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Egyptian Mau

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Title: Egyptian Mau  
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Subject: Cat Fanciers' Association, Canadian Cat Association, Tabby cat, Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, List of cat breeds
Collection: Cat Breeds, Cat Breeds Originating in Egypt, Natural Cat Breeds
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Egyptian Mau

Egyptian Mau
Bronze colored Mau
Origin Egypt
Breed standards
CFA standard
FIFe standard
TICA standard
AACE standard
ACFA/CAA standard
CCA-AFC standard
Domestic cat (Felis catus)

Egyptian Maus are a small- to medium-sized short-haired cat breed. Along with the Bahraini Dilmun cat, they are one of the few naturally spotted breeds of domesticated cat. The spots of the Mau occur on only the tips of the hairs of their coat.

The breed conformation is described by The Cornell Book of Cats as

a balance between the compactness of a Burmese and the slim elegance of a Siamese. Its medium-length body is muscular, with the hind legs longer than the front, giving the Mau the appearance of standing on tiptoes when upright.[1]

They frequently land on their back feet when taking a leap, making them appear rather haughty and kangaroo-like. The Egyptian Mau is the fastest of the domestic cats,[2] with its longer hind legs, and unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee, providing for greater agility and length of stride. Maus have been clocked running more than 30 mph (48 km/h).[2]

Maus often possess very musical voices. They are known to chirp, chortle, and emit other distinctly unusual vocalizations when stimulated.[3] Another behavior, quite common in happy Maus, has been described as "wiggle-tail." The cat, whether female or male, wiggles and twitches its tail, and appears to be marking territory, also known as spraying, but during this behavior the Mau is not releasing urine. Even veteran Mau owners are known to check after a joyous Mau does this little dance.[4] Facial expressions may change according to mood, and eye color may change from green to turquoise.


  • Origins 1
  • Physical attributes 2
  • Rarity 3
  • Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization and export of Maus 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


Silver colored Mau

The modern Egyptian Mau is said to have originated in 1952, in Italy, when exiled Russian Princess Natalie Trubetskaya met the cat of the Egyptian Ambassador to Italy.[5] After convincing him to obtain several cats from Egypt for her, she began to breed them. Trubetskaya described her Maus as having a "troubled" look, with their round eyes and open expression. The breed name is derived from the Middle Egyptian word mw (literally, cat).

Despite claims that the breed originated in Egypt, DNA analysis shows mainly European and North American origins. The feline genome data published in the Pentascope document shows the Egyptian Mau to be very closely related to the Maine Coon, Korat, and American Turkish Angoras (not native Turkish Angoras).[6] The phylogenetic tree published in PlosOne demonstrates that the Egyptian Mau belongs to the group of Western-derived breeds.[7] The East Mediterranean/Anatolian group is omitted because breeds that supposedly originate in that geographic area do not do so.

This Mau has the 'Scarab Beetle' marking on its forehead
This Mau has an 'M' marking on its forehead

The Mau achieved championship status in some organizations in 1968. There were attempts by British breeders to create Maus from cross-breeds of Abyssinians, Siamese and tabbies, however, these did not resemble the true Maus. This mix became the basis for the Ocicat.

Egyptian Maus will have either a 'scarab beetle' or 'M' marking on their foreheads,[8] those with the latter tend to be from the United States.[9]

Physical attributes

Egyptian Maus typically are slender and muscular and they are thought to be one of the progenitor breeds of the modern domestic cat.[1] They have anatomical, metabolic, and behavioral differences from other cat breeds which could be considered evidence of antiquity or at least uniqueness from other cat breeds. Some anatomical differences are their legs, which are slightly shorter in the front than in the back. They also have a skin fold under the belly, resembling that of the cheetah, which assists in running by allowing the legs to stretch back farther. Also one of the most important recognizable "traits" of this particular animal is a long, dark, dorsal stripe that runs from its head to its tail along its spine.

The Mau is known for having what is considered a loyal, friendly personality.

Maus are more temperature sensitive than most breeds - they are fond of very warm temperatures.[1] They are more sensitive to medicines and anesthesia. Maus allegedly have an unusually long gestational period, about 73 days.[1] The maximum normal period for cats is 65–67 days, although Siamese may take a day or two longer.


Egyptian Maus are a relatively rare breed. As of 2007, fewer than 200 kittens are registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy each year.[10] As of 2006, a total of 6,742 Maus were registered with the Cat Fanciers' Association.

Maus come in five colors. From most to least common these colors are: silver, bronze, smoke, black and blue/pewter.[11]

Black and pewter Maus cannot be shown, but may be used in breeding. All Maus must have green eyes, but an amber cast is acceptable in kittens and young adults up to eighteen months old.

Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization and export of Maus

The Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization (EMRO) is an agency for the adoption, both locally and internationally, of tame Maus born in the Middle East. Supported solely by private and corporate donors, EMRO aims to increase education in Egypt and around the world about the cats.[12]

EMRO's cats are not pedigreed Egyptian Maus; they are Egyptian and Arabian street cats of unrecorded pedigree that come from the Mau's region of landrace origin. Breed registries will not consider these cats and their immediate offspring Egyptian Maus. Establishing later offspring as pedigreed Egyptian Maus requires detailed record-keeping to verify parentage, and examination of the cats to ensure they meet a number of exacting breed standard conformation requirements to rule out disqualifying physical traits. For example, the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) will consider the first generation of imported cats to be native Maus; their second- and third-generation offspring (derived from the same imported stock and/or bred to CFA-pedigreed Egyptian Maus – they must not be out-bred to any other breed) are considered domestic Maus. Finally, the fourth generation cats are eligible for placement on the active registry as formal Egyptian Mau breed specimens, provided they have been evaluated fully and approved by a designated representative of the Egyptian Mau Breed Council as conformant.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d The Egyptian Mau Breed
  2. ^ a b Becker, Marty; Spadafori, Gina (2006). Do cats always land on their feet?. Deerfield Beach, Fla: Health Communications Inc. p. 200.  
  3. ^ Egyptian Mau behavior
  4. ^ The Egyptian Mau. The Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc.
  5. ^ History of Egyptian Mau By Lisa Root, July 19. 2003. TCA Inc.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Egyptian Mau Breed Profile
  9. ^ Stephens, G. (1989) Legacy of the Cat, pp. 58-59. ISBN 0-87701-695-X
  10. ^ The Egyptian Mau – Some Facts & Figures
  11. ^ Number of Egyptian Maus registered
  12. ^ Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization website
  13. ^ "Import Policy". CFA Egyptian Mau Breed Council. February 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  • Siegal, M., Cornell Feline Health Center (Editors) (1989) The Cornell Book of Cats: A Comprehensive Medical Reference for Every Cat and Kitten. Villard Books. ISBN 0-394-56787-0
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