Egyptian Mau

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Egyptian Mau
Egyptian Mau Bronze.jpg
Bronze colored Mau
Origin Egypt
Breed standards
Domestic cat (Felis catus)

Egyptian Maus are a small to medium-sized short-haired cat breed. They are one of the few naturally spotted breeds of domesticated cat. The spots of the Mau occur on only the tips of the hairs of its coat. It is considered a rare breed.[1]


Egyptian Maus are considered one of the progenitor breeds of the modern domestic cat.[2] The breed conformation is described 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."[2]

The Egyptian Mau is the fastest of the domestic cats,[3] with its longer hind legs, and unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee, which assists in running by allowing the legs to stretch back farther, providing for greater agility and length of stride. Maus have been clocked running more than 48 km/h (30 mph).[3]

Also one of the most important recognizable "traits" of this particular animal is a long, dark, dorsal stripe that runs from its head to its tail along its spine.

Maus come in six colours. From most to least common, these colours are silver, bronze, smoke, black, caramel and blue/pewter.[4][5] 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.[6]

The Mau is known for having what is considered a loyal, playful and friendly personality.[7]

Maus are more temperature sensitive than most breeds—they are fond of very warm temperatures.[2]

They are more sensitive to medicines and anesthesia.[8]

Maus have an unusually long gestational period, about 73 days.[2] The maximum normal period for cats is 65–67 days, although Siamese may take a day or two longer.

Maus often possess very musical voices. They are known to chirp, chortle, and emit other distinctly unusual vocalizations when stimulated.[9] Another behavior, quite common in happy Maus, has been described as "wiggle-tail." The cat, whether female or male, wiggles and twitches its tail, and appears to be marking territory, also known as spraying, but during this behavior the Mau is not releasing urine.

Facial expressions may change according to mood, and eye colour may change from green to turquoise.[10]


Silver coloured Mau.

Historical evidence points to the Mau being an Egyptian breed. The feline genome data published in the Pentascope document shows the Egyptian Mau to be very closely related to the Maine Coon, Korat, and American Turkish Angoras (not distinguishable from native Turkish Angoras).[11] The phylogenetic tree published in PlosOne demonstrates that the Egyptian Mau belongs to the group of Western-derived breeds.[12] The East Mediterranean/Anatolian group is omitted because breeds that supposedly originate in that geographic area do not do so.

This Mau has the "M" marking on their forehead
This Mau has the "Mark of the Scarab Beetle" on their forehead

The Mau achieved championship status in some organizations in 1968. There were attempts by British breeders to create Maus from cross-breeds of Abyssinians, Siamese and tabbies, however, these did not resemble the true Maus. This mix became the basis for the Ocicat.

Egyptian Maus will have either a "scarab beetle" or "M" marking on their foreheads.[13] Those with the latter tend to be from the United States.[14]

A Bengal breeder named Jean Mill also made some contributions to the breed. Mill was working with the Egyptian Maus during the time she was creating the Bengal cat breed. In 1982, Mill took a trip to India and spotted a domestic cat "running around the rhinoceros compound" in a zoo. "He was an orange cat with little spots all over him," Mill said. "He was so unusual, I asked [the zookeepers] to catch him for me." Mill called him "Millwood Toby of Delhi". The curator of the New Delhi Zoo also gave Mill the sister of the cat in the rhinoceros cage which Mill named "Millwood Tasha of New Delhi". These two Indian domestic cats Toby and Tasha introduced a feature previously unknown in the Mau: the rufous polygene. The descendants of these two cats Toby and Tasha were often recorded as both Egyptian Mau and Bengal.[15]

It has been said that all glitter in the Bengal cat, Egyptian Mau and Toyger breeds originates from Millwood Tory of Delhi.[16]


Egyptian Maus are a relatively rare breed in the UK. Fewer than 200 kittens are registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy each year.[17] Not all Mau kittens are registered.

Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization and export[edit]

The Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization (EMRO) was an agency for the adoption, both locally and internationally, of tame Maus born in the Middle East. Supported solely by private and corporate donors, EMRO aimed to increase education in Egypt and around the world about the cats. It closed in 2017.[18]

EMRO's cats are not pedigreed Egyptian Maus; they are Egyptian and Arabian street cats of unrecorded pedigree that come from the Mau's region of landrace origin. Breed registries will not consider these cats and their immediate offspring as Egyptian Maus. Establishing later offspring as pedigreed Egyptian Maus requires detailed record-keeping to verify parentage, and examination of the cats to ensure they meet a number of exacting breed standard conformation requirements to rule out disqualifying physical traits. For example, the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) will consider the first generation of imported cats to be native Maus; their second- and third-generation offspring (derived from the same imported stock and/or bred to CFA-pedigreed Egyptian Maus – they must not be out-bred to any other breed) are considered domestic Maus. Finally, the fourth generation cats are eligible for placement on the active registry as formal Egyptian Mau breed specimens, provided they have been evaluated fully and approved by a designated representative of the Egyptian Mau Breed Council as conformant.[19]

See also[edit]



  • Becker, Marty; Spadafori, Gina (2006). Do cats always land on their feet?. Deerfield Beach, Fla: Health Communications Inc. p. 200. ISBN 0-7573-0573-3.
  • Siegal, Mordecai; Cornell Feline Health Center (Editors) (1989). The Cornell Book of Cats: A Comprehensive Medical Reference for Every Cat and Kitten. New York: Villard Books. ISBN 0-394-56787-0.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Stephens, Gloria; Yamazaki, Tetsu (1990). Legacy of the cat. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-87701-695-X.


  1. ^ "Egyptian Mau Cat Breed - Facts and Traits | Hill's Pet". Hill's Pet Nutrition. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  2. ^ a b c d The Egyptian Mau Breed
  3. ^ a b Becker & Spadafori 2006, p. 200.
  4. ^ "Number of Egyptian Maus registered". Egyptian Mau Breed Council. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  5. ^ "Frequently asked questions: Some facts & Figures". The Egyptian Mau Club (UK). Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  6. ^ "Jewels Nile Cattery". Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  7. ^ "Breed Profile: The Egyptian Mau". Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  8. ^ Siegal & Cornell Feline Health Center (Editors) 1989.
  9. ^ Egyptian Mau behavior Archived 2008-08-20 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Egyptian Mau breed standard". Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  11. ^ "Patent application # UCDV9059WO?2011-582-2 Genetic Identification of Domestic Cat Breeds and Populations" (PDF). p. 12. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  12. ^ Alhaddad, Hasan; Khan, Razib; Grahn, Robert A.; Gandolfi, Barbara; Mullikin, James C.; Cole, Shelley A.; Gruffydd-Jones, Timothy J.; Häggström, Jens; Lohi, Hannes; Longeri, Maria; Lyons, Leslie A. (January 7, 2013). "Extent of Linkage Disequilibrium in the Domestic Cat, Felis silvestris catus, and Its Breeds". PLOS ONE. 8 (1): e53537. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...853537A. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053537. PMC 3538540. PMID 23308248.
  13. ^ Egyptian Mau Breed Profile
  14. ^ Stephens & Yamazaki 1990, pp. 58–59.
  15. ^ Hallépée, Didier (2011). The Egyptian Mau cat. Italy: Carrefour du Net Fondcombe. p. 35. ISBN 9782354511463. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  16. ^ Hutcherson, Anthony (1 April 2019). "Glitter". TICA Trend. 40 (3): 8.
  17. ^ "Frequently asked questions: Some facts & Figures". The Egyptian Mau Club (UK). Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  18. ^ Mallah, Orchid El. "Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization (home page)". Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  19. ^ "Import Policy". CFA Egyptian Mau Breed Council. February 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2014.

External links[edit]