Egyptian Mau

Cat of the Month ~ August 2015
Mau

A young Egyptian Mau

monacocattery.com
It has been proven that it was in Ancient Egypt where the feline we call the Egyptian Mau originated. Their ancestors are strongly and frequently depicted in the artworks of the Ancient Egyptians. Many of their pictures are still intact today and they show heavily spotted cats bearing the distinctive ‘mascara’ marking and coat barring seen on today’s Mau. Indeed recent findings in research studies lead by feline geneticist Leslie Lyons, PhD has confirmed that cats first originated in Egypt. There is archaeological and genetic evidence to show that cats first originated in the famous ‘fertile crescent’. The Egyptian Mau breed has five unique physical features that should be apparent at a glance.
  • One is the brow line and characteristic eye set that gives the breed a somewhat sad and anxious look.
  • The eye color of the Mau is described as “gooseberry green”.
  • A flap of skin extending from the posterior end of the ribcage to the hind leg gives the Mau a phenomenal leaping ability.
  • The Mau can run at very high speed also due to its extended skin flap on the hind leg.
  • Mau’s have a “tiptoe” graceful stance given by the hind legs being proportionally longer than the front legs.
It is said that the Egyptian Mau arrived in the USA in 1956 when Russian Princess Nathalie Troubetskoy, with help from Richard Gebhardt, imported three Maus from Italy: Two silver females, Baba and Liza, and a bronze male called ‘Jojo’. The Mau was granted recognition in The International Cat Association in 1979. The Egyptian Mau has often been thought of as an aloof and shy breed. This may be true but when domesticated fully the Mau has a special affinity with its human family. It is a very close bond that is so different than with other breeds. A typical Mau will command attention and will not allow you to push it away, as it seems to require the fuss o fit’s immediate ‘keeper’. In addition the breed is intensely loyal (and yet still as aloof as a cat can be). The Mau has been shown as having an extraordinary power of scent, hearing, and sight. It may well be for this reason they are so shy and sensitive a cat – easily frightened and upset by sudden loud, unpleasant noises. If a Mau is to be taken to shows then they must be introduced to the environment early so that they will accept the loud sounds and inspection handling of the ring. The Mau is the only natural spotted breed of domestic cat, showing good contrast between the background color and pattern. The pattern is random with any size or shape of distinct spots. They have an “M” on the forehead, often referred to as the mark of the scarab, and a dorsal stripe travels the length of the spine to the tip of the tail. Legs, tail, neck and upper chest are barred with at least one broken necklace. The haunches and shoulders show a transition between spots and stripes. The eyes are large and alert, shaped like a slightly rounded almond, with a slant towards the base of the ear. This eye set contributes to the characteristic “worried” look of the breed. The eye color of the Mau is gooseberry green. If you have never seen a gooseberry, a green grape comes close but isn’t quite the same. Its head is a slightly rounded, wedge-shape of a medium length. The profile has a gentle concave rise from the bridge of the nose to the forehead, not to be dishy or arrow straight. The slightly flared ears are medium to large, alert, moderately pointed and broad at the base. The hair on the outer ear is very short and close-lying that results in an almost transparent look when combined with the delicate shell pink inner color. The Egyptian Mau is a statuesque breed with a muscular, elegant body. It is a graceful feline athlete is hard and lithe. When standing, the Mau has a characteristic “tiptoe” stance, with hind legs longer than the front. The body rises gradually from the back of the prominent shoulder blades to the hips. The medium-length tail tapers slightly towards the dark tip. The hair displays a lustrous sheen on all three accepted colors: silver, bronze and smoke. Its coat is medium in length; in the smoke color the coat texture is silky and fine. In the silvers and bronzes the coat is dense and resilient to the touch.

Source: TICA

Egyptian Mau

Egyptian Maus are a medium-sized short-haired cat breed. They are the only naturally spotted breed of domesticated cat. The spots on an Egyptian Mau are not just on the coat; a shaved Mau has spots on its skin. The Ocicat is very similar in appearance to the Egyptian Mau, but was the product of selective breeding which led to its spots. Another similar looking breed is the Bengal cat, but this breed tends to be considerably larger.
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.
The longer hind legs are another reason for the breed’s startling speed. The Mau also has a loose flap of skin on the lower abdomen, similar to the Cheetah, which allows a longer stride while running, again contributing to its great speed. A Mau running at full speed is impressive, with incredible acceleration. Maus often possess very musical voices. They are known to chirp, chortle and emit other distinctly unusual vocalizations when stimulated. Another behavior, quite common in happy Maus, has been described as “wiggle-tail.” The cat, male or female, moves its back legs up and down, and appears to be marking territory, also known as spraying, but it is not actually releasing urine. Even veteran Mau owners are known to check after a joyous Mau does this little dance.
Egyptian Mau
Egyptian Mau, likely descendant of African wild cats!
Origins The Egyptian Mau is often said to be descended from African wild cats, and a descendant of the cats seen in wall paintings of Ancient Egypt. This, while perhaps being partly true, does not reveal the careful breeding that has taken place to create the ‘purebred’ Egyptian Mau, which was only given championship status in some organisations in 1968. The modern Mau is said to have originated in 1953, Italy, when exiled Russian Princess Natalie Troubetskoy met the cat of the Egyptian Ambassador to Italy. She convinced him to obtain several cats from Egypt for her, and she began to breed them. Maus were attempted to be created in Britain by cross-breeds of Abyssinians, Siamese and tabbies, however these did not resemble the true Maus. Egyptian Maus will either have a ‘scarab beetle’ or ‘M’ marking on their foreheads – those with the latter tend to be from the United States. Physical attributes Egyptian Maus are thought by many to be one of the progenitor breeds of the modern domestic cat. They have anatomical, metabolic and behavioral differences from other cat breeds which could be considered as evidence of antiquity or at least uniqueness from other cat breeds. Besides those already mentioned, Maus are more temperature sensitive than most breeds – they are fond of very warm temperatures. They are more sensitive to medicines and anesthesia. Maus allegedly have an unusually long gestational period. The maximum normal period for cats is 69 days, although Siamese may take a day or two longer. For a Mau, it is said that 73 days is still considered normal. This, however, is not a generally accepted fact, and it is advised for one to assume a 63-67 days gestational period. One should track the cat’s temperature and if it drops by a few degrees without birthing, consult your veterinarian. Egyptian Maus are the fastest breed of domestic cat, capable of running at 36 mph. The next fastest breed is the American Shorthair which has a top speed of 31 mph. For comparison, giraffes also run at 36 mph. Maus are powerful cats for their size, alert and active. Males are usually somewhat larger than females. Purebred Egyptian Maus are a relatively rare breed. As of 2007, fewer than 200 kittens are registered with the GCCF each year.[2] As of 2006, a total of 6741 Maus are registered with the CFA. Maus come in five colors. From most to least common these colors are: silver, bronze, smoke, black and blue/pewter. 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. Popular culture In the 2004 movie Catwoman, the cat ‘Midnight’ who brought Patience Phillips back to life as Catwoman was played by three Egyptian Maus, as well as a computer-generated Mau. The movie reveals that the ancient Egyptian Mau breed has the (fictional) ability to restore life through its connection with the Egyptian goddess Bastet.