Gods and Goddesses

Cat Goddesses & Male Cat Gods + How to Honor Them

Gods and Goddesses of the ancient world held a connection with certain animals. This is because our ancestors’ beliefs were animistic – they believed everything on earth had consciousness and a soul. Wildlife was sacred to our ancestors. The cat was held in high regard by many ancient civilizations, namely ancient Egypt. We see the cat appearing in dozens of European folk tales, being particularly linked to witches as their familiars. Learn more about cat goddesses and male cat gods from various cultures below.

Greek and Roman Cat Goddesses

The Greek goddesses Artemis and Athena both have connections to cats. The Greeks saw the Egyptian cat goddess Bast alive in their Greek goddess of the forest – Artemis. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, is mostly depicted with owls and snakes; however, Athena aids Heracles in slaying a monstrous lion. Also, the sphinx makes an appearance on Athena’s headdress in an ancient sculpture of her that once stood in the Parthenon. Circe, the Greek goddess of transformation and sorcery, has a prison of men whom she’s turned into pigs and lions. The Roman goddesses Diana and Juno have close ties to big cats, as well. Cybele, one of the most ancient Greek goddesses, rules over large cats like the lion and tiger.

Ancient Egyptian Cat Goddesses

Bast is probably the most well-known of all ancient cat goddesses. She hails from ancient Egypt and was depicted as a black cat or as a woman with the head of a cat. Her cult center was at the ancient city of Bubastis. While Bast presided over light-hearted revelry and motherhood in Lower Egypt, her counterpart was Sekhmet, a fierce cat goddess from Upper Egypt. Bast was once a warrior goddess, too. In later years, her demeanor softened and Sekhmet came to be the feared lioness among the two cat goddesses.

Ancient Semitic Cat Goddesses

Asherah was an ancient Semitic goddess who is even mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. She was also known as Qadesh, depending on time and region, and is sometimes depicted standing on the back of a lion. Other than this depiction, Asherah’s link to cats isn’t well documented though she has been called the Lion Lady. This reflects the ancient belief in the “Lady of Beasts”, a prehistoric concept of primitive woman as ruling the animal kingdom. In the Queen of the Night Relief, some scholars say the goddess is Erishkegal while others claim it is Lilith. Whomever the ancient goddess is, she has a clear connection to cats as she is flanked by two lions. 

Hindu Cat Goddesses

The Hindu pantheon began in ancient times and is still a part of Indian culture today. Two of the most sacred Hindu goddess are Durga and Parvati, both of whom share a connection with large cats. Durga, the feminine representation of the positive divine energy in the universe, rides a lion into battle. Sometimes she’s shown riding on the back of a tiger, though some sources say this is incorrect. Shiva’s wife is Parvati, the goddess of beauty and love, whose mount is also a lion.

Two Cats to Be Revered

Freya is the Norse Goddess of lust, love and beauty. On the opposite side, she is also the goddess of death and war. Similar to a cat, she is seductive and playful but takes an alternate, aggressive approach to those who wrong her. She is a cat goddess because she is often illustrated as riding in a chariot drawn by cats. Yaoji is a Chinese mountain goddess, also known as the Jade Lady, who is often featured in artwork with a beautiful tiger. These two cat goddesses were revered in their own way in two very different cultures.

List of Cat Goddesses Names including Bast, Erishkegal, and Yaoji

Bes: Egyptian God of Protection

Household gods were common in ancient times, and Egypt had its own – Bes. Bes was a fierce protector of the people. He particularly loved families and children and was strong enough to fight off lions with his bare hands. In the New Kingdom, Bes’ appearance changed and he often wore leopard skin. Of the ancient male cat gods, he was the smallest in stature – a “dwarf god” in nature. But powerful, nonetheless. 

Asian Male Cat Gods

In Asia, there are many male cat gods because of the prevalence of large cats like the tiger and leopard. Manjushri is a Buddhist deity whose name and qualities vary depending on the region. In Indonesia, he is seen wearing a necklace made of tiger’s teeth. The tiger may have once been Manjushri’s ally or mount. In Hindu religion, Shiva sits upon a tiger or tiger’s skin. He is also seen wearing tiger’s skin. As Shiva is the god of destruction, the link between Shiva and the predatory tiger is evident.

Mesopotamian Cat Gods

The Mesopotamia had its share of male cat gods, surprisingly enough. Dionysus, the Greek God of wine and revelry, rode a leopard or wore leopard skin. He was seen riding in a chariot drawn by panthers or cheetahs. In some places, Dionysus was linked to the lion. Cats are seductive and playful creatures, so its no wonder Dionysus was associated with them. In the old Babylonian Empire, Nergal was a god of the sun who was also a lion. His cult is mentioned in the Bible. As a god of war, Nergal’s lion-form was feared and worshiped. 

The Aztec Jaguar God

Tezcatlipoca was the Aztec god of change, the sky, and ancestral inheritance. In his jaguar-form, Tezcatlipoca becomes the deity Tepeyollotl and rules over the dark, animals, caves, and earthquakes. Tepeyolltl is the heart of Tezcatlipoca, and as a part of creation, his jaguar spots represent the stars.

How to Honor Cat Goddesses & Male Cat Gods

Because cat goddesses and male cat gods are special deities, they should be treated with special care and attention. If you work with Bast, keep a cat statue on your altar and offer bowls of catnip to her. Any cat goddess would appreciate catnip as an offering. Brew it as a tea and drink it in Freya’s honor. If you are working with fierce male cat gods associated with jaguars or panthers, meat of some kind is a sufficient offering. Large cats are predators, after all. If you have the space and desire, adopting a cat from the shelter is the highest form of flattery to the cat goddesses and male cat gods. 

Learn the cat goddesses names and male cat gods.

8 Comments

  1. 93 Divine Goddess Cat Names - Purrfect for All-Powerful Pussycats

    May 24, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    […] Who better to name your cat after than a goddess who famously loves felines? […]

  2. Zachary

    April 3, 2020 at 3:42 am

    It is always interesting to see how people across the globe can worship deities so similar to one another, however does no one else find it bizarre how mesoamerican societies worshiped and included cats in all sorts of rituals, despite being in the “new world” and having no contact with the “old world” yet? Obviously everyone worships the sun and all, but why cats? It’s not like you have several societies worshiping dogs, horses or birds. Despite this, people in Africa, Europe and Mesoamerica all held cats in revered positions.

    1. Rsynne

      November 4, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      I’ve studied cat mythology for years and my conclusion may sound crazy but it will make since. Many dieties at one time are connected to cats. One is the Egyptian God Ra. He was also known as the Great Mau who slew the serpent Apep and nightly as Ras barge sailed threw the sky. Another myth says that humans were created from Ras semen. Another says humans were created by the tears Ra she’d when his Eye, Tefnut (Lion Goddess of moisture and rain) left and traveled far away.bRas children were also felines at on time. That includes Geb and Nut, the earth and sky. So here is my theory, the Ancients worshipped feline dieties because we were created by Cat beings that people now refer to as the Lyrans.

    2. Fyn Shadowpaw

      July 16, 2021 at 9:01 pm

      Actually, there are many gods that people worshipped that were, or were connected to more than just cats. In norse mythology there is Angrboda, Hel, Fenrir, Loki, Odin, Hati and Skol, Geri and Freki, All of which are, or are related to wolves. In Egyptian ALL of their gods were anthropomorphized animals, with only a handful being specifically cats. In fact if I had to classify an animal as the most spiritually connected to humanity it would be the wolf/canine or the snake. The animals associated with, or in some cases the animals that the gods were, are evolution from the original human religion, animism. Also yes I could point this simple fact out in Egyptian, Babylonian,native American, Celtic and Asian spirituality. but frankly not trying to write an essay here. I would encourage everyone to research study and learn. Also as a side note I would like to point out that cats served a very important function in ancient societies and being a preventive measure against disease. This is a major reason why western Europe was ravaged by the black plague. The idiots killed off so many cats due to fear of witches. and nature bit them right in the ass.

  3. Magical Cats: Ancient History, Folklore, & Cats As the Witch's Familiar

    January 9, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    […] Multiple ancient cultures associated cats with their deities including the Egyptians, Persians, Indians, Norse, and more. Probably the first cat goddess that comes to mind for most people is Bast (Bastet), the Egyptian cat goddess of the home, women, children and pleasure. But there were many others. Sekhmet preceded Bast in ancient Egypt and is believed to be Bast’s ancient lioness form. Freya, Norse goddess of fertility and the home, rode in a chariot pulled by two cats. To the ancient Greeks, Athena, Artemis and Circe were just a few goddesses with connections to cats. In India, Durga and Parvati are linked to cats and in ancient Israel Asherah or Qadesh. Read more about ancient cat goddesses and gods here. […]

    1. Jessica Hicks

      February 2, 2020 at 10:28 pm

      I am new to the witchcraft practice & have a lot more research to do. I consider myself to be interested in many different paths, so I have no yet decided a path just yet. Maybe I don’t have to decide and can just do whatever my heart leads me to do. I am interested in finding my goddesses, gods or both. How do I know if one is “calling” me or trying to reach out to me first? I know people say I can ask to work with certain ones, but they may not choose to work with me; at that time anyway. I love cats and have always felt a connection with felines. I have 4 kitty, fur babies, & a stray cat showed up at my door step about a month ago, so I also have her as well even though she stays outside. Does anyone think one of that cat gods or goddesses would be the ones I should try to work with? ANY & ALL opinions, advice, or information would be great. E-mail me at jphd1001@yahoo.com or jesspaige027@gmail.com or if you have tiktok add me, @littlejess27.

  4. Laryzsa

    May 1, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Thankyou!!!!

    As therian to honour feline gods was my priority in paganism, but I couldn´t find too much until now :3

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