egyptian mau catThe Egyptian Mau is a fascinating cat, not only because of its past history, but because of its delightful personality and striking appearance.

History and origin

The name of the breed Mau derived from the Egyptian word for cat. Regarded by most registries as the only natural spotted breed of domestic cat, experts consider that mixed breeding with a sub species of wild cat was probably responsible for the unique coat pattern.

Spotted cats were often depicted in ancient Egyptian wall paintings dating back over 3,000 years and many believe these to be the true ancestors of the Egyptian Mau. The ancient Egyptians held these cats in great affection and respect. They were worshipped as deities, cherished

Appareance

Before the introduction of the Indian lines the Mau gene pool was very restricted and the breed suffered from a number of hereditary problems. Both cardiomyopathy and feline asthma were serious diseases associated with the breed. However, breeders have been working very hard to erradicate these problems, and with the increased genetic diversity brought with the introduction of the Indian lines the health of the breed has improved dramatically in recent years. Litter size is often a good indication of the health of a breed and between 1986 and 1996 the average size of litter of Maus registered with CFA increased from 3.122 kittens to 3.537.

Although the general health of the Maus is improving some health problems persist. Some maus are allergic to particular foods that cause itchy skin and hot spots. These allergies are usually not life threatening, but they can be tedious to identify and treat.

Color

Three colors of Mau can be shown in CFA: silver, bronze and smoke. The silver is white ticked with black and black markings, the bronze is brown ticked with black and black markings and the smoke is dark grey with a white undercoat and black markings. These three colors all have the same distinctive pattern of spots on the body and stripes on the legs and tail which is described in detail in the CFA Mau standard. Solid black Maus can be registered and used in breeding programs but not shown. In addition to the four basically black Maus just described, Maus are also sometimes found with blue markings.

There are four colors of blue Mau corresponding to the four black Mau colors: blue silver, blue spotted (the blue version of bronze), blue smoke and solid blue. As of 1997 the blue Maus were accepted for registration by CFA, and the three spotted colors can now be shown in the AOV class. Very occasionally Maus with the classic or bloched tabby pattern will occur in litters; some breeders call these cats marbles. Classic tabbies can occur in all the possible mau colors.

A classic tabby mau makes a stunning pet (imagine a silver tabby American shorthair with the elegance and personality of a mau….), but it cannot be shown and should not be used in a breeding program. All maus irrespective of color or pattern should have luminous gooseberry green eyes by the time they are one and half years of age.

Grooming

The mau’s short fur lacks the downy undercoat that would call for more regular grooming, so minimal grooming is needed for this breed. However, maus generally enjoy being brushed. Twice a month brushing and claw clipping is about right.