Maus are first and foremost a spotted cat and hold the distinction of being the "only naturally spotted breed of domestic cat." Other breeds may be spotted as a result of man-made hybridization (Bengal, Savannah). The Egyptian Mau will breed true to spots generation after generation unlike a hybrid that occasionally needs a re-introduction of a spotted Mau in the genetics. They are an athletic cat, svelte like in appearance with a cheetah like gait. The so called "worried look" expression which judges often refer to belies a very intelligent nature. They are quick to learn, not impulsive and have exceptional memory capabilities. Couple that with extraordinary senses of smell, sight and hearing, enable them to be keenly aware of everything around them and some of us who are privileged to be "owned" by one swear they can read our minds. They are by nature great athletes, capable of bursts of speed up to 30 miles per hour, making them the fastest breed of domestic cat. Their longer hind legs and extra flap of flank skin enables a Mau to jump and leap heights up to 8 feet or more effortlessly. They are not a "hyper" cat but they enjoy playing with "their" toys and interacting with their feline and human families. It is not unusual for them to have a "stash" hidden where no one else can find the toys and frequently those items include but are not limited to contact lens cases, wristwatches, or anything else we humans may leave lying around unattended. When in a happy mood, running through the home, it is not unusual to hear a Mau "chortle" a melodic sound that is peculiar to the breed. Their regal appearance at cat shows causes quite a stir and draws "oohs and aahs" from the audience as they are taken out of their cage by the judge. The comments we hear at the shows from admirers goes something like "We never thought we'd see on in person." Or "I only read about them in books or magazines." However, their uncanny intelligence, strong stubborn streak and independence can make them a challenge to show. If you wish to show a Mau you must begin early when it is a kitten, getting it acclimated to the sights and sounds of a cat show, otherwise they may decide they don't like the whole idea of leaving home when they are older. Its that stubbornness coming through!

The three recognized colors for showing a Mau are silver spotted, bronze spotted, and smoke spotted although recently in France the self blacks were approved for competition. The genetics are somewhat complicated so we won't go into that here. See our link  on The Egyptian Mau Breed Standard (CFA) for specific details.

The first Egyptian Maus were imported to the US in the 50's by exiled Russian Princess Natalie Troubetsky. Their history goes back to the domestications of the wild African cats Felis Libica Ocreata by the Egyptians around 2000 B.C. The art on tombs of the Pharaohs depict a spotted domestic cat as a pet and hunting companion. Mummified remains of the cats buried with their royal owners show the cats had a spotted and ticked coat. CFA approved the breed for championship competition in 1977.

Mau Facts and Factoids

The Egyptian Mau has often been described as aloof and distant or shy. To some extent that is true but the breed in general has a special affection and loyalty to its own family be it feline or human. In a multi breed cat household the Maus tend to "hang together" as if they know they are special! They are not a fickle breed easily persuaded to leave one loyalty for another. That is why adopting an older Mau can be a test of human patience and understanding. Whether a kitten or an older Mau they will command your attention as they seem to crave the touch of a special person or persons they "own." They love their down time with you but are perfectly happy to go around independently being a typical cat too. They are good with children provided the children have been instructed on proper handling and care of a cat. And last but not least, Maus love to eat! They can hear a drawer open and can opener turn from any room in the house! They will often hound you until you break down and allow them that extra morsel or portion.

 

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