Besides being one of the oldest cat breeds, the Egyptian Mau cat is possibly the only domestic cat that possesses the beauty of a natural spotting pattern. Ancient Egyptian artworks and sculptures, as well as archaeological evidences have pointed to Egypt as the place of origin for this breed. In fact, it is the domesticated spotted descendent of the wild African cat. Revered by the Egyptians, this cat has also been given a part in their religious practices and mythological associations.
Its history in North America began in 1956, when Russian Princess Nathalie Troubeskoy imported a few Egyptian Maus from Italy. This breed soon caught the attention of breeders who wisely decided to preserve this unique and ancient breed. With the limited gene pool left after the destruction of War War II, cross breeding became inevitable. In the 1980s, breeder Cathie Rowan had paved the way for more importation of the Egyptian Maus by bringing in about 13 additions of them into the United States.
Selective breeding of this cat breed was carried out and had birthed a gene pool of improved quality and uniformity of the Egyptian Mau. In 1969 and 1977, this stunning breed has its deserving place in the list of recognized cat breed under Cat Fanciers Federation and The International Cat Association respectively. It was also granted championship status and has had its status established in all other associations.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Egyptian Mau is a well-balanced, medium sized cat that weighs between 10- 14 pounds for males and 6 -1 0 pounds for females. It has a body of exquisite beauty belied with well-meditated and controlled strength. The muscular built is made all the more pronounced by its high and prominent shoulder blades and broad chest. Its legs are of medium boning and are made proportionate to its body. The hind legs are evidently longer than the forelegs, creating the appearance of being on tip toe when it is standing upright. Its slightly oval and dainty paws extended the elegant length of the legs.
A unique feature that sets the Egyptian Mau apart from other cats is a skin flap that extends from the mid abdomen to the hind knee. Combines with its longer hind legs, this feature makes for a wider range of motion and a longer gait, resulting in higher speed. Built like cheetahs, it is the fastest pedigree cat and has been clocked running up to a speed of 30 miles per hour.
Strength is also seen in its moderately thick tail that tapers slightly to a rounded tip. Holding the head up with pride and grace is a strong sturdy neck. The head of Egyptian Mau is of a slightly rounded wedge. It is medium in length with no evident flat planes. Marking the forehead is a letter ‘M’, which is also known as the mark of a scarab. The broad width of the entire nose length can be traced evenly, ending in a rounded muzzle. Its chin is firm with a level bite. Viewed in profile, there is a gentle contour created by a slight rise from the nose bridge to the forehead. Set atop the head is a pair of medium to moderately large ears. They are broad at the base and taper into a rounder tip. Even though they are set wide apart and back of the head, but they are cupped forward to give it an alert look. They may be tufted with short and close lying hair.
Egyptian Mau has a pair of large, rounded almond eyes that is set beneath a level brow. Only the lower lid shows an upward slant. Its dark rounded pupil is set against the gleaming, subtle hue of gooseberry green. Coupled with the lining of natural black mascara, the characteristics of the eyes present a quiet, mysterious, and at the same time worried look on the cat.
This breed wears a coat of medium length hair that is close-lying with a lustrous sheen. It can come in three stunning colors of silver, bronze and smoke. Adorning the coat is an exotic form of patterning that uses black spots and stripes. A dorsal stripe travels the length of the entire spine to the base of its tail. Black spots littered its body and they transit into stripe markings on the neck, legs and tail. It is interesting to note that the markings on the Egyptian Mau are only on the edge of the fur. Smoke coat is usually more silky and fine, while silver and bronze coat, give a more dense and resilient feel.
Personality and temperament
The Egyptian Mau is a very athletic breed, it boasts in its strength and physicality. Highly active, the breed is usually seen climbing on tall cat trees and on high perches. Its needs for speed and hunting prowess can be satisfied by playing fetch or stalking and pouncing on a wriggling lure at the end of a pole toy.
This breed also has a special fondness for water and would take pleasure in running water from taps, or splashing water from a pool or its water dish. An intelligent and observant breed, the Egyptian Mau has the innate ability to manipulate puzzle toys, to open doors and drawers for what it wants. Also, it does not fall into trick plays as easily as other cats might.
This is one breed that bends towards a quiet environment and can be easily startled by loud noises. It communicates is pleasures or the enthusiasm with pleasant chortles and trills, or with a wagging tail and kneading paws. Though highly affectionate, it has its reservation towards other strangers. It desires attention and love from the few close family members but can be wary of them at the same time. If bonded well, the Egyptian Mau is an extremely loyal pet who can be possessive over its owners and its choices.
When not as active, it enjoys the cuddles, snuggles and warmth it can receive from being on your lap. It is a good family pet that would also seek to be part of any family activities.
Care and health issues
A healthy Egyptian Mau can live up to an average of 15 – 18 years. However, health issues which this breed is predisposed include leuodystrophy, a neurological condition that might occur in kittens as young as 7 weeks. A qualified breeder would ensure that the cat undergo the necessary tests for genetic diseases. Thus, it is advisable to get the cat from an experienced breeder. Its medium-length coat needs little grooming. A weekly brushing would keep it healthy and shiny. Other basic grooming that needs to be observed includes regular nail trimming and frequent ear and teeth cleaning with vet-approved products.
The ideal home
This active and considerably boisterous breed would be best suited in a home with large, safe and escape proof outdoor area or garden. It thrives in an environment filled with puzzle toys, cat gyms, tree poles and interactive plays. Apartment living is possible if they are not left alone for an extended period of time. Thus, allowance for companionship from humans or other pets should be made.
Egyptian Mau has no issues living in homes with children, other cats or cat-friendly dogs. However, younger children would need to be taught how to handle it well and other pets would need to be introduced slowly into the home.
Even though it is non-demanding in social needs or attention, it disposes its reserved pool of affection only to family members who would extend to it their unconditional love, care and attention. Its absolute loyalty, playfulness and exotic appearance makes it an excellent, fun and one of the most treasured pet to have for any homes.