Skip Navigation LinksAbout the Egyptian Mau

Personality

While most people are drawn to the Maus for their exotic looks it is often their extraordinary personalities that endure. They are moderately active and often express their happiness or excitement by chortling in a soft melodious voice and wiggling their tails at great speed while treading with their forepaws. They like to be with people and other animals and join in with everything that is going on. A Mau will follow you around the house, ride on your shoulders and sit on your lap. Maus tend to bond very strongly to their owners and some can be shy of strangers. The Maus are very athletic and will perform stunning leaps. Maus are very protective of their toys carrying them around and growling at anyone who threatens to remove them. Maus are extremely intelligent and will learn to open cabinets and many other things to get toys or food. Many Maus will play fetch without any special training. Maus are also fascinated by water – they love to dip their toes and drink from the tap.

Appearance

This breed’s most striking feature is the randomly placed, distinctive spotting. Considerable variety exists in placement and shape; the spots can be large or small, round or oblong, irregular or uniform, or in any combination. Regardless, the spots must be vivid and distinct with good contrast between the background and the colour of the spots. The face bears tabby barring including mascara lines on the cheeks. The characteristic “M” on the forehead is sometimes described as a scarab beetle. The legs and tail also possess barring and the tail ends with a dark tip. They are medium-sized cats, the adult males usually weigh 10 to 14 pounds, and 6 to 10 pounds for adult females. The mau’s head is a slightly rounded wedge shape, with a slight rise from the bridge of the nose to the forehead. The muzzle is neither short nor pointed. The alert ears are medium to large, pointed, broad at the base, and set with ample width between. The large, alert eyes are almond shaped and slightly slanted. Eye colour is gooseberry green and can take over a year and a half to reach their full colour.

Maus have the distinction of being the only naturally spotted domestic cat. They are always spotted and come in five colours: silver, bronze, smoke, black, and blue. Silver - black spots on a pure silver white background. Bronze - warm bronze ground color shading to tawny-buff on the sides with dark brown-black spots. Smoke - a pale silver ground color with all hairs tipped in black with jet black spots. Black - pure black with ghost spotting. Blues come in three varieties - blue silver, blue smoke, blue spotted, and blue solid. Only siver, bronze and smoke colours are currently recognised by the GCCF. Coat colour can take up to 15 months to fully develop. The mau is long, graceful, and muscular with a stride like a cheetah. A unique flap of skin extends from the flank to the back knee, which allows for greater length of stride and agility. The Egyptian mau is the fastest breed of domestic cat, clocked at more than 36 miles per hour.

History

The Egyptian Mau dates back over 3500 years. The Egyptian Mau is perhaps the oldest of all domestic cats. They were traded to Egypt from Ethiopia around 1500 BC and are descendants of the African Wild Cat (Felis lyica ocreata.) There are many tombs with hieroglyphics on the walls of the great pyramids depicting this spotted cat that date back to the Egyptian Middle period. The Egyptians domesticated the Mau (the Egyptian word for cat) and worshipped it as a god. Today's pedigree Mau stems from North America, where it originated from cats imported by the exiled Russian princess, Nathalie Troubetskoy. The efforts of the Princess brought the Mau back from the edge. While in Italy, she rescued some of the remaining maus, and using her political connections, she obtained several more through the Syrian embassy. In 1956, Troubetskoy and three maus immigrated to the United States. Once there, Troubetskoy established her Fatima Cattery and promoted the breed. Many modern maus can trace their ancestry back to Troubetskoy’s cats. In the 1980s, another breeder succeeded in bringing 13 maus into America, paving the way for more imports. In the 1980s and 1990s more imports further enlarged the gene pool. The new bloodlines and careful selective breeding brought the breed the health and stability it needed. Today, all major associations accept the mau and while numbers are still low, the breed has a strong following of fans who feel the mau is indeed worthy of worship.