Country of Origin: Egypt
Also known as: Mau
Males Weight: 3.2-4.5kg
Females Weight: 2.7-3.6kg
Exercise Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 15+ years
Best Suited as: Family Pet / Show Cats
Blink and you might miss this cat. They are both rare and very speedy – one was once clocked running over 58 km/h. Although not a close cousin of the cheetah, they are spotted and have a skin fold under their stomach much like this wild cat.
Egyptian Maus are easily recognized by the random spots on their coats and are the only natural spotted breed of domestic cat. They are a small to medium muscular breed with longer hind legs then front legs and a unique flap of skin stretching from the flank to their back knee. When they walk, they give the appearance of walking on their tiptoes. When they are running at top speed, this spotted beauty looks like one large flash of fur.
All Maus have a medium length, spotted coat but their silky, fine coat color is more diverse. There are five main colors displayed by the Mau: silver, bronze, smoke, black and blue/pewter. They are marked with an “M” on their foreheads and their legs, tail, neck and chest are often striped. Usually one stripe connects around the cat’s chest giving the appearance of a necklace. They have gooseberry green eyes that are alert and slightly almond shaped with black mascara like circles around the rims. They sport a distinguishable brow line that gives them an almost worried look. The Maus ears tend to be large, alert and pointed. Their striped tails are medium in length and end in a black tip that almost looks like they have gotten into some black paint.
The first Egyptian Mau can be traced back many years to ancient Egypt and was rightfully named Mau, meaning cat in Egyptian. They are one of the oldest existing breeds of domestic cats. We know that they existed during this time because they are boldly displayed in Egyptian art and were even mummified. Even back during that time they were highly regarded as pets. Even more compelling is the confirmation of this fact by feline geneticist Leslie Lyons, PhD. Genetic and archaeological evidence leads us believe that they lived in the Fertile Crescent region.
In the early 1900s, Egyptian Maus caught the attention of Europeans. The breed was developed in Italy, Switzerland, and France. Unfortunately, with the advent of World War II, the breed was nearly wiped out. By the mid-1940s, the Mau was almost extinct.
Russian Princess Nathalie Troubetskoy is credited for bringing the Mau population back. She rescued a few of the remaining Mau when she visited Italy and then brought her loyal Mau pets to the United States when she immigrated there in 1956.Her Maus caught the eye of several American breeders who were interested in preserving the rare and unique breed. The Mau was granted recognition in The International Cat Association in 1979. Today, the Egyptian Van is ranked 20th in popularity among the breeds listed by the Cat Fanciers Association, which granted it championship status in 1977.
Your Mau can best be described as loyal. While he often shuns strangers and other animals, you are the center of his world. Affectionate and persistent, he will not take “no” for an answer when he wants to be loved. This intense love towards you will quickly win you over as well.
The Mau is a hunter in every sense of the word, which is no surprise due to its history of hunting in ancient Egypt. Quick on their feet and sensitive to loud noises, the Mau can be skittish at times. The Mau’s senses are also tremendous. They have excellent sense of smell, hearing, and sight. While positive in general, it also lends itself to more anxious behavior.
When you have made your cat especially happy, the Mau will make a chortling sound and perform a little dance in which their tails wiggle. Maus also love to play and will jump on just about anything that moves in front of it.
Care and Grooming
The Mau is extremely easy to for and pretty much maintenance free. They will shed, however, so if you want to reduce the shedding it is smart to comb them weekly. Other Mau owners also recommend wiping down your cat with a damp washcloth or even a pair of pantyhose. Avoid forceful brushing as it can remove the spots on the ticking at the end of the hair shaft. Other grooming can include clipping your Maus nails.
The Mau tends to be a healthy breed but they often have an extreme sensitivity to anesthetics, vaccines, and pesticides. Because of the rarity of the breed, your vet may need to be told this prior to any treatment.
Suitability as a Pet
If you live in a warm climate, you are a good candidate for owning a Mau. They tend to be more sensitive than most breeds to cold weather and prefer warmer climates.They do well in almost every type of household including ones with small children. Teaching your child how to properly handle the Mau will increase the likelihood that it will extend its affection to include your child.
If you are looking for a cat with a more dog-like personality, the Mau also might be right for you. They extremely athletic and love playtime. While they are often a bit difficult to train if you want them to sit still in your lap, they are extremely easy to train when they can be in motion.
Maus are great mousers due to their keen senses, hunting instinct and fantastic leaping ability. If you want a happy Mau, play many games that allow your pet to use this hunting prowess. If you are diligent, you can teach your Mau the names of toys and have them retrieve them when asked.
If you adopt a Mau as a kitten there are a few boundaries you need to set early on. First, Mau kittens may pounce and scratch moving objects. Teach them what is acceptable to play with (their toys) and what is not. If you would like them to rid your property of rats, provide a large stuffed dog toy they can practice “gutting” and “killing”. Make sure your Mau does not have the opportunity to practice this behavior on other cats, however. They are fierce protectors of their area and may fight neighboring cats that trespass on their territory.
It is also important to remember that Maus can jump up to 1.86 meters in the air. If there are surfaces in your home that you do not want them jumping from and knocking over your belongings, teach your kitten quickly what is acceptable.
Do not expect that your Mau will stick around and show off in front of company. They are escape artists in uncomfortable situations.