every cat with spots has an Egyptian Mau lineage. Not every cat on the streets
of Cairo is an Egyptian Mau. The true Egyptian Mau can be recognized through a
combination of their lovely spots, head structure, body type, size, coat and eye
coloring. Aside from their physical differences to other spotted cats, the
Egyptian Mau also has a very rich and natural history that no other spotted cat
Egyptian Mau In Ancient Egypt The exact origin of the Egyptian Mau is
not documented and therefore cannot be known for certain. However, the popular
belief is that the Egyptian Mau is an ancestor to the African Wild Cat. This
belief is due to the Egyptian Mau’s remarkably similar appearance to the African
Wild Cats. The African Wild Cats were also known to be in the same region where
the Mau first appeared. No matter how they came about, once this breed was
domesticated it became indispensable.
The Egyptian Mau is an elegant beauty that graced Ancient Egyptian art as early
as 2200 B.C. Throughout most of the Ancient Egyptian timeline, these cats were
seen as both loving companions to be treasured and valuable protectors to be
honored and revered. Egyptian Maus were originally trained to hunt prey, such as
birds and fish, and return the bounty to their humans. They were also taught to
guard crops by keeping away small animals that would disturb them. Cats were
held in such high regard that if anyone were to be caught killing a cat in this
time period, they would be immediately stoned to death for their crime.
True Star of Cat Woman - The Egyptian Mau In July of 2004, the Egyptian Mau hit the big
screen in the major motion picture, Catwoman. Although the movie was subject to
bad reviews and a low box office intake, Midnight, a silver Egyptian Mau, had a
most notable performance of the cast. Midnight is said to have done her own
stunts in all but one scene. This is something not commonly seen with cats in
the computer age.
Egyptian Mau Appearance in General
The proper Egyptian Mau should look proportioned
with an overall medium size. The face should be medium length, with a rounded
muzzle. Adult males may also show jowls. The ears should rest well back on the
head with sufficient space between them. The eyes should be large and almond
shape. Gooseberry Green is the only acceptable eye color, however, many Egyptian Maus
begin life with Amber colored eyes; the Egyptian Maus eyes are allowed to mature like a
fine wine for up to eighteen months, changing from Amber to Gooseberry Green.
Many times the majority of the iris will be Amber with a defined ring of
Gooseberry Green around the pupil.
The feet of the Egyptian Mau are small and oval. There should be five toes on
the front paws and four longer toes on the back paws. The shoulder blades should
be visible and stand up higher than the back line. A loose skin on the stomach,
or “belly flap,” is highly desirable. The tail should be medium at the base and
have a slight taper as it extends outward. The back legs are higher than the
front legs, but the Egyptian Mau should walk evenly regardless. These powerful legs allow
the Egyptian Mau to reach speeds of over 30 miles per hour.
The Egyptian Mau showcases a scarab, or an “M,” on their forehead. The scarab
turns into dorsal stripes at the back of the head and flow down to the tip of
the tail. The tail also sports bands perpendicular to the dorsal stripe. The
legs, both front and back, should also have bands, however, the leg bands do not
need to flow evenly or be perfectly horizontal. At least one broken necklace
should appear on the chest of the Egyptian Mau.
The Egyptian Mau’s spots do not need to make a pattern. They may be small and round,
large and oblong, or any combination in between. Their spots should never make
any type of tabby or mackerel pattern, and connected spots are undesirable.
Silver and smoke Egyptian Maus should have black spots and stripes, where bronze
should show dark brown markings. Oftentimes, the toes and ears are spotted as
well. The ears may also have lynx tips without penalization.
Certain matings can result in producing kittens whose coats are either tarnished
or cold. With Egyptian Maus, tarnished generally refers to a silver cat that has
areas of fur that are bronze in coloring. Cold is often used to describe a
bronze Egyptian Mau whose bronze coloring is not as dark as desired. Cold bronze
was once another known as another color itself, called Pewter.
Other than their unique background, the Egyptian Mau has several key
physical differences that set them apart from other spotted cats. One of the
most noticeable differences is the breed's spotting requirement. The spots of an
Mau can be completely random and in all shapes and sizes; however, they should
never have rosettes or a marble or striped pattern, which resembles some Bengals.
Although the Ocicat looks highly similar to the Egyptian Mau, their spots are to
be large, well scattered, and thumb print shaped (as the breed standard
While the coat is somewhat similar, the Ocicat in general is a larger cat that
outweighs the Egyptian Mau. The head of an Ocicat favors a square muzzle, where the
Egyptian Mau’s muzzle should be rounded. The eyes are set farther apart on an
Ocicat than on the Mau. Ocicats are allowed to have any eye color, except blue,
whereas the Egyptian Mau must have Gooseberry Green.
Another give away of the Egyptian Mau is their belly flap. The belly flap is only a
desired trait in the Egyptian Mau and is considered a fault in most other
spotted breeds. If still in doubt, the Mau’s almond shaped eyes, even in width
nose, and medium sized ears should also help you determine what you’re looking
Egyptian Mau Personality
While the breed standard calls for an
even-tempered feline, many Egyptian Maus are anything but that. It tends to be the
Egyptian Mau’s nature to be fearful and gun shy, hiding under furniture when
company arrives; breeders must take great strives to over compensate for this
with a lot of early, hands on socialization during kitten-hood. Many Mau kittens
need this treatment to become loving, well adjusted cats. Those cats who do not
receive this sort of care are known to growl, scratch, and hiss when a new or
uncomfortable situation comes about. The cats that do receive proper
socialization, however, make the best living companions.
Unlike many breeds that only deal with their humans when they’re hungry, the
Egyptian Mau is always seeking company. The average Mau is quite clingy to his
owners; some will take to only one member of the family, while others will take
over the entire household. Whichever way it goes, once the Mau has bonded, he is
your lover for life and will actively participate in anything that you are doing
(whether you want him there or not). As the Egyptian Mau is incredibly intelligent, they
have been known to break open closed doors by either slamming against them, or
by twisting the doorknob. Privacy is a rare luxury with a Mau in the house, and
often times you will hear them chortle a “welcome home” song, a “let me in”
plea, or just a general speech about their day.
Photos and breed profile courtesy of Megan S.Angel-Riepenhoff Emau and New Kingdom