Is the Egyptian Mau the Best Cat for You?
Would this striking cat be the best cat for you? After reading about the animal, I’ve decided I’d love to have one. However, on my budget I can’t afford it. One price I found set the range from $600.00 to $1,000.00. I can understand why, as these are beautiful animals.
Their ancestry is also pretty unique, as the Egyptians were among the first to domesticate cats. The cats performed the necessary function of protecting the food supply. The mau is said to be the oldest breed of house cat.
Some Characteristics of the Egyptian Mau
The Cat Fancier’s Association had a nice write-up about this cat. The mau has a very exotic appearance, with its striking spotted coat. The animal is exceptionally intelligent as well as fiercely loyal to its owner.
Even though domesticated, this cat has retained several characteristics of the early ancestors, such as having a Cheetah gait. They also have a loose skin flap that extends from their flank to their hind leg. This flap gives the animal a great deal of freedom and agility as they twist and jump.
The cat’s exotic good looks coupled with an enchanting personality create love affairs with many who meet it. They are very friendly with their family, but are cautious with strangers.
They are all individuals, though in this particular breed, that individualism can be taken to extremes. They have absolutely no fear and a great deal of personality.
They dote on their human family, and expect to be an important part of family life. They are known to have some of the fastest reflexes ever seen in felines. They like to ride on your shoulder, or sit, vulture-like, on top of the refrigerator.
With their primitive beauty, these cats have an aura of being jungle creatures. They are strong, graceful, and agile. Typically, they are a muscular cat who has a longish, lithe body. Consider this cat, in its grace and elegance, a ballerina, not a linebacker.
The cat has large and expressive green eyes, with medium to broad ears that are separated by an ample width between them.
These Cats Were Once Worshiped in Egypt
In ancient Egypt, the cat was worshiped by pharaohs and kings. The name, mau, meant “cat” or “sun” in olden Egypt. Papyri and frescoes as far back as 1550 BC show illustrations of spotted cats.
Writings from this early time show that the cat was an important part of daily life, as well as being worshiped as a deity. The cat must have had a busy life in those days.
The mau is the only naturally spotted breed of domestic cat. The “prime” mau cats have coats of naturally-occuring colors — silver, bronze, smoke, and black. There are also several dilute versions of these colors. Black and dilute maus are not eligible for showing, but do make excellent pets.
Vetstreet.com says that this feline is a track star, as the mau has been clocked at 30 miles per hour. He seems to have springs for legs, as he can jump to very high places. He has been called the greyhound of the cat world.
He is a possible descendant of the African wild cat. The “M” shape on his forehead has been called the “mark of the scarab.”
Selective Breeding of the Mau
People began selective breeding of the mau in the 1950s. The first Egyptian mau imported to the United States came from Italy, via a Russian princess. Pretty incredible scenario, right? The cats all get here, one way or another.
The early breeders had a limited gene pool to select from. This made early maintenance of desired qualities a challenge. Recent imports of these animals have improved the situation. The Cat Fanciers Association recognized the cat as a breed in 1977.
Some Remarks About Temperament
Though gentle and reserved, the cat loves attention and affection from his family. He is, however, wary of strangers until he gets acquainted. As he can be rather shy, it is good to get him used to people early on, especially if you want to travel with him. He can be easily startled by unexpected noises or activity around him.
An observant animal, he will soon learn to open doors and drawers to look for toys or treats. When he is pleased, his tail will wag and his paws will knead, and he may “talk” to you with chortles and trills.
Choose a kitten that has been raised in someone’s home, where the kitten has been handled from an early age. Meet the kitten’s parents, if possible, to check out their temperaments.
This intelligent cat needs challenge, so you might teach him tricks or provide him with a puzzle feeder that will reward him with treats when he figures it out. (For puzzle feeder choices, see https://celebratingcats.com/is-your-cat-having-fun for a selection.)
The Cat is Prone to One Genetic Problem
The Egyptian mau is generally a healthy cat, but there is one problem that may affect the breed. It is a neurological condition called “leuodystrophy”. It could appear in kittens as early as seven weeks of age. Therefore, it is wise to buy from a breeder who offers a written health guarantee.
To protect the cat from arthritis as he ages, keep him at an appropriate weight. Don’t let him talk you into overfeeding.
The Egyptian mau’s coat is medium length. The texture of the fur will vary, depending on the cat’s color. Brush the coat weekly to keep it shiny and healthy. He will need his nails clipped and his ears kept clean.
Finding a Mau Kitten Could be a Challenge
If you want to find one of these kittens, put in the necessary research. Find a reputable breeder, one who will not sell to pet stores or wholesalers. Make sure the breeder does the proper health certification to screen out genetic health problems. Select a kitten raised in a home because it will be less fearful and skittish.
Be patient. Once you find a reputable breeder, you may have to wait several months for the right kitten. The kitten needs to be from 12 to 16 weeks old before moving to your home.
You can search for such a cat through web sites like petfinder.com and adopt-a-pet.com. These sites allow you to specify exactly what you are looking for.
Find local experts who might know where to find your cat. There are also breed rescue organizations that you can contact. These organizations are devoted to taking care of homeless cats. Try the CFA, the Egyptian Mau Breed Council or the Fanciers Breeder Referral List.
Take your cat to the vet soon after you adopt it. The vet can spot any problems and help you set up a regimen that will help you to avoid health issues.
Questions to Ask About Any New Cat
Before bringing home your new family member, you might want to ask some questions. Vetstreet.com has provided this list that might be valuable for any cat that you select.
- What is his energy level?
- How does he get along with other animals?
- How does he respond to the people around him (shelter workers, visitors, and children)?
- What kind of personality does he have?
- Litterbox trained?
- Has the cat ever bitten or scratched anyone that they known of?
- Has he any non-health issues?
Generally, the average life span of the Egyptian mau is between 13 and 16 years.
Since the cat likes water, he may try to turn on the faucets in the sink or play with the water in the bathtub, or in his water bowl. You might consider purchasing a cat water fountain for him.
This beautiful cat can definitely enter your life and your heart and change your world.
A postscript to this story: Since publishing it, I have been asked if I could recommend a cat water fountain, so I did some research. I found one that looks to be ideal. It is recommended by an expert.
The expert researched 30 pet water fountains and tested nine of them. He found that the Catit Flower Fountain was the easiest of the nine to maintain and use.
Affordable; easy to clean
Well-suited to small animals