Egyptian Mau Cat
What Is A Egyptian Mau Cat
The Egyptian Mau cat is the only naturally spotted breed. Its spots are believed to have come from natural interbreeding with wild cats many centuries ago. Spotted cats are shown in many ancient Egyptian wall paintings and may have had special privileges. Cats were highly valued in ancient Egypt, sometimes even worshipped as deities, and were often mummified like people upon their death.
The first Egyptian Mau is believed to have come to the West with the Egyptian Ambassador to Italy in the 1950s. The Russian Princess Natalie Troubetskoy, living in exile in Italy, was charmed by the Ambassador’s distinctive spotted pet and persuaded him to get several similar cats for her, which she began to breed.
The name ‘mau’ comes from the Egyptian word for cat.
The Egyptian Mau’s characteristic spots are not only on the hairs of the coat but are also visible in the skin pigmentation if the cat is shaved. Bengals and other spotted breeds have been crossed with wild cats or selectively bred to achieve their coat.
Egyptian Maus carry a distinctive M or scarab beetle shaped mark on the forehead. They also have some anatomical differences which cause some people to consider them to be biologically distinct from other cats, possibly forming an evolutionary link between wild cats and other modern domestic breeds.
Their hind legs are longer than their front legs, giving them more acceleration and power when running than most cats. They also have a loose flap of skin on the abdomen which helps them stretch out further with each stride in the way that a cheetah does. This flap also contributes to their amazing speed. They have been recorded running over 30 miles per hour.
Acceptable colors are silver, bronze and smoke. Black and blue/pewter coats also occur but are not recognized. Eyes must be green, although some kittens are born with an amber shade to their eyes which becomes more green as they develop. The eyes are large and slightly slanted. Ears are medium sized and may be tufted.
Maus can have very musical voices, making different sounds that can sound like chirping or almost singing.
They are very sensitive to temperature and like to live in a warm environment.
Some Maus also have a habit of wiggling their tail, moving the hind legs up and down as if spraying to mark territory, without actually releasing urine. This is a sign of a happy cat.
They are fond of their owners and very loyal, but can play rough with scratching and biting. In the fall of 2007, the very popular series of Mean Kitty videos by Cory Williams of SMP Films appeared on You Tube featuring his Egyptian Mau cat named Sparta.
David M Peterson
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