Egyptian Mau – Cat Breeds

by catfood

The Egyptian Mau is the only naturally domesticated spotted cat breed. The Egyptian should give the impression of a lively, colorful cat of medium size with well-developed muscles.



While some people are drawn to the Egyptian Mau because of its gorgeous spotted coat, most become admirers because of the breed’s temperament and nature. Maus, like their ancestors who were invited along on their Egyptian colleagues’ duck hunts, like fetching. In fact, they enjoy any game that replicates hunting behavior. Most fans advocate that indoor-only Maus leave gifts of well-killed catnip mice on the pillows of their favorite individuals. Give your Mau lots of caressing and praise, as well as maybe a treat or two, for these gifts; Maus will be disappointed and bewildered if their kind offerings are coldly rejected.

While not extremely chatty, Maus will alert their owners if something is wrong, especially if it involves food. Their voices are usually soft and beautiful. Maus wag their tails, walk with their feet, and make a variety of sounds that fanciers refer to as “chortling” when conversing with their human companions. Maus are dedicated to humans who honor them properly.

If you demonstrate to your Mau that you can be trusted, he will reward you with affection and loyalty. They are fiercely devoted cats who are wary of outsiders. They prefer to be worshiped by their chosen family rather than the entire human population once they have formed a link with them.



According to Egyptian literature, statues, and bas-reliefs, the ancient Egyptians were the first to leave considerable proof of their association with domestic cats, which emerged at least 5,000 years ago. Cats were probably first appreciated for their capacity to keep rodents away from grain stockpiles, preventing hunger, and for their ability to kill snakes. Egyptian domestic cats, on the other hand, evolved into valued family companions and then sacred animals associated with the gods.

Evidence from representations, paintings, and sculptures indicates that spotted cats existed during the time of the Egyptian cat religion, and some believe that the predecessor of the Mau was the same cat revered by the ancient Egyptians. A papyrus picture from circa 1100 BCE depicts Ra as a spotted cat slaying the evil serpent Apep.

A papyrus document from 1580 b.c.e. mentions a spotted cat as claiming, “I am the cat which battled near the Persea Tree in Annu on the night when Neb-er-opponents tcher’s were destroyed!” Furthermore, a 1400 BCE tomb picture discovered in Thebes depicts a spotted cat fetching a duck for an Egyptian hunter, demonstrating that cats were not only worshiped but also played an important role in everyday life.

If, as some believe, the Egyptian Mau is a living artifact from that time period, then the Mau is one of the oldest domestic cat breeds. Modern Maus characteristics can be recognized in papyrus art, even down to the random patches. However, there is not proof of anything other than the existence of spotted cats in ancient Egypt. Egyptian Maus became popular in Europe in the early 1900s. Fanciers in Italy, Switzerland, and France sought to develop the species; however, World War II destroyed the Egyptian Mau population, and by the mid-1940s, the breed was nearly dead.

The actions of thea exiled Russian Princess Nathalie Troubetskoy saved the Mau from extinction. She saved some of the few remaining specimens while in Italy. She also played a role in bringing at least one Mau from Egypt via the Syrian Embassy. Troubetskoy arrived to the United States in 1956, taking three Maus bred from her original breed with her. Troubetskoy established the Fatima Egyptian Mau Cattery upon his arrival and began to promote the breed. The Mau quickly gained a following of people who wished to conserve the uncommon, elegant, and historically valuable breed.

Because of the tiny gene pool and the difficulty in obtaining additional Maus from Egypt, a certain level of inbreeding and outcrossing was essential to keep the breed alive in North America. Selective breeding for temperament was also a focus, as certain bloodlines had disposition issues. Additional Maus were imported into the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. This expansion of the gene pool was critical to the health and well-being of the breed. CFF was the first to accept the Egyptian Mau for championship status in 1968. The CCA quickly followed, and the CFA awarded the championship in 1977. The Mau is now accepted by all major associations.

Physical Attributes


Medium in length and grace, with well-developed muscular strength. Skin flap that extends from the flank to the knee of the rear leg. Overall balance is more desirable than size alone. Allowance should be provided for adult males’ powerful necks and shoulders.


A medium-length, somewhat rounded wedge with no flat planes. Not fully formed. A profile with a soft shape and a modest rise from the bridge of the nose to the brow. When viewed from the front, the entire length of the nose is visible, as is its width.


Medium to large, alert, and moderately pointed, with the planes of the skull continuing. The base is broad. Slightly flared with plenty of space between the ears. Hair on the ears is short and close to the ears. The inside of the ear is a delicate, almost transparent shell pink. Tufting is an option.


Large and attentive, almond-shaped eyes with a slight tilt to the ears. Apertures in the skull are neither round nor oriental. Gooseberry green eyes. Allowance is given for changing eye color, with some noticeable green by eight months and full green by one and a half years. Greener eyes are preferred at all ages.


Legs and feet that are proportionate to the body. When standing upright, the hind legs are proportionately longer, giving the appearance of being on tiptoe. Small and tiny feet, somewhat oval and almost spherical in outline. Five in front and four in back.


Medium length, thick at the base, and with a slight taper.


The hair is medium in length and has a beautiful sheen. The hair in the smoky hue is smooth and fine in texture. The silver and bronze hair is robust and resilient in texture, with two or more bands of ticking separated by lighter bands.


Smoke, silver, and bronze.


While the qualities listed below are common for this breed, cats are individuals with unique personalities and appearances. For more information about a specific pet, please contact the adoption group.

Wondering about Burmilla? Check it out on our next post!


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