Deities, like Bastet, pictured here, were thought to take the shape of cats in ancient Egypt. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Rama

Whether you love them or hate them, cats have been by the side of leaders and empires, and played starring roles in epic moments through history.

Click start to play today’s Crossword, where a cat hides in a clue.

Here, we check out some remarkable felines who are still remembered in history books:

1. Bastet

Cats were so important for destroying pests and keeping food stores safe, they were regarded as sacred in ancient Egypt. Deities were thought to take the shape of cats. Bastet, for instance, was considered to be the daughter of the Egyptian sun deity Ra, and the defender of the pharaoh. Originally a lioness, but later morphing into a cat, Bastet represented pregnancy and childbirth, and the city of Bubastis became home to a temple dedicated to her. Because of their open adoration of felines, Egypt’s enemies caught on. In 525 BC, Cambyses II of Persia instructed his shield bearers to paint images of Bastet on their shields, and send a throng of cats ahead of them when they attacked. On seeing their deity’s image advancing towards them, along with the cats themselves, the Egyptians balked, and were soundly defeated.

2. Former US President Abraham Lincoln’s cats

When former First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln was asked if her husband had any hobbies, she replied: “Cats.” Lincoln’s love for animals, and specifically for cats, was well known. He had two in the White House – Tabby and Dixie – who were presented to Lincoln by then Secretary of State William Seward. Lincoln was known for talking non-stop with his beloved felines, sometimes for as long as half an hour.

3. Crimean Tom

The Crimean port of Sevastopol was suffering and starving, after a year-long siege, in 1855. When British and French forces entered the port, a British lieutenant named William Gair rescued a cat, whom he named Crimean Tom. Gair noticed that Tom seemed healthy and well-fed, although everyone around him seemed desperate for scraps of food. He got his soldiers to watch the cat. When Tom wandered off one day, a few soldiers followed him – right to a store room full of food. The discovery allowed troops to fend off starvation until help arrived. Tom returned with Gair to England, where he spent the rest of his days with his family.

What do you think of these cat tales? Play today’s Crossword and tell us at