One of the more unusual looking natural breed cats is the Egyptian Mau. A small-medium sized short-haired feline, they are one of the few naturally spotted breeds of domesticated cat.The spots on an Egyptian Mau are not only on the coat; a shaved Mau has spots on its skin.
The spotted Mau is an ancient breed from natural stock; its look has not changed significantly as is evidenced by artwork over 3000 years old. Unlike other spotted cats, the Egyptian Mau is a natural breed. It was not created from domestic cross breeding or by domestic outcrosses with wildcats. Contemporary Maus are thought to be direct descendants of cats worshipped in ancient times.
The Mau has a well-proportioned body build balancing compactness and slim elegance. Its medium-length body is muscular, with the hind legs longer than the front, giving the Mau the appearance of standing on tiptoes when upright.
One of this breed’s most striking features is its random, distinctive spots. Considerable variety exists in placement and shape. The spots can be large or small, round or oblong, or random combinations. The spots are vivid and distinct, with good contrast between the background color and the spot colors. The face bears tabby markings including the characteristic ‘M’ on the forehead, which is sometimes described as a scarab beetle mark. Two mascara lines grace the cheeks. The first begins at the corner of the eye and continues along the cheek’s contour. Legend says ancient Egyptian women patterned their elaborate eye makeup after the Mau’s markings.
The Egyptian Mau is the fastest of the domestic cats. Its longer hind legs, and unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee, provides for greater agility and length of stride. Maus have been clocked running over 35 mph.
Maus often possess very musical voices, usually melodious and quiet. They are known to chirp, and emit other distinctly unusual vocalizations when they communicate. While not overly talkative, Maus will let their family know if something is amiss. When engaged in conversation with their human companions, Maus wag their tails, tread with their feet, and make a variety of sounds that fanciers call ‘chortling’.
Maus, like their ancestors that were invited along on the duck hunts of their Egyptian companions, love to fetch. In fact, they love any play activity that mimics hunting behavior, and if allowed outside will become very competent hunters.
Maus are fiercely loyal cats that generally don’t take to strangers. Once they bond with their human companions, they choose to ignore outsiders. They are intelligent, active, playful, and crave your attention.
Maus became popular with European cat fanciers in the early 1900s. Italian, Swiss, and French breeders worked to preserve the breed, particularly after World War II when the Mau population was almost decimated.
The efforts of the exiled Russian Princess Nathalie Troubetskoy brought the Mau back from the brink of extinction. While in Italy, she rescued some of the few remaining specimens. In 1956 she immigrated to the United States, bringing with her three Maus bred from her original stock. Upon arrival, Troubetskoy began her own Egyptian Mau cattery and began to promote the breed. The Mau soon collected a following of fanciers who wanted to preserve the rare and historically significant breed.
The gene pool was small and additional Maus were almost impossible to obtain from Egypt. A certain amount of inbreeding and outcrossing was required to continue the breed in North America. In the 1980s, 13 Maus came into the United States, and in 1991 four more were imported. This widening of the gene pool was vital to the breed’s health and well-being.
A limited number of Maus are now available for purchase through select breeders in the Unites States. They are a pricey investment for a pet, selling for around $1,000 or more based on color and spot details.
New York State has one Gold Star Breeder from whom Maus are available:
Name: Eve George
Cattery: Marzac (CFA)
Location: Central NY
Shipping? We ship, but prefer to place locally.
Notes: Grand Champion, Regional and Breed Winner Lines. Pet cats/kittens altered prior to placement. Veterinary health certificate. FeLV and FIV negative. Silver and smoke only.
Contact Marzac Knoll by: