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Who’s That Cat? 14 Reasons to Worship the Egyptian Mau

The "Greyhound of the cat world" is loyal, agile, fond of water -- and gorgeous.

Erika Sorocco  |  Jun 8th 2016


Editor’s note: This is part two of a story that originally appeared in the May/June 2016 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.

If exotic-looking cats are the key to your heart, you’ll quickly fall in love with this spotted beauty, who has the grace of a ballerina and the speed of a Greyhound.

1. Are you sure that isn’t a tabby?

Quite sure. While the Egyptian Mau has stripes, the breed also has natural spots. In fact, it’s the only domestic breed to display such markings. And they correspond perfectly with the trio of natural colors of the Egyptian Mau — silver, smoke, and bronze.

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Egyptian Mau by Shutterstock

2. Is the Egyptian Mau truly from Egypt?

She is. The Egyptian Mau originated in Egypt, a possible African Wild Cat descendant. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that people began to selectively breed the cats, resulting in the svelte, muscular feline you see today.

3. Coming to America

According to historical records, Nathalie Troubetskoy, an exiled Russian princess, was set to travel from Rome to the United States accompanied by three Egyptian Maus. Luckily, they missed boarding the luxury ship, which wound up sinking. The princess and the cats safely arrived in the United States in 1956.

4. Lightning fast

The sleek Greyhound is said to have a race speed of at least 35 mph. The Egyptian Mau, while significantly smaller, has been clocked at 30 mph — clearly the reason why the breed is known as the Greyhound of the cat world.

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5. Special talents

From a standing position, the Egyptian Mau can leap up to at least six feet in the air. She’ll also perch on your shoulder parrot-style and chortle sweet nothings (or confident demands for meals) in your ear.

6. That M-shaped mark

Snazzy, isn’t it? Found on the forehead of most Maus, it’s known as the mark of the scarab — referring to the sacred scarab beetle.

7. Is that cat wearing high heels?

The Egyptian Mau’s hind legs are longer than her front legs, giving the illusion that she’s standing on her tiptoes (or wearing high heels). The stance has earned her the reputation of being the supermodel of the cat world — just watch her strike a pose on the judge’s table.

8. Worthy of worship

The Egyptian Mau came from royal beginnings, and she still has that sense of entitlement in her spirit. Though a social, people-loving sweetheart, this gal likes things on her terms, and she’s not afraid to vocalize that fact to you — at any time, day or night. Catch your zzz’s while you can because this sleek and sassy alarm clock will wake you at will.

9. Friends forever

You’ve heard of the family man. Well, the Egyptian Mau could easily be described as the family cat. A fiercely devoted and loyal feline, the Egyptian Mau loves to spend time with her squad, but she’ll remain most faithful to her “special person” — the one individual in the household she holds dear over all other.

10. Stranger danger

Though not out-and-out fearful, Egyptian Maus tend to be wary when it comes to strangers, so continuing socialization is key to keeping fright at bay.

11. All about those eyes

Almond-shaped gooseberry-green eyes are an Egyptian Mau signature — haunting, heartbreakingly beautiful, and, sometimes, appearing to hold a worried expression. They’re set within a wedge-shaped head with ears of medium to large width, so the Egyptian Mau’s overall appearance is distinctive and ultra decadent.

12. Action packed

Don’t let the daintiness of this active kitty fool you. While as graceful and delicate as a ballerina, the Egyptian Mau is highly athletic and rough-and-tumble. She loves to climb, fetch, hunt, and perch.

13. Let’s go for a swim!

One of the Egyptian Mau’s favorite pastimes? Water play. The Egyptian Mau proves that cats don’t dislike water — at least, not all cats. Pools, fountains, ponds, sinks, water bowls — the Egyptian Mau does not discriminate when it comes to water. She’ll happily splash it out of any source.

14. Fun fact

In ancient Egypt, the Egyptian Mau was protected by laws. They were worshipped as deities by kings and pharaohs, and they were mummified upon death.

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About the author: Writer and blogger Erika Sorocco fuses her love for felines and fashion in the blog Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans. She shares with her cats Minky and Gypsy. Follow Erika on Twitter at @cateyesskinnies.