The Egyptian Mau looks like a an ancient egyptian work of art that has come to life. It is a natural breed, that is to say, humans were not involved in the breeding process. The Egyptian Mau contends with the Abyssinian for the title of the oldest domestic cat. Their statuary look, green gooseberry eyes bare a slightly worried expression, their elegant power, calm and docile temperament might explain why the pharaohs worshipped these cats and why even still today the Egyptian Mau is so admired.
Key facts about the Egyptian Mau
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Origins and history
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt worshipped the Egyptian Mau more than 1500 years BC. This cat may even be a direct descendant of Felis lybica, the ancestor of domestic cats. However, it was not until the mid-fifties that a Russian princess, then in exile in Italy, noticed this beautiful cat and brought it to the status of official breed. In fact, at that time, most European cats had some Egyptian ancestry, but the two World Wars had decimated many of them. Princess Nathalie Troubetskoy fell in love with a silver tabby kitten in a box from Egypt. She then brought other cats directly from Egypt to grow this breed that she knew was linked to the Pharaohs’ cats. When she immigrated to the United States a few years later, she took three kittens and founded the Fatima Breeding Farm. The "traditional lineage" of the Egyptian Mau derives entirely from these three individuals: Baba and Liza, two silver females, and Jojo, a bronze male.
Physical characteristics of the Egyptian Mau
Female : Between 12 and 14 in
Male : Between 12 and 14 in
The Egyptian Mau stops growing between the age of 1 and 2 years.
Female : Between 7 and 11 lb
Male : Between 9 and 13 lb
Silver, bronze, black smoke, black
Of the four colours, the silver is the best known and most spectacular. However, the bronze colour is the one that is found on ancient egyptian papyrus. The black smoke coat is the softest to touch. Finally, the black variety will also display a spotted tabby pattern that will be harder to see. This last colour is not accepted in competition.
The agouti gene is present in the Egyptian Mau and the ticked pattern will be particularly visible on silver and bronze coats. The gene is different in the black smoke coat, and pushes the dark grey colour to the end of each hair, leaving the first quarter of each hair a luminous silver colour. Only the black fur will not be ticked.
Type of coat
Semi-foreign build and average in size, except in their length, the Egyptian Mau is athletic, muscled, elegant and strong. Their rear legs are longer than their front, they seem to move on their tiptoes with the balance of a cheetah. A flap of skin between the belly and the leg is characteristic of the breed. This skin flap allows maximum extension of the leg, optimised for jumping and running. To this end, the Egyptian Mau is recognized as the fastest domestic cat, with recorded speeds of more than 29 mph!
Another characteristic of Egyptian Mau is its face. The markings around the eyes resemble features of Khôl, the iconic makeup of the Egyptians. On the forehead, these markings form the tabby “M”, but very often it will look like a beetle, another important symbol of pharaonic mythology. The eyes of this cheetah stand out thanks to their green colour, but also due to their shape and position, which is responsible for their adorable worried look.
Good to know
The word "Mau" translates from the Egyptian language, both as "light" and as "cat". The Egyptian Mau is therefore, textually, the "Egyptian Cat" or the "Light of Egypt". How could you possibly add even more magic to this rare and ancestral breed, champion of speed amongst domestic cats.
The Egyptian Mau is very affectionate towards humans. In fact, they need affection but will almost only ever go to the owner with whom they are closest.
An experienced hunter, this cat needs to play! And run and jump...
Despite this, the Egyptian cat is the perfect house cat that loves calm and tranquility.
The Egyptian Mau was once a working cat (they hunted vermin in the cellars on the edge of the Nile). This characteristic, at the time essential to their survival, has clearly stayed with them. Great observers, they learn very quickly.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Egyptian Maus might be cautious around strangers, preferring people that they know. So you must give your cat time to adapt.
This cat’s mental and physical abilities will ensure they can be completely autonomous. But they will however still seek the presence of their owner.
Behaviour of the Egyptian Mau
This famously melodious cat is no more chatty than the average.
Need for exercise / Sporty
A little athlete, these cats need high spots to jump and climb onto, as well as regular play sessions to use up their energy.
Tendency to run away
Devout to their owners, these cats are not known to run away but curiosity could lead them to explore.
Greedy / Gluttony
Watchout for their voracious appetites. You don’t want this cat to put on excess weight.
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Egyptian Mau and cats
Typically, the Egyptian Mau gets on well with other cats, but once again their introduction must be respectful.
Egyptian Mau and dogs
Compatibility with dogs is very possible, provided you manage their initial meeting well and you give them time to familiarise themselves. It helps to have some high points that the cat can escape to.
Egyptian Mau and children
This cat will love children, but don’t forget that Egyptian Maus also like being calm, and they could be a little distant or fearful of new things. Once again, having some high points onto which your cat can climb will help it have more control over whether or not to interact.
Egyptian Mau and the elderly
Because this cat is calm it can be very compatible with a relaxed person but don’t forget, these cats also love to play and climb.
The Egyptian Mau is considered a rare breed and their prices reflect this. The average price of a kitten is around £300, but for a cat destined for reproduction, the price can be higher.
To meet this cat’s needs, it will cost around £30 a month.
Easy to maintain, a weekly brushing will suffice. You can also use chamois leather for an extra shine. It is recommended to pay some attention to their teeth. Daily toothbrushing will be greatly beneficial.
Although this breed has a lot of fur, they don’t shed in great quantities. A good quality diet and regular brushing will help with reducing hair loss.
Nutrition of the Egyptian Mau
It is important to carefully choose the right food to satisfy the Egyptian Mau’s energy needs but also to prevent weight gain.
Health of the Egyptian Mau
Egyptian Maus can live for 17-18 years but average life expectancy is around 14 years.
Strong / robust
The Egyptian Mau does not cope well with temperature change. They may require additional care between seasons.
Tendency to put on weight
If you don’t pay attention, these cats can put on weight. It is important to ensure they exercise regularly and have access to the right diet.
There are no officially listed genetic diseases in this breed. However the following illnesses have been reported in specific lineages:
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart, is a little more present in the traditional lineage.
- Leukodystrophy, a disease that reaches the white matter of the brain, is also possibly a little more common in the Egyptian Mau, although it remains very rare.
- Umbilical hernias, a phenomenon caused when the abdominal wall does not close at the navel after the umbilical cord rupture at birth, which may be slightly more common in some lineages.
- Periodontal disease should be monitored in this breed, especially if dental maintenance is not carried out.
All diseases present in domestic felines are possible. The Egyptian Mau is generally in excellent health.
The Egyptian Mau cannot be bred with any other breed.
Pregnancy in this breed lasts longer than what is normally experienced by other domestic cats. Gestation can last up to 73 days, while the average is between 63 and 68 days.