Cats of all kinds are present in the legends, religion, mythology, and history of (1) ... different cultures. Cave paintings created by early humans display different types of wild cats (2) ... are now extinct, or no longer around. Many of these great beasts saw humans as food, but were hunted by humans in return. Cats similar (3) ... the ones kept as pets today started showing up in artwork thousands of years ago. For example, the ancient Egyptians believed cats were the sacred, or special, animal of a goddess named Bast. They believed that Bast often appeared as a cat, so many ancient Egyptians respected and honoured cats and kittens. (4) ..., other cultures feared cats or thought that they brought illnesses and bad luck. Today, with millions kept as pets in homes around the world, cats have become important members of many families. No one knows for sure when or (5) ... cats became very popular household pets. It's possible that people noticed how cats hunted mice and rats, (6) ... they set food and milk out to keep the cats near their homes. This helped to prevent (7) ... many of these rodents (8) ... coming into homes and eating people's food or spreading sickness.