The Egyptian Mau cat is gorgeous, powerful and athletic, and is the only naturally spotted breed of domestic cat. Mau cats have incredible almond-shaped Gooseberry green eyes that give them the endearing "worried" expression they are famous for.
These cats are reputed to be ancient, and largely unchanged from when they first appeared in Egyptian drawings and frescos over 1500 years ago.
But all modern Mau cats can be traced back to one kitten, named "Baba", gifted to a Russian princess in the mid-fifties. Princess Troubetskoy came to the United States in 1956 with this cat and began a breeding program to preserve the breed.
The word Mau in ancient Egypt meant both "sun" and "cat", and a popular cat-headed God was also named Mau.
Egyptian Mau have several unique anatomical features other than just their beautiful spots. Their hind legs are longer than the fronts, and a flap of loose connects the flanks to mid-knee.
This loose skin means there is more flexibility, and agility, and makes the Egyptian Mau the fastest domestic cat breed, clocked at 30 miles per hour. They are also considered to have the quickest reflexes, and are extraordinarily agile.
Because these cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, they make wonderful and loving pets. Being able to enjoy an animal with such a wild appearance and such a sweet and people-loving disposition is a real joy.
Only four naturally occurring colors are available, Bronze, Silver, Smoke and Black, but because the spots are not as visible on the black coat (though they are still there) Black is not accepted in the showring.
Egyptian Mau cats are great hunters and enjoy the outdoors, but are not a good choice as an outdoor cat because they tend towards wandering and may not check in for days.
The Egyptian Mau personality is a little complex. They have a very strong social drive and love their families, but are unusually cautious with strangers, and may disappear when there are visitors.
The Mau is an excellent choice for families with children. They are active, busy and love attention, but also cool enough and restrained enough to deal with a little clumsy handling.
These cats are very dog-like, and will learn tricks, fetch and hide and seek, and they are accepting, and sometimes quite loving towards dogs and other cats.
Small pets in the house, like rabbits and birds, may pose too much of a temptation for this skilled and effective hunter, however, and ferrets are probably not a good mix either.
The Egyptian Mau has some unique personality traits only found in the breed. They do what is called the "wiggle tail", standing tall with tail raised, kneading with their front paws, and wiggling their tail when excited or greeting a loved one.
The actions look allot like a cat "spraying" or marking territory with a urine spray, but there is no messy spraying involved in the "wiggle tail", just pure joy.
These cats are also rather vocal, not in a loud way, but with an assortment of chortles and mews special to these wonderful kitties.
This is an attractive and active medium sized cat that makes an excellent family pet, and has few breed-related health issues.
Egyptian Mau kittens are born with no spots and develop them as their coat grows. Often while they are kittens they will have so much "baby fuzz" that they just look like grey puffs, but spots should be clearly seen by the fourth month.
The eye color of a Mau kitten may take time to show too, and some will have blue, brown or even black eyes for the first few weeks or months of life.
These kittens are extremely active, adventurous and playful. Many toys are recommended to keep your little one entertained, and hunting-type games in particular are adored by these stealthy kittens.
This is an intelligent and long-domesticated breed that learns extremely quickly, but has just a bit of a stubborn streak when things don't go just right, so establish things like mealtime, bowl and litter-plan placement and nighttime sleeping arrangements very early or you may be in for a battle.
If you don't plan to have your Egyptian Mau cat sleeping in bed with you at night, don't allow it as a kitten, or the adjustment to another bed will be difficult.
This is a very rare cat and finding a pedigree Egyptian Mau breeder may be difficult. Kittens are expensive and the price actually goes up with the clarity and distribution of the spots!
Head Shape: Medium length, slightly modified wedge without flat planes. Cheeks are not full. Ears medium to medium large, moderately pointed, broad at base. Upstanding with ample width between ears, set well-back on head, cupped forward, alert. Short, close lying hair on outside, may have lynx tips.
Eyes: Large, rounded almond shape. Aperture is level in head with slight upward slant to lower lid. Neither round nor oriental. Gooseberry green (light green). Allowance is made for changing eye color, with some discernable green by 8 months of age and full green eye color by 18 months of age. Preference given at all ages for greener eyes.
Muzzle: Medium-rounded, neither short nor pointed, rounded planes blending with overall head shape. Allow for jowls in mature males. Nose even in width throughout length. Profile is gentle rise from bridge of nose to forehead which then flows into arched neck without a break.
BODY: Balance between cobby and foreign types; Medium in size, medium long length. The shoulder blades are high and angulated. There is a loose skin flap (belly flap). Legs are medium in length, with hind legs proportionately longer. Medium boning with well-developed musculature. The hind legs are longer than the front, but carried flexed so the back is level. Feet are slightly oval, almost round. Small in size, with very long toes on back feet. Tail is medium length, medium at base, with slight taper.
COAT/COLOR: Length: Medium, long enough to carry two bands of ticking. Texture: Bronze and Black Silver - resilient, close-lying Black Smoke - fine, silky, close-lying
PATTERN: There is good contrast between pale ground color and deeper markings. The forehead has characteristic tabby "M" and frown lines which run between the ears and down the back of the neck, becoming elongated spots along the spine. On the haunches the spine lines meld into a dorsal stripe which continues to the tip of the tail. The tail is banded.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Egyptian Mau is the only natural domestic breed of spotted cat. The body is graceful, showing well-developed muscular strength. It strikes a balance between the heftiness of the cobby and svelteness of the oriental types. It is an alert, active, strong, colorful cat of medium size. It should be well-balanced physically and temperamentally. General balance is more to be desired than size alone.