Many ancient legends, myths and folklore tell of cat people. They are humans with cat like features, usually having a head of a cat or a lion and a human body. Most of these creatures are mostly considered as gods and goddesses. Ancient Egyptian mythology particularly provides a lot of examples of such godlike creatures having cat-like appearances.
In Egyptian mythology, Bast is the goddess and protector of cats, women and children. She is also known as the goddess of sunrise. She appears as a goddess with a cat for a head.
Bes is the dwarf lion god of luck and fortune. He is usually shown as dancing dwarf, wearing a strange half-lion, half-mask face with his tongue always protruding. He also has the skin of a lion and with a tail dangling from behind.
Mafdet is the goddess of justice and is considered as a protector of the kings chambers. She is known to prevail over snakes and scorpions that can harm the king and so has feline features. She is usually depicted as a woman with a head of a cheetah, leopard or a lynx.
Sekhmet is a goddess of war. She is said to have the power to protect the good and destroy the wicked. She is usually depicted as having a lion head fitted on a woman’s body.
Perhaps the most common depiction of a feline creature in Egyptian mythology is the Sphinx. Aside from the usual gods and goddesses that appear with feline heads and human bodies, the Sphinx is depicted somewhat differently. It usually has the body of a lion and a head of a woman. They are usually common fixtures in ancient Egyptian art and can be seen in many artifacts and archeological finds.
The Sphinx also has its own version in Greek mythology. One story has the Sphinx acting as a guardian of the entrance towards the Greek city of Thebes. Travelers have to answer the riddle given by the Sphinx before they are given passage into the city.