Maus are the cutest, cuddliest creatures we’ve ever seen and we’re more than happy to explore what they’re all about. They are elegant, effortless, naturally spotted cats that happen to date back to three thousand years ago. What are some surprising Egyptian Mau facts, anyway?
Whether you’re planning on getting a Mau kitten or you’re already trying to get one to come down from the top of the fridge, you probably already know a thing or two about Egyptian Mau cats. Although they’re not as popular and prominent as Maine Coons or Ragdolls, Maus are a sight to be seen.
With long, lean, athletic bodies that run around the apartment at the speed of light, stunning, spotted coats that attract attention and turn heads, and bright green eyes that take you by surprise every time you stare at them, Egyptian Mau cats deserve all the hype they’re getting.
As a cat with a noble heritage and an appearance that’s reminiscent of the ancient past, the Egyptian Mau needs to be on your radar when you’re searching for the perfect pet. Egyptian Maus are much more than meets the eye – they’re affectionate, appreciative, and extremely attached to their family.
Warm, visually striking, and rare, Egyptian Mau cats managed to overtake the world and become one of the most well-known Egyptian cat breeds. What are Egyptian Mau cats? Where did Egyptian Mau cats come from? What are some surprising Egyptian Mau facts? All that and more down below!
What are Egyptian Mau cats?
Egyptian Maus look like wild cats, but there’s a reason for that.
Whether that’s because of their naturally occurring spots and random patterns on their fur or their long, lean, athletic bodies that resemble Ocicats, Egyptian Mau cats are the closest you can get to owning a wild cat – without breaking the law. With a distinctive “M” on the top of their heads, they’re easy to spot.
What do we know about the origin of the Egyptian Mau, though? We’ve deemed these curious creatures Egyptian because they’re super similar to the cats we’ve seen on ancient Egyptian tombs. We believe that Egyptian Mau cats may have descended from ancient Egyptian domestic cats.
Contrary to what we’ve been told, ancient Egyptians never worshipped cats. Cats were considered mutually beneficial companions and were oftentimes depicted protecting the homes from snakes, scorpions, and dangerous creatures.
Egyptians believed that cats provided companionship in the afterlife, too, and that’s why cats were buried alongside their owners. Moreover, Egyptians believed that gods could inhibit the bodies of cats and that’s why cats were mummified. Cats served as an everyday reminder of the power of the gods.
Cats, Egyptian Mau and otherwise, were associated with the Egyptian goddess Bastet. Bastet remained popular during the Roman rule of Egypt, too, and people believe that the Romans took Egyptian Mau cats to Italy. When they reached Italian soil, the rest was history – the breed took the world by storm!
9 surprising Egyptian Mau facts you need to know
1. The Egyptian Mau is one of the only naturally spotted domestic cat breeds
We’re not kidding! Egyptian Mau cats are considered one of the only naturally spotted domestic cat breeds because they’re not a consequence of crossbreeding. Maus descended from ancient Egyptian domestic cats and grew their stunning spots themselves.
Moreover, there are two varieties of Maus’ spots you can come by – the show version and the native. Show Maus are silver, bronze, or smoke with dark-colored spots on the body and tabby stripes on the face, tail, and feet.
Native Maus come in pretty much every color of the rainbow, including blue, cream, and red. Show or native, Egyptian Maus are embellished with an “M” marking on the top of their heads, also known as “the mark of the scarab.”
2. Egyptian Mau cats might not actually be Egyptian at all
We already mentioned that Egyptian Mau cats are considered – well, Egyptian – because they’re super similar to the ancient Egyptian domestic cats depicted on tombs. With that out of the way, though, we don’t know whether modern Egyptian Maus come from Egypt, too.
While the resemblance is uncanny, it’s unclear where modern Egyptian Maus came from. With a little help from a DNA analysis, we were able to conclude that modern Egyptian Maus are genetically similar to Turkish Angora cats and might be from Europe. Spotted cats are from Egypt, but Maus might not be.
3. The word “mau” meant “cat” in ancient Egypt
We’re not surprised that we all collectively agreed that Egyptian Mau cats are from Egypt. With everything we know about ancient Egyptian felines, we’re forced to draw connections and conclude that Egyptian Maus came from the gift of the Nile.
The Egyptian Mau’s name is derived from the Middle Egyptian word “mjw,” which means cat or sun. The stripes on the Egyptian Mau’s head resemble a scarab beetle, regarded as Egypt’s holy beetle that was oftentimes promoted as a symbol of the sun.
The more we read about the Egyptian Mau, the more we’re sure that the breed originated in Egypt.
4. Pregnant Egyptian Maus have the longest gestation period of all domestic cats
We’re pretty sure that’s not something you’re considering when trying to decide whether or not to adopt an Egyptian Mau kitten, but we do need to talk about the fact that pregnant Egyptian Maus have the longest gestation period of all domestic cats.
When cats get pregnant, they typically give birth after 65 to 67 days of pregnancy. Whether we’re talking about pedigree cats or average street cats, the numbers are almost always the same.
With Egyptian Mau cats, though, you can expect them to remain pregnant for an average of 73 days. We don’t know why that happens, but we do know that you might be relieved to have a few more days to prepare for the arrival of the kittens.
5. The entire Egyptian Mau breed was rescued by a Russian princess
Nowadays, Egyptian Mau cats are adored, sought-after, and taken care of. Whether that’s because they’re sweet, affectionate, and the opposite of high maintenance or because they’re the closest you can get to owning a wild cat without breaking the law, that’s up to you to decide. But that wasn’t always the case.
During the World War II, Egyptian Mau cats faced extinction. Europeans weren’t attending cat shows and Egyptian Mau cats weren’t the priority at the time. Even though the times were tough, the future of the breed was secured when a Russian princess was given a Mau as a gift.
Natalie Trubetskaya was living in exile in Italy when she was gifted an Egyptian Mau kitten that was reportedly imported from the Middle East. Natalie became enamored with the spotted breed and decided to bring the Mau kittens with her when she emigrated to New York City.
When she reached American soil, she started the Fatima Egyptian Mau cattery, which produced many of the ancestors of today’s Egyptian Maus in America.
6. Egyptian Mau cats are one of the oldest domestic cat breeds
We might not know the exact dates of when the first Egyptian Maus appeared, but records of the Egyptian Mau date back to 1400 B.C. Egyptian Mau cats are considered one of the oldest domestic cat breeds and are celebrated for the fact that they’re a naturally occurring breed, too.
7. Egyptian Maus are the fastest of all domestic cats
We’re all thinking of a particular TikTok sound that perfectly describes the speed of an Egyptian Mau cat, right? Egyptian Maus are believed to be the fastest of all domestic cats, clocking up to 30 miles per hour.
Maus are blessed with big, bold, muscular bodies and unusually long hind legs that allow them to move at the speed of light. Egyptian Mau cats are built for running, climbing on high spots, and exploring the great outdoors – that’s something to consider when you start searching for Egyptian Mau breeders.
Maus are equipped with a stomach flap similar to that of a Cheetah and that’s why they’re able to stretch further back, sprint, and leap with ease.
8. The Egyptian Mau can jump really, really high
Whenever you decide to adopt an Egyptian Mau, don’t be alarmed when the curious creature starts climbing on kitchen counters, hanging out on top of the closet, or hopping off the highest windows. Maus are extremely physically active, but they’re also built for all sorts of shenanigans.
Because of those powerful hind legs, Egyptian Maus have been known to hop as high as 6 feet straight up. Before you get scared that there’s something wrong, know that Egyptian Mau cats adore working out, climbing on cat trees, and hopping like little bunnies – higher than bunnies, but still…
9. Egyptian Mau cats are shy but friendly
We’ve arrived at the end of the article with one of the most surprising Egyptian Mau facts – Maus are shy when you meet them for the first time.
Egyptian Mau cats are affectionate, friendly, and fun-loving, but don’t expect them to be all over you from the moment you take them home. Maus need a little time to figure things out, get to know you better, and trust you. When they do, though, they become the cutest, cuddliest cats you’ve ever seen.