Perhaps one of the most well known cat breeds, the Egyptian Mau has a very colourful history. Believed to have evolved in Ancient Egypt where these cats were highly valued for their keen hunting abilities, the Mau features in many historic murals dating back over 4,000 years. Although the origins of the breed are mainly speculative, there is archaeological evidence to support the presence of these cats in Egypt. By examining the murals it is fair to suppose the Mau was worshipped and adored by Egyptian pharaohs and noteworthy rulers. It is also highly likely that the Egyptian Mau developed from African wild cats of no exact distinction. The modern ‘Camille Mau’ that we recognise today is thought to have emerged in 1952 by the careful breeding efforts of Natalie Troubetskaya, a Russian princess. Officially recognised by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 1977 and by the International Cat Association in 1979.
A rare breed that is seldom seen in Europe, the Egyptian Mau is easy to recognise if you do happen to come across one, with a slender and athletic body structure, a wedge-shaped head and distinctive coat patterning. The Mau has a couple of characteristic features including longer hind than front legs, and a unique dorsal stripe that stretches along the spine from the head-end to the tail-end. The coat is typically short and glossy, and is usually observed in black, blue, bronze, silver and smoke colouring. The Mau’s spotted coat occurs naturally, something which is true of no other breed. Unlike other cat breeds, the Mau is more susceptible to catching cold, preferring much warmer climates. Besides being more sensitive to temperature, the Egyptian Mau is known to be more sensitive to anaesthetics and medicines. The gestation period for an expecting Mau is also unusually long – about 73 days compared with the usual 65-67.
It is highly recommended that any Mau be kept as an indoor-only cat due to its sensitivity to cold and its rarity – many owners feel more comfortable knowing their beloved Mau is housed inside where it cannot be harmed or stolen. The Egyptian Mau is also a very loyal and affection breed that enjoys spending time with its human family. Many breeders and owners have described the Mau as being sociable to a select few, whilst displaying reserved and sometimes even aggressive behaviours towards others. On average, a healthy Egyptian Mau will weigh 8-14 pounds, with a typical life expectancy of 12-15 years when cared for accordingly.
Generally speaking, the Mau is very healthy and resilient. A condition it is susceptible to however, is a neurological disorder known as ‘leuodystrophy.’ Due to the rarity of the breed, determining any breed-specific or genetic conditions is very difficult.
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