The Egyptian Mau got its name from the Egyption word for “cat”. More than that, the characteristic mark of an “M” sits on this cat breed’s forehead, which looks similar to that of a scarab.
The Mau’s history dates back to small African wild cats; this breed is the only domestic one of its kind, with the other one being the Bahraini Dilmun Cat, which comes from Bahrain. Maus have naturally spotty coats and alluring almond-shaped eyes that makes them appear worried all the time. The eye color is a fascinating gooseberry green, adding to the overall appeal of the jungle-like, primitive-looking feline.
The exotic looks and characteristics of Maus is only one of the reasons why they are a sought-after breed. When you look past the physical nature you’ll find Maus a smart, intelligent creature who’s fiercely loyal to its master.
They are the closest things to actors and actresses in the cat world. In competitions, they effortlessly strike poses on the judges’ table, peering out with ghostly, imperious eyes.
History of the Egyptian Mau
There are lots of legends and stories surrounding this peculiar cat breed. As per its namesake, experts believe that the Maus come from the country of Egypt, a claim supported by Dr. Leslie Lyons, archaeological findings and paintings where the heavily spotted felines are depicted. The barring and mascara markings are unique only to a few cat breeds, including the Mau.
Cats were highly revered in Egypt since time imemorial. There were records, transcriptions and stories of great pharaohs, sultans and kings who had an Egyptian Mau as their constant companion. The famous Book of the Dead depicts the sun god Ra as a tabby cat. In other paintings a scarab often marks the forehead of cats.
Selective breeding for the Maus began in 1950. A Russian princess named Nathalie Troubetskoy returned to Italy with a Tabby from Egypt, which was subsequently bred to another Tabby that had been brought from Egypt as well. The original pair’s progeny were then brought to the U.S. in 1956. The kittens then became the foundation of a cattery in the U.S. called Fatima Egyptian Mau. This launched the proliferation of the Maus in America up until today.
In 1958, the breed was recognized in America; in 1992, Europe followed suit. The CFA, or Cat Fanciers Association recognized the Mau in 1977 and the International Cat Association 2 years later.
Size of the Egyptian Mau
The Maus possess a capable, medium-sized physique and can grow anywhere from 7 to 9 lbs. The male Maus are significantly larger than their female counterparts. This type of cat breed can be compared to greyhounds of the canine world. Maus are lithe, agile and their top speed has been recorded at 30 mph. You’ll soon notice the wedge-shaped, rounded aerodynamic head coupled with legs that can work like springs.
The Mau’s hind legs are noticeably longer than the front ones, which give the feline an appearance of always walking around on its toes. There’s a skin fold that starts from the cat’s belly and extends down to the knees and the flanks, which is similar to a cheetah’s stomach flap. This curious characteristic serves the purpose of allowing the Mau’s legs to extend further than usual, giving it extra leaping and running power.
The Mau’s paws are oval, dainty and small. Their tails are of medium length, tapering from a broad base and ending in a pointed tip.
Personality of the Egyptian Mau
This breed is known for its general reservedness and gentle nature. They are somewhat people-oriented, preferring attention from us humans instead of their own kind. The Mau is sensitive and loves to deal with things on their own time. These felines can be very specific about who should handle them and when they can do so.
A Mau who’s at home on his territory will be supremely confident, extremely outgoing and bursting with curiosity.
Cats love to climb, and the Egyptian Mau is no exception. They love toys that they can chase, and have a reputation for riding their owner’s shoulders for hours on end. The breed is smart and learns pretty quickly- you’ll be surprised at how your Mau can open drawers and doors to get to a favorite toy or treat.
One of the things that separate the Mau from other felines is their love of water. If given the chance, these cats will play on fountains, pools, water dishes and even in the bath tub. They show appreciation with a vigorous wagging of tail and paw-kneading, sometimes with vocal trills and chortles. Moreover, Maus often communicate with their owners using long meows and chirping sounds.
Egyptian Mau Kittens
Mau adults have longer gestational periods at 73 days as compared to other felines at around 65 to 67 days. Mau kittens take longer to grow as well, so it’s in the best interest of the breeders or owners to keep the litter for longer in order for them to fully develop.
You should begin oral and nail hygiene as soon as there’s visible showing of teeth and claws. The sooner you can start these activities, the more receptive the cat will be, eliminating later troubles.
Those who are interested in Maus should consider getting a grown Egyptian Mau rather than starting with a young kitten. Caring for a kitten requires plenty of time, care and attention, something that not a lot of people have. You can ask show breeders or on the web and see if there are any Maus that need a loving home.
Those who want a Mau kitty should wait for at least 6 months or so before separating one from his mother. Many reputable breeders will not sell Maus until they are around 12 to 16 weeks. To ensure you’re getting the best, visit the cat’s home and meet the parents.
Aside from the cat you should ask for a guarantee of good health. Any and all vaccines, vet visits and medication used should be documented and handed over to you. Also, make sure to ask for health problems and results of genetic testing, if any.
Egyptian Mau Health
The Mau breed is hardy and they’re not pre-disposed to any health condition, but one thing to look out for is leuodystrophy, a mental condition that could affect them as early as 7 weeks. Signs that a Mau is suffering from leuodystrophy include limb stiffness, bodily tremors and being unable to urinate without assistance.
Pyruvate Kinase deficiency is another health condition that could affect Maus. It’s a health disorder that’s inherited and often leads to your cat being anemic.
Care of the Egyptian Mau
Because the Mau is reserved and cautious it helps to start socialization as soon as possible. Owners who intend to showcase the Mau must overcome this hurdle if they want to win competitions. Maus prefer warmer weather over cold climates and their moods depend on the surrounding ambient temperature.
This breed loves to climb up high places and stay there indefinitely. It’s of the utmost importance for owners to install cat trees or make room for perches for the cat to feel right at home. The Mau can make bookcases and refrigerators their abode if you didn’t provide a place for them.
Maus are smart and require mental stimulation from time to time. You can create challenges and keep your cat busy by giving him or her puzzles that reward with treats or kibble. Toy mice, cat teasers and feather wands work especially well when spending time with your Mau.
Litter Box Training
Egyptian Maus require a clean litter box, so make sure you’re making this one of your top must-do’s. Set up one litter box per cat in the house so they will not stray from using it.
When a cat starts missing the litter box, then there’s an underlying reason for it. Start with thinking about what changed and try to correct it. Visit the veterinarian as a last resort to find out if your cat has any underlying health condition.
Egyptian Mau Nutrition
Cats are carnivorous creatures and need the consistency of fresh meat in their diets. The optimal kind of Mau food will be ones that are nutritious and filled with protein, amino acids, carbs and minerals and vitamins.
Maus are more active than the normal cat; they can eat up to 80 kcals worth of food each day. They aren’t as prone to obesity, but you should still keep an eye out on the amount of food they eat.
The Egyptian Mau is quite limited to the natural color coating it has. There’s the smoke with black, bronze with black or dark brown and silver with charcoal black markings. Pet quality types may come in blue smoke, blue silver or solid blues and blacks.
Egyptian Mau Grooming
The Mau’s medium length coat’s texture can vary depending on the color. Smoke coloring begets lustrous, fine coating, while bronze and silver varieties can exhibit fur that’s dense. Owners should devote to weekly brushing once or twice to keep the coat shiny and healthy.
Maus love to be brushed and they think of it as a fun time with their owners. Moreover, clip your cat’s nails once a week and clean their ears as needed.
Children and Other Pets
Egyptian Maus will more often scramble to find the nearest shelter if presented in a crowded home setting. Given time, your cat will build up confidence to start playing around with you, your family members and other pets. Maus are loyally devoted to the family and can go out of their way to play fetch and show off his medley of learned tricks.
As always, children should respect pets during playtime. The Mau loves to play with children who has as much energy and curiosity as he has. Maus can build solid friendships with other pets as long as they don’t give him trouble.