silhouette Midline semi-foreign
weight 2.5 to 5 kg
dress Three to four colors are with a spotted tabby pattern
head Snub triangle
eyes Large, almond-shaped. Gooseberry green in color
tail Average length
federation LOOF, CFA, ACF, ACFA, TICA, FIFe, WCF
The Egyptian Mau is a cat breed originating in Egypt and developed from 1953 in Italy and then in the United States by a Russian princess. Quickly recognized by the breeding registers, the breed came up against a problem of inbreeding in the 1980s: many cats from India and Egypt were integrated into the breed in order to increase its genetic pool. The Egyptian Mau is the only breed of cat that naturally has a spotted tabby marking, that is to say distinctly marked with black spots. The three historic colors are silver (silver with black spots), bronze (beige to russet with black spots) and smoke (plain black with silver highlights). Solid black and colors derived from blue are in the process of being registered or recognized by breeding registries. Development of the breed The subjects brought to the United States were quickly successful, and the term “mau” is used to designate the breed: mau is a term coming from the Egyptian which designates both the cat and the meow. The Egyptian Mau was registered by the Cat Fancier Association (CFA) in 196810 and recognized as a breed in 19777. In 1979, the first Egyptian Mau recognized as Grand Champion in exhibition was Sangpur Jonathan Dot Dot, a silver male. The International Cat Association (TICA) registered the first subjects in 1979 and wrote a standard in 1988, and the International Feline Federation (FIFe) recognized it in 1992. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) recognized the breed only in 2007. The genetic pool of the breed being based on only three individuals, breeders endeavored during the years 1980 to 2000 to introduce new subjects in order to reduce the inbreeding of the breed. In 1980, in the United States, new blood was brought by Jean Mill from the Delhi zoo and thirteen subjects were included in the breeding register, including Toby, a bronze male carrying the glitter. It is then the turn of Cathy Rowan, J. Len Davidson and Marie-Christine and Didier Hallépée to introduce subjects from Egypt. The breeding register is always open to new subjects which are only accepted in the stud book from the fourth generation. The breeders divide the offspring into three different lines and try to standardize the type of the Egyptian Mau by relying on them: the "traditional" line, from the Fatima cattery: their coat is less contrasting but the head is very finely drawn ; the “Indian” line, resulting from imports from Jean Mill: their very slender body is sought after. This line carries glitter; the "Egyptian" line, whose size is larger than the other lines. The first Egyptian Maus were introduced in France in 1997 by Marie-Christine and Didier Hallépée (Fondcombe cattery), in the United Kingdom in 1998 and in Finland during the 1990s, although the first litter dates from 2006. It is also present in Japan, where some catteries have produced excellent subjects, in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland. The development of the breed continues with the introduction of new colors, such as the all-black Egyptian Mau, and diluted versions: smoke blue, blue and silver blue. In 2009, the Egyptian Mau represents the 24th most popular breed in number of pedigrees published by the LOOF from 2003 to 2008. In 2008, the Egyptian Mau is in 25th place in the LOOF and 21st place in the CFA in number of recordings. The Egyptian Mau can be confused with another breed with a spotted tabby dress: the ocicat, a breed created in the 1970s and 1980s to look like the ocelot. In the United Kingdom, a 'mau' breed was developed: it was to resemble cats depicted in ancient Egypt and had a more elongated, slender type body with a brown spotted tabby coat. The development of the breed was overshadowed by that of the Egyptian Mau, which met with more success: the "British Mau" brown spotted tabby is now included in the standard of the Oriental Shorthair. More recently, the Arabian Mau is a new natural breed developed in the 2000s from domestic cats in the Arabian Peninsula. Apart from the term "mau", there is no correlation with the Egyptian Mau. The Egyptian Mau contributed to the formation of the Bengal breed through a Mau of the Indian lineage named "Millwood Tory of Delhi" which notably brought the rufus and glitter polygenes. Also, there are many rumors about possible regular crossings with the Bengal due to the rapid development of the bronze Egyptian Mau. The savannah also received an input of Mau blood during the development of the breed. Breeding Acquisition of an Egyptian Mau A dozen breeders are active in France. The price of an Egyptian Mau varies greatly according to age, descent and aesthetic qualities of the individual, but also according to the breeder. In 2004, the prices observed in France for a kitten intended for the company (that is to say which will not be used as a breeder and will not be presented in competitions) vary from 800 to 1,000 euros; in the United States, a companion kitten is sold between 600 and 1,000 dollars in 2007. Felinotechnie Breeding associations Breeding associations are different from breeding registries, which record the genealogy of cat breeds. As a general rule, breeders' associations aim to bring together breeders in order to promote the breeding of a breed. In the United States, the breeders' association The Egyptian Mau Breeders and Fanciers Club was created in 1975, then, a little later, the International Egyptian Mau Society. In France, the International Association of Egyptian Mau (AIME), created in 1998, is the only one recognized by the Official Book of Feline Origins (LOOF). Genetics The spotted tabby pattern that characterizes the coat of the Egyptian Mau is complex to obtain. There is a theory that the spotted or spotted cat is a striped or mackerel cat with broken markings. The spotted would then be subject to at least one dominant gene changing the mackerel pattern or even the action of mackerel modifying polygenes. Kittens without the spotted tabby pattern are born sporadically from spotted cats. In terms of colors, the Egyptian Mau standard plays on gene I, responsible for the appearance of silver and smoke, and gene A, responsible for the appearance of spots. A cat's hair is made up of several bands of more or less contrasting colors. The action of the "I" inhibitor gene is to stop the production of pheomelanin in the hair, which results in a transparent white band. On a plain-looking hair, this translates into a light root and a tip that looks uniformly black: we get a smoke. On an agouti coat, the root is white, followed by a succession of transparent and colored bands: this is the silver tabby. Gene A determines whether the coat is tabby or not. The introduction of d dilution genes allows the blue color to be obtained. Breeding issues Breeders work with the three lines of Egyptian Mau in order to keep the positive points of each. Another breeding objective for the subjects of the CFA is to be able to reconcile the development of mau bronze rufus with that of the silvers: indeed, the polygenes rufus on a silver coat tend to tarnish the color. Breeders are therefore worried about the vogue for maus rufus, which could split the breeding in two, since the results of crosses between the two colors can be very disappointing. Reproduction and growth The eye color of the Egyptian Mau can take from one to a year and a half before reaching its final color. Similarly, the color of the coat and the pattern of the spots evolve during growth. According to LOOF statistics for the years 2003 to 2008, litter size averages 3.37 kittens. CFA statistics from 1987 to 2008 are 2.9 to 3.9 kittens per litter on average. The inbreeding coefficient of the French subjects is 4.83%. Five stallions and six females contribute to more than half of the births over the period studied. Health The Egyptian Mau is not subject to any hereditary disease. However, some breeders have noticed a higher incidence of disease in their subjects. The traditional line could be affected by feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and feline asthmatic syndrome. A propensity for umbilical hernias and patella luxation is also noted by these breeders. Careful management of genetics could make this disappear. Maintenance Like any short-haired cat, maintenance of the Egyptian Mau is reduced to weekly brushing. However, CFA breeders recommend regular grooming by brushing the Mau with a narrow-toothed comb and then polishing the hair using, for example, chamois leather. Prior to a cat show, bathing is necessary using shampoos specially formulated for the coat type of the Egyptian Mau.
The Legend of the Ancient Egyptian Cat During the 3rd millennium BC. J.-C., with the storage of the grain ran the rats, soon followed by the snakes and the cats. The Egyptians were very fond of cats. The papyri depicting cats show them brown and speckled with black. The ancient Egyptian cat is deified as the goddess Bastet. The cat was considered a member of the family and when it died the whole family mourned it by shaving their eyebrows. The British imported a lot of cat mummies to the point of grinding them up and making them into fertilizer. The domestic cat will spread little by little all over the world following the exchanges between the different human peoples. At the beginning of the 20th century, Italy was populated by the descendants of Egyptian cats. According to the descriptions, many of them were speckled cats resembling the cats of the pharaohs. With the Second World War, many cats perished in Italy, and the direct descendants of pharaonic cats have practically disappeared. However, speckled house cats can sometimes be found in Italy, and even, it is said, in Provence. The Egyptian Mau is considered the ancestor of all cat breeds by the promoters of the breed, since it would descend from Felis lybica ocreata, an African wild cat subspecies that spread the domestic cat all over the world. However, the ancestry of the Egyptian Mau remains hypothetical and should be considered legend. A princess at the origin of the race Nathalie Troubetzkoï is a Russian princess exiled in the palace of the ambassador of Egypt in Italy during the Second World War. A cat lover, she is considered the creator of the breed. She receives her first cat through a little boy who brings her a kitten in a cardboard box. The unusual beauty of this kitten conquers her immediately and she names him Ludivine, nicknamed Ludol then Lulu. Lulu was a beautiful silver color with black spots. The princess noticed that the box in which the kitten had been brought to her was from Egypt. This is how she deduces the origin of this wonderful cat and concludes that the cat was a descendant of the pharaoh's cats. She used her many friends to find another cat of this type and obtain a speckled litter. Friends found her Gregorio, an 11-year-old black male from a speckled family, and she acquired Geppa, a black smoke male from the Near East, through the Syrian ambassador. Lulu and Geppa soon gave birth to their first litter who was also speckled like her parents. Among these, Nathalie Troubetzkoï kept a small silver female, Baba. However, Baba's origin varies between sources: she may have been imported directly from Egypt or is the original kitten from the cardboard box. From Lulu and Grégorio was born, among other kittens, Jojo, the first bronze-colored Mau. Liza, daughter of Baba and Jo-Jo, was presented in competition in Rome in 1955. When she obtained permission to immigrate to the United States in 1953, she registered only three cats in 1956. This is how Baba, a 4-year-old silver female, Jojo (or Jo-jo, his real name Georgio), a three-year-old bronze male, son of the first, and Liza, an unfortunately sterile eleven-month-old silver female, set off to conquer the States -United. Once installed, Nathalie Troubetzkoï continued to work to make known the cats of Egypt, to exhibit them and to have them recognized as a breed under the name of Egyptian Mau. She created her breeding under the name of “Cattery of Fatima”. In 1957, Baba was the first of the breed to be crowned champion. All breeding Egyptian Maus are descended from these early subjects.
The character traits remain perfectly individual and are above all functions of the history of each cat, whatever its breed. The Egyptian Mau has a docile temperament wanted by breeders, especially because the first generations of Egyptian Mau were difficult to handle. He generally maintains an independent and intelligent character while being moderately active. He is considered a good hunter, who needs exercise to maintain a balanced character. Cat close to his master, he demands attention and can be distant with strangers. The Egyptian Mau has a reputation for showing joy by meowing softly, and also waving its tail briskly. According to Egyptian Mau breeders, there are character differences between the different colors. Thus, the Egyptian Mau has a reputation for being much more exclusive towards its master and more dominant over other cats. The Egyptian Mau smoke would have a more tender character, seeking physical contact.