A pet owner’s guide to the Egyptian mau

Showing many physical similarities to Bengal cats, the Egyptian mau breed is differentiated by the signature spotted pattern of its fur. It is the only domesticated cat in the world whose spots are the work of Mother Nature, rather than the result of selective breeding and engineering.

History

Egyptian mau breeders claim these animals are one of the most prominent progenitors of the modern domesticated cat. The breed is believed to have made its way to Europe and the West in the 1950s, making it a relative newcomer to the United States despite a long history dating back to prehistoric times. To this day, true purebred Egyptian mau cats remain relatively rare in the U.S.

Appearance

Size: Adult Egyptian mau cats can weigh anywhere from 5 to 11 pounds, depending on sex. Males tend to weigh a few pounds more than females, and the breed has a physical build much like Bengal cats.

Coat: The distinctive spots are a feature not only of this breed’s coat, but also of their skin – a shaved Egyptian mau cat will display the same spotted markings as it will when its fur is fully grown in. Egyptian mau breeder standards hold that only three base fur colors are acceptable: smoke gray, bronze and silver. Spots are invariably dark.

Eyes & Ears: While Egyptian mau kittens may have amber eyes, this breed is known for its green eyes, and the yellowed eyes of young cats will generally shift in hue by the time the animal reaches the age of 18 months. Ears are pointy, medium in size, rounded at the tips and normally held erect.

Tail: This breed has an active tail, medium in length and thickness. Black striping is commonly seen towards the tail’s tip.

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Disposition

These cats display some canine behavioral characteristics: they are fiercely protective, very loyal and will often greet their owners at the door as they come in. However, they adapt slowly to strangers and won’t trust new people for quite a long time. Though alert and intelligent, they don’t like noisy settings and will seek quiet if immersed in an overly loud environment.

Health and Care

Grooming: Taking care of Egyptian mau cats is easy. An occasional brushing and nail clipping is all that’s needed to keep them clean. Like all cats, Egyptian maus look after most of their grooming needs on their own. They are moderate shedders.

Activity Level: Egyptian mau cat breeders consider these felines to have a moderate activity level. Some individual pets may make good lap cats, while others display a propensity for the outdoors. Their curiosity can land them in trouble if they’re left unattended, though they have the speed and natural athleticism to escape most dangerous situations.

Health Problems: Any Egyptian mau breeder will tell you that these cats have abnormally high sensitivity to anesthetics. Pesticides and vaccines can also pose dangers. Beyond normal degenerative conditions seen in aging cats of all breeds, including feline inflammatory bowel disease and feline arthritis, these cats are generally healthy.

Average Lifespan: These cats enjoy exceptional longevity, often surviving to 16 years of age or older.

Find Egyptian Mau Cats for Sale

Given the rarity of true purebreds, breeders with Egyptian mau cats for sale tend to charge a premium. Expect to pay between $500 and $800 for a companion-quality kitten, and even more for a show-quality or breeding-quality cat.

To save money and do a good deed for your community, consider adopting an Egyptian mau from your local cat rescue shelter. However, given their relative scarcity, you may have to wait a while before a suitable pet turns up.