Cat Breeds

Egyptian Mau

Isabel Hartley

The Egyptian Mau holds a unique place in the tapestry of cat breeds, revered for its rich history and distinctive appearance. With roots that potentially reach back to ancient Egypt, images resembling the Mau can be found adorning temple walls, suggesting a lineage of feline royalty.

This breed, recognized by its striking spotted coat, is a rarity in the cat world. The Mau’s natural spots set it apart from other spotted breeds like the Bengal or Savannah, whose spots are a result of selective breeding.

In terms of personality, the Egyptian Mau is known for being both alert and athletic, yet deeply loyal and sensitive to their human companions. This blend of traits makes them suitable for families and individuals who appreciate an active but affectionate pet.

They typically have a medium build and a short coat that comes in silver, bronze, or smoke colors.

Their playful and energetic nature requires an environment where they can move freely and explore.

The Egyptian Mau’s athletic ability is complemented by strong muscles and a graceful physique, helping them to move with a swift elegance that is a joy to behold.

Caring for an Egyptian Mau involves regular interaction and playtime to satisfy their need for activity and engagement, ensuring a happy and healthy life for this storied breed.

History of the Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau carries a rich history, with its heritage tracing back to the time of the pharaohs. It is distinguished by its spotted coat and agile physique, traits that have remained constant since ancient times.


The Egyptian Mau’s origins are believed to date back to ancient Egypt. Evidence suggests that these cats were depicted in the artwork of temples and other structures, which could mean their lineage extends back around 3,000 years.

Its name “Mau” is the ancient Egyptian word for cat, reflecting its long-standing connection to the region. In ancient times, they were likely kept by people for their skills in controlling pests and for companionship.

Recognition and Popularity

The modern recognition of the Egyptian Mau as a breed began in the mid-20th century. The Cat Fanciers Federation first granted championship status to the breed in 1968, with the Cat Fanciers’ Association following suit in 1977 and The International Cat Association in 1979.

By the 1990s, breeders could be found not just in North America, but also across Europe and Japan, signaling a growth in its popularity.

The Egyptian Mau’s unique characteristics and historical significance continue to contribute to its appeal among cat enthusiasts worldwide.

Physical Characteristics

The Egyptian Mau is distinguished by its athletic build and spotted coat, reminiscent of its storied ancestry.


The Egyptian Mau carries an elegant physique with a notably graceful stance. It is a medium-sized cat, where males typically weigh more than females.

Their bodies are strong and muscular, supporting an alert and active nature. The most distinct feature of the Mau is its green eyes, which are large and set under a thoughtful brow.

Coat and Coloring

Coat: Short and silky to the touch, the coat of the Egyptian Mau is one of its defining traits.

Coloring: They come in various colors, but most commonly in silver, bronze, and smoke.

The most striking aspect is their spots, which are random and natural, setting each cat apart from the other. Each hair on the Mau is banded with color which gives the coat a shimmering appearance.

The coat’s low maintenance, requiring only occasional grooming, is another advantage for both the cat and its owner.

Behavior and Temperament

Egyptian Maus are known for their unique personality traits. They often exhibit a blend of loyalty and sensitivity, forming strong attachments to their family members.

  • Playfulness: They love engaging in playful activities, which makes them great companions for active households.
  • Cautious Nature: With strangers, they may act reserved, showcasing a cautious side to their temperament.
  • Alertness: Egyptian Maus remain alert, perhaps a trait inherited from their wild ancestors. This trait also makes them curious about their environment.

Despite their playful nature, they usually don’t seek to be lap cats. They express their affection through their playful behavior and prefer to maintain a certain level of independence.

One can often find them exploring their surroundings, especially enjoying high places where they can observe everything clearly.

  • Family Bonds: They tend to bond closely with one family member, sometimes becoming a ‘one-person cat’.
  • Sociability at Home: In their familiar home environment, Maus are known to be both playful and curious.

While they may not always sit on your lap, Egyptian Maus delight in spending time with their humans and participating in interactive games.

Their athletic abilities and alert temperament make them fun companions for activities and games that stimulate their body and mind.

Care and Health

When it comes to the well-being of the Egyptian Mau, owners should focus on a balanced diet, regular exercise, and be aware of common health issues.

Diet and Nutrition

The Egyptian Mau thrives on a high-quality diet that is rich in protein. They usually do best with a mix of wet and dry food, which can help to maintain their health and coat condition.

  • Wet Food: Provides hydration and is often more palatable.
  • Dry Food: Assists in dental health by reducing tartar buildup.

Exercise and Activities

Egyptian Maus are active and curious cats, requiring ample physical and mental stimulation.

  • Playtime: Interactive toys and games promote exercise and bonding.
  • Outdoor Access: Safe, supervised time outdoors can benefit their adventurous spirit.

Health Issues

While generally robust, Egyptian Maus might face specific health concerns that require attention.

Common Concerns:

  • Digestive issues
  • Heart conditions

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we’ll cover some of the most common inquiries about the Egyptian Mau. These cats are not only known for their distinctive spots but also for their vibrant personalities and historical significance.

What are the distinctive features to look for when identifying an Egyptian Mau?

The Egyptian Mau is notably recognizable by its spotted coat, which comes in various shades like silver, bronze, and smoke.
It has a well-muscled form, with large, almond-shaped green eyes and a unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the back knee, aiding in their agility.

Can you tell me about the personality traits of an Egyptian Mau cat?

They are playful and curious when at home, exhibiting loyalty to their family members. However, they might be cautious around strangers, reflecting their sensitive nature.

Why are Egyptian Maus considered a rare breed?

Egyptian Maus are a rare breed due to strict breeding practices and a limited number of purebred Maus outside of their native Egypt.
This scarcity is compounded by the breed’s natural breeding cycle, which is less prolific compared to other cat breeds.

What makes the Egyptian Mau different from other cat breeds?

Beyond their spotted coat and muscular build, the Egyptian Mau is distinct for being one of the few naturally spotted breeds of domestic cats. They are also known for their impressive speed and longer pregnancy period of about 73 days, compared to the average feline.

How can I find Egyptian Mau cats available for adoption?

Finding an Egyptian Mau for adoption might require patience. They suggest contacting cat rescue groups, checking shelters, and reaching out to breed-specific clubs or rescue networks that can guide potential adopters toward an Egyptian Mau in need of a home.

Are Egyptian Maus typically on the pricier side, and if so, why?

Yes, Egyptian Maus can be relatively expensive, with prices ranging from $500 to $3,500.
Their rarity, the costs associated with responsible breeding, and their status as one of the oldest domesticated cat breeds contribute to their higher price tag.