The Egyptian Mau is the only naturally spotted breed of domesticated cat; its spots are not only on the coat, but on the skin of the cat as well. The Mau is similar to the Ocicat and the Bengal, but the Ocicat’s spots were bred-in, and the Bengal is much larger than the Egyptian Mau. The Mau is a medium sized shorthair breed. Its body is compact much like the Burmese and slim like a Siamese. The Mau has a muscular body with its hind legs longer than the front, which gives the Mau the appearance of standing on its tiptoes.
These legs are one of the reasons for the startling speed of the Mau. Another reason is the loose flap of skin on the lower abdomen which is similar to a cheetah. This allows for a longer speed while running. The Egyptian Mau is the fastest breed of domestic cat; it can obtain speeds of 36 miles per hour. The next fastest cat, the American Shorthair, can only reach 31. For the sake of comparison, a giraffe also runs at 36 miles per hour.
The Egyptian Mau is said to be descended from African wild cats, and from the cats seen in wall paintings from Ancient Egypt. They may not have come from Egypt however as a Russian Princess is the one mostly responsible for the original breeding of the Mau.
The Mau will either have a scarab beetle or an M type marking on their forehead and green eyes. They are much more temperature sensitive than most breeds, preferring warmer temperatures. They are sensitive to medicines and anesthesia and also have a longer gestational period than most cats. Identifying features and behaviors such as these separate it from other breeds.
The Egyptian Mau tends to emit very distinct vocalizations, and they are said to possess very musical voices. Another common behavior, dancing ““ or “wiggle tail” happens when the Mau is happy. The cat will move its back legs up and down giving the appearance of spraying or marking territory, but it will not actually urinate.
The Egyptian Mau is a rare breed. Only about 200 purebred Mau are registered each year.