By TIME Video
October 29, 2015

It may be International Cat Day, but there’s more to our beloved felines than viral videos and allergies. Cats have a rich history as part of human culture dating back thousands of years to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians were the original cat breeders, bringing them into their homes because they helped control the vermin. Pharaohs highly respected their feline companions, who were also used as religious symbols for grace, poise, wisdom, strength, and fertility.

Cats are featured in ancient hieroglyphics and Egyptian structures. They are part of the anatomy of several ancient goddesses, including the goddesses Bastet and Sekhmet.

Watch the video above to learn more about the origins of your average house cat.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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