The Egyptian Mau is a strikingly beautiful feline variety whose domestication dates back to the times of the pharaohs. The trademark features of this breed are its spotted coat and huge gooseberry-green eyes. It’s also characterised with highly vigorous and alert disposition and can move at lightning speed.
Photo: © cattery Silver Irbis (egyptianmau.lv)
It’s almost certain that the Ancient Egypt is the homeland of the domestic cat we now know as the Egyptian Mau. The ancestor of the breed was the small African wild cat from which it inherited its naturally spotted coat. Ancient Egyptians profusely depicted the forebears of this cat in their masterpieces. Lots of these images showed strong resemblance to the modern version of the breed. Recent genetic discoveries made by the cat geneticist Leslie Lyons provided concrete evidence of the Egyptian origin of this cat. Archaeological findings also support this theory of its initial appearance. The breeds’ Egyptian ancestry was honoured in the name of this cat. In fact the word “mau” is the Egyptian term for a cat.
The Egyptian Mau had already existed in Europe well before the Second World War, but the in the post-war years its population shrank to the dangerously low level. Its systematic breeding began in the 50s of XX century when Russian princess Nathalie Troubetskaya brought several of its specimens to the United States. It’s rumoured that she received her first kitten from the Egyptian ambassador to Italy. The princess gave it the name Baba. When she arrived to America in 1956, she took Baba and two of her offspring with her. At the outset the number of the breed was so scarce that it was extremely difficult to sustain the essential quality of exterior and disposition, but recent imports brought positive changes in this situation.
In 1968 the breed was granted recognition by the Cat Fanciers Federation and recognition of the Cat Fanciers Association followed in 1977. Today the Egyptian Mau attained official acknowledgment of most feline registries and has love and loyalty of thousands of cat fanciers from all over the world.
The Egyptian Mau is an agile and intelligent cat with slightly reserved temperament. On the one hand it’s fully happy only when it’s surrounded by affection and attention of its human family. It craves caress from its special people and will demonstrate endless devotion to them. On the other hand it’s predisposed to become somewhat shy in the presence of unfamiliar people. That’s why it requires early and intensive socialisation so your cat won’t be easily frightened by unforeseen situations and noises. This breed usually tolerates other household pets and can make friends with a small and non-aggressive dog. Family children will like this cat for its outgoing and adventurous nature.
The Egyptian Mau is notable for high reserves of energy. It’s a climber and usually chooses the highest point in your dwelling from which it will observe your doings with undiminishing interest. It’s advisable to install in your house one or several tall cat trees so your wallpaper and furniture won’t suffer from the cat’s claws. This breed likes playing in water and will actively help you while you are washing dishes.
The inquisitive and sharp mind of the Egyptian Mau also requires proper stimulation. It will be quite satisfied if you regularly give it a new puzzle toy to play with although it will be totally thrilled at the opportunity to learn some interesting tricks. This breed fits best for the families, which will like its lively and mischievous temperament.
The most common problems for the breed include:
The Egyptian Mau demands rather basic care. The breed possesses the coat of a medium length. The texture of its hair mostly depends on the colouration of the cat. The smoke-coloured specimen has delicate and gentle coat. The cat with silver or bronze colouring is distinguishable for thicker and more elastic texture of its fur. The master should brush the cats’ hair on a weekly basis to maintain it in a healthy state.
The only other grooming procedures the Egyptian Mau requires are weekly trimming of its nails and regular ear cleaning. Weekly teeth brushing will ensure the absence of problems in this area for many years ahead. It’s essential to start care routines as early and as carefully as possible so the cat won’t be startled by your manipulations afterwards.