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Egyptian Mau

The Mau’s most striking characteristic is his spotted coat in silver, bronze or smoke (pale silver fur tipped in black), closely followed by his large gooseberry-green eyes.

Egyptian Mau Breed Photo

Vital Stats

Coat
medium-length, silky
Life Span
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics

  • Extremely

    Affectionate with family

    Some cat breeds are typically independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since kittenhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; cats who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

  • Moderate

    Amount of shedding

    If you're going to share your home with a cat, you'll need to deal with some level of cat hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary among the breeds. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.

  • Very

    Easy to groom

    Some breeds require very little in the way of grooming; others require regular brushing to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a cat that needs daily brushing.

  • Rarely

    Friendly toward strangers

    Stranger-friendly cats will greet guests with a curious glance or a playful approach; others are shy or indifferent, perhaps even hiding under furniture or skedaddling to another room. However, no matter what the breed, a cat who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a kitten will respond better to strangers as an adult.

  • Very good

    General health

    Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems. This doesn't mean that every cat of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're looking only for purebred cats or kittens, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in.

  • Usually

    Kid friendly

    Being tolerant of children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a nonchalant attitude toward running, screaming youngsters are all traits that make a kid-friendly cat. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual cat will behave; cats from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences and personality.

  • Sometimes

    Pet friendly

    Friendliness toward other household animals and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some cats are more likely than others to be accepting of other pets in the home.

  • High

    Potential for playfulness

    Some cats are perpetual kittens — full of energy and mischief — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful kitten sounds endearing, consider how many games of chase the mouse-toy you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other animals who can stand in as playmates.

  • High

    Tendency to vocalize

    Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the cat vocalizes and how often. If constant "conversation" drives you crazy, consider a kitty less likely to chat.


  • History

    Whether the Mau is a product of thousands of years of Egyptian culture is a matter of debate, but if fanciers of the strikingly spotted cats wish to claim that they date to the times of the pharaohs, well, who knows? It could be true. 

    The Egyptian Mau (mau being the Egyptian word for cat) is notable for being the only naturally spotted domesticated cat. In other words, the spotting pattern was not created by human manipulation of feline genes. The cats were known in Europe before World War II, but the devastation of the war left the breed in a perilous state.

    The breed as it is known today dates to a silver female kitten given to Russian princess Natalie Troubetskoy when she was living in Rome. Depending on the story, the kitten was given to her by a young boy who had been keeping it in a shoebox or she acquired one from the Egyptian ambassador to Italy. Troubetskoy named the kitten Baba. When she moved to the United States in 1956, Baba and two of her offspring came with her. Troubetskoy wanted to ensure that the Mau survived as a breed, so she wrote a breed standard and began breeding the cats under the cattery name Fatima.

    The breed was recognized in 1968 by the Cat Fanciers Federation, followed in 1977 by the Cat Fanciers’ Association. Importation of more Maus in the 1980s and again in 1991 increased the breed’s gene pool. Today the breed is recognized by most cat associations.

  • Size

    The Mau is a medium-size cat of 6 to 14 pounds

  • Personality

    When the Egyptian Mau is happy, you know it. He vocalizes (called chortling) in a quiet, pleasant voice, swishes his tail rapidly, and kneads with his front paws. What makes him happy is being with his family, to whom he is fiercely devoted, or showing off his hunting prowess by chasing and retrieving a tossed toy or stalking and pouncing on a wriggling lure at the end of a fishing pole toy.

    This is a moderately to highly active cat. He likes to jump and climb and will appreciate a tall cat tree, a window perch or two, and a sturdy scratching post that allows him to stretch out to full height. The Mau also enjoys playing in water. Don’t be surprised to find him dipping a paw into your koi pond or aquarium, turning on the tap in the bathroom or kitchen, or splashing water out of your pool—or his water dish.

    The Egyptian Mau prefers family members to anyone else. When he’s not playing fetch, he enjoys sitting  in a lap and being worshipped, just as his ancestors may have been.

    The Mau has the distinction of being the fastest domestic housecat, as she can run at speeds of up to 30 mph.

  • Health

    Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Egyptian Maus are generally healthy, but be sure to ask a breeder about the incidence of health problems in her lines and what testing has been done for any that are genetic in nature.

  • Care

    The Egyptian Mau’s coat is easily cared for with weekly combing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. A bath is rarely necessary.

    Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.

    Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene, and a dirty box may cause them to start using other places in the house instead.

    It’s a good idea to keep an Egyptian Mau as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Keeping him indoors also protects local birds and wildlife from this avid hunter. Egyptian Maus who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.

  • Coat, Color and Grooming

    The Mau’s most striking characteristic is his spotted coat in silver, bronze or smoke (pale silver fur tipped in black), closely followed by his large gooseberry-green eyes. He is a medium-size cat with a muscular body and a slightly rounded wedge-shaped head topped with medium-size to large ears. With hind legs slightly longer than the front legs, he gives the appearance of standing on tiptoe on his small, dainty feet. A medium-long tail is thick at the base, tapering slightly at the end.

    The medium-length coat has a silky, fine texture in the smoke coloration and a dense, resilient texture in the silver and bronze colors. The body is covered randomly with distinct spots that can be small or large, and round, oblong or other shapes. The forehead bears an M shape, the cheeks are adorned with “mascara” lines, and the tail is banded, ending with a dark tip. On the pale belly are dark spots that resemble “vest buttons.”

    In addition to the silver, bronze and smoke colors, Maus can come in solid black, blue silver, blue spotted (a dilute version of bronze), blue smoke and solid blue, but these colors are not permitted in the show ring. These cats of a different color make fine pets, however, sharing all the other characteristics of the Mau.

  • Children and other pets

    The active and playful Mau is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He will play fetch as well as any retriever, learns tricks easily and loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect. He’s smart enough to get out of the way of toddlers but loves school-age children because they are a match for his energy level and curiosity. Nothing scares him, certainly not dogs, and he will happily make friends with them if they don’t give him any trouble. He is a skilled hunter, however, and pet birds or other small animals are probably not safe in his presence. Always introduce any pets, even other cats, slowly and in a controlled setting.

  • Rescue Groups

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