Medium-sized and shorthaired, the Egyptian Mau has the distinction of being the only naturally spotted breed amongst the domestic cats. Generally, the spots are randomly distributed throughout the body and may vary in size. The shape can range from round, oval and irregular or can even be combination of all the three. Interestingly, these spots exist not only on the coat, but also on the skin, as is evident from the body of a shaved Mau. With a slim and spotted body, the Egyptian Mau is an elegant cat. The medium-length body shows a well-developed muscular strength and boasts of a stride like that of a cheetah. The head of an Egyptian Mau is wedge-shaped and slightly rounded, while the ears are large, alert and moderately pointed. The eyes of this breed are large and almond-shaped, usually gooseberry green, with distinctive mascara lines. The legs of this athletic creature are banded and in proportion to the body, though the hind legs are longer. With small and dainty feet, an Egyptian Mau almost looks as if it is standing on a tiptoe. Medium in length, the coat of this breed shimmers with a lustrous sheen, while the banded tail is also of a medium length and thick at the base.
The Egyptian Mau is a natural cat breed, originating from Cairo. Some historians suggest that the Egyptian Maus are the oldest cat breed and the ancestors of modern housecats. The oldest certain images of cats in ancient Egypt occur as hieroglyphs carved on a fragment of temple wall found to the south of Cairo and dated around 2200 BC. However, because the images are simple outlines and their context is unclear. The breed derives its name from the Egyptian word for cat, Mau. History has it the Maus played a significant role in the religion, mythology and daily life of the Egyptians. They were worshipped as deities, cherished as pets, protected by laws and even mummified and mourned upon their death. Cat mummies date from around 1000 BC, and have provided important information about the ancient Egyptians' cats. Of the mummies that have been unwrapped, several have revealed the spotted tabby pattern characteristic of modern Egyptian Maus. There is therefore abundant evidence that elegant, spotted tabby domestic cats were common in ancient Egypt. There seems little doubt that the Romans were responsible for taking spotted cats from Egypt to Italy and possibly other parts of Europe probably in the early centuries AD. Spotted cats closely resembling Maus in both markings and body type are clearly depicted in a number of Roman mosaics including one found at Pompeii. Domestic cats of Egyptian origin probably interbred with the stockier, longer-coated European wildcats (Felis sylvestris sylvestris) and thus gave rise to the Northern European domestic cats. Today, the breed is officially recognised and qualified for championship by The UK Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) June 1, 2007.
The Egyptian Mau is an affectionate breed of cats, with a happy disposition. Gregarious in nature, they love company and make ideal family pets. These cats bond very well with their owners and being loyal, make excellent companions. Their even-tempered nature makes them an ideal pet for homes with small children and older people. In fact, the Egyptian Mau is highly amenable to training and responds well to instructions. Though the Egyptian Maus are known to be quite adaptable, yet they are said to have a strong preference to warmer temperatures. These intelligent and loving creatures centre their lives on the family members and exhibit strong loyalty for their owners. Interestingly, the Maus are known for having very musical voices. They chirp, chortle and emit unusual sounds, when called for. The 'wiggle-tail' is one of the other famous characteristics of the Egyptian Mau. This action takes place when the cat moves its back legs up and down, as a sign of happiness. In addition, the Maus are also known to be the fastest breed of the domestic cat, capable of running at a staggering 36 mph.
The Egyptian Maus are generally a healthy breed, quite resistant to disease. However, it is advisable for these cats to have an annual health checkup, especially from the age of eight or nine. This is mainly to ensure that the cat is not suffering from any teeth problems, kidney, or liver function.
The Egyptian Mau is an ideal pet for large families, where the pet will have many opportunities to interact with others. This breed of cats requires no special grooming. Its fine short coat is self-maintaining. However, being lovable pets, they enjoy regular brushing with a soft brush and generally being pampered by their owners. The Egyptian Maus are very sociable and should not be left alone for long hours. In case you have to be out for long, it is advisable to have another feline pet in the house to provide good company. The cats of this breed are energetic and active and require approximately 80 Kcals of food per kg of bodyweight every day. They are generally not prone to obesity and adept at regulating their dietary intake themselves.
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