Bastet, Bast, or bꜣstt was worshiped in ancient Egypt as early as 3,000 BCE. She was a goddess associated with women, health, the moon, and secrets. She was the gentler dual-aspect of the war goddess Sekhmet, in which form she was depicted as a lion instead of a cat.
She was a goddess of protection against contagious diseases, vermin, and snakes (probably because cats hunt such things). She was also associated with fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood, and was sometimes depicted with numerous kittens.
Bastet's festival was one of the most important of all the gods and was celebrated with wine, music, and dance. Cats were so highly regarded, that when a family cat passed away it was often embalmed and mummified just like a person. Over 300,000 mummified remains of house cats have been discovered form the time period.