Monday, December 23, 2013

The Characteristics of the Egyptian Mau

Mau is the Egyptian word for cat, so the Egyptian Mau is really the Egyptian Cat. Genetic testing has proven conclusively that the Egyptian Mau really did originate in Egypt. In fact, ancient artwork in the region depicts cats that are very similar in appearance to the modern Mau. Unfortunately, the Mau had a hard time in the early part of the 20th century, almost going extinct during WWII.

In 1956, that began to change. Three cats were imported to the United States from Italy. Two of these were female, one was male, and all were Egyptian Maus. The gene pool was limited, but with precise crossbreeding, inbreeding, and the importing of suitable cats, the breed stabilized and was accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1979. Today, most cat associations recognize the Egyptian Mau as a championship breed.

The Appearance of the Egyptian Mau

This muscular breed is elegant and has a regal bearing. Its coat is medium in length; its texture varies with the color of the Mau. Smoke colored cats have a fine and silky coat, but silver and bronze cats sport a dense and soft fur that is a pleasure to touch. All cats have gooseberry green eyes shaped like medium-sized almonds. The eyes slant towards the ears, giving the cat a slightly worried look. The ears are large and broad, giving the Mau an inquisitive appearance. These ears are very keen, making the Mau especially sensitive to sounds.

The most distinctive quality of the Egyptian Mau is the brilliant coat. Maus are the only naturally spotted domestic cat breed; all other spotted breeds were bred with wildcats to achieve the spotted effect. There is a marked difference between the coat color and the spot color, so the spots stand out in sharp contrast. The size and shape of these spots is mostly random.

All Egyptian Maus have a mark in the shape of an "M" on the forehead. This is often called the Mark of the Scarab. A dorsal stripe runs the length of the spine, covering the back and the tail all the way to the tip. The neck, upper chest, tail, and legs are all striped with the shoulders showing a transition between spots and stripes.

The Personality of the Egyptian Mau

This breed is shy and incredibly sensitive. They don't like loud noises and they despise anything that disrupts their daily routine. They do best in a quiet household free of too much noise. The Egyptian Mau is not the kind of cat that likes to live with a party animal and they tend to do better in homes without young children.

But the Egyptian Mau will bond to a sensitive and quiet individual. Once this cat is bonded, it will remain intensely loyal and loving towards its person. If a Mau truly bonds to you, you'll find yourself on the receiving end of more affection than you'll know what do to with. The cat will want to be with you always and will make little chirping sounds when happy. Expect the Egyptian Mau to be involved in everything you do because it's hard to avoid them when they want to be the center of attention.

Known Health Issues of the Egyptian Mau

For the most part, the Egyptian Mau is a stable and robust breed. They have very few inherited health problems, but some lines are prone to luxating patella (slipping kneecaps). Ask your breeder about this problem and consider getting a cat from a line that has not exhibited this condition.

The Egyptian Mau is a sweet and loving cat who needs a quiet space to be happy. If you are the type of person who likes to sit and read a book late on a Friday night, this loyal breed might be for you.