The ancient Egyptian animal mummification industry was so large it put some species in danger of extinction. But as a new exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC shows, the Egyptians believed they were doing the animals a great honour.
Egypt in the 7th Century BC was not a healthy place to be if you were a cat or a dog.
Puppy farms and other animal breeding programmes were a huge industry - not to produce pets, but to provide a stock of animals to be killed and mummified.
The Egyptians believed that animals held a unique position in the afterlife. They could keep the dead company, they represented the gods, and they were well received as offerings by the gods, Egyptologists say.