Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Egyptian Mau cat

Egyptian Maus are a medium-sized short-haired cat breed. They are the only naturally spotted breed of domesticated cat. The spots on an Egyptian Mau are not just on the coat; a shaved Mau has spots on its skin. The Ocicat is very similar in appearance to the Egyptian Mau, but was the product of selective breeding which led to its spots. Another similar looking breed is the Bengal, but this breed tends to be considerably larger.

Egyptian Maus are the fastest breed of domestic cat, capable of running at 36 mph. The next fastest breed is the American Shorthair which has a top speed of 31 mph. For comparison, giraffes also run at 36 mph.

The breed conformation is described by The Cornell Book of Cats as

"a balance between the compactness of a Burmese and the slim elegance of a Siamese. Its medium-length body is muscular, with the hind legs longer then the front, giving the Mau the appearance of standing on tiptoes when upright."

The longer hind legs are another reason for the breed's startling speed. The Mau also has a loose flap of skin on the lower abdomen, similar to the cheetah, which allows a longer stride while running, again contributing to its great speed. The recently developed American Keuda breed also sports such a flap. A Mau running at full speed is impressive, with incredible acceleration.

Egyptian Maus are thought by many to be one of the progenitor breeds of the modern domestic cat. They have anatomical, metabolic and behavioral differences from other cat breeds which could be considered as evidence of antiquity or at least uniqueness from other cat breeds. Besides those already mentioned, Maus are more temperature sensitive than most breeds and are also more sensitive to medicines and anesthesia. Maus also have an unusually long gestational period. The maximum normal period for cats is 69 days, although Siamese may take a day or two longer. For a Mau, 73 days is still considered normal.

Purebred Egyptian Maus are a relatively rare breed. Currently, the number of registered Egyptian Maus worldwide is probably about 3000 (?).

Table of contents
1 References



Siegal, Mordecai, faculty and staff of Cornell Feline Health Center, Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine (Editors) (1989), The Cornell Book of Cats: A Comprehensive Medical Reference for Every Cat and Kitten. New York: Villard Books. ISBN 0-39-456787-0.


Cat Fancier's Association: Breed Profile: Egyptian Mau

CATBAR's Egyptian Mau Gallery