Egyptian Museum, Cairo. 550 B.C. Cats were sacred to Bastet, a sun goddess who represents the warm, life giving power of the sun. She was known as the goddess of joy and protector of women. She is usually represented as a lion or cat-headed figure. Hundreds of figures were set up as votive offerings in the temple of Bastet at Bubastis in order that the donor might share in the Goddess's grace. The ancient Egyptians held cats in the highest esteem and the penalties for injuring or killing a cat were very severe. This museum reproduction of the Egyptian Bastet measures 14"H (36 cm) and is made of bonded stone.