Cats were commonly mummified in Ancient Egypt because that culture believed that cats were special pets of the gods, and showing up to the Egyptian pearly gates with a cat spirit at your side made the gods take kindly to you. Other cherished animals of the gods (and thus commonly mummified as sacrifices or as companion animals for the elite classes) were baboons, hawks, and, strangely, small insects (such as the praying mantis).
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