History of the Egyptian Mau
Cleopatra is said to have been completely smitten with these cats. And who can blame her? There is some disagreement, however, with regard to the history of the Egyptian Mau. Some people claim these cats are descended from Egyptian cats. Cats were indeed highly revered creatures in ancient Egypt, and the goddess “Bastet” was worshipped in the holy city of Bubastis. Other experts believe that the Egyptian Mau is descended from Ethiopian cats. Either way, one undisputed fact is that the first representatives of this breed arrived in the United States in the 1950s and were initially bred under the name “Fatima”.
Today, the Mau is referred to as what it has always been: in Arabic, the word “Mau” means cat.
Appearance of the Egyptian Mau
In terms of appearance, the build of the Egyptian Mau is reminiscent of the Abyssinian: its slender body, narrow, wedge-shaped head and large, slanted eyes are the same features that give Abyssinians their unique look, just like an ancient Egyptian cat. And it’s true that both breeds bear a resemblance to the cats of the Pharaohs in terms of their elegant physiques! But the Egyptian Mau’s silky shiny coat is particularly eye-catching, with a highly contrasting spotted pattern adorning its entire body. On their forehead, they have a fur marking that looks like the capital letter “M”. This is sometimes called a “scarab beetle” mark as well. In ancient Egypt, the scarab-faced god known as “Khepri” was considered a lucky charm and the embodiment of rebirth and regeneration.
Size of the Egyptian Mau
What size of cat is the Egyptian Mau? The Egyptian Mau is a medium-sized cat. With its graceful body, it is one of the light- to medium-weight cats, although its build is bulkier and more muscular than other oriental cats. The shoulder height of an adult Mau can reach up to 40 cm, and its body can extend to a length of 60 cm all the way to the tip of the tail. They have medium-length tails which, together with their backs, form a slightly ascending line.
Weight of the Egyptian Mau
What is the average weight of an Egyptian Mau? According to the general standard, Mau females should weigh roughly 2.5 to 3 kg. As males Maus are somewhat stockier in build and bone mass, they’re naturally heavier. Compared to females, they bring an average of 4 to 4.5 kg to the scales.
Coat of the Egyptian Mau
The coat of the Egyptian Mau is somewhat longer and denser in the bronze and silver colour varieties. The “smoke” coat, on the other hand, appears somewhat shorter and more delicate, but is still wonderfully soft and shiny. All varieties display an eye-catching spotted pattern: the individual speckles are not only clearly separated from one another, they also stand out quite distinctly from the various ground colours. The special feature here is that the mottling occurs completely naturally, rather than having been bred in!
Coat colour of the Egyptian Mau
The coat of the Egyptian Mau can have different ground colours, with silver, bronze and smoke being officially recognised. When Egyptian Maus are kittens, their colours are often not yet fully developed. It takes a while before the coat colour displays its full brilliance, saturation and intensity. In other words, it takes time for such a strong colouring to emerge!
Coat length of the Egyptian Mau
The Egyptian Mau has a short- to medium-length coat depending on the ground colour. If the Mau’s coat has a silver or bronze tone, one can assume that it will have a dense, medium-length coat. On the other hand, a black Egyptian Mau will have a shorter coat. The coat of the smoke-coloured variety will be somewhat finer and shinier. In other words, each colour variety has its very own unique hair style!
Coat pattern of the Egyptian Mau
The coat of the Egyptian Mau is distinctively spotted. The special thing about this pattern is that it is entirely natural and not the result of any intentional breeding. In other words, unlike other speckled cats, their coat pattern is not the result of the crossing of certain breed characteristics. Instead, it has been passed on genetically from the very beginning with no help from human beings! The wonderful spotted coat of these gorgeous cats is completely natural.
Eyes of the Egyptian Mau
Back in ancient Egypt, a cat’s gaze was so fascinating to the pharaohs that they revered these creatures as sacred animals and attributed special powers to them. Indeed, the Egyptian Mau has large amber or green eyes that give these cats a mystical aura. The lower eyelid is round, while the upper eyelid is shaped like an almond. This shape makes it look as if their eyes are slanted above the nose.
Special features of the Egyptian Mau
The unique feature of the Egyptian Mau is its status as the fastest domestic cat. When this racing machine gets going, it can reach a top speed of up to 50 kilometres per hour! All other types of domestic cats will be unable to keep up and simply have to admit defeat. One minute the cat will be here, and the next it will be gone. Other breeds can only watch as the Egyptian Mau speeds by. In other words, if you can’t provide outdoor access to your Egyptian Mau, your home should at least have enough space for this speedster to remain as agile as possible.
Key attributes of the Egyptian Mau
The physical attributes of the Egyptian Mau are such that these cats are often confused with Oriental Shorthairs. The Oriental Shorthair is also an elegant cat with a graceful body and silky soft coat, and there are representatives of this breed with spotted tabby markings distributed over the whole body. This mix of Siamese and Oriental Shorthair originates from Great Britain and is called a spotted Oriental Shorthair.
Character of the Egyptian Mau
What kind of character does the Egyptian Mau have? Fans of this breed love the temperament of these lively spotted queens. These cats like to romp around well into old age. They’re extremely curious and open to everything around them. They’re also always ready to play a game or two! Once a Mau has set its mind on something, it will passionately follow through on its intention. These cats are loyal souls. Whomever they’ve given their heart to will remain their “favourite person” forever and ever.
Price of the Egyptian Mau
How much does an Egyptian Mau cost? The price of an Egyptian Mau ranges from €1,000 to €1,500, depending on the breeder. These cats come from a very rare breed. Unfortunately, there aren’t many official breeders in Europe at the moment. So it’s possible you’ll have to search for a long time until you find a suitable breeder. And even then, it might take a while until a breeder has a litter for sale. So you’re going to need a lot of patience! Before buying any cat, you should also ask yourself whether you’re able to meet all of the feline’s requirements and whether you’re even willing to do so in the first place.
Breeding the Egyptian Mau
In 1977, the American Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognised the Egyptian Mau as an independent breed. Europe was a latecomer: the Fédération Internationale Féline (FiFé) only knighted the breed in 1992. Today, we have a few dedicated breeders in Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands to thank for the fact that these wonderful cats continued to exist after 1945. Individuals in these countries imported a few Egyptian Maus from the US and continued to breed in a direct line using these progenitors. This is how the Mau found its way to cat lovers in Europe.
Things to know about keeping and caring for an Egyptian Mau
When it comes to grooming, the Egyptian Mau’s coat is not very demanding. A grooming session once a week is usually sufficient. First use a brush and comb to remove loose hairs from the Mau’s coat. If you wish, you can then wipe the coat with a damp leather cloth and polish the fur: this involves slightly dampening the leather cloth, wringing it out well and gently rubbing the Mau’s coat with it. This kind of grooming allows you to remove even the last loose hairs.
The Egyptian Mau kitten
Be very careful when handling Egyptian Mau kittens! These delicate, light-as-a-feather fluff balls will steal your heart in seconds flat. When one of these little guys blinks at you with their big, shiny eyes and lets out their piercing “Meowowowow”, you will be putty in their hands from that moment on. Congratulations! You will have just decided to share your life with a Mau! Hopefully you’ll decide to make that two Maus, because they don’t enjoy being alone and much prefer good company.
Typical diseases of the Egyptian Mau
In general, Egyptian Mau enjoys good health. These cats are quite robust in terms of susceptibility to disease. However, as with all breeds, each individual cat’s particular genes, lineage and environment play a decisive role in determining whether they’re liable to become ill or whether they’re protected by a strong immune system. One typical disease of the Egyptian Mau is leukodystrophy, a metabolic disease that affects nerve function.
Life expectancy of the Egyptian Mau
The average life expectancy of the Egyptian Mau is 14 to 16 years. The ageing process will move faster or slower depending on the cat’s genetic disposition and other, external factors. As a cat ages, its body changes and things won’t be as easy as they used to be. Life in general will become ever more difficult. Elderly Maus will therefore be less active, and some of them will become more corpulent as they burn fewer and fewer calories. This is partly because their metabolism changes and they have less muscle mass available to them. In our article on elderly cats you can find out what you should look out for in senior cats and what special needs they have as they get older.
Frequently asked questions about the Egyptian Mau
Depending on the breeder, lineage, sex and age, the price of an Egyptian Mau will average between €1,000 and €1,500. *
*Source: Ägyptische Mau Katze: Preis, Wesen, Haltung (wamiz.de), as of 13 Feb. 2023
The average life expectancy of an Egyptian Mau is 14 to 16 years. Their ageing process may move faster or slower depending on external factors and each cat’s genetic disposition.
In terms of build, the Egyptian Mau is similar to the Abyssinian. Its slender body, narrow, wedge-shaped head and large slanted eyes also give the Mau that unique oriental look, much like an ancient Egyptian cat.
How big is the Egyptian Mau? The Egyptian Mau is a medium-sized cat. With its graceful body, it counts among the lighter to medium-weight cats.
Egyptian Maus are fully grown at roughly 12 to 18 months. At that point, the growth phase is complete, they’ve reached their final body size and become “adults”.Sie sind „erwachsen“.
The Egyptian Mau is happy to go outside. If outdoor access is not possible, the active Mau should definitely be given enough space indoors to remain agile.
Some experts claim that Egyptian Maus are the descendants of ancient Egyptian cats. Others believe that Egyptian Maus are descended from Ethiopian cats. What we know for sure is that the first representatives of this breed arrived in the United States in the 1950s.
Fans of Egyptian Maus love the playful nature of these lively spotted queens. Well into old age, these cats love to romp around. They’re extremely curious and open to everything around them. And they’re always ready to play a game or two!
Since the Egyptian Mau is playful, it’s important to make sure the other cats around them are also playful, if possible. If a potential playmate is also open and curious, the chemistry will be perfect and nothing will stand in the way of a lifelong friendship!
Egyptian Mau cats are very active and also considered to be the fastest of all domestic cats. When these racing machines get going, they can reach a top speed of up to 50 kilometres per hour!
Egyptian Mau cats should not be kept alone. These sociable mice want closeness and contact with two- and four-legged friends. They get along well not only with conspecifics, but also with other animal companions, if the chemistry is right.
Egyptian Mau cats are very sociable. These cats need to be with others, they are very people-oriented. These cats are loyal souls: Whom they have given their heart to, remains their “favourite person”. Forever and ever.
These cats are quite robust in terms of susceptibility to disease. A typical disease of the Egyptian Mau can be leukodystrophy, a metabolic disease that affects the function of the nerves.
The Egyptian Mau with its physical characteristics is often confused with the Oriental Shorthair. The Oriental Shorthair is also an elegant cat with a graceful body and silky soft coat.
Historical depictions from Ancient Egypt often show brownish cats that seem to closely resemble the physique of the Egyptian Mau. The Egyptians revered these cats so much that they were sometimes even placed above humans in terms of their value.