Ancient Egypt, 26th Dynasty
Brown limestone seated cat (Bastet), with a smaller cat seated in the front, on a base with hieroglyphs.
The earliest Egyptian depiction of the cat took the form of three hieroglyph symbols, each representing seated cats. These formed part of the phrase ‘Lord of the City of Cats’ inscribed on a stone block from El-Lisht that may date as early as the reign of Pepy II, 2278-2184 BC. The Egyptian word for cat was the onomatopoeic term miw.