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What is an Egyptian Mau Cat?

T. Raleigh
T. Raleigh

The Egyptian Mau cat sets itself apart from other cats as being the only domestic breed with spots. In addition to its unique coloration, the Egyptian Mau boasts an ancient history; images of cats bearing the same markings the Egyptian Mau cat appear on ancient Egyptian artwork. These cats make uncommon and distinctive pets.

Cats, such as the Egyptian Mau, were highly revered in ancient Egyptian society. They were treasured as pets, venerated as deities, and protected from harm by laws. Many experts contend that the Egyptian Mau cat is a domesticated descendant of the spotted African Wild Cat. The word "mau" meant "cat" in ancient Egypt.


The Egyptian Maus' spots go beyond just their coat — their skin is spotted as well. Their glossy short-haired coats are thick, and are most often a smoke, silver, or bronze color, although there are some blue and black variations on the three primary colors. The delicate faces of Egyptian Mau cats have the appearance of a worried or concerned expression. Their green eyes are large and tend to be expressive.

An Egyptian Mau cat has hind legs that are slightly longer than its front legs, which gives it an appearance as if it is standing on the tips of its toes. Having been clocked at 31 mph (nearly 50 kph), the Egyptian Mau cat is one of the fastest domestic breeds. Their speed and agility make them very effective hunters.

Playful and active, these cats are also intelligent and loyal. They tend to bond to both their human and four-legged family and get along well with other pets introduced while the Egyptian Mau cat is at a young age. Many Maus have lyrical voices and make distinctive sounds.

While most cats have a gestational period of about 69 days, the normal for Egyptian Maus is approximately 73 days. This is one of the longest gestations of any domestic breed.

The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) allowed Egyptian Maus into championship competition in 1977. Only the three primary colors of bronze, silver, and smoke are eligible for competition under CFA rules. The Egyptian Maus came to the United Kingdom in late 1998, and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) now recognizes Egyptian Mau cats for competition. This breed is still relatively rare, with only a little over 7,300 registered worldwide as of 2009, with the majority of these Maus being silver-colored. Unique features and low population make the Egyptian Mau cat highly prized by their owners.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is unique about the Egyptian Mau cat's appearance?

The Egyptian Mau is renowned for its striking spotted coat, which is the only naturally occurring spotted pattern in domestic cats. Their eyes are gooseberry green and they possess a distinctive 'M' shaped mark on their foreheads. The breed also has a graceful, muscular build, with a skin flap under the belly that allows for greater agility and speed.

How fast can an Egyptian Mau cat run?

Egyptian Maus are one of the fastest domestic cat breeds, capable of reaching speeds up to 30 miles per hour. This impressive speed is attributed to their powerful hind legs and a unique flap of skin extending from the flank to the knee, providing for longer strides and rapid acceleration.

What is the temperament of an Egyptian Mau cat?

Egyptian Maus are known for their loyal and friendly nature. They tend to form strong bonds with their families and can be both playful and affectionate. While they enjoy interaction, they can also be somewhat shy around strangers. Their intelligence and curiosity make them engaging pets, and they often express their happiness with a melodious chortle.

Are Egyptian Mau cats rare?

Yes, Egyptian Maus are considered a rare breed. According to The International Cat Association, the Egyptian Mau is one of the less commonly registered breeds. Their rarity is due to the limited number of purebred kittens born each year, making them a special and somewhat exclusive pet.

What are the grooming requirements for an Egyptian Mau cat?

Egyptian Maus have a medium-length coat that is silky and requires minimal grooming. A weekly brushing is typically sufficient to remove loose hair and maintain their coat's natural luster. They are moderate shedders, and regular brushing helps to minimize hairballs and keep their coat in good condition.

How does the Egyptian Mau cat adapt to living with families and other pets?

Egyptian Maus generally adapt well to family life and can live harmoniously with children and other pets if introduced properly. Early socialization is key to fostering a good relationship with other household animals. They appreciate attention and playtime, making them a delightful addition to active households that can provide engagement and affection.

Discussion Comments


I just discovered that the cat I adopted is an Egyptian Mau. They didn't know what it was at the shelter. I can't believe I have such a special, rare and unique cat now. But I'm kind of sad because we got her spayed and maybe we should have bred her. It turns out this cat is fairly rare and difficult to find but I had no idea.

I am happy to know that she is special though. I could tell when I first saw her. She has a lot of personality. That's easy to see. She was a bit distant at first, but now she's very friendly and boy is she a hunter! She chases all the insects and the birds in the yard. She's already caught two birds although I try to prevent her. Thankfully, she doesn't kill them. She catches them and then lets them go. She's a very picky eater too. Only eats the best food.


@ysmina-- Does she have large ears that are very far apart and loose skin in the hind leg? Aside from the spots, green eyes, medium-size, lean and muscular body, those characteristics set the Egyptian Mau apart.

If you have an Egyptian Mau, you'll definitely know it. They're very unique, not just in appearance but also in personality. It is believed that most cats are more attached to their homes than their owners. For the Egyptian Mau, it's not like that. They are very attached to their owners and very friendly. So they make great pets, one of the most amicable cats out there.


I have a British Shorthair that kind of resembles an Egyptian Mau. I wonder if she's mixed. She doesn't exactly look like a British Shorthair anyway, she has some spots on the middle part of her body and then stripes for the rest. British Shorthair cats don't usually have spots. So I think my cat may actually be a mix of British Shorthair and Egyptian Mau.

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