Ancient Egyptians had a radical religious fascination with cats.
When a cat died, their human family would go into a deep mourning and shave their eyebrows. Yes their eyebrows.
But thats not all, according to one ancient tale the Egyptian city of Pelusium was captured by the Persians who released sacred animals in front of their army.
“Polyaenus claims that, according to legend, Cambyses captured Pelusium by using a clever strategy. The Egyptians regarded certain animals, especially cats, as being sacred, and would not injure them on any account. Polyaenus claims that Cambyses had his men carry the “sacred” animals in front of them to the attack. The Egyptians did not dare to shoot their arrows for fear of wounding the animals, and so Pelusium was stormed successfully.” (1)
If this legend is true, it would mean the Egyptians chose martyrdom over harming cats.