What makes the Egyptian Mau cat so unique? For one, they have the only naturally occurring spotted coat among domestic (read: not man-made) cat breeds. This wild and exotic look is extremely sought after and beloved by pet parents across the globe.
Outside of their stunning coat, these cats are incredibly fast, remarkably active, and devoted to their humans. They aren’t a cat that wants to be everyone’s friend and will likely stay out of the limelight if there are strangers around. They want to be with their people and tend to stick to one favorite; if you're the chosen one, you are oh-so-lucky.
With faces once carved and depicted in Egyptian tombs, these lovable kittens will capture your eyes, your heart, and all of your time.
|Egyptian Mau cat
|...at a glance
|Energetic, devoted, adventurous
|Coat & colors
|Short to medium; spotted tabby, various colors
Overview of the Egyptian Mau cat
The Egyptian Mau cat is a medium-sized cat that is very active and energetic. They will have lots of pent-up energy if you don’t give them enough playtime every day. While they can play on their own, they really prefer if their humans are interacting with them.
These cats’ faces are unique, with long noses and circular eyes that give them a sweet expression. They have large, alert ears that stand tall on top of their heads, and can be adorably tufted. This cat is strong and intelligent, and it shows.
The Egyptian Mau cat can weigh anywhere between 6 and 14 pounds, making them small- to medium-sized cats. They are smaller than both the Bengal cat and Ocicat, even though the three are often mistaken for each other.
Despite their smaller height and weight, these cats are long and slender. They also tend to sit back on their hind legs in an almost seated position so that their spine is upright. This only highlights their length, which can be up to 24 inches long from the tips of their tails to their noses.
A purebred Egyptian Mau’s coat is fine and soft to touch. You will enjoy running your fingers through this rare breed’s fur, especially because their coat’s pattern is so unique. Their coats are short to medium in length and require weekly grooming to keep them looking adorable.
Egyptian Maus can have smoke, bronze, or silver coats. Smoke-colored fur is silkier and finer, while bronze and silver fur are a bit denser.
These furry felines can truly be a long-term friend. When they eat well, exercise regularly, and maintain their health, they can live for 12 to 15 years.
History of the Egyptian Mau cat
While it can’t be confirmed that the Egyptian Mau cat that we all know and love is the cat that ancient Egyptians worshiped, it’s fun to assume that they are. They likely stem from an ancient African wild cat, although many compare these gorgeous kittens to cheetahs.
There are ancient Egyptian depictions of spotted cats in tombs and writings that look an awful lot like our furry friends today. These cats resemble the current day Egyptian Mau almost to a tee. The Egyptians were known to have cats around, at first to maintain the rodent and snake populations. Eventually, cats transcended mere animal companions to the level of gods and goddesses in the eyes of the ancient Egyptians.
It’s likely that the cat that the Egyptian Mau is a predecessor of is the breed of domestic cat that lived with the ancient Egyptians for hundreds of years. This also makes the Egyptian Mau one of the oldest known domestic cat breeds. "Mau" is actually the Egyptian word for cat!
During World War II, the Egyptian Mau breed was almost completely decimated. Thankfully, these kitties made a comeback with the help of the exiled Russian Princess Nathalie Troubetskoy through breeding and outcrossing. When Princess Nathalie brought some of these cats to the United States in the 1950s, she was able to promote and save the breed. This breed was recognized by TICA beginning in the 1970s.
Now, the Egyptian Mau kitten is well-loved by many (and who worship them similarly to how their ancestors were worshiped in Ancient Egypt!). Due to their rarity, beauty, and rich history, these cats were seen as very valuable—and we are so happy that they were saved!
The Egyptian Mau is a cat that stands out. As mentioned above, they have unique spotted fur that is naturally occurring, adding to their allure. You can tell that this cat has years of wisdom behind their wide and alert green eyes. Their eyes are so uniquely colored that many refer to them as “gooseberry green.”
These cats are lengthy and graceful, showing off their lean muscles as they slink around the house. Males might have stronger necks and shoulders, but these cats are slender and silky for the most part. Look out for large ears, shorter front legs, mascara lines near their eyes, and a unique flap of skin from the flank to the back knee.
Their hind legs are long, giving them the appearance of walking on their tip-toes, especially since their feet are small and dainty. They are quiet when they move around—and quick, too. They’re considered the fastest domestic cat breed, so don’t even try to challenge them to a race.
With a characteristic flap of skin extending from the posterior end of the ribcage to the hind leg, the Egyptian Mau can make great leaps and is capable of great bursts of speed—up to 30 miles per hour!
The Egyptian Mau cat is known to be outgoing with high energy levels. They love to play games, especially games that involve hunting. They want to chase after a toy on a string or climb and jump up cat trees (this cat pyramid is fitting, no?)—but don’t be surprised when they leave a little surprise (see also: dead) gift on your doorstep.
If you don’t praise them for this accomplishment, they might get a bit confused, as The Hunt is their favorite game. They just want to show you their neat prize!
Some people compare them to dogs because they will meet and greet you at the door when you come home from work or bring you toys to play fetch. They have a wild side, and they can become bored and potentially mischievous if they don’t get enough energy out. They will find their way around the house if they have nothing better to do.
They are very friendly house cats but might take some time to warm up to strangers. They aren’t going to jump onto a stranger's lap, but they will try to get a feel for them.
With their family members, it’s a different story: If the Egyptian Mau chooses you as their person, you get a devoted and loyal friend for many years. They will shower you with affection and expect the same in return.
Caring for the Egyptian Mau
Grooming the Egyptian Mau is not too difficult. Brushing their coats once a week keeps loose fur and dirt from piling up and making them oily. You may want to start brushing their teeth and clipping their nails early so that they become accustomed to the experience. It makes grooming a lot easier down the line.
These cats’ ancestors were treated like gods, and the Egyptian Mau of today wants the same treatment. Keep their litter box clean with Litter-Robot 4. This self-cleaning litter box will allow you to relax when out and about, knowing your cat’s space is fresh and ready for them to use.
Taking your cat to regular vet check-ups makes sure they stay healthy and can ease any anxiety you have as a cat parent.
Possible health problems
Egyptian Mau cats don’t tend to have breed-specific issues, but it’s always important to keep an eye on their health. Additionally, many cats are susceptible to certain conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This condition thickens the muscles around the heart, weakening it and making it more difficult to breathe.
Adopting an Egyptian Mau cat
Your Egyptian Mau will be a devoted and loyal companion until the end. They are such lovable cats that their personalities override their unique looks. Yes, they look wild and exotic, but they are so attentive that you forget they were once the cats worshiped by ancient Egyptians.
How lucky would you be to have a magical cat like the Mau in your life? Why not find out?
- Egyptian Mau | VCA Animal Hospitals
- Cats of the Pharaohs: Genetic Comparison of Egyptian Cat Mummies to their Feline Contemporaries | NCBI
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine