Egyptian Mau Cat: Characteristics, Personality, and Breed Information

Egyptian Mau
Compare Breed
Adult weight
6-14 pounds
Life Span
12-15 years
Alert, athletic, loyal, sensitive
Other Names
Pharaoh Cat
Small to medium-sized shorthair
Affection Level
? Breeds with a high affection level want to give and receive a lot of attention, while less-affectionate breeds are not as interested in petting and snuggles.
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Activity Level
? Breeds with high activity levels will engage more in active play and demand more space and attention.
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? How well the breed tends to get along with cats, dogs, and other pets.
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? Breeds with a higher rating in this area tend to be gentle and patient, while lower-rated breeds may feel uncomfortable with children.
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? Breeds with a higher sociability rating will want to spend time with you all day, while less-sociable breeds seldom seek out human interaction.
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? Breeds with higher intelligence ratings are more curious, investigative, and easy to train. Less-intelligent breeds are less trainable but often laid-back and easygoing.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area have strong hunting instincts that make them great playtime companions.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area are able to spend hours alone, while less-independent breeds require plenty of attention.
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? A higher rating in this area indicates a breed prone to plenty of meowing and other vocalizations, while less-vocal breeds are happy to stay quiet.
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? Breeds with higher grooming scores require more maintenance like brushing and bathing, while lower-scored breeds are virtually maintenance-free.
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Personality and Temperament

Playful and curious when at home with family, the Egyptian Mau cat can be cautious or standoffish with strangers. These stunning cats are highly intelligent, with a reputation for using their musical voices to make conversation with their favorite people.

Like most felines, these Egyptian beauties love to relax when the time comes, but for the most part, they are not couch potatoes. Fast and athletic, they truly enjoy playtime, and their ability to learn interactive games has given them a reputation for having almost doglike personalities.

If you bring an Egyptian Mau cat into your family, you will need to spend plenty of time helping to bring out the best in their personality. Be sure to focus on socialization to prevent problems at the vet and to ensure that the cat is comfortable with visitors. Take care to ensure that all interactions are as positive as possible, so the cat learns that humans are fun and friendly, and that treats are involved when good behavior is put on display.

If you plan to show your Egyptian Mau cat, socialization takes on an even more important role: Aggressive cats are disqualified immediately and antisocial individuals aren't viewed as desirable even when their markings are beautiful.

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About the Egyptian Mau Cat
Egyptian Mau Cat Care










Although Egyptian Mau cats have no special nutritional needs, like most cats, they thrive on a high-protein diet. Even though they are active, these cats are fairly small and overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can create pain and joint issues. It's important to check with your vet to ensure that you're feeding the correct amount.

The Egyptian Mau cat has a short, fine coat. They'll appreciate the opportunity to bond with you as you brush and polish the coat to bring out the shine. Brushing once or twice per week will help cut down on shedding, too.

Trim the nails every one to two weeks, and look inside the ears weekly to check for abnormal redness or odor, or excessive dirt in the ears. If the ears look dirty, clean them with a pet-safe ear cleaner and wipe with cotton balls or a piece of gauze.

Egyptian Mau cats love to play. These cats enjoy fun of all kinds, but they truly enjoy running and jumping. This breed holds the land speed record for domesticated cats: Egyptian Mau cats have been clocked at 30 miles per hour!

These cats appreciate toys just as much as other active breeds. They'll happily play by themselves, and they enjoy interacting with you, as well. The Egyptian Mau can be taught to walk on a leash and retrieve, which are fantastic ways to help expend energy and expand opportunities for socialization. In addition to toys, be sure that your Egyptian Mau cat has access to multiple scratching posts and a tall cat tower that satisfies their need to jump and climb.

Even with all the right cat furniture in place, these cats can be found peering down from the tops of cupboards, bookshelves, refrigerators, and other high vantage points.

Egyptian Mau cats are generally healthy, but like many pedigreed cats, they they may be prone to certain genetic disorders common in the breed.

Some issues seen in Egyptian Mau include a type of heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, pyruvate kinase deficiency (a condition that causes anemia), leukodystrophy (a rare genetic disorder affecting the spine and brain), and urolithiasis, which is a form of bladder stones. Proper diet can help prevent stone formation, as can ample hydration.

Consider feeding your Egyptian Mau fresh food or high-quality canned food rather than dry food since lack of moisture can contribute to kidney, bladder, and urinary-tract disease.


As the breed's name suggests, the Egyptian Mau cat is thought to have originated in Egypt, though there are no clear records as to how Egyptian street cats became the modern breed we know today. No one knows exactly when these cats were developed, but if the Egyptian Mau can indeed trace its roots back to Egypt, the breed is an ancient one.

Egyptian hieroglyphics depict spotted cats that bear similarities to today’s Egyptian Mau cats, so it is entirely possible that this breed or its close ancestors were among those revered by ancient Egyptian people, perhaps more than 3,500 years ago.

The standardized Egyptian Mau cats we know and love today were likely developed using spotted Egyptian street cats, which are believed to count North African wildcats among their ancestors.

During the early centuries A.D., Romans brought spotted Egyptian cats to Italy, and from there, these cats made their way around Europe. It is likely that domestic cats with Egyptian origins interbred with European wildcats, ultimately treating humanity to the northern European domestic cats that are so prevalent now.

Pedigreed Egyptian cats were bred in Europe prior to the second World War, but few records survive. Like many cat breeds, the Egyptian Mau was nearly extinct by the end of World War II; food shortages and widespread devastation led to tragedy for pets all throughout the affected regions.

Luckily, this particular breed was given a second chance. An exiled Russian princess named Nathalie Troubetzkoy was serving as a nurse in Rome during the early 1950s when she was given a silver spotted female kitten. This kitten had originated with a diplomat from one of Rome's Middle East embassies, although history has forgotten which one.

After some research, Troubetzkoy came to the conclusion that the spotted kitten was an Egyptian Mau. She named the kitten Lulu or Ludol, and acquired a black male Egyptian Mau named Gregorio. She used her diplomatic contacts to import more Egyptian Mau cats from the Middle East and her first litter of Egyptian Mau kittens was born in 1953.

In 1956, the princess emigrated to America, bringing three of her treasured Egyptian Mau cats with her. Two of these cats, a silver female named Fatima Baba and a bronze male named Fatima Jojo formed the foundation for today's Egyptian Mau cat breed.

The Cat Fanciers' Federation registered these Egyptian Mau cats in 1956 when they first arrived in the United States. Soon, other registries including the Canadian Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) recognized the new line of Egyptian Mau cats. CFA granted the breed championship status in 1977.

These days, Egyptian Mau breeders can be found worldwide; however, they are few and far between because the Egyptian Mau cat is still a rare breed.

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Egyptian Mau Cat History
About the Egyptian Mau Cat


Egyptian Mau cats have large, intensely alert eyes with an almond shape that slants subtly toward the ears. Eye color must be green in all show-quality Egyptian Mau cats older than 1 year of age. CFA describes the Egyptian Mau cat's eyes as being "gooseberry green."

Legs & Paws

The legs are proportionate to the body, with the hind legs being somewhat longer than the front legs. The cat appears to be on their tiptoes when standing upright. The feet are a slight oval shape, with a small, dainty appearance.


The Egyptian Mau cat has a medium-long tail that is thickest at the base, with a slight taper toward the end.

The Breed Standard


The body is of medium size, with well-developed muscles. Male Egyptian Mau cats are typically larger than females.


The head is a slightly rounded wedge of medium links, with a gently contoured nose that displays a slight rise extending from the bridge of the nose to the forehead. The muzzle is not overly rounded, and flows into the head's wedge shape. Males may display jowls.


The Egyptian Mau cat has medium to large ears that continue the lines of the head. They are broad at the base, with a moderately pointed profile. The ears may be tufted, but the hair on the ears is very short and lies close to the skin.


The coat is of medium links with a glossy sheen. Smoke colored Egyptian Mau cats have silky or, finer hair then those in silver and bronze coat colors.


Show quality Egyptian Mau cats may be silver, smoke, or bronze, with a broken mackerel tabby pattern that forms distinct spots that give the breed its wild appearance. The spine shows elongated spots. In the ideal Egyptian Mau, the top of the head displays a distinct “M” pattern, which is sometimes called “mark of the scarab" and the cheeks are barred. There is distinct contrast between the ground color and the markings. Nose leather and paw pad colors complement the overall coat color. Pewter and black colored Egyptian Mau cats, though beautiful, are excluded from the show ring.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do Egyptian Mau cats cost?

A pet-quality Egyptian Mau kitten usually costs anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500.

Why are Egyptian Mau cats so expensive?

Egyptian Mau cats are more expensive than non-pedigreed cats because reputable breeders spend a lot of time and money caring for their adult breeding Egyptian Mau cats to ensure they are healthy, temperamentally sound, and good representations of the breed.

Are Egyptian Mau cats good pets?

Egyptian Mau cats make wonderful pets. They bond closely with their human family, often choosing a special favorite person to spend most of their time with. Egyptian Mau cats are active, outgoing, playful, and entertaining companions. This breed can be standoffish with strangers, but extensive socialization in kittenhood can help them feel more comfortable with visitors in the house and trips to the vet.

Are Egyptian Mau cats cuddly?

All Egyptian Mau cats are individuals, and some might enjoy cuddling more than others. In general, Egyptian Mau cats like to be handled on their own terms, and they choose how much and how often they wish to be held or cuddled.

23 thoughts on “Egyptian Mau”

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  1. Beth

    What a sweet kitty! She is very strong and fast. She requires much interactive play. I have a 22 year old cat who does NOT want to play with her.

  2. Iris Messenger

    Wonderful breed, they are very sweet and afectioned, also very clean.
    They love to be petted! They are not a nervous breed, on the contrary I find them very calm.
    A pleasure to own! I am very lucky!!

  3. Cyrus Christos

    I got mine from a divorced couple who left town. I didn’t know of her origins other than a Tabby from the pound. She totally blew my mind with her incredible intelligence she spoke in complete sentences and her affection was unlimited.
    Just found out she is a rare breed. Amazing creature everyone should be so lucky as me

    1. BJ

      So sad to hear of his demise. I also had a Mau who was exceptionally bright. Mine is also now running free in an astral plane. Hopefully yours and mine have met and are playing together.

  4. Love

    My first ever cats adopted by chance cause they chose me. I grew up with large breed Rottweilers. The transition was different but these personalities, playfulness and serious demand for affection has changed my life. All my guets greet my cats and they have their own individual friends selected from my freinds. They bring their cat friends over to come eat. I never knew cats cuddle. They destroyed all cat stereotypes. They are my world.

  5. Joan

    I have an orange Egyptian Mau. His markings are very distinct and slightly different from our grey tabby. Almost alien looking with his big ears, triangle shaped face and almond eyes set somwhat apart. We have never had a cat with such a love for playing in the water! He is quick as lightning and can jump and bounce from one object to another in a split second. He talks all the time, acknowledges when we walk into a room or if we call him. He was my birthday present and we were hoping he would be an “exercise program” for our older, chunky cat. If he tries to play with us like he does with the other cat, just by saying NO sternly, he will stop. His preference is to be with us at all times, sleeping or playing. He knows lots of words and his interaction is so endearing we can’t ever imagine being without him.

  6. Susan Griffin

    We have an Egyptian Mau, but what amazes me is he’s a rescue. This article is him to a tee. He is so friendly and not shy of strangers at all. He is very verbal and never fights baths. One difference: he is huge! He has the scarab beetle marking on his forehead and the most gorgeous green eyes. His vet asked to take a pic because of how gorgeous they are. We love him and his sweet-tempered personality. He is a very sweet cat!!

  7. Susan

    I saved my Egyptian Mau from a shelter, he was only 2 months old & curled up in a ball, I didn’t know what breed he was. He is now 8 months old & is the sweetest most loving cat I’ve ever had. He has all the markings & he’s super fast & agile & fetches, & climbs & leaps. He loves to play in water & he curls up in a ball into my neck every night & purrs. I’m delighted to have him, he’s very intuitive & has helped me through so many difficulties, whenever I’m sad he crawls up in my chest & purrs, what an amazing animal!!

  8. JB

    Our 3 year old Egyptian Mau was also a rescue and has been such a delight to our family. She is so friendly and greets everyone that visits with affection. She has so much energy and plays with our teenagers, running after them like a dog would. She plays soccer with her toys and is an excellent ball dribbler! Her favorite thing to do is run full speed over our upper story log house beams to then sit in the window and watch birds. She is very intelligent, can open doors, is very chatty and snuggles with her family daily! What a wonderful cat!

  9. Bileh

    I have a 6 month old Smoke Colored Female Egyptian Mau. She weigh 6.5 lbs and she is 14″ Long, Her Name is Apple The Egyptian Mau

  10. Cheryl Nelson

    I wanted a Mau but couldn’t afford the price on Social Security income. I wanted a companion for my young service dog, a Standard Poodle (one reason l couldn’t afford a “real” Mau) and loves cats. I turned to a rescue cat thru Pet Finder and was hooked up with a prospect an hour away. We met, Emma met, Toby came home with us. He marked exactly like a Mau, has the skin flap and all the traits described, except his eyes stem all that green. They own more toward the yellow spectrum so if he’s got any Mau it’s mixed in with???? He’s just 6 1/2 months old. He had no fear, wrestles with my dog and he wins. He’s the Bronze version of he’s any Mau at all but at this point, only 3 days into the family of Emma & me and Toby he’s a keeper. Decided to name him King Toby Faux EMau. Big name for a little cat. We went to the vet with sniffles from the shelter and he weighs in at 7# already. Found out he was brought home by a little boy from his Dad visit and promptly dropped off at the shelter upon the child’s return home to mom from North Carolina ending up in Oklahoma. Poor little boy but lucky me and Emma! He stays Mau or no Mau.

  11. Milan Diklich

    I bought my two silver siblings from a breeder in Virginia after considerable research into the breed. They are everything predicted. Both were Champions on the show circuit before I got them, and are the closest two animals I have ever seen. They love people and other pets, though Clapton is more extroverted than Layla. Both speak with large vocabularies, easily interpreted, some unusual and beautiful. They both fetch and come when I whistle. Both sleep with me unless I have guests who sleep with open doors. Clapton is the fastest animal I have ever seen up close. The two of them will chase each other at remarkable speed only inches apart, dodging obstacles in perfect unison. Never seen the like. These two are worthy of all the Mau hype, more family than pets. Having two that care so much for each other is a treat.