Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cat Breed Facts: Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau is one of the most unique and interesting of all cat breeds. Thought to be the cat pictured in ancient Egyptian artwork, they were once worshipped as gods. Today, they make wonderful companions to the right person.

The Development of the Egyptian Mau

The first Egyptian Maus brought into the United States arrived in late 1956. These cats were tall and elegant, but they each differed in color. One was a vivid silver with black spotting, necklaces, and bracelets, with eyes rimmed in black. The second was a bronze-colored cat. The third was ocher in color.

Through the selective breeding of these three cats, with a great deal of domestic crossing and inbreeding, the Egyptian Mau was established in the United States. The initial offspring were wild an unpredictable. However, with time and even more selective breeding, the Egyptian Mau became a more docile cat, one which is active, intelligent, and makes a great companion, though they do tend to be selective in choosing their friends, human and feline.

Colors range for the Egyptian Mau. Common colors include bronze, silver, smoke, and pewter. Silver seems to be the most popular color, though smoke-colored Egyptian Maus seem to be gaining in popularity.

Some Breed Standards for the Egyptian Mau

The standards for the Egyptian Mau are fairly strict, as with most other breeds. It is easy to have a cat who is penalized, or even disqualified. For those seeking a show cat, choose your kitten carefully.

General: Males should be larger than females. Each cat should be in perfect physical condition and have an alert appearance, being balanced physically and temperamentally. Egyptian Maus should be active, colorful cats, of a medium size with well-developed muscles. They are the only natural domesticated breed of spotted cat.

Head: The entire length of the nose should be even in width when viewed from the front. The head should be a slightly rounded wedge without any flat planes, medium in length, but not full cheeked. The profile of an Egyptian Mau should show a very gentle contour with a slight rise from the bridge of the nose to the forehead. The muzzle should be neither short nor pointed, and adult males may have jowls.

Ears: The ears of the Egyptian Mau may be tufted, and should be wide at the base, medium to large in size. The inner ear should be a delicate pink, almost transparent, with the hair short and close lying. Ears should be alert and moderately pointed, continuing the planes of the head.

Eyes: All Egyptian Maus over eighteen months of age should have gooseberry green eyes. Cats younger than this may have amber eyes. Eyes should be large and alert, almond shaped with a slight slant towards the ears. The skull apertures should be neither round nor oriental.

Body: While adult males may have muscular necks and shoulders, in general, Egyptian Maus should be medium-long and graceful, with well-developed muscles, but not overly so. The balance of the cat is more important than size. There should be a loose skin flap extending from the flank to the hind leg knee. Legs should be in proportion to the body, but hind legs should be proportionately longer, giving the appearance that the cat walks on tiptoes. Feel should be oval, and appear slight and dainty, with five does on the front feet and four on the back.

Tail: The tails of all Egyptian Maus should be medium-long, thick at the base, and have a slight taper.

Coat: The coat varies with the color, but in general should be medium in length with a lustrous sheen. Cats who are smoke-colored should have fine, silky hair. Silver and bronze cats should have coats that are more dense and resilient.

Penalties: Cats that have short or rounded heads will be penalized, but not disqualified. Other penalties will be assessed for: pointed muzzles; small, round, or oriental eyes; cobby or oriental body; short or whip tail; a lack of broken necklaces; or poor physical condition.

Disqualifications: Any cat who lacks spots or has blue eyes is immediately disqualified. Kinked or abnormal tails, or the incorrect number of toes also results in disqualification.

Egyptian Maus are interesting and beautiful to look at. They have a slightly exotic appearance, and have a personality to match. For the cat-lover, an Egyptian Mau might be the perfect companion.

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