Cats: If you guessed cats were the most popular pet in ancient Egypt, you would be wrong. There were many cats. In fact, every family had a cat. But cats were special! They were magical. The ancient Egyptians believed cats watched over their children and their homes. So cats were not considered pets. They were considered guardians (although they were treated like beloved pets, well fed, hugged and petted.) But cats were not given names.
Pets: The most popular pet in ancient Egypt was probably a dog. Unlike cats, dogs were given names. Other popular pets were monkeys and baboons. There was a fad for a while to keep crocodiles as pets, but crocodiles were not very friendly, and the fad did not last very long.
Monkeys: Some ancient Egyptians tried to teach their pet tricks. The kids loved to teach monkeys to toss down fruit. But monkeys are thieves. They might toss down fruit, but they were just as likely to steal it back again.
Sacred Animals: There were many sacred animals in ancient Egypt besides cats. Falcons, or hawks, were sacred, as were scarab beetles.
Farming Animals: Animals were very important to Egyptian farmers. They kept goats, pigs, ducks, cows, geese, and cattle. Donkeys were used to help in the fields. They also had bulls and cows, which provided milk, meat, and hides.
Wild Animals: There were many wild animals in ancient Egypt, some of whom were very dangerous like hippos, snakes, jackals, and lions. There were antelope and gazelles. There were also many fish and birds and bugs!
Horses: Horses were status symbols. They arrived from Asia, as trade goods, around 1650 BCE, about at the same time as chariots. Horses were used for hunting, warfare, ceremonials parades, and to pull chariots. Only the rich could afford a horse.