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.