An Egyptian Mau is one of the most elegant cats that you’ll come across. He’s a spotted cat whose ancestry could be dating back thousands of years. It’s even believed that this is the cat whose images are all over Ancient Egyptian temples.
He’s fast, he’s intelligent, he’s gorgeous, and he’s very obedient. Some would say that this is the perfect domestic cat!
You want to adopt him and show him the love he deserves, but you have no idea where to begin. He seems like one of those breeds that needs a lot of care. Because you don’t usually see this breed around, you believe that he’s quite rare and that he may not be the best companion for you.
However, you’ll be pleased to find out that you have nothing to worry about. In this article, we’ll give you all the information that you need about this breed so you can go out and get your Egyptian Mau and give him his forever home. He’ll become your best friend, but you need to learn a lot about this majestic cat.
The history of the Egyptian Mau
As stated before, the Egyptian Maus have a long history that makes them even more special. These athletic spotted cats have descended from the domestic cats that were in almost every household in Ancient Egypt. However, their actual lineage is quite difficult to trace.
The one well-known thing is the fact that cats were sacred during this time. The depictions of cats in temples date back to 1900 BCE, and some of those artworks even show cats with similar markings to the Egyptian Mau.
Ancient Egyptians believed that cats were protectors of the household, and the goddess Bastet was also depicted with the head of a cat. She was known as the goddess of love, fertility, women, children, and protection. For that exact reason, it was illegal to harm a cat in any way, shape, or form.
Some sources say that these gorgeous cats were brought from Egypt to Italy, during the Roman rule of Egypt. That’s how the next generations of this breed ended up in Europe.
For a while, this breed was actually on the verge of extinction because of World War II. They were bred in many countries in Europe, but during the war they almost faced extinction.
One nurse in particular is to thank for the fact that there are more cats of this breed. Her name was Nathalie Troubetskoy, and she was born in Russia. She got a silver cat with remarkable spots, which was later determined to be the Egyptian Mau, and she was more than motivated to keep this breed alive.
There are even documents that state that she imported male cats of this breed from the Middle East, and she was able to produce the first litter of Egyptian Mau in 1956. After that, the breed was officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
Unfortunately, these cats suffered some serious genetic disorders because of the limited gene pool in the US. They wanted to expand this breed, which led to the establishment of the Indian breeding line. Jean S. Mill was able to find two Egyptian Maus in a zoo in New Delhi, she brought them to her home and that’s when the breeding line was secured.
Today, this is an extremely rare breed. It’s said that there are only 3000 Egyptian Maus in the entire world.
The actual origin of this breed was discovered a couple of years back. In 2012, it was confirmed that they had a Middle Eastern origin and they were connected to cats like the Turkish Van.
The appearance of an Egyptian Mau
1. Medium size
The Egyptian Mau is a medium-sized cat, believe it or not. They can seem bigger in photos, but they grow between only 7 and 11 inches, which is around 18 to 30 cm in height.
When you put this breed next to the bigger domestic cats, such as the Norwegian Forest cat and the Maine Coon, they can even seem small.
Once he’s fully grown, he can weigh between 8 and 12 pounds, which is approximately somewhere between 4 and 6 kg. That’s the perfect size for a domestic cat if you don’t have too much space for a bigger breed.
He’s not small, but he’s just about big enough for the perfect cuddle buddy.
2. Short and silver coat
The most noteworthy thing about his appearance is his spotted coat, which resembles the coat of a cheetah. Even though he seems like a breed that was created by human breeders, he’s naturally born like this. These spots appear in random patterns all around his body.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association has only noted specific coat colors which are smoke, bronze, and silver. However, it’s quite possible to come across this breed with different coat colors, for example, caramel, black, or even blue.
You’ll see that his coat is actually quite short. He does have some longer fur around his neck, on his tail, and on his hind legs. However, the rest of his body is coated with very short hairs. Also, because he comes from such a warm environment, he doesn’t have an undercoat like you can see in fluffier cats.
This is perfect for owners who don’t have too much time to set aside for grooming. His coat won’t require too much attention, and he’ll be able to groom himself without any trouble.
3. Green eyes
The eyes of an Egyptian Mau are incredibly gorgeous. He has the most stunning green eyes, which will make you feel like he sees right into your soul. Because of this specific trait, Ancient Egyptians believed that cats could see beyond the physical realm and that they could see the souls of people that they encountered.
This particular shade of green is also known as gooseberry. Many people have said that the Egyptian Mau has a very worried and concerned face. This makes him seem like he holds some sort of Ancient knowledge that’s beyond our understanding.
4. A distinct face
The Egyptian Mau has one thing that could probably remind you of a tabby cat, which is the distinctive “M” shape on his forehead. His face has a very obvious triangular shape that makes him look very serious. However, he’s still an adorable cat with big eyes, that are lined with so-called “mascara lines” that can sometimes go from the corner of his eyes up to his cheeks.
What gives his face an even more triangular shape is the fact that his ears are set wide apart, and they’re always standing up high. His nose is small, and pink or in a dark pink shade.
5. Muscular body
These strong and muscular cats have a very athletic build. Because they’re very energetic and love to run around, these cats don’t get obese easily, especially if you’re able to give them the proper nutrition and exercise.
If you choose to bring this cat into your life, you’ll have a feeling like he’s standing on his toes, simply because his hind legs are longer than his front legs. This gives him the possibility to run much faster and jump much higher than some other breeds.
What also helps is the fact that he has an additional flap of skin that runs from his flank to his back knees. This is just another trait that they share with cheetahs.
The personality of an Egyptian Mau
1. Highly intelligent and easily trainable
The Egyptian Mau is a highly intelligent feline. Your new companion will be able to understand basic commands in a very short period, and you’ll be able to train him.
Firstly, you won’t have any issues with teaching him from a very young age where to do his business. He’ll be able to understand that the litter box is made for that. However, he’ll also understand when you give him any sort of negative feedback after he does something bad.
For example, if he ends up jumping on the countertops, it’ll take him a couple of remarks before he understands that this particular part of the house is off-limits for him.
Another bad reputation that cats have is that they’re too stubborn to learn any tricks. People tend to believe that you can’t train a cat, no matter how hard you try. Well, that’s simply not true. Especially, with bigger domestic cats, but also with the Egyptian Mau.
Maus are easily trainable. Do they need more time than dogs? Definitely. However, when you compare the time you need to train a normal street cat with the time you need to train a Mau, it’s significantly shorter.
There are many different things that you can do to train him and to make him follow simple commands. After a while, you’ll have an arsenal of party tricks to show people just how intelligent your cat actually is.
2. Extremely energetic
Egyptian Maus aren’t made for the boring domestic life where the family isn’t active. Their muscular bodies require a lot of exercise and activity to stay happy and healthy.
These cats have so much energy that if you don’t give them the time and space to let it all out, they’ll start running throughout the entire night. You know when the zoomies completely take away your cat’s rational thinking, and he simply starts running and jumping on everything? Yes, that’s exactly what you can expect.
Because the Egyptian Mau is easily trainable, you’ll even be able to put a leash on him and take him out for walks. He needs a lot more time outside where he can jump around and play than most other cat breeds.
I mean, I’ve made the comparison to a cheetah before. He loves jumping around and he’s an extraordinary jumper. Either you help him get all of that energy out or the next thing you know he’ll be on your chandelier, dangling and breaking things.
3. Highly affectionate
The Egyptian Mau will bond with you fairly quickly. He’ll want to cuddle with you, sleep next to you, and play with you. He’s the type of cat that simply loves to be pet, and he loves the attention that he gets.
It’s said that cats can even become depressed if they don’t get enough affection from their owners. Just like children get depressed if they’re not given the attention that they require.
If you’re not a very affectionate person, then you probably shouldn’t bring this specific breed home. I mean, the Ancient Egyptians worshiped them, so you may as well show him a little bit of affection.
4. Not the friendliest cats in the world
I know that I’ve just said that these cats are very affectionate, however, they’re not very friendly when it comes to strangers and other pets. If you choose to bring an Egyptian Mau home then you should know that you could have some issues.
For example, he won’t be very fond of strangers. Especially, if they try to touch him or pick him up, and he could even ignore them completely if they try to play with him.
When it comes to other pets, especially dogs, he’ll be unimpressed. He’s the type of cat that will find a safe corner away from the hyperactive dogs.
A Maine Coon is a great companion for households that already have other pets. Simply because of its size. They can also handle some rougher play from dogs and children.
The Egyptian Mau is a much smaller cat and he doesn’t like rougher playtime. He’ll lose his temper quickly and he may even harm the other pets or the children.
I know that this is a generalization, but you need to be aware of this. Don’t bring him into your house if you know this and then be surprised if he scratches your dogs.
Of course, there are always exceptions to rules, so maybe your Egyptian Mau is different.
Diet and nutrition
I know that there are people out there who believe that every cat is the same. They believe that cats are predators who could probably eat anything and everything without getting sick. However, that’s the street cats that you come across on your daily walks.
An Egyptian Mau isn’t like that at all. This breed needs high-quality food, and their diet has to consist of wet and dry foods. Wet foods are there for digestion, but dry foods are good for their teeth. So, it’s better to find high-quality products that can meet your cat’s dietary needs.
You can always consult a veterinarian about this topic and find out what you should give your cat in these situations. However, a professional could also make an entire dietary plan based on the lifestyle, specific health needs, and activity levels of your feline friend.
The only thing that you need to be aware of is that cats aren’t made to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. You may think that I’m crazy for even suggesting that, but you’d be surprised how many intelligence-challenged people there are in this world.
Cats are carnivores. Of course, you can add certain greens and veggies to his diet in small quantities, but his diet has to mainly consist of different types of meat.
You won’t have to worry too much about the grooming process of your Egyptian Mau. He’ll shed, just like any other cat, but his shedding is quite moderate. He won’t need extensive grooming.
Of course, you can help him by regularly brushing him, which can also prevent him from swallowing huge chunks of his own coat. This can lead your cat to cough like crazy and he’ll start barfing up huge hairballs.
Besides that, it’s recommended that you bathe your cat at least once a month. You can, of course, take him to a groomer. However, this is a very gentle cat, and if you start bathing him from a young age you won’t have issues with him.
When you’re bathing him, I’d recommend that you clean his ears, and clip his claws. When it comes to claws, you have to be extremely careful not to damage any blood vessels.
Because Egyptian Maus are just like any other cats, they can also develop dental issues. In order to avoid that you have to brush his teeth regularly. You can use a small brush that you can put around your finger and some cat-friendly toothpaste. I know that your cat won’t find this too comfortable, but I can promise you that he needs it.
Another thing that I’d recommend is a sanitary trim. His coat isn’t long, so you don’t have to do this too often, but it’s easier to keep your cat clean if you don’t have to worry about poo being stuck on his backside.
Common health problems
Because an Egyptian Mau has a limited genetic background in the US, your new friend could develop some serious health issues. However, most of the health problems can be genetic.
The first one that you should be aware of is that cats like him can develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Your cat can get diagnosed with this when the muscles in his heart start to thicken, and it can significantly shorten his lifespan.
The good news is that, in mild cases or at the beginning of this condition, it can be managed with medications, the proper diet, as well as regular exercise.
Some other issues that your cat could face are kidney disease, bladder stones, or any other lower urinary tract infections. This happens because cats don’t drink enough water, especially if the water is in a bowl for days and it becomes stale.
Dental disease is also a serious threat to cats. That’s why it’s so important to regularly brush his teeth with a soft brush and cat-friendly toothpaste.
If you have the time, the best thing for your cat would be if you could take him to the veterinarian so a professional can clean his teeth properly. Otherwise, make sure that you buy him nibble foods that can help with the health of his teeth.
What to expect?
The first thing that you can expect from an Egyptian Mau is that he’ll become highly attached to his owner – a.k.a. you. If you’re someone who’s out of the house a lot then this isn’t the right cat for you.
Also, if you’ve never had a cat before, this may not be the best cat to start with.
The Egyptian Mau is a cat that likes couples with older and more sensible children. If you have a small child who would want to play with the cat, then maybe you should go for a friendlier option.
This cat is also extremely active. He’s perfect for a household that loves to stay active, loves hiking, going for walks, playing around the house, and so on. He’ll love to run around and jump on anything that he can because he probably has too much energy at that moment.
So, once you decide to bring this cat into your life, you also have to be aware that this is an extremely rare breed that has to be taken care of properly. You can’t leave him home alone and you can’t be lazy when it comes to caretaking.
This will be your family member for the next 15 years, or maybe even more if you’re careful enough with him. You have to be ready to give him the time and energy that he needs.
You can also expect him to not get along with other pets within the household. He’ll be great with the older cats who don’t want to play or fight with him, but please keep the dog away from your Mau. He doesn’t need to be traumatized.
Either way, I believe that the Egyptian Mau is a great addition to any family, and you should definitely give it a thought. Especially considering that he’s a sight for sore eyes that will bring a lot of joy into your life.