Egyptian Mau


Introduction

The Egyptian Mau has a reputation for being extremely fast on their feet. They look a lot much like cats that were found in ancient Egypt and which are depicted on the tomb walls of Pharaohs. These athletic cats have been recorded at speeds of thirty miles an hour. Not only this, their long, well-muscled back legs allow Maus to jump to great heights with the greatest of ease. Over the years, the Egyptian Mau has become a popular companion thanks to their naturally occurring, exotic spotted coats and their kind, loyal and affectionate natures as such they have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people in the UK and elsewhere in the world.


History

It is thought that Egyptian Maus are descendants of cats that were around in Egypt in ancient times and their resemblance to these cats is striking. As such, they are thought to be one of the most ancient breeds on the planet. Cats were revered in Ancient Egypt and were often depicted in artwork sitting next to Pharaohs and on their tomb walls.

Breeders began showing an interest in the Egyptian Mau during the 20th century, but World War II had a serious impact on the breed which saw their numbers fall dangerously low. At the end of the war, dedicated breeders in Europe, Canada, America as well as other countries began carefully and selectively breeding the Egyptian Mau to save them from extinction. The problem was that breeders had only a small gene pool to draw from, as such they were obliged to use other breeds to rescue the Egyptian Mau.

However, Egyptian Maus did not arrive in the UK until the end of the 1990s when the breed was imported by a lady called Melissa Bateson and although the breed had been popular in the States for quite some time, having been recognised by the Cat Fanciers' Federation in the late sixties, the Egyptian Mau was not given full championship status in the UK until 2006, when the breed was recognised by the GCCF.

Today, these lovely cats boast a large fan base in many countries of the world and for good reason. They are the only domestic cat with a naturally occurring spotted coat and are known to be loving, loyal and intelligent cats to share a home with.


Appearance

The Egyptian Mau is a very elegant, muscular cat that boasts having a naturally occurring spotted coat which can be in any of three colours. They also are known for their "worried" expression thanks to their large, bright green eyes and level brows. They also have lines that run either side of their noses which adds to their exotic looks. Male Egyptian Maus are typically larger than their female counterparts, but both have slightly wedge-shaped, rounded heads with males having more of a jowl than females. Seen in profile, they have a slight contour from their foreheads down to the bridge of their noses. Muzzles are nicely rounded and chins are firm with cats having a level bite.

Their ears are medium to large in size and broader at the base being slightly pointed at the tips and set nicely apart on a cat's head. Some Egyptian Maus have tufted ears whereas others do not. They have large, almond shaped ears that are set under a level brow and which boast having a slight slant on the lower lid. Eyes are a bright, gooseberry green and as previously mentioned cats have a line that runs parallel on either side of their noses which adds to their "foreign" look.

Egyptian Maus have moderately long, elegant bodies that boast being muscular and hard to the touch. They have quite prominent shoulder blades that are set high and cats have a loose flap of skin that runs from their flanks to the knee on their back legs. They have elegant legs that are nicely in proportion to their bodies with their back ones being longer than their front legs. Feet are dainty and small being almost rounded in shape. Their tails are moderately long and quite thick at the base before tapering gently to the tip.

When it comes to their coat, the Egyptian Mau boasts having a close-lying, medium length coat that always has a sheen on it. Cats with silver or bronze coloured coats have dense hair with at least two or more bands of ticking on each hair which is separated by lighter bands of colour. Smoke coloured Egyptian Maus have silkier, finer hair, but all three colours have a charasteristic letter "M" on their foreheads together with frown marks. They also have a complex "scarab" pattern on the tops of their heads from which lines run back between a cat's ears and then down their necks before breaking into long spots along the spine.

The Egyptian Mau's cheeks have "mascara" lines which start at the corner of their eyes before contouring their cheeks. A second line curves upwards so it virtually meets a cat's ears. Their bodies are spotted randomly with large, small or medium sized spots that can be just about any shape and size. Bellies are also spotted and cats have one or even more broken necklaces around their necks. The markings on a cat's shoulders can be both stripes and spots.

Their legs are heavily barred or they can be spotted with one leg not matching the other which is acceptable under the GCCF breed standard. The marking on their upper back legs and haunches can be a transition from stripes and spots to bars on a cat's lower legs. Their tails are very well banded and boasts having a dark tip. The accepted breed colours are as follows:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Smoke

Temperament

The Egyptian Mau boasts having a lovely personality. They are playful, intelligent cats that learn new things very quickly. They are also known for having a real sense of humour which is another reason they are such fun to share a home with. Unlike many other cats, they love playing in water and will paddle in ponds if they get the chance to. They also love watching taps drip and will dive in a sink full of water with no hesitation at all. They are energetic cats that boast an incredible turn of speed. They can also jump to great heights and enjoy nothing more than to be able to look down on the world below from a high perch.

Egyptian Maus thrive on human company and don't particularly like being left on their own for long periods of time. As such they are a good choice for households where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out. They get on well with older children, but can be a little "off" when they are around toddlers who tend to be a little too boisterous for their liking.

Egyptian Maus can be quite vocal and boast having quite a good range of ways of letting their owners know their feelings. They also tend to wag their tails and stamp their feet when they are unhappy. They love playing games and are natural hunters. However, unless it's safe for a cat to go outside, it's best to keep an Egyptian Mau as an indoor pet which they do adapt to very well. However, they need to be given lots of interactive toys for them to be truly happy if they are not allowed to go outside for safety reasons.

Like a lot of other breeds, the Mau likes a routine and doesn't particularly like it when this changes for any reason. They like to be fed at the same time of the day and don't appreciate it when things get changed around the home.


Intelligence

The Egyptian Mau is an intelligent cat and one that, as previously mentioned learns new things very quickly. They love playing interactive games which includes hunting and chasing down a toy. They also boast having a ton of energy and as such when kept as indoor pets, they need to be given lots of mental stimulation to keep them occupied and to prevent boredom from setting in. This includes building high platforms for cats to jump up to so they can look down on things below. Hiding food and toys around a house is another great way of keeping an Egyptian Mau busy. If they get bored, cats tend to become destructive around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they may be experiencing.


Children and Other Pets

Egyptian Maus with their outgoing, affectionate personalities are the perfect companion. However, they are happier in households where the children are that much older and who therefore know how to behave around cats. With this said, any interaction between younger children and cats should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure things stay nice and calm. Younger children need to be taught how to behave around cats and when to leave them alone.

They also get on well with dogs they have grown up with in a household. However, care has to be taken when introducing an Egyptian to a dog they don't already know just in case the dog does not get on with their feline counterparts. They generally get on with most animals, but it's always wiser to keep a close eye on any cat when they are around smaller pets because their natural instinct to "hunt" might get the better of them with disastrous results.


Health

The average life expectancy of an Egyptian Mau is between 13 and 16 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

The Egyptian Mau is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these intelligent, high energy cats. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:

  • Umbilical hernias - some lines are more prone to the problem than others
  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency - Breeders should have stud cats tested, although to date few Egyptian Maus seem to be affected by the disorder even when tested they prove positive
  • Sensitive skin - thought to be a hormonal problem - once neutered the problem usually resolves itself

Caring for a Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau needs to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. On top of this, cats need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives which is especially true of kittens and older cats.


Grooming

Egyptian Maus boast having short, close lying coats and as such they are low maintenance on the grooming front. A weekly brush and wipe over with a chamois leather is all it takes to keep their coats in good condition with a nice sheen on it. Like other breeds, they tend to shed the most in the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to keep on top of things.

It's also important to check a cat's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections. Cats often suffer from ear mites which can be a real problem which is why it's so important to check their ears on a regular basis which means catching the problem early.


Energy Levels/Playfulness

Egyptian Maus are extremely active cats by nature and love nothing more than to be doing something when they are not napping that is. They do love to explore the great outdoors because they are natural hunters, but cats should only be allowed to go outside if they live in a safe environment away from towns and main roads.

Cats that are kept as indoor pets need to be given lots of things to do and places to hide when they want to, bearing in mind that the Egyptian Mau loves to climb up high so they can look down on things below from their high perches. They also need to have lots of places they can snuggle up for a snooze when the mood takes them because like other cats, they love napping throughout the day.


Feeding

If you get a Mau kitten from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same kitten food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a kitten's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older cats are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature cat several times a day making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements which is especially important as cats get older. It's also essential to keep an eye on a cat's weight because if they start to put on too much, it can have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing. Like other breeds, the Mau needs access to fresh clean water at all times.


Average Cost to keep/care for a Egyptian Mau

If you are looking to buy an Egyptian Mau, you would need to pay upwards of £300 for a well-bred pedigree kitten and you may need to register your interest with breeders because few kittens are registered with the GCCF every year. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Egyptian Mau in northern England would be £15.64 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £25.17 a month (quote as of Sept 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a cat's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a cat’s life. This would set you back between £15 - £20 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with an Egyptian Mau and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a cat when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £500 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for an Egyptian Mau would be between £30 to £50 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your cat, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred kitten.


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