Let's talk Egyptian Maus

An ancient breed, once considered feline royalty of ancient Egypt, the Egyptian Mau is the only naturally spotted domestic cat. Elegant, playful, and very agile, the breed is said to have the fastest reflexes of any household cat and can jump up to six feet in the air. On top of an athletic build and spirit they’re also incredibly social and interactive with their owners, with whom they form close bonds. Those bonds do not extend to strangers: Egyptian Maus may be curious but tend to keep their distance with new people. To each their own!

Official name: Egyptian Mau

Other names: Mau

Origins: Egypt

Close-up of Egyptian Mau in black and white

 

 Shedding level  Medium  Warm weather? Very low
 Physical activity needs  High  Kid-friendly? Medium
 Compatibility with other pets  Medium    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 

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Illustration of spotted Egyptian Mau
Male
18 - 28 cm Height
4.5 - 6.4 kg Weight
Female
18 - 28 cm Height
2.7 - 4.5 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 4 months  
 Growing kitten age  4 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 12 years
 Senior age  From 12 years

Egyptian Mau lying on pink velour fabric

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Get to know the Egyptian Mau

All you need to know about the breed

Their striking (and strikingly beautiful) appearance is only part of the reason the Egyptian Mau cat is such a sought-after breed. They are also highly interactive and social cats, cherishing time with their owners and keen to be treated as veritable members of the family. As people-oriented as they are, the Mau (as they are often called) won’t let just anyone handle them; they prefer their owners and may be wary of strangers.

Most at ease on their own turf, the Egyptian Mau tends to be outgoing, energetic, curious, and very playful. The breed has even developed something of a reputation for their fast reflexes and fondness for leaping onto everything from your shoulders to your refrigerator in the blink of an eye. They’re also fans of water, whether in a pool or pouring from your faucet, and fast learners: let it be known that they will invariably figure out where their favourite toy or snack is hidden so keep your drawers and closets tightly shut!

They are gentle in temperament and likely to vocalise their satisfaction with quiet chortling or through physical expressions, such as swishing their tail and kneading. As long as this exotic feline is worshipped and adored as they were by their ancient owners, the Egyptian Mau will thrive in your home.

Close-up of Egyptian Mau looking past camera

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2 facts about Egyptian Maus

1. The fastest feline in town

Given the opportunity, the Egyptian Mau might run. VERY fast. The breed, called the Greyhound of the feline world by some, has been reported reaching speeds of 48km per hour. That makes them quite possibly the fastest domestic cat in the world. And when they’re not running horizontally, they’re leaping with great agility. Keep your eyes on your Egyptian Mau!

2. Strike a pose! 

It’s no wonder the Egyptian Mau was treated as a deity in  ancient Egypt: their striking and statuesque posture and exotic spotting in silver, bronze, or smokey hues, was not only eye-catching but enchanting. Part of what gives the breed that graceful and regal look that’s earned them top honours as show cats is their “tiptoe” stance, a result of the hind legs being longer than the front legs. It also explains the image of the Egyptian Mau as the actress or elite athlete of the cat world (you decide which!).

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History of the breed

Like many ancient cat breeds, there is a lot of mystery shrouding the history of the Egyptian Mau. Historians are confident, however, that the enigmatic spotted breed (whose name means cat in ancient Egyptian!) was descended from the African wild cat and revered by pharaohs and kings.

According to the Cat Fancier’s Association, papyri and frescoes from 1550 B.C. depict spotted cats whilst archival documents from the New Kingdom highlight the importance of the Egyptian Mau in daily Egyptian life.

The documented history of the Egyptian Mau begins much later in Europe, where there are records of cats from Egypt being bred in Switzerland, France and Italy in the first half of the 20th century. The origin of the modern-day Egyptian Mau emerged from the exiled Russian Princess Nathalie Troubetskoy, who came across the breed while living in Rome. At this point, the Egyptian Mau was almost extinct but the Princess effectively gave them a new future and made them her own. In 1956, she emigrated to the United States with her two silver female Maus and shortly thereafter, the breed was selectively bred by several dedicated breeders. With rising popularity throughout the United States, the Egyptian Mau was formally recognised by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 1977 and remains a feline fan favourite.

Egyptian Mau walking towards camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Egyptian Maus

1. Eyes

Large, almond-shaped gooseberry green eyes.

2. Coat

Close-lying coat with a lustrous sheen.

3. Fur

M-shape in the fur on the forehead.

4. Ears

Moderately pointed ears and a wedge-shaped head.

5. Tail

Oval and almost rounded feet and slightly tapered tail.

Egyptian Mau sitting in front of pink flowers

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Egyptian Mau
Spotted Egyptian Mau walking along tree branch

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Caring for your Egyptian Mau

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Whether your Egyptian Mau is smokey-coloured with a silky fine coat, or silver or bronze with a more densely-textured coat, it is important to brush them weekly to preserve their sheen. Since they are relatively low maintenance and enjoy being brushed, you can even make it part of your Egyptian Mau’s playtime routine. Given the breed’s high energy, daily play sessions of all kinds is crucial to their wellbeing. To allow them to run, jump, and explore, make sure to have cat trees and perches available to them (or your regular furniture may be adopted for that purpose!). The breed is also a quick study and can learn to open drawers and drink from the sink--if you let them.

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All about Egyptian Maus

The Egyptian Mau is partial to their family and may even “play favourites”, taking particular affection for one special person. Those are the individuals with the distinct honour to hold the breed (upon the Egyptian Mau’s discretion, of course!). If not in your arms you may certainly find your Egyptian Mau eyeing your lap, an equally as delightful spot. 

It’s true that the Egyptian Mau possesses a very strong sense of sight, smell, and sound, making them perpetually aware of their surroundings. They are also sensitive to their owners feelings and needs -- indeed a kind of superpower!

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book