Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods and believed they possess “divine energy.” Of course, cats didn’t try to convince ancient Egyptians otherwise, which explains how Egypt collapsed as a world power.

The most widespread belief was that domestic cats carried the divine essence of Bastet (or Bast), the cat-headed goddess who represented fertility, domesticity, music, dance and pleasure. That’s why Egyptians protected cats.

At the height of the popularity of the cult of Bastet, which took hold in the second-century B.C.E., the penalty for killing a cat, even by accident, was death. So now you know what happens when an entire civilization loses its mind over cats, so it’s a good thing ancient Egyptians didn’t have YouTube videos of cats to look at or else they might never have had time to build the pyramids.

To read more about how ancient Egyptians treated cats, click here.