A man who found a dusty stuffed cat in his attic has discovered — it is a 2,000-year-old mummy.
Stunned Robert Gray, 56, found the strange looking artefact in his loft where it had sat for the past 50 years.
Robert thought the feline-shaped “pile of rags” was a stuffed cat so he took it to a vets for an X-ray.
But incredibly the series of images revealed the outline of a perfectly preserved ancient puss – complete with face, ears, spine and brain.
Experts at the Royal Cornwall Museum have now verified the remarkable find as a 2,000-year-old Egyptian mummy – worth £2,000.
Robert, an actor and B&B owner, of Portscatho, Cornwall, inherited the bandaged artefact when his father died in 1984 but assumed it was a fake.
He said: “My father acquired the cat in the 1970s as a token of thanks from a museum. It’s been in the loft languishing there for 50 years.
“It’s perfectly bandaged up and a very interesting item. Apparently interior designers love this sort of thing, as ghoulish as it sounds.
“It could fetch a couple of thousands pounds but I will probably donate it to a museum.”
Ancient Egyptians mummified animals as religious offerings or to ensure their beloved companions would follow them into the afterlife.
But Robert says his dad always assumed it wasn’t genuine because in ancient times many fake mummies were made.
He said: “You went to the mummifiers and said you wanted to send goodwill to the afterlife but some would take your money and stuff a bunch of rags inside.”
Mr Gray’s father, Egyptologist Peter Gray, was originally given the mummy as a gift in the 1970s.
Cats were particularly popular subjects during the Ptolemaic period from 305 BC to 30BC because they were believed to represent the war goddess Bastet.
Mr Gray’s x-ray images show the neck of his mummified moggy is still intact, suggesting it was a prized pet rather than a sacrifice to the gods.
Jane Marley, curator of archaeology and world culture at Royal Cornwall Museum, said: “It was very exciting to see the X-ray.
“It’s a lovely face and the wrapping is very good. It’s been very well kept.”