Egyptian Mau Cats
Ancient Spotted Breed is Truly Unique
With a gait similar to that of a cheetah, a silky fur coat decorated in glossy spots and eyes that can change from gooseberry green to turquoise blue depending on its mood, the Egyptian Mau cat is clearly an unusual breed.
Tracing its roots back thousands of years, the breed is considered one of the most “natural,” without crossbreeding assistance from mankind, and therefore remains a relatively rare—and pure—breed.
While there isn’t any concrete documentation of the Egyptian Mau’s origin it is speculated that the breed is a descendent of wild African cats. Spotted cats are depicted in Ancient Egyptian art as small prey hunters ; mummified remains of Ancient Egyptian cats has enabled scholars to compare DNA and lead to the conclusion that modern day Egyptian Mau cats can link their lineage with the breed dating back more than 3,000 years.
The modern day Egyptian Mau was “discovered” by an exiled Russian princess named Nathalie Troubetskaya in 1952, who met a cat belonging to the Egyptian ambassador to Italy. Curious about its unique physical traits, Troubetskaya brought several of the cats to the United States and began to breed them. Following the end of World War II, she rescued the remaining cats in Italy in an effort to reduce the amount of inbreeding necessary to keep the lineage alive.
By 1968, the Egyptian Mau had achieved recognition at several different venues, and went on to win champion status at the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1977.
The Egyptian Mau is known to be an extremely loyal cat, and while it bonds closely with other family members it often selects one or two family members as its “special person.” The breed is very affectionate, usually seeking lap time or a ride on your shoulders, typically vocalizing its pleasure with a series of chirps and other unique sounds.
Highly intelligent, Egyptian Maus display a dog-like personality, greeting family members at the door, shadowing them and overall striving to be a people pleaser. Known to be antisocial with strangers, the breed does get along well with small children and other pets in its family if socialized from a young age; however, the Egyptian Mau is very territorial, often engaging in a fight when another unfamiliar cat or pet invades its space—indoors or outside.
Sometimes mischievous, the Egyptian Mau will raid refrigerators and pantry cabinets if given the opportunity. The breed also enjoys warm climates and, if given the chance, enjoys spending time outdoors. The cat will perform the “wiggle tail” when marking its territory. This series of wiggles and twitches with its tail is associated with the breed.
The exotic, primitive appearance of the Egyptian Mau has changed very when compared to its ancient ancestors. The breed is known for its wild looking, spotted fur coat. Unlike many other spotted breeds, the Egyptian Mau’s spots are natural, not a result of cross breeding or manmade manipulation. The cat’s spots appear on both its skin and its fur coat.
The breed has translucent green eyes and a distinctive “M” or scarab beetle mark on its forehead. Slender, with a graceful yet muscular build, the Egyptian Mau has a few notable differences when it comes to its anatomy, metabolism and behavior.
The most notable is the Egyptian Mau’s legs: its hind legs are slightly longer than its front, contributing to its ability to take longer strides and its amazing speed. The breed has been clocked running between 30 and 36 miles per hour.
One other speed-inducing factor: the Egyptian Mau has a unique skin fold under its belly, like a cheetah, which enables its hind legs to stretch back even further. Not only can the breed run very fast, but it can also leap higher than the average cat due to these traits.
In addition, the Egyptian Mau has a longer gestational period than other cat breeds, on average a length of 73 days as compared to the typical 65 to 67 days.
The Egyptian Mau’s fur coat, which is short with a silky, fine texture, can be black, smoke, bronze spotted tabby or silver spotted tabby. The breed weighs on average 5 to 11 pounds.
While these may be common medical conditions, your Egyptian Mau—considered to be a healthy breed—will not necessarily develop any of those listed below.
- Cardiomyopathy: is a disease of the heart muscle that often results in congestive heart failure; it is also life threatening and can result in blood clots that cause pain and acute paralysis of a cat’s rear legs. The cause of cardiomyopathy is unknown but hereditary factors are thought to play a role in development of the disorder in cats. You can have your Egyptian Mau tested for the heart condition by a veterinary cardiologist.
- Patellar luxation is caused by anatomical defects of the bones that make up the knee joint. It is manifested by the kneecap (patella) slipping in and out of its normal location in the knee. Mildly affected cats may carry the leg for 2 or 3 steps while walking. Severely affected cats may become severely lame and refuse to use their rear legs. Surgical correction of this condition is very rewarding.