furry friends around the house.
But having close relationships with cats, to the point where you almost like them more than people, used to be thought of as sad.
Remember the crazy cat lady stereotype?
It seems that millennials have turned this idea on its head, choosing instead to proudly stay home and knit etsy empires with their feline friends close by.
With the cult success of CATS the movie musical, and new housecat videos going viral every day, these furry friends don’t seem to be dipping in popularity anytime soon.
We aren’t the first generation to put our pets on a pedestal, far from it!
From around 1070-712 BC, Egyptians worshiped a cat goddess named Bastet.
Bastet would sometimes be depicted as having a woman’s body with a cat’s head.
Other times, she would look like a regular black house cat decorated with ornate jewels.
It is not surprising then, that Bastet tattoos have become so popular.
Cats are having a moment right now, and what better way to pay tribute to your favorite animal than to acknowledge their regal history?
But who is Bastet? And why are Bastet tattoos so popular?
And what’s so special about cats anyway? Let’s explore.
Why Did the Ancient Egyptians Worship Cats?
Before we can understand Bastet and Bastet tattoos, we need to understand how cats became little pouncing deities in the first place.
There are a few reasons Egyptians may have been fascinated by these magnificent little creatures.
Cats have never been fully domesticated as a species.
Though they are small, they are hunters, and darn good ones at that!
In Egypt, having a cat was a person’s best defense against bugs and vermin.
At any point, a person was in danger of being stung by a Scorpion, or having their food spoiled because a disease carrying rat got into it.
Cats love chasing down anything small with skittering motions, so they were quite literally a god send to the people they protected.
Cats were also one of the only creatures able to scare off deadly snakes- a constant threat.
Not only are snakes deadly and terrifying- they had close associations with Apophis, a devilish character in Egyptian mythology.
While the sun god Ra rode his fiery barge through the sky marking day from night, Apophis the serpent was said to be close behind, trying to sabotage the sunrise.
Have you ever been stared down by a cat?
Thanks to their luminous eyes, cats can have a superior look about them.
A cat has an independent streak and, while your cat may love you, they never seem to respect you.
This cool, aloof quality makes cats seem like they know something we don’t know.
That, and their tendency to stare at empty corners with a spooky look on their face!
Associations with the Sun God
Ra, the Egyptian sun god, is associated with lions.
Lions have golden manes and love to bathe in the sun’s rays.
They are a natural symbol for all things fiery- including Ra.
Who is Bastet?
Bastet is a cat goddess closely associated with Sekhmet, Ra’s daughter.
Sekhmet is depicted as a lion goddess, with the head of a lion and the body of a woman.
Some say Bastet and Sekhmet are the same, and Sekhmet slowly evolved from a lion goddess to a cat goddess over time.
Others say the two are sisters.
Sekhmet is the fiercer of the two, with fire breathing abilities and a vengeful spirit.
Bastet is an equally as revered but ultimately cuddlier goddess.
She was still a defender of Ra, and said to have slept next to the god as his protector.
She also rode with him on his barge.
What does a Bastet Tattoo Symbolize?
A person may get a Bastet tattoo for the same reasons someone in Egypt may have placed a Bastet statue in their home, or let their cat eat off their plate as a sign of reverence to Bastet.
Bastet symbolizes protection of the home and family.
As time went on and Bastet became a gentler, more domestic deity, she also came to represent fertility.
There are no rules when it comes to a Bastet tattoo design.
There is no specific style attached to a Bastet tattoo, though many people choose to get them in an Egyptian art style.
Some Bastet tattoos closely resemble the art and statues from Bastet’s time period, while others have a more modern look.
Some people choose to add other Egyptian elements to their design, like wings.
There are those who will choose to immortalize their own house cat, adorned with Bastet’s regal jewelry.
A fun way to immortalize a furry friend!
If you aren’t of Egyptian descent and want to consider something closer to home, keep in mind that Egyptians weren’t the only culture to worship cats.
Regal cats also show up in Greek, Norse, Polish, and Chinese history.
Anubis & Bastet Tattoos
Eye of Horus & Bastet Tattoos
Bastet Tattoo Designs
Black-work Bastet Tattoos
Dot-work Bastet Tattoos
Neo-traditional Bastet Tattoos
Graphic Bastet Tattoos
New School Bastet Tattoos
Stick & Poke Bastet Tattoos
Woodcut Bastet Tattoos
Watercolor Bastet Tattoos
Sketchy Bastet Tattoos
Illustrative Bastet Tattoos
Fine Line Bastet Tattoos
Bastet Tattoo Ideas
Love cats, but not sure if you’re ready to go under the needle for one?
Check out our Bastet tattoo gallery for some inspired designs!
Small Bastet Tattoos
Simple Bastet Tattoos
Ornamental Bastet Tattoos
Black & Grey Bastet Tattoos
Bastet Sleeve Tattoos